A Mother-Daughter Tale of Design Business Partnership With Susan Hayward & Jillian Schaible

Interior Design Podcast, Interior Design Career, Interior Design School, Interior Design Business, Interior Design Mentor, Interior Designer

Is it possible to run a successful business partnership with a family member?

On today’s episode, you will hear the inspiring story of Susan Hayward and her daughter, Jillian, founders of the award-winning interior design firm, Susan Hayward Interiors, just outside Boston, Massachusetts. Susan, an industry veteran, transitioned from a successful photography business to pursue her true passion in interior design. Her daughter, Gillian, took a unique route from marine biology to becoming a renowned member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Together, they share their journey of building a mother-daughter design powerhouse.

Join us as Susan and Jillian open up about the dynamics of working together as a family in the design world. From understanding each other’s design styles to fostering honest communication, they reveal the key elements that make their partnership not only successful but also deeply fulfilling. Learn how their different perspectives create a unique blend of tradition and modernity, enhancing the quality of their designs.

If you’ve ever considered venturing into a family business or are curious about the interior design industry, this episode is a goldmine of insights. Susan and Jillian share valuable advice on overcoming challenges in a male-dominated industry, offering practical tips for aspiring designers. Whether you’re interested in residential or commercial design, their experiences and wisdom will empower you to turn your passion into a thriving career.

Why you’ve got to check out today’s episode
  • Delve into practical advice and wisdom on navigating the challenges of the interior design industry
  • Uncover the secrets to harmonious collaboration, different design styles, and the powerful impact of unique family dynamics on the creative process
  • Discover why Interior Design is a great option for working part-time
    About the Guest:

    Susan Hayward is an award-winning interior designer member of the American Society of Interior Designers and International Furnishings & Design Association and kept certified by the National Association of Homebuilders. 

    Before entering the interior design industry, Susan worked in the Public Relations and Development field for many years after graduating from Boston University. After her son was born, Susan left her public relations position, and she and her husband ever started a photography business in the basement of their home. When Hayward photography was well on its way to success, Susan decided it was time to pursue her true passion – interior design. She went back to school where she studied rehabilitation counseling. She focused her initial interior design work on downsizing and the principles of form following function that she gained from her work at the time has become a mainstay of her business today. In 2006, she started her design firm – Susan Hayward Interiors.

    Nearly two decades later, Susan remains motivated and excited by the opportunity to create beautiful spaces for her clients. She thinks of interior design as a giant puzzle where all the pieces need to fit together to form the perfect space. Whether designing for commercial or residential, her process is all about great communication, working together, and creating something beautiful. 

    Gillian Hayward Scheibel is a renowned member of the American Society of Interior Designers and partner of Susan Hayward Interiors. In a similar fashion to her mother, Jillian took a very unconventional path to becoming a designer. With her husband working as a helicopter pilot for the US Navy, it took a few moves and career changes before she could finally find a career that not only works for her lifestyle but one that she loves.

    Jillian attended Boston University where she received a BA in marine science and a minor in French Language and Literature. After graduation, she moved to Florida to work as a zookeeper before ultimately moving to San Diego.

    For a few years, Jillian had been working part-time with Susan Hayward Interiors to help with the growing interior design business. During this time, she fell in love with the industry and what she was able to create for the firm’s clients. As a result, she decided to enroll in an interior design program at the New York Institute of Art and Design and committed to a new career that she loved. 

    Now a full-time interior designer, Jillian is passionate about working with clients to help them visualize and achieve the spaces they envision with both beauty and practicality. With her unique perspective as a military spouse, she understands how important it is to truly make a home feel like a home.

    Connect with Susan Hayward & Jillian Schaible:

    Website: Susan Hayward Interiors 
    Instagram: @suhayinteriors

      Check out these episode highlights

      05:11 – How Susan and Jillian got into interior design and started their partnership

      07:20 – Why they decided to go back to school for interior design, highlighting the importance of knowledge and legitimacy in the profession

      10:48 – Family business dynamics: what it is like working with family members

      13:38 – The importance of communication and mutual respect in a successful business partnership

      14:50 – The structure of their business

      16:20 – Why Interior Design is a great option for working part-time

      17:23 – Susan’s experiences of facing sexism in the construction industry as a female designer, emphasizing the importance of assertiveness and respect for roles

      20:56 – The differences between commercial and residential projects, including the need for acoustics and durability in commercial spaces

      23:34 – How they transitioned from residential design to commercial design 

      • by leveraging existing client relationships

      • focusing on creating a cohesive experience for clients

      25:47 – The importance of confidence and the ‘fake it till you make it’ attitude in the design industry

      26:58 – Why being open-minded and willing to try new things, even if they seem impossible, is needed in the design industry

      31:41 – Biggest advice to aspiring designers

      • Align yourself with like-minded professionals, building relationships for future job opportunities.

      • Keep in contact with contractors, electricians, and plumbers for potential job referrals.

      • To not be afraid to be flexible, and suggest comfortable ideas while pushing boundaries when necessary.

        Next Steps

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        Thanks for listening! I hope this helps you discover if interior design is the career for you. See you next week…