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Time With The Boss - Diana Spellman, Spellman Brady & Company

Diana Spellman
Spellman Brady & Company

Website: http://spellmanbrady.com/
Industry: Contract interior design and furnishings for health care, higher education and senior living market segments.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in design and housing, University of Iowa, 1981.
Family: Stan, husband for 34 years and business partner for 27 years; David, son, 27; and Danielle, daughter, 23

What is your mission?
Our firm is focused around interior design and interior architecture for market segments that represent life transitions, patients, students and residents. We are passionate about creating environments that are inspirational and have a hospitality design influence. The spaces we create are focused on creating joyful and multisensory connections for everyone that occupies the space.

What was your first job?

Waiting tables at age 14 until I graduated from college at age 25. Eleven years in a fast-paced industry which focuses on the consumer experience, customer service and multitasking was a great education in all aspects of people skills. Over that 11-year period, I also did four interior design internships and at one point was a greenskeeper at our country club.

What led you to your industry?

As a first-grader, I daydreamed of how my parents were going to let me design my bedroom. When I could not sleep at night, I would sketch floorplans on my artist’s tablets while holding a flashlight.

Who is your industry role model?
Jain Malkin for evidence-based design.

How do you try to differentiate your business from others in your industry?

Listen, guide and deliver timeless durable interior design solutions. Our clients want to be able to measure results based on the success of projects. Owners want the firm they hire to deeply understand their brand, their customers. Not only do they want to be understood more deeply, they want choice and value to match the demographics. Specifically, analytics to show owners the financial modeling for new development and renovation for interior design and the furnishings, and ROE (return on environment) by measuring outcomes for each market segment.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

I find the most difficult thing is to leave work at work. It is tough to stop and shut down my mind and computer. Especially when design is all around us, so even on vacation I may come upon a beautiful space and then want to know as much as possible about each element. Over the years, our family has said, “Really, Mom, do you need to turn that chair over?”

What’s the best part?

Seeing what a good firm culture can do for creativity, productivity and customer service for our clients.

What best advice would you share with new entrepreneurs?
Have faith and thick skin. It takes many years to build a business that is sustainable with proven processes and policies.

What’s your favorite place in St. Louis?
Forest Park.

What book is on your nightstand?

“Becoming” by Michelle Obama.
“Almost Everything” by Anne Lamott.
Design magazines.

What has made you successful in your industry and in St. Louis?

I truly enjoy meeting people and learning all about them. My mantra has been to be a good person in faith, family and community. And nothing worth having is easy, so perseverance, follow through and not giving up are critical elements for success in St. Louis or any city.
Submitted 27 days ago
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