Expert Interviews

Passion = Profit: 3 Tips for Running a Business

The Perfect Accent store in Phoenix

Keeping up with the demands of running a business can be a full-time job all in itself. That’s why we decided to go right to the source for some great advice on how you can keep up with the daily challenges of being a local business owner. We spoke with Jo Hale, a local interior designer, about her tips for not only running a successful business, but keeping up with the ever-present daily demands. Here’s what she had to say:

  1. Love what you do. Having passion for your career keeps you motivated and more importantly, happy.
  2. Stay current. Keep up to date on your industry by doing research and following trends.
  3. Never stop learning. Take continuing education classes to help ensure you’re always the one on top, not your competitors.

Jo, understandably, knows a great deal about the ups and downs of running a business. After all, she currently runs two, her interior design business, and her home decor store in north Phoenix, The Perfect Accent. We had the chance to talk with Jo in-depth about how her passion for interior design enables her to stay motivated and successful throughout each year.

Check out Jo’s story on running a business below:

Businesses: Jo Hale Interiors/The Perfect Accent Business focus: Interior design/Home accents Business type: Single location Location: Phoenix, AZ Number of employees: 4 Website:

Scott’s Local Business Corner: Jo, can you start by telling us about your businesses?

Jo Hale: I’ve had my interior design business, Jo Hale Interiors, for over 39 years. We do everything, including custom furniture, window treatments, bedding, all accessories, plants, florals, wall décor, pretty much anything you could possibly think of or need for interior, exterior, patio, and gardenscapes, we do it! We also offer holiday decorating for homes and offices. Our shop, The Perfect Accent in north Phoenix, is an accessory outlet for homeowners, my interior design clients, and interior designers looking for unusual and beautiful accessories for homes and gardens.

SLBC: You work closely with a design team, can you tell us about that?

Jo: Nadia, Pam, and Debbie are three designers that I often work with on projects. They bring items into The Perfect Accent that we display and sell and I take items to their Scottsdale market and show there. It’s great having a design team because it allows each of us to bring our unique design skills and perspective to our projects.

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SLBC: Do you and your design team work together at The Perfect Accent to assist shoppers?

Jo: Yes, usually Nadia or myself are there to give our advice if needed. People sometimes need a little guidance because they can’t imagine how an item will look in their space, so it’s very helpful to have a designer in-store who can assist them. If it’s an item that a client is thinking about buying but they are unsure, they can occasionally take it out on approval because sometimes the only way to tell if you’re going to love it is to actually see it in your home.

SLBC: That’s great customer service!

Jo: Yes, and even if the item doesn’t end up working for them, they remember we let them do that and often come back and look at other items. Good customer service goes a long way in building long-term relationships with people, which is always our goal, whether it’s an actual interior design client of ours or a homeowner who just happened to pop into our shop.

SLBC: Growing up, was interior design always your passion?

Jo: Yes, always. I was recently thinking back to a time in third grade when we were all drawing little triangle houses in class. It’s funny because my houses always had window treatments (which actually ended up turning into my specialty), as well as lamps, flowers by the door, and other decorative things. All my drawings from the time I was very young always had to do with interior design. When I played paper dolls, I cared more about designing little rooms for them than the dolls themselves. Interior design is definitely my calling!

SLBC: So would you say passion for what you do is how you’re able to run two businesses without getting burned out?

Jo: Yes, I think having passion for what you do is the greatest thing. It’s not about the amount of money that comes in, although I do stress over that at times, it’s about loving what I do and meeting the needs of my clients. I never get tired of working and I’ve never seen any home or interior design style that I didn’t like. I’ve seen styles that are really hard for me to get my head around which makes me try to figure out why it was done the way it was… but every single time I’ve gotten into a project and began to look at it from the way the client sees it, I lose myself in it. I let my client take the lead and put the balance into it. So that continually makes it fun for me. That and keeping up with the ever-changing trends in our industry!

SLBC: It seems like continuing education is a core foundation of your business. Can you tell us what you do to ensure you stay current with interior design trends?

Jo: I am constantly taking trend classes, I read literature all the time, and attend seminars to keep updated in color and texture trends. Texture trends are very important and what helps with that is that I have reps come into the store three times a year to bring me everything that is coming out the next year in fabric, so I know ahead of time the colors that will be the biggest trends. I also have reps that keep my paint samples updated through the year. They bring in the newest color wheels and shades so I’m always up to date.

SLBC: You recently went on a study tour to Italy, Spain, and London. Can you tell us about that experience?

Jo: I’ve been on several study tours to England, Spain twice, France, Italy, and throughout the U.S. in New York, Santa Fe, and California. Nadia has come on a few of the study tours with me so we could study art, architecture, and color trends. In each of the countries I’ve visited, I always went to design centers and fabric stores so I could see new fabrics and upcoming trends. In France I had an opportunity to see trims that have been made in village homes since the fifth or sixth century. These generational families are still creating these beautiful trims in their homes. It’s amazing and inspiring.

SLBC: Do you have a favorite interior design tip you’d be willing to share with our readers?

Jo: I think if you are interested in decorating your home, but aren’t sure where to begin, the two areas I always tell people to start with first are the kitchen and the guest bathroom. These two areas are the ones that anyone who comes into your home will see. If they’re nicely decorated and show your personality, people will leave your home remembering the essence of where they were and the experience they had.

A big thank you to Jo Hale for sharing her story with us about how running a business, powered by passion for what she does, has helped her succeed as a local business owner. Be sure to stop into The Perfect Accent to see all the amazing items she has for sale. In the meantime, you can enter to win a $150 Jozefina hand-blown glass vase from The Perfect Accent in our 12 Days of Shopping Local contest. Enter daily for your best chance at winning this awesome prize!

Images via The Perfect Accent

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