We’re honored to welcome Barbara Viteri, AKA @ViteriStyle to SocialNorth. Barbara provides practical solutions to interior designers running a boutique style business.
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Learning the business of design with Barbara
Dana Helms: Can you tell us about how you got started doing what you’re doing now? Was there an ha-ha moment that defined your path?
Barbara Viteri: There was never a pivotal moment when I thought to start Viteri Style Management, LLC. I worked for an interior designer in NY to put her company on the map. And I started to get noticed by other designers who sought me out.
One day a local interior designer paid a visit to the office. She wanted to congratulate my boss on making the cover of a magazine. It was just me in the office that day, (believe in luck folks, it exists) so to my surprise, she knew I got her on that cover. She knew more about me and my talents than the designer I worked for. She told me if I ever decided to start my own business and share my unique skills with other interior designers, she’d be my first client.
Viteri Style Management was born from one major push from a believer. She is still one of many fabulous clients amongst a roster of celebrity interior designers I have the privilege to work with.
DD: What do you love most about what you do?
BV: My thinking cap is very similar to the clients I work with. I help interior designers redesign the way they do business, just like they redesign the way people live. I get a thrill from designing practical solutions to make their businesses more efficient and effective. There’s no greater validation then having a client surprise you with a testimonial and yell at you for not asking for one!
DD: What’s the proudest moment of your career? Is there a project that you think of as your absolute best?
BV: VSM started in March of 2012. Within six months into my business I lent my support to VSM’s supporting charity, My Stuff Bags Foundation. From there we were able to spread our efforts in donations, funding and time to many other design charities like, Holiday House, Bailey House and DIFFA. Every moment working with these charities became my proudest moments.
DD: Who/What inspires you?
BV: My mind works a little differently when it comes to being inspired. I go through these odd moments I call, “Pick your Pro.” When I start to hit the wall, I have a habit of knowing a Pro I must seek to get inspired. The best way to explain it is when I feel I‘m about to fail at something, I go to Barbara Cocoran’s You Tube videos, for example, as she preaches about being successful at failing.
I may get unmotivated to attend an event and remember a story from Bethenny Frankle on how she got her big break just by being at the right place at the right time.
I even search for inspiration from my own clients. I remember listening to a client vent about making the hard decision to breakup with a partner even if it meant burning a bridge. It inspired me to make a HUGE change within my own company that burnt a bridge as well. It was the best inspiration and decision I ever made for my business.
DD: Has social media changed how you do business? For the better or worse?
BV: I’ve never paid for advertising. When you start a business, every cent needs to prove its ROI. I embraced social media as a platform to connect with my “Pros” for inspiration. People I’ve admired and wanted to get to know for years, valuable resources to build a stronger network and, of course, friends to have for a lifetime. I make the effort to personally thank every ‘like’ and ‘follow’ when I can. I treat social media like banquet tables, there is a place setting for everyone.
DD: What advice do you have for others struggling with social media?
BV: From a business perspective, recognize what you’re using social media for. Are you using it to promote/sell your services or products? Maybe you want to connect with clients or potential clients? If so, you need to block time to connect.
I run my calendar like a military operation. People spend money for my time, so I have to be mindful about the amount of time I devote to social media. To do this, I make it accessible from all my mobile devices and since I’m in business, I make sure I learn how each media station works.
DD: Can you tell us about what frustrates you about your career or the industry you’re in?
BV: I am thrilled to do what I do and get paid for it. My frustrations are when you love what you do so much you forget you’re in business. I was very lucky to meet with Donald Trump and chat with him for a split second. He told me, “When you get successful, they’re after you. People will want to tear you apart, just for sport. They want your career, your house, your car, your dog, even your lover and these are your friends!” It’s true and frustrating and yes you better prepare for it.
“You prepare for the worst and don’t hope for the best, just dress fabulously for it” ~Barbara Viteri
DD: Tell us about the private Barbara – what do you love most about your home/life/family?
BV: I had a childhood that would shock people to believe I was able to go in the direction I did. I’ll leave that for the book I plan to write one day-maybe) I always wanted a home of my own. I’m sure by now you can tell my love for interior designers and pure love interior design.
I saw the movie, Father of the Bride. (The one Steve Martin was in, but loved the one with Liz Taylor too.) He lived in a stunning center hall colonial with his beautiful wife, played by Diane Keaton and two children. His eldest daughter gets married in the home, but the journey to get to the wedding is hilarious. I wanted my life to emulate that. I’m so lucky to be married to my Steve Martin. I have a beautiful daughter who is now 7 and plays bride in our house all the time. I also have a sarcastic (I have no idea where he gets it) 4 year old son that’s the apple of my eye. My home life is so similar to the movie now that it would be creepy if I told you my husband manufactures sneakers like Steve did in the movie, but he doesn’t. He’s a hair stylist.
DD: Tell us more about Barbara and what’s on tap for you in 2013.
BV: Not a clue. From potential business partnerships, speaking engagements, (which I still turn down every time because of my debilitating stage fright) guest blog posting, to my most recent blogtalkradio show called Live with Viteri Style. I like to commit to things I can give 100% so I’m thankful and grateful to have choices. Who knows what’s next, but that’s the beauty of this business.
DD: What’s the best advice you can give to someone following your career path?
BV: Never assume someone is smarter than you. I’ve met and worked with people I thought I’d learn so much from. What a fly in your soup to find out they won’t leave you alone as they want to learn from you.
DD: Bonus question: If YOU could have one super power what would it be? Catch is you could only use it once a month!
BV: Love this question! I’d want the power of mindreading. Since I attend many design events, I’d book that powerful skill for the fiercest party of the month.. Can you imagine if I could read their minds and tell you who they would love to hand slap at those same events? What about how they really feel about their peers, clients, even me! Yup, mindreading for sure.
Thank you, Barbara, for taking the time out of your busy schedule of being a mom, helping designers and your incredible journey building VSM. Meeting you on social media with Facebook and your quest to join WithIt, I value the friendship and mentorship we’ve developed – and I’m looking forward to much more.
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Connect with Barbara online:
About Dana Helms
When someone says social butterfly, they’re likely referring to Dana Helms. With her ability to wander through conversations online as if she’s hosting a cocktail party, Dana brings awareness and excitement to the social media party. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.