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INSIDE BUSINESS / WORDS OF WISDOM
his ability to build variety on a theme. He sug- with various looks leads to more projects. Di- eras and locations, arranged so that each piece
gested versatility as a way to take on multiple versifying into furniture, fabric and carpet, as stands on its own without being isolated.
projects without having your business outgrow well as taking on both large and small proj- For Ertegun, success in the design busi-
you. “Try deco, modern and traditional,” he ects, lends to the rhythm of the company and ness has been largely about choosing the right
suggested. “The design principles are the same; ensures a continuous flow of business. clients and partners. A highly social woman,
the designer simply plugs in an aesthetic.” she has formed very special friendships with
Alexa Hampton
Alexa Hampton’s work is classic, tradition-
al and eclectic. Under her direction, her firm,
MARK HAMPTON LLC, New York City,
[
many of her clients. This is particularly im-
“I cannot buy on the Internet. portant, as she will travel the world with her
I have to see a product, touch
clients to source products. “I cannot buy on
the Internet,” she says. “I have to see a prod-
it and feel it.” – Mica Ertugen
]
uct, touch it and feel it.” She recommends
has completed a wide range of designs for do-
surrounding oneself with only the best clients
mestic and international projects, including
and partners. “If you meet a prospective cli-
apartments and large residences, private air-
Like Cullman, Hampton said she is also ent and your assessment is that you will not
planes and yachts. Hampton, who is principal
a firm believer in the importance of market- get along, tell them you are too busy to take
of the firm, took over her late father’s business
ing. She, too, emphasized the importance of on the project.”
when she was only 27 years old. “At the time,
participating in show houses. “I have never Like many others on the panel, Ertegun es-
I had no business sense,” she said without hes-
participated in a show house that didn’t result chews finance and has a staff that takes care
itation. Of necessity, she quickly added such
in assignments,” she said. “Investing in profes- of the books and breaks down the costs for
complex business skills as employing market-
sional photos of installations is also key and inquiring clients. “If a client feels the material
ing tactics and managing contractual and le-
can result in magazine coverage that leads to fee, for example, is high, my accountants can
gal issues to her roster of talents.
more work.” show them that the fabric costs $200 a yard.”
Hampton said that she focused on the need
to maintain a steady flow of working capital. Mica Ertegun
All panelists on the Design Forum were in
Failure to do so, she said, often means the fail- Mica Ertegun, principal, is known for de-
Architectural Digest’s AD 100 List of Design-
ure of small business. Part of her strategy was signs that are simple but not minimalist. Her
ers for 2007.
diversity. While developing a signature point firm, MAC II, New York City, creates spaces
of view is important, she said, developing skills decorated with neutral furniture, from many

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