Interview: Jodie Brown, Entrepreneur

Interview with Jodie Brown

Jodie graduated college from the University of Cincinnati in 1982 and then moved to Dallas, Texas where she worked in commercial real estate for 6 years.  During that time, she began offering clients design advice and doing staging for projects.  In 1988, Jodie moved to Atlanta and took a job with New Market, another commercial real estate company and continued doing interior design and staging for their properties in the Atlanta area.

JB Interiors was formed in 2000, and catered to both commercial and residential clients.  Specializing in Southwestern and Spanish design, Jodie developed a cache of suppliers and artists from all over the world.  Several projects were featured in some of the top design magazines and she was subsequently offered a spot on HGTV’s Dream Home show as a design expert along with five other designers, each of them focusing on their own areas of expertise.  The exposure from print and television took the business to a new level. 

Today JB Interiors takes a limited number of clients per year with a focus on detail and originality, which sets it apart from the typical design firm.

1. What role, if any, does a business plan play in building and launching an arts company (as a business pursuit)?

A business plan allows you to not only estimate your start-up expenses and the ongoing costs, but also develop a short and long term strategy for your company.  This includes identification of your target audience, marketing techniques, development of network and referral sources.

2. What three pieces of advice would you give aspiring artist entrepreneurs about planning?

Know your competition.  Get a realistic assessment of potential business.  Art entrepreneurs tend to follow their emotions instead of using good business practices when starting a company and that is a license for failure.

3. What do you believe are necessary qualities, if there are any, for artist entrepreneurs to possess or develop? An example might include a person speaking about focus, discipline, quality pitching skills, etc.

First and foremost, an artistic talent that is marketable.  They must understand good business principles.  Development of good interactive people skills for marketing and pitching.

4. What is the name of your business and how/why did you come up with the concept?

JB Interiors.  JB represents my initials from my maiden name.  I used initials so that the client could easily remember my name since I use my maiden name for business. And I did that simply because my married name is too hard to spell and pronounce.

5. Did you have any funding to the business?

As for funding,  I used personal savings.

6. How many pieces would you generate on a monthly (or yearly) basis?

My business is based on projects and/or clients, not on pieces.  I handle approximately 5 large clients a year.  They have very large projects and very large budgets so each takes quite a long time to complete.

7. How did you market your company?

I was quickly published in 5 magazines my first year.  That caused the business to take off from a very early stage.  I was also a guest designer on HGTV Dream Homes and had some of my projects featured on “I Want That Bath”, another HGTV show.  As a result of the incredible exposure generated from those few things, I really didn’t have to “market” the business myself.  Interior Design is a lot of word of mouth.

Interview by Lexie Hammesfahr. Lexie is a senior convergence journalism major at Southern Methodist University. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Lexie moved to Dallas 4 years ago. She grew up playing volleyball and baking, even starting her own company at the age of 16, Doodlecakes Bakery. Upon graduation in May 2014, she aims to be a broadcast reporter, eventually anchoring a national newscast. For contact purposes or more information, visit her website

 

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