Ep #279: How to Sustainably Expand Your Design Business with Tanya Smith-Shiflett

The Design You Podcast Tobi Fairley | How to Sustainably Expand Your Design Business with Tanya Smith-Shiflett

We’re fresh off the back of our four-part series about the potential end of the interior design industry, and I have the perfect interview to complement those episodes. My guest this week is a brilliant saleswoman, an expert in thinking differently while expanding a business, and she has an approach for getting to know her clients that has helped her grow her business into something special.

Tanya Smith-Shiflett believes that the kitchen is the heart of every home. She has been building some amazing showrooms for her kitchen and bath company all over the country and her business has been growing like crazy over the past few years. She’s a mentor to many of us in the design and building industry because she’s always helping people think differently about the business of design and construction.

Tune in this week to discover how getting to know your clients on a deeper level helps you provide unparalleled design services. Tanya is sharing how to question your clients so you can design something they truly love, how to work within their budget, the principles that have helped her grow and scale her design business, and how to use the economic downturn we’re experiencing as an opportunity to plan for the future.


Discover a new path to success in the Interior Design Industry with our live 3-part training: How To Create Additional Revenue Streams. Join us as we teach you the strategies to launch innovative income streams, freeing you from the limitations of traditional design services. Don’t miss this opportunity to revolutionize your business and thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Grab the Training Series now to prepare your business for today & beyond!

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • Why Tanya decided to leave her corporate career and start her kitchen and bath business.
  • How Unique Kitchens and Baths started growing quicker than Tanya originally anticipated.
  • The skills Tanya took from her career that helped her successfully launch her business.
  • How to ask the questions that really help you get to know your client.
  • Tanya’s advice for all the creatives out there who hate selling.
  • How a downturn in the economy is affecting consumer behavior in the design industry.
  • 3 avenues for making money that everybody growing a design business needs to know.

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 279.

Welcome to The Design You Podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy, here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hey, friends, it is hot as, as they would say in the south, hot as blue blazes over here, whatever that means. It is just, it’s hot as heck in Arkansas, it has been. But hopefully by the time you’re listening to this, for my sake and all of our sakes in the south, it’s getting a little cooler. I see that the weather report says maybe we’re trending down a little bit for a little moment. So hopefully we get some relief. But if it’s hot where you are and you’re listening to the podcast in the cool of your home or your air conditioner or all the things, then yay for you.

Okay, so welcome to today’s podcast. I have a great guest and it’s a wonderful follow-up to the series we’ve been doing. So you may have been listening to my four part series, Is This Really the End of Interior Design This Time. And if you have, you know that I’m really thinking about this all the time. And I’ve been sharing with you, ideas about different revenue streams, things like ecommerce, short term rentals. There’s so many different things.

And I’m in the middle of teaching a three-part workshop series about different revenue streams, which you can absolutely still get, just head to and sign up and you’ll get the previous recordings and the ones that are coming up. But today I have Tanya Smith-Shiflett with us and she is absolutely amazing. She is the owner, well, she does a lot of things actually. She has been building some amazing showrooms for her kitchen and bath business all over the country, which is so impressive, and she has grown like crazy in the last several years.

But she also does consulting with people, consulting only on kitchens. She is a mentor to a lot of us in the interior design and building industry because she’s always helping people think differently about the business of design, the business of construction, the business of kitchens. So she’s really inspiring. So she has just always been interested in the kitchen and believing it’s the heart of the home.

And so she left a corporate job a few years ago and started working with her husband’s business because he was building kitchens and she started doing the kitchen layouts. And you’ll hear all about that in our conversation. But she launched her business, Unique Kitchens and Baths several years ago and has been expanding them rapidly over the last few years. And it’s a really impressive story, but one of the main reasons I love bringing her to you right now is she really is a brilliant saleswoman. She gets business. She understands what it takes to build a business.

And although we don’t want to always burn ourselves out, she does do quite a lot of hustling. And I believe in hustle sometimes. I believe that there are periods. I’m in a period of hustle right now, when you’re getting things off the ground and then the goal is later, hopefully to add some more white space and some more sustainability into, some more capacity into that process. But she’s inspiring with her hustle, she’s inspiring with her thoughts and mindset about business. She is inspiring when it comes to the way she thinks about sales.

