The Road To Success: Amanda Nisbet

on saturated color, creating product lines, and the future

CJ Dellatore Amanda Nisbet

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Aside from her incredibly charming personality and her infectious smile, Madison Avenue based interior designer Amanda Nisbet has an inherent gift for working with color that many in our industry envy. 

She’s been published in nearly every shelter magazine (check out her press page and see for yourself), is a 2011 alumni of the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse in New York, and her first book aptly titled Dazzling Design was published and released earlier this year; quite a set of accomplishments for someone in our industry a comparatively short amount of time.

I’ve been a fan of Amanda’s since we were introduced years ago by Carolyn Sollis – her exuberant rooms explode with both wit and sophistication – and at a time when many have adopted a safer style and more subdued palettes.  There’s an inherent optimism in the rooms she creates that I think everyone really responds to.

I asked her to meet with me for this the second in our TRTS interview series, to learn about how she became an interior designer, her love of saturated color, and her plans for the future.  Here’s an excerpt of our chat.

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CJ Dellatore Amanda Nisbet Book

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Tell me about how and when did you decided to open an interior design business?

I decided to open up my business in 1998.  I had aspirations of becoming the next Meryl Streep, but much to my chagrin the casting agents didn’t have the same “vision” for me.  I’d had a lot of friends comment on how much they liked my apartment, so with absolutely no experience I plunged into the biz and gave it my all.  I have always enjoyed working, and although I found design through a circuitous route, it is definitely what I’m here to do. 
 
 

Some say that interior design is 33% design, 33% project management, and 33% marketing.  Do you agree with that assessment?

Actually the design is about 10%, marketing 30% and project management 60%. Even though the design is such a small part of a successful business it still fuels me with
inspiration and satisfaction.

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CJ Dellatore Amanda Nisbet Gallery CJ Dellatore Amanda Nisbet Bedroom
 

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You’re regularly linked to the use of strong color in the shelter magazines, did you always have a love for color?  And do you have a favorite?

I suppose color started out as my ‘calling card’, because at the beginning of my career it was the best way to achieve the highest impact on a smaller budget job.  There are so many other elements to a successful interior, a good furniture and lighting plan, and a myriad of textures, styles and juxtapositions, but at the end of the day color certainly leads and drives my design.

As for a favorite, I’m not sure.  I love all colors, and it is in the combinations of colors that I find the most interesting environments.  I would however welcome the opportunity to do some neutral decor.  I really like to vary what I do – that keeps it interesting so I hope to get the neutral job soon.

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CJ Dellatore Amanda Nisbet Hamptons
CJ Dellatore Amanda Nisbet Dining
CJ Dellatore Amanda Nisbet Turquoise Dining
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Many designers have hopes of creating product lines, which you’re doing with great success. How did that all begin to happen?

As is often the case, my lines evolved through the combination of me finding voids in the market and partnering with some of my trusted vendors who were willing to take a chance on me.  My first collaboration was a lighting collection with Urban Electric.  I greatly admire Dave Dawson and his committment to American made quality products.  He has great integrity, and it shows in every facet of his business.  That’s something I really value in a partnership.

I also have my line of printed linens distributed through Holland & Sherry, Harbinger, and Travis and Company.  Having my own collection of fabrics really let me tap into my love of colour.

I’m embarking on an exciting partnership with Niermann Weeks.  They’re another family owned business with the factory in Maryland.  We are working on a great line due out this spring. We are having a lot of fun working together as they really appreciate my sense of humour which is fantastic.

I also have a few yet-to-be-announced projects in the works that I’ll let you know about when I can.

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[Below are some image from the Niermann Weeks ‘What’s New What’s Next’ event at the NYDC, at which 4 of Amanda’s new pieces were shown: the Palm Floor Lamp, the Strato Mirror, the Diamond Coffee Table with blue glass, and the Cielo Chair]

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photo 1 copy
photo 2 copy
 
 

What sort of advise would you give someone new to our industry to help them achieve the kind of success you’ve achieved?

Wow it’s a pretty straight forward answer. Never, never, never give up.  That’s my life mantra too.

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What’s next for AND?

Oh it’s so serendipitous that my company is AND, because it gives me the license to keep adding to my repertoire of creativity.  I’ve got a lot more product up my sleeve.  I’m also considering a side venture related to design, but not interiors.  Most important to me though is my core business of interior design.  It keeps all my product design relevant, and my clients always come first.

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A special word of thanks to Amanda for taking the time to meet with me, and for sharing some insight into her career success.  In two weeks I’ll be chatting with another designer whose work is garnering accolades from both the press and clients alike.  Be sure to watch for the interview, and as always thanks for reading!

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Written by CJ Dellatore

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