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INSIDE BUSINESS / WORDS OF WISDOM
ticipating in show houses, contests and other with what she believes must come first in busi- contemporary in concept, but historical in refer-
public opportunities that will put you in the ness: the client budget. If a client says the cost ence, with a pro-architecture approach. Schnaper
public eye and give you the endorsement of doesn’t matter, the successful designer will proudly told the group that he is a designer, not
others as an expert designer. still be sure to qualify how much he or she is a businessman, and he likes it that way. His
Word of mouth. Cullman believes that willing to spend. “Surprises in expenditures approach to bringing the needed balance of
word of mouth is the best way to get new are never good and itemized spread sheets of creativity and business sense into his firm is to
business. To ensure that what’s being said expenses are necessary for every job,” she said. surround himself with some of the best business
about you is positive, she emphasized the im- She advised the audience to take advantage minds in the industry. He also keeps his busi-
portance of giving prospective clients detailed of programs designed to keep their books in ness relatively small, also by choice.
contracts and accurate written estimates. And order, giving a special nod to Studio Designer, Schnaper freely admits that he doesn’t
as for your beautiful design work? That will a program she has used for a decade to guide like being the boss and never wanted to be
speak for itself, she said. her through every business step of the design in business. Before choosing design, he had
Relationships with vendors. They are as process. careers in education, the culinary arts and
important as relationships with clients, ac- “Keep your eye on the business behind the fashion, none of which added to his business
cording to Cullman. beauty,” she said. sense. The woman who runs his office, to
Like most designers, she has established whom Schnaper referred only as “a goddess,”
long-term relationships with vendors and
Harry Schnaper
manages all the business complexities from
suppliers. And, as with most relationships, she
Harry Schnaper obtained a degree in psy-
contracts to billing. “I don’t have a business
said, the designer will get from the supplier
chology and tried careers in special education
sense,” he said. “So, if you don’t, get someone
what he or she puts into it. “While maintain-
and cooking before becoming a designer. To-
who does.”
ing your professional demeanor, make a point
day, his New York City-based firm, HARRY
Schnaper’s talents beyond design include
SCHNAPER HAMPTON ERTEGUN
SCHNApER, INC., is known for work
to be polite and friendly with these partners
that is
in design,” Cullman told the group. “Grant
them the consideration you want from them
by paying bills on time, returning samples
promptly and referring their services to your
colleagues. Your efforts will pay off in return
referrals and rewarding relationships that are
likely to last throughout your career.” Cull-
man expects the same respect from her cli-
ents. “If a client is rude to a driver,” she said,
[
“In addition to having professional
photos of your installations, have a
great story to go with your pictures.”
“I don’t want to work with her.”
– Stephen Shadley
]
Budget comes first. Cullman concluded
Summer / Fall Issue

n 31
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