And I think you’ll really love this episode. And it may have you thinking differently about your business. Plus she’s there to help you do your kitchen design for your clients and make you look like a million bucks. So I’m going to be quiet and let you get to the episode because it’s a really good one and I’ll see you on the other side of the show.

Tobi: Hey, Tanya, welcome to The Design You Podcast. I’m so glad you’re here today.

Tanya: Thank you. So am I.

Tobi: So you and I have just been getting to know each other over the last, I don’t know, several months. We have some common friends, including my friends at Woodbridge. But for those people who don’t know about you or your business yet, let’s just start there. Tell everybody who you are, what you do. And then we’re going to get into some really interesting conversations about the transitions you’ve been making over the last several years.

Tanya: So my name is Tanya Smith-Shiflett and I am the owner of Unique Kitchens and Baths. I have started the business seven years ago. I worked full-time for Pfizer for 21 years. And I did kitchens part-time with my husband who was a builder. And after retiring from Pfizer, I decided that I just wanted to do kitchens as a part-time gig, not full-time. And we started with a small design studio in Baltimore, and it grew very quickly. We are on our seventh location and we’ve opened a shop every year.

We offer trade discount to designers. We work mainly with interior designers, architects and builders. We do homeowners also but as far as being custom cabinetry, we can build anything. We do any color, any door style. Our lead times are 12 weeks. And we’re building a nice little cabinet empire over here.

Tobi: Yeah, that’s amazing. So many things stand out about that, which we’ll get into, but 12 weeks. Nothing’s 12 weeks anymore. That’s the shortest time ever. And the fact that you’re all over in all of these showrooms that you’ve created. So we’re going to be talking about that soon on this episode. But let’s go back a little bit and talk about what brought you to this business.

Because I have so many people listening that either are doing the same thing, they are, a lot of people that listen, have second careers, are launched into their dream business. And there’s a lot of people listening who want a second career in the creative field, but they’re probably afraid to do that. So tell us about that. What were you thinking? You said you didn’t want a full-time gig. And now it’s, I’m sure, far more than full-time, so kind of take us back to that moment where you were building this whole new second version of you and your life.

Tanya: So when I decided that I wanted to do kitchens part-time, I rented a design studio in Baltimore a little, well, it’s not little. It was 3500 square feet of flex space and we finished 500 square feet in the beginning. My husband actually had all started, is he went away for a hunting trip and I went and rented the space. And when he came back, I said, “I have to tell you something.” And he said, “Please tell me you did not go rent a space.” And I said, “I did and we have 30 days to get it open, you need to build it out.”

So we started really small with just finishing the front of the warehouse out to make it look like a design studio. And then within six months, of course, we grew so quickly, we had to finish the entire space out. And now we have 7,000 square feet in our main hub. And we have eight interior designers that work with us. When I first started, I just wanted a part-time two or three kitchens a month and that I would have been happy with that. But then everyone saw our cabinetry and it kind of just grew organically from there.

And then my husband shifted from being a builder to just managing the cabinet side of it. So then we bought a plant in Pennsylvania and we started building cabinetry. We do actually, we have a base plant that we do work hours during the day and then we have a 24 hour plant. So we mill cabinets constantly, so that’s why our lead times are so low. So we have the morning, afternoon and evening shift and then we have a spray shift. It just kind of worked out better that way as far as keeping the lead times.

And then when COVID hit we had to kind of shift everything and pivot and go more, everything had to be virtual. So at that time they had blocked us from transporting across state lines. They didn’t allow you to transport through state lines during the day, but you could transport in evening hours.

Tobi: Interesting.

Tanya: It was weird. So what we did was we built cabinets during the day and we did our deliveries through the evening. So clients, everyone had to pivot and kind of adjust to the new way of life during COVID. But then after COVID finished, we had already had a great system and then was able to do 24 hours a day. And it just, it all happened quickly. It all happened so fast and it’s been an amazing ride. I have the most amazing clients. I get to collaborate with interior designers. I get to work like I said, with homeowners.

