Expert Articles & Guides

Make More Money by Specializing

June 5, 2018

by Capella Kincheloe (

Niche.  Specialty.

Do a quick scan of your body and feelings that come up when you read those words.

Do you feel resistance?  Excited?  Annoyed?  Defiance?  Apathy?

Despite all the years that I have been in business and have been teaching other designers how you can make more money by specializing, I still feel a little bit resistant to it.

And I am guessing you do too.

Why?  Because no one wants to be put in a box, restricted, or possibly limited in their business.  It is our nature to “want it all” to be scared, yes scared, to put anything that may block potential clients from coming our way.

Sure I’ll do mid-century modern!  French country no problem!  You only have $1000 for your entire home, of course I can make it work!  You want five full design schemes? Give me a week!  A cabin 500 miles from anything sounds great!  Yes, three weeks is do-able!

When we specialize, we’re saying: this is what I do best and this is why you should hire me.

Why you should choose a specialty

Have you heard the saying, a “jack of all trades, master of none”? You want to be a master of something in your interior design business, because you will make more money specializing.  You want to be known for what you do best.  You want to attract your ideal clients by your specialty.

Okay, so how do you make more money by specializing?  Wouldn’t you have the potential to make more money if you just accept any clients?

When you have a specialty, ideal clients will come looking for that specialty, they will search you out, it will be an easier decision to hire you because you have what they are looking for, they will see you as a master and not question if you’re the right match.

Let’s say you design luxury pool houses, it is what you love and what client’s seek you out for.  When client’s search pool house design online your designs are everywhere, when they meet with you, they have no doubt that you are right for their pool house.

On the other hand, let’s say that your interior design business accepts all sorts of clients, but you’ve never defined your specialty or marketed your specialty in designing luxury pool houses.  Getting clients will be more difficult because you will have to work harder to stand out.  It would be like shooting a fish in the ocean vs in a barrel.  The fish in the barrel are the ones looking for a luxury pool house.  They’re already rounded up and identified.

(PS: Google “luxury pool house designers” and there aren’t any design firms that come up – looks like an opportunity to me!  Some SEO and content marketing and you could be THE luxury pool house designer)

Finding a specialty doesn’t have to be as specific as luxury pool houses and just because you specialize doesn’t mean that you can’t take on other clients or projects.

How to choose a specialty

Your niche could be about the client, like single dads or young professionals.  It could be location, a certain neighborhood or area.  You could specialize in a certain room or type of project, new construction, vacation homes, or kid’s bedrooms.  It could also be more about budgets or timelines.  The strongest niche and the one that will likely make more money by specializing will combine two or more of these conditions.

Here are some great examples of designers specialties:

  • Amber Interiors: A very specific Los Angeles aesthetic
  • Tiny Little Pads: Children’s rooms.  Super cute.
  • Tobi Fairley: Says right there on home page: bright, bold, tailored.  Known for using bright, bold color.

The great thing is, you don’t have to be a jack of all trades, you can be the master of one.

When you combine your specific value and specialty, your brand will be unstoppable!

***Want to learn more?

Join Capella Kincheloe and Sheilah MacSporran, the CEO of DesignFiles for a FREE webinar on June 13th (10am PT / 1pm ET) where Capella will share 5 ways to book more interior design clients.

Capella Kincheloe started her interior design career in the Santa Monica design offices of Michael Smith Inc. During her tenure with the firm she worked across the globe on many high-profile homes including the Obama White House.

Capella is a graduate of the University of Southern California and worked in tv and film production design before returning to her true love of interior design. After leaving Los Angeles, she started her own design business in Atlanta and Arizona.

The desire to make a greater impact in the design industry led to working directly with other designers and now Capella runs a business training course for interior designers. Capella splits her time between Arizona and Colorado with her husband and rescue dogs.

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