The increasing profile of design talent and greater public interest in interior design has been on an incredible upswing in recent years, buoyed by the long-time popularity of HGTV renovation shows and ever-popular retail store product partnerships. Clearly the public regard for interior design is robust, the industry is thriving, and the future is bright.
More and more, designers are making their mark in the design industry with licensed products and bold business strategies that have elevated them to the top of the profession.
A Leader in Design Business Consulting
Studio Designer CEO Keith Granet has played a significant role in the design industry’s growth and surging public profile. From his management consulting work to the development of licensing programs to the cofounding of the Leaders of Design Council and finally his work with Studio Designer and all its shareholders, Keith has collaborated with and elevated the profile of many firms across the design industry. His career took root at architectural powerhouse Gensler, where he first interned as an undergraduate and later worked as a financial analyst reporting directly to Arthur Gensler. After a stint as Director of Finance and Administration at Brown Leary Architecture, Keith decided to venture forth on his own. He capitalized on the insights gained working with both large and small firms to launch a design business consulting career that has flourished ever since.
A Master of Licensing: Granet & Associates
Established in 1991, Keith’s consulting firm Granet & Associates helps design talent increase profitability in their businesses, improve management practices, and expand brands. The firm has been instrumental in transforming over 400 design businesses and bringing over 70 product lines to the market. Notable clients include Nate Berkus, Allegra Hicks, Bjarke Ingles, Charlotte Moss, Commune, Jan Showers, Fortuny, Kathryn Ireland, Rose Tarlow, Michael Smith, Celerie Kemble, Jamie Drake, Susanne Kasler, Monique Gibson, Thad Hayes and many other top designers.
“The business of design is just that: a business—from the people you choose to hire to the clients and projects you take on. Keith Granet has been doing this a long time and he really gets it.” - Nate Berkus
Under Keith’s guidance, Granet & Associates helps clients shape their vision by handling such tasks as overseeing financial management, managing human resources, assisting with designer-client relations, and leading corporate retreats. In addition to full-service management consulting services, the firm also develops licensing programs for both interior design and architecture firms.
Leaders of Design Council: Industry Thought Leaders
Keith’s lifelong devotion to the design profession has made him a great proponent of sharing ideas in an industry reluctant to openly discuss work. In 2005, he co-founded the Leaders of Design Council to establish a community of industry thought leaders. Each year, this organization hosts conference, workshops and events that provide inspiration, promote community, and provide a forum to advance the business thinking and operations within the design profession. It is a “think tank” of top interior designers, architects, landscape designers, industry executives and editors. The Leaders of Design Council’s next annual conference will be held in Prague in the spring of 2019.
Keith also established the Designer Speakers Bureau to service the design community. Through this organization, he enables a roster of prominent design professionals to connect with organizations looking to engage speakers to share their insights and thoughts on design.
Educating the World of the Value of Design
Keith recognizes the value of his formative years at Hartwick College, a liberal arts college in upstate New York, where he completed an independent study in architecture. He continues to enjoy a close association with the college—he was named Notable Alumni in 2013, established a Scholarship Fund the same year, and became a trustee in 2015. Keith is also proud to teach classes at Hartwick, and students from the college intern for his companies.
Keith's commitment to enriching student lives goes beyond just engaging students at his alma mater. Keith has also been a regular guest lecturer at UCLA’s School of Interior Design and School of Architecture as well as the USC School of Architecture. He speaks around the country about his vision for the design profession and offers advice and insight as a keynote speaker. Recent venues include the Savannah School of Art and Design, High Point Furniture Market; and the Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Design Centers.
Keith’s desire to share his business expertise with a larger audience led him to write two books about the design business. In 2011, he released The Business of Design to share his business methodologies to a larger design world. In 2016, Keith released The Business of Creativity, which details best practices for running a design practice with a key focus on staff, client management, and effective marketing.
An Exciting Future for Studio Designer
As Studio Designer’s CEO, Keith builds on the platform's long and successful history with plans to transform and innovate the program to better meet the demands its long-time users. He firmly believes that Studio Designer has already substantially changed the design industry by improving how clients, designers, and showrooms conduct business. In addition to recent innovations like the Vendor Portal and the Custom Report Builder, Keith has led his technical team to develop the soon to be released Version 2.0—a sleeker, faster, and more user-friendly Studio Designer experience. Looking to the future, Keith envisions enhancements to the program which include adding more of your favorite suppliers on the Vendor Portal and perhaps even the ability to drop real products into a 3D model of a client’s room.
Keith often gives the advice: “Do what you love and the money will follow.” With Keith Granet at the helm, Studio Designer subscribers have the leading expert on the business of design working with their best interests at heart. His goal with Studio Designer is what his focus has always been: putting systems in place that allow designers to focus their true talents on what they do best: Design.
Next week, Keith Granet shares his thoughts in an interview about his design consulting career and his visions for Studio Designer and his mission to elevate the interior design industry in Part II.