But what made me pivot, I guess as far as to do it part-time and do a different career was I wanted to do something I truly enjoy. I just had no idea that it would turn out like this, which is great, I’m very blessed.

Tobi: Yeah. So what do you think made it take off? Because a lot of people listening are like, “Well, that sounds like either some kind of outlier situation or X Factor or it factor or right place at the right time.” One can only dream that their business just blows up like that. So what do you think was either one or several of the reasons that has really created so much growth for you?

Tanya: I think working for Pfizer for so many years and being in outside sales, I already had that salesman mentality. So I was already good with people. So when I started Unique Kitchens and Baths I didn’t have social media. I didn’t want to be involved in the social media because it was just so much and I didn’t have time to learn it. And then one of my designers was like, “You basically need to start on Instagram.” So I did set up an Instagram account, I started Instagram and I just started reaching out to people.

If I liked their design or their aesthetic, I would reach out to them and say, “Hey, I’m a cabinet maker. I build [inaudible] cabinetry. My lead times are 12 weeks. Let’s talk about it.” And then it just kept going on from there. I think having a gift of the gab and being in sales, so anyone out there that has a current career where they work with customer service or they’re in sales and you like interior design.

I always encourage you to go into it, because if you can basically perfect the sales portion of it and customer service, that’s all interior design is, it’s yes, it’s pretty things. Yes, it’s making the client happy. But if you can learn to talk to people and learn to get to know them in a short period of time when you have your first discussions, you can nail any design. Do you agree with that?

Tobi: Well, yeah and I want to dig way into that. But go ahead, I interrupted you.

Tanya: So when I started with kitchens, it was just like if I could just talk to people and know how they live and the soul of what they do and do you cook meals all day? Are you a meal prepper? Do you take out? If I could learn all that about somebody within the first 10 minutes of talking to them and then quickly go through what color, what’s your favorite colors? What’s your favorite metals? Within 30 minutes I can fully design a kitchen. And it’s just asking the right questions.

So I think that all of my years in sales have molded me to be where I am today. And I think as far as the networking it was just, I was never afraid to do door to door sales anyway. So reaching out to someone on social media, the worst thing they could tell me was “No, I’m not interested.” I’ve been lucky and have never gotten that because I do have a product that everyone wants.

So when I go to a designer and they’re like, “Okay, well, can you do this color? Can you do this paint brand? Can you do this door style?” The answer is always yes to everything. So I didn’t have that roadblock. But when I did start my business, I made sure because my husband being a builder, we had limited access to stock, cabinetry, semi-custom cabinetry. There was only so much out there. So when we started this business, my husband’s like, “Listen, we have to be able to meet everybody’s need, not a small person’s need.”

So when we did that, that was, I mean, for example, if you need a trim piece, most companies with semi-custom, you have to wait six weeks, eight weeks, if you need a trim piece from us within five days, we’re shipping it to UPS and it’s at your door. So all the things that happened to him as a builder that were bad in the industry or didn’t work out quite well, that part we were able to nail quickly because he’s like, “Okay, well, this happened, I need a touch up kit.” It takes a week to get it? We want all these things to be perfected before we roll with this.

Tobi: So smart, yeah. When you talk about semi-custom versus custom, can you, just so we all know what you’re talking about, can you tell us what you mean and are both of those things that you provide to your customers?

Tanya: So we only do full custom cabinetry. We do not do semi-custom. Semi-custom would be a reselling brand out there where they allow certain modifications. And we found that the time you take a basic cabinet and you semi-modify it to what you need, it’s just cheaper to build a full custom cabinet. So we only offer the full custom line. Our cabinetry, we have a cost to build and we charge 10% above cost to build because normally people that are buying our cabinetry are others that are reselling them.

So people ask, “How do you make money? How do you get ahead?” We build a lot of kitchens. So the product is the name of the game here and we sell a lot of product. So it’s not that our kitchens are so expensive that we make a lot of money on each kitchen. It’s we just build a lot of kitchens.

