EP 076 | Defining “Designer” And How To Educate Clients with Courtney McLeod & Gail M. Davis

September 3, 2018

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Is it possible for the professional designer to control the conversation when it comes to our skill set? What precisely separates the professional from the non-professional? It’s a challenging question, but Business of Design™ members Gail M. Davis and Courtney McLeod dig into the topic.

In this episode we learn:
– a high-end home purchase does not necessarily translate into high-end decorating budget
– why a consult fee and solid hourly rate will save you from clients who aren’t right or ready for you
– that six-figures (we’re talking salary not income) isn’t the end goal, it’s the starting goal
– it’s helpful to ask clients up front, ‘have you worked with a designer before?’


Design Intervention

Gail suggests hiring a branding coach. She works with