Interviewed 7/1/2014 by Adam Robison and Aubrey Robison (no relation)
LaMar Lisman, was born in Bountiful, Utah. He is the owner, founder and Principle Designer of Lisman Studio Interior Design at 515 S 700 E, Suite 3A, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Lisman Studio has been recognized nationally for its exceptional design and has won the coveted “Best of State” award 7 years running.
LaMar is the father of two sons, Blake who is currently exploring various entrepreneurial ventures and Alex, a classical sculptor, painter and educator in the arts.
With a keen interest in all things creative, LaMar found his design inspiration while working at Nordstrom as a Merchandise Manager. Working in the fashion industry afforded him the opportunity to explore the various aspects of design and merchandise production, which eventually led him to wanting his own firm.
With Nordstrom, he traveled the country spotting the latest and most marketable trends in color, style and fashion. LaMar constantly found himself learning about the complexity of the client; who they were and what they needed and wanted. He realized quickly that there was a complex
LaMar Lisman Owner, Founder and Principle Designer, Lisman Studio Interior Design system to be able to fill those needs with quality and affordability that would appeal to potential buyers. These skills proved to be essential to LaMar in the fashion industry, he realized that fashion not only involves spotting new trends, but learning how to sell ideas and concepts that add value to the client’s overall needs. The experience of “trend watching” coupled with his honed skill for exceptional service, ultimately led to LaMar leaving Nordstrom to devote 100% of his time to develop his career in the Interior Design industry.
LaMar was attending the University of Utah while employed at Nordstrom. His original college path was geared towards advertising and public relations, but ultimately culminated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He didn’t realize it at the time, but his exposure to these varied majors would soon enhance his ability to write, edit and re-write his own marketing plans, develop advertising strategies, and write bids and proposals for his own firm.
LaMar eventually began his career in interior design and opened his studio in 1993. He knew this type of industry was not going to be easy, but with passion and education, coupled with sales and design experience he opened Lisman Studio Interior Design. Upon opening the studio doors LaMar set a goal for growth by employing one new additional interior designer each year. He takes pride in the fact that he met that goal and has also been very fortunate that Lisman Studio has never had to lay anyone off, even during the recession. He successfully lived up to this target and quickly reached 14 designers during the peak of the 2007, even during the recession.
LaMar has three mottos that everyone in his firm is well aware of:
#1 “To be successful, you must first surround yourself with successful people.”
#2 “No amount of money is worth an unhappy customer.”
#3 “Ordinary is NEVER good enough.”
Lisman Studio Interior Design has created its own niche in the design industry with a design team that is intently focused on creating an environment that enhances the beauty and function of their client’s interior spaces. Each and every project is unique with never any duplication of design between clients. “Even if a client wanted us to “copy” another one of our projects for them… we wouldn’t do it. Who wants the same stuff everyone else has? ” said LaMar. The concepts provided to clients are always with the intention of a “design partnership” with the client – during every stage of the project, conception to completion.
Working one on one with his team of designers, LaMar operates on the strategy of pulling together talented people, training them rigorously and then allowing them to go out and do their job. This business concept has provided LaMar exceptional returns for his studio, with nearly 80% of Lisman Studio business coming from repeat clients and referrals from previous customers. This enables LaMar to spend much of his time reviewing design proposals, working with his team, and seeking out new business.
The growth of his firm came not from focusing on money, but rather by finding talented and educated designers who execute quality work with passionate creativity and provide exceptional service.
To gain a loyal client following in the Interior Design industry – it typically takes the average design professional five years. Once they reach this benchmark at the firm they can then begin to seek out their own referrals and bring in new business. This provides for a smooth transition into a Senior Designer position which in turn generates more revenue for the studio.
Moving into the future, LaMar recognizes three important obstacles in the design industry that he must face in order for the studio to adapt with the challenges of a constantly evolving economy.
1. The tremendous loss of resources available to him and the studio in furniture, fabric, lighting and accessories since the Recession of 2007. That is coupled with the loss of many tradespeople, facilitators and vendors in the industry, both locally and nationally.
2. The internet serving as a double-edged sword; it plays a major role in referring business to the studio through the company’s successful website, but also by taking potential business away. Many design resources are now available to the general public online.
3. Lastly, continuing to find qualified and talented designers that are strongly motivated in their careers and who will provide the utmost exceptional service that Lisman Studio is known for.
LaMar is driven about consistently providing new design concepts and products through continuing education to the design team. In addition to skill, education and experience, the emotional and personal connections they have been made with clients have lead the studio to become ranked as one of the most successful interior design studios in the nation.
Lisman Studio Interior Design and their projects have appeared in numerous regional and national publications. LaMar frequently writes and speaks about the attributes of design to design students at several local universities. A summer internship program provides additional opportunities for those students. A great source of pride at Lisman Studio is their ongoing partnerships with a number of local charities in the community, including the Make a Wish Foundation and The Christmas Box House.
LaMar consistently strives to create a strong corporate culture at Lisman Studio by continually developing a talented team of individuals that will provide exceptional service, great design and fresh ideas for all of its current clients and many new clients to come.