Tobi: So I want to go back to this idea of sales because I think you’re 1,000% right. And if there’s one thing that I coach designers on more than anything else ever, it’s sales, selling, how to not be salesy, all of those things. And I don’t hear you saying anything about I’m afraid to be salesy. I don’t hear you saying, I’m afraid to turn people off. You’re like, “No, I mean, I’m okay hearing a no if I ever were to get one.”

And so let’s break that down a little bit, because I think you’re right. But I think a lot of people that become interior designers aren’t sales people that want to do something creative. They’re actually creatives who don’t like to sell. So give us some advice there. What should we be thinking about? Were you just born that way? How did you get comfortable with selling? tell us some things.

Tanya: Well, my degree is actually in business management marketing. So I always had the business aspect of it. But when I started my first job when I was 23 with Pfizer, I actually started selling birth control was my first thing that I sold. And I remember that my professor at that time and then when I had joined Pfizer told me, “You have to tell someone every reason why they need that birth control and that’s your sales in.” With design you have to teach people every reason why they need my kitchen and everything in that kitchen.

For interior designers I think when you’re out there selling maybe not yourself and your product, when you do a vision board or a mood board, I feel like you need to let them know why all these elements in that design are important. A lot of times clients will say, “Okay, I want this sofa, but why do I need 17 throw pillows?” Well, that’s what makes the look. And if you start to take that design and dissect it and say, “Here’s your mood board with your throw, your mood board with your pillows and your rug and all these other different things.”

When you start to take that mood board and pull those things out, I think people can see the design better. And I’ve done that with kitchens. I’ve said, “Okay, well, here’s your kitchen cabinets. Well, you don’t want aged brass. Let me give you this knob.” And when you start pulling things away they start to see, oh my God. I need all of it.

Tobi: So good. That’s so good. So let’s talk about luxury because your cabinets are not the most expensive on the market, but they’re also not the least expensive, especially when you and I have talked about pricing before of your cabinetry and I know they’re worth every penny. But even in a small state like Arkansas it can be a significant investment. So in a time where it feels like the economy is softening and all of those things, how do you sell luxury and how could we translate that to selling luxury in the interior design space in general?

Tanya: I think with our cabinetry I always tell people when you do kitchens, our kitchens start I would say completely finished about $120,000. It is one of the largest investments you will make in your home. However, with our cabinetry, especially if you’re a young family or you’ve been married for a couple years and you’ve lived in your house for a while. The first question I ask a client that is very important, “How long are you going to stay in this home?” Because that changes everything. I’m a very honest designer and if they tell me they’re only going to live there for five years, I’m not going to sell you a $100,000 kitchen.

I will design your kitchen and tell you to put stock or semi-custom because I just don’t think it’s a true return you’re going to get back. With interior design, again, it’s a luxury item. I think our selling point out there for all of us interior designers or kitchen designers is the main thing is to find out how long a client is going to be in their home. That’s extremely important before you try to tell them to make this very large investment, especially in a time like today. The economy is slowing down a little bit. We have not felt it, but we have different types of clients so we’re very blessed on that end again.

However, the clients that were going to do a large kitchen may say, “Hey, we’re just going to do our bathrooms right now. We’ll do our kitchens later on.” And I think if you get to know your client well and you tell them every reason why they need that, I think that’s a great way to start off with a client. But being honest with a client, for example, if you’re doing a living room, maybe if they don’t have a huge budget right now, you start with just the furnishings as far as a sofa or two chairs. And then I like to build my design brand off of that.

So for example, if I do the kitchen and they want to do a mud room or a pantry, I tell them, “Let’s start with your kitchen.” Or if they say, “Right now my budget’s $40,000.” I say, “Okay, let’s start with the mud room.” I kind of work with what they can afford at that time because we can always add to it.

Tobi: Yeah. And so I think that that’s something that designers struggle with, for one thing, I think we don’t necessarily feel we can make ends meet if we start taking smaller jobs. And we have to have a lot of work and we don’t necessarily have a whole crew of people that you have working around the clock, a lot of times it’s us.

So any other thoughts around that? As far as I know, you work with lots of interior designers. What are you seeing happening in the design industry that from an outsider’s perspective, an adjacent perspective, that you think would be helpful for us to keep in mind with today’s consumer and the economy today?

