Best Ways to Thrive in the Interior Design Business With Cathy Tonks

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

Are you struggling to grow your interior design business? Are you looking for ways to be more profitable while keeping your clients satisfied?

If this is you, you will love my conversation with one of my colleagues in the Sacramento area. Cathy Tonks’s career path from bridal consultant to thriving interior designer is a testament to resilience, eagerness to learn new things, and creativity.

She shares the secrets to a thriving interior design business, from finding your niche to joining a designer buying group and forming essential partnerships.

Join us today as we guide you towards embracing collaboration, mentorship, and continuous learning, empowering you to create remarkable spaces and a thriving interior design business.

Why you’ve got to check out today’s episode
  • Discover ways to pivot and grow your interior design business
  • Learn how to leverage designer buying groups and develop a profitable business model
  • Take the first step towards growth by seeking mentorship or joining a design group, and embracing collaboration
    About the Guest:

    Cathy’s love for design, color, fabrics, and texture stems from her first career of 16 years in the bridal industry. To her surprise, when she and her husband launched a construction company, a whole new world opened up for her and she decided to return to school to obtain a degree in Interior Design.

    In 2005, she opened her firm Designs With You in Mind INC, specializing in design-build projects. Kitchens and baths were her passion and she was able to use her experience in the construction industry to her advantage. 

    In 2009, Cathy partnered with a designer buying group that has access to a showroom with premiere materials and extended resources. The group, made up of other interior designers, has given Cathy the opportunity to mentor members and encourage them to grow their businesses and be profitable.

    Cathy’s superpower is managing her team to help her create spaces that bring out the best in her clients. She has a passion for creating spaces that reflect who they are and the way they live. She is grateful for the gifts that have been given to her that allow her to have that vision.

    Connect with Cathy Tonks:
    Website: Designs With You In Mind
    IG: @designswithyouinmind

      Check out these episode highlights

      02:33 – Cathy’s love for design started at a young age, and she pursued it through various jobs, including bridal consultant and construction

      05:13 – The similarities between the bridal industry and the interior design industry

      • Connecting with clients through communication and mediation is very important to create personalized designs

      06:29 – How her design group – Distinctive Design Group, an Interior Design Co-op for independent designers – works

      09:00 – Cathy doubled her income and became a partner in the design buying group 

      12:23 – How she pivots and grows her design business

      • Listening to podcasts and being open-minded to learning new things or new software technology

      • Having a good coach/mentor to avoid common mistakes

      • Joining a group or community of like-minded individuals

      • Making time to implement new learning

      15:05 – The challenges and benefits of delegating tasks and relinquishing control to employees

      18:37 – The challenges of managing a growing business, including hiring employees and tracking time

      20:38 – Cathy’s advice to a designer who’s starting out

      • Find your people to learn how to navigate the industry

      • Find a mentor who can show you how things are done

      • Join buying groups like the Distinctive Design Group to learn how to be profitable

        Next Steps

        Take the QUIZ!! Find Out What Type of Interior Designer You Should Be!

        Grab your freebie:

        Join the Design Mentor to kickstart a successful career in interior design!

        Check out the best books every interior designer should have here.

        Enroll in Business of Design with Kimberly Seldon or DesignYou with Tobi Fairley today to scale your interior design business!

        Email me at [email protected] if you have suggested topics

        DM me on Instagram at @rwarddesign if you have a burning question

        Leave me a rating and review! Click here.

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