The Future of Interior Design: Sustainable and Responsible Solutions With Leah Connolly

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

Did you know it doesn’t take much to live an eco-friendly lifestyle? It all starts with consumer awareness. And who better to educate consumers than interior designers?

After working for years in various design firms and realizing how much waste the interior design industry generates, Leah Connolly, my special guest in this episode, started her own firm advocating for sustainable interior design.

Join us as we discuss how she started and her challenges when sourcing sustainably-focused brands. Leah also shares tips for finding non-toxic products for large surfaces that ensure a healthier living environment.

If you are an environmentally conscious interior designer, or if you considering a niche in sustainable interior design, tune in as we explore the exciting possibilities in sustainable interior design.

Why you’ve got to check out today’s episode
  • Explore innovative sustainable interior design practices to transform your client’s space
  • Discover the value of hands-on experience in business development
  • Find out why sustainable design is the future of interior design
    About the Guest:

    As an extrovert, Leah Connolly loves talking with clients and learning what they value most. After graduating from UC Davis, she worked for a few Sacramento interior designers. She is an award-winning interior designer, LEED Green Associate, and a Certified Interior Designer.

    As the climate changes, she’s looked closely at the design industry and the waste and chemicals it creates. Witnessing firsthand waste and harmful chemicals generated, she took a stand. Leah founded Studio Connolly in 2020 with a mission to lessen the environmental impact of design. Her priority is to partner with sustainably-focused brands to reduce waste at home and recycle as much as possible.

    Connect with Leah Connolly:
    Website: Studio Connolly
    IG: @studioconnolly

      Check out these episode highlights

      00:39 – How to get free access to Brand Storytelling Masterclass, a special offer exclusive to Design Curious listeners only

      04:41 – Leah Connolly’s path to interior design and how she ended up working with me during the recession

      08:02 – Her transition from part-time to full-time employment and the value of hands-on experience in business development

      10:08 – Niche branding for tailored messaging: Sustainable design and consumer awareness as her business’ main objective

      13:47 – The challenging part of sustainable design

      14:29 – Must-know sustainable interior design concepts and certifications to transform your space.

      Ask yourself: Are we paying attention to trying to divert things from the landfill?

      Certifications you should know

      FSC Label (Forest Stewardship Council) – They’re not clear-cutting an entire section of the forest when cutting down the wood.

      GREENGUARD – For nontoxic flooring materials. It means the material does not release toxic chemicals into the air.

      OEKO-TEX – a fabric that’s been tested for harmful substances too.

      16:25 – The value of a LEED certification

      18:11 – 4 significant lessons she learned while building her own interior design business

      1. Be comfortable with asking questions. Build confidence by saying, “I don’t know, but let me find out for you.”
      2. Make connections. Connect with sales reps that are experts with their products. Meet with other designers so that when you don’t know what to do, you have people in your network to ask for expert advice.
      3. Work for someone else first. You’ll learn better and faster than by trying to make your own path.
      4. Build trust through social media. Share design tips and tricks to build relationships while also making yourself relatable.

      21:20 – How to overcome overwhelm in getting started with sustainable design

      22:09 – The growing pains of switching from sole proprietorship to S-corporation: A public service announcement

      24:34 – My first step into sustainability through recyclable countertops

        Special Offer exclusive to Design Curious listeners only!!! 

        Get Free Access in 3 easy steps:

        Step 1: Listen to Episode 38:How Storytelling & Brand Marketing Will Level Up Your Interior Design Career With Ericka Saurit

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        Step 3: Take a screenshot of your review and email it to [email protected] OR post it to Instagram and tag me @rwarddesign

        Note: This offer is good for the month of June only…

        Next Steps

        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

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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…