Tanya: I think I have a lot of designers that used to do kitchens with us that right now are just doing more design and planning for later. I have specific clients that I work with that we do their kitchen designs for them. And what they’re doing now is these designers I have worked with. I do a little chat room with them and I told them, “Let’s pace ourself up for next year because next year is going to be better. As our economy evolves, it’s going to get better, but let’s make this year since the economy has slowed down, the planning year.

So let’s take this year, let’s get the kitchen designs out there. Let’s get the deliverables. Let’s get them pricing. Let’s get them finishes. Let them have something to look forward to.” For example say you charge $10,000 for a kitchen design, maybe you lower that to 8500, put ten of those out there. Let’s get all these new plans out there. Let’s get everything ready and let’s ramp it up for 2024. And they have everything. They have a vision board. They have a dream. They have something to look forward to.

Tobi: Yeah, I love, so good, I love that.

Tanya: Yeah, it is because people are like, “Well, if I’m not doing”, a lot of interior designers do three full projects a year and little jobs in between. And I’m like, “Okay, that’s great, but right now if you’re doing nothing, you need to be doing something. So let’s help these customers have a vision for next year.”

Tobi: So good. And I love how you think. It’s a lot of the way I think too, which really means that your customer, and you’ve said that the whole time. You’re going into their brains, you’re looking at what they tell you their budgets are and believing them. A lot of times as designers I think we used to think if somebody told us they had 50,000 they surely had 150, which isn’t always true anymore, they might just really have 50.

And I love what you’re saying because you’re thinking, how do I meet them where they are? How do I get creative and help them maximize their money? Because that builds so much trust with that consumer that when they do have more money or if they did have a bigger budget they didn’t tell you about, they’re probably going to come back and give you more of it, right?

Tanya: Oh yeah, I’ve had a client recently that we were going to do their main home. And she’s like, “Well, look, I only have about 40,000 for cabinetry. Why don’t we start with our secondary home or maybe I can start with helping my mom. They’re finding different ways. They want to spend their money, believe me, spending money makes us all feel great. But I think that at the end of the day, they only have a certain budget, so maybe we just do a new vanity in the bathroom.

But I think if you meet with the client and let them know, don’t turn them away if they come to you and say, “Look, I only have $20,000.” You should say, “Great. You know what, let me see what we can do for that 20,000. Maybe we can get you some more drapes this year. Maybe we can do some more linens and freshen your linens up.” They just want to feel like you care about them.

And when you tell a client, “Look, $20,000 isn’t going to get you anything”, that is so disheartening and it’s upsetting. So you need to find out as an interior designer or a kitchen designer, what can I give them to make their house feel fresh and new. Because guess what, next year, when they have that money, they’re calling you back.

Tobi: Yeah, that’s so good. And I think that has changed a lot because I definitely have been working with designers for years to get them to elevate their fees, to get them to make more profit so that they can run a profitable business. But it’s so interesting, as we are trying to make more money as an industry, the economy a lot of times is moving in opposition to us. And so we have to get creative.

And I love what you’re saying because in fact, I’m about to teach just probably when this comes out. I will have either just finished teaching or be in the middle of teaching a three-part workshop on how to think about additional revenue streams. How to think differently about your revenue streams, how to meet the customer where they are. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. And it doesn’t mean that you’re cramming your absolute high end customer into a lower end service and thinking they’re going to be happy.

You’re actually just having honest conversations and saying, “How can we carve things up? What else could we do? How could we think about this differently, right?

Tanya: Exactly. I think it’s a great way. Right now I’m doing so many bathrooms and not as many kitchens, but it’s just a money thing as far as they can’t afford it, but when they’re ready to do their kitchens, I know they’ll call me back.

Tobi: Yeah, so good, really, really smart. Okay, so I want to talk about the expansion. And so yes, you got really kind of wonderful right place at the right time, but mostly you just have a product people can’t refuse. So talk to us about growth because growth can sometimes be as hard or harder than not having enough business. So what has that process been like and what kind of insights can you share with us about growing a company as quickly as you’re growing yours?

Tanya: I think you have got to not be afraid to take a risk. In the beginning for the first five years I was blessed that I had a retirement from Pfizer, it was a small retirement. But we budgeted ourself to be able to live off that. My husband and I did not take a salary for five years. So I think if you’re going to start your own business, you have to be prepared for that.
That’s the way that worked for us because instead of paying myself, I was able to pay two employees to help me. And then it went from two employees to four employees.

So I feel like when you go into this, if you can go into this willing to save and willing to sacrifice, you will flourish quickly. I find business owners that I work with that are drawing $100,000 year salary day one, you’re never going to make it. It’s just not going to work. The numbers are never going to line up. What we did was we decided that every year, we opened one shop a year. So we would save all of our money for that year and all the profits that we made and we’d roll it over to another showroom, to another showroom.

And my father always taught me growing up, I was a military child and he’s always said, “When you’re growing up, you never put all your eggs in life in one basket because when one basket doesn’t have a good egg, the next basket does.” And I’ve always lived my life like that. So when one showroom’s not performing well, then the next one is. My Great Falls showroom right now, we’ve got a new salesgirl in there and she’s selling, I don’t know, 40 candles a week. And that’s paying the rent. I’m thinking whoever thought candles would pay rent?

Or the other showroom, we’re selling a lot of towels in there and a lot of hand soaps. So it’s just all these different things that I’ve brought into the shops are paying the bills, which is great. And it’s getting me through the times where we’re in a little bit of a recession and things are slowing down. So if you can learn, I think when you do your business, for example, if clients cannot afford full service and you’re just doing linens or drapes or things like that to freshen up their home. You should always find different revenues.

And with yours, you teach classes or teach other designers, which is great. But I think you need to have when you go into a business, three avenues and you better have three avenues upfront. So for interior designers, make the design one of them, make interior designs one of them, and make in person appointments one of them. Do your in person appointments locally. Do your virtual designs and then do your regular full design clients so that every day you have an avenue of making money.

Tobi: Yeah, I love that. I love what you’re saying. Now, one of the things that stands out, because I learned this the last time you and I had a great conversation a few months ago when we were just getting to know each other, that we have a lot in common. But one of the things that I hear when you’re talking is not only this ability to think on your feet and being willing to try stuff and let it fail because you’ve got to test a lot of stuff. And so you’re testing candles and you’re testing towels and you’re testing design only, and you’re testing all this different stuff.

I’m very similar, but I also hear behind that a lot of energy. You’re putting out a lot of energy, you’re waking up and hitting the ground running. And I think that a lot of people that I work with and coach, struggle to test things, try things, let things fail, fail their way to success. They really fall into the perfectionist mode and they fall into that fear of failure and make it mean a whole lot of things about them or their business. So I can tell you don’t have that, obviously we all have a somewhat of a healthy fear of ultimate failure.

But obviously you’re not worrying about the small failures because you’re testing and trying things to kind of see what works, see what sticks. Can you talk a little bit about that? How do you think about that? Is there a certain amount you’re willing to invest before you pull the plug on something? How do you keep showing up and trying different things and not fall into perfectionist mode?

Tanya: Okay, so let’s start with this whole work life balance thing first.

Tobi: Which is bullshit.

Tanya: Yes, it is bullshit. I do not have work life balance. It’s very difficult for me because I do have a lot of younger girls that work for me and designers and they’re so talented, but they do want to be off at five o’clock. They do not want to work weekends. So as a business owner, you have to be willing to pick up the slack when they’re not. For me, for example, I live in Maryland. I’m on the Eastern Standard Time, but a lot of my clients are in California or they’re in Hawaii or I have two England clients right now, so I’m taking calls 24 hours a day.

You have to be willing to do that because when you’re asleep, the other states open or when they’re asleep, the other countries open. So I think that you have to work really, really, really hard. And allow yourself, I haven’t had a vacation in seven years and everyone’s like, “Well, that’s not healthy.” That’s your not healthy, to me it’s healthy. But I also make my destinations and my design showrooms and things like that more of a vacation spot.

We’re opening one in a vintage old town in [inaudible] City. So I feel like in my mind when I design this design studio, I’m putting myself into this is my vacation. I’m creating something new. I’m designing this and I’m trying to make it just like a resort little area. In my mind I’m putting my mind at rest. It’s a lot and I don’t know, I don’t know how I balance it all. I don’t sleep a lot, but I love my life. People say, “Aren’t you stressed?” I’m not stressed.

My clients bring me so much joy. To see their face when they walk into their kitchens, it’s so rewarding. And I’m not going to lie. Look, I get one bad egg, I get two good ones. I get three bad eggs, I get 10 good ones. So not everyone’s a perfect client, and I also had to learn to tell clients, “You know what, we’re just not a good fit.” Because if you start off a relationship with a client and they’re telling you, “No, no, no, no.” Walk away because it’s never going to be okay.

Tobi: I love what I’m hearing from you. I can relate to so much, and of course, everybody does have to decide what’s healthy for them, what they’re willing to do. But I think at the end of the day, what I notice about myself, what I notice about you, what I notice about people similar to us. That our ability to be successful is dependent on how much we’re willing to put into it. And that’s 90% of the game. Will you show up? Will you work? Will you adapt? Will you try things?

And again, that all goes back to kind of a willingness to fail. Yeah, so this is so exciting. We could talk forever. I love your energy. What do we need designers to know from you? Other than what they’re taking away of the how you’ve built this, what else do you want them to know before we wrap up? But you have an amazing product. You work, you do collaborations with lots of designers. You are so open to growing and trying new things. What else do you want them to know?

Tanya: That I’m here if they need anything, if they need design support. I do kitchen designs for many different interior designers and that’s another avenue for example. If you want to start doing kitchen designs and you just don’t have the bandwidth to do it, we do charge designers $1500 to do a full kitchen design that they can resell to their clients.

Most of our designers will pay $1500 for the full package, they’ll resell it to their clients for $8,000. I’m just giving you some of the lower end numbers. But if you need support with us doing interior design or kitchen design or floor plans or elevations or anything like that, our whole team is set to do that. So I’d like them to know that we’re here to support you guys any way we can and we’ll help you any way we can.

Tobi: I love that. Again, exactly what we were talking about. You’re willing to meet people where they are. And I love what you’re saying because just this, I guess, desire to help designers monetize in a different way is so helpful because a lot of times people just don’t know where to go. They’re like, “What else could I do? What else could I charge for? What am I not thinking about?” And you’re basically creating revenue streams for people and telling them how to go charge for it, so that’s incredible and really a gift to the industry. So thank you for doing that. Amazing.

Tanya: Thank you.

Tobi: Well, this was so much fun. I loved everything about our conversation. We packed a lot in a short episode, but I would love for you to talk to me about where people find you, what kind of assets they can find on your website. Can they reach out to you? What about all of that?
Tanya: You can find us on Instagram @uniquekitchensandbaths and it’s kitchens and baths both have an s. And our website is On our website you will also see a dropdown menu where you can look at our virtual design packages, our pricing, anything that you need for us to help you with. If you need samples, if you need full service designs we’re here to help you guys.

Tobi: Awesome, okay, well, I know some people will be reaching out to you immediately upon hearing this. Thank you so much for being here. It was so much fun. And we’ll link all of that stuff in the show notes, we’ll tag you on Instagram when this comes live so everybody can find you. But it was such a joy, so thanks for being here.

Tanya: Thank you so much, Tobi.

Tobi: So super inspiring. Her energy is contagious. Her ideas are amazing. And she’s just so giving with her willingness to help us shine as designers in our businesses so check Tanya out. Check out her businesses. They’re doing just wonderful things with so many creatives. And I would love for you to be one of those people that works with her also. So check her out, DM her on Instagram.

DM me, tell me what you thought about this show, because I thought it was a pretty dang good one. And I’ll be back next week with another inspiring guest and another great episode of The Design You Podcast. Bye for now.

Thank you for listening to The Design You Podcast. And if you want to discover a new path to success in the interior design industry, then join me for my three part training called How to Create Additional Revenue Streams. In this training I’ll teach you the strategies to launch innovative income streams and free you from the limitations of traditional design services.

Don’t miss this opportunity to revolutionize your business and thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Grab the training series now to prepare you and your business for today and beyond. Go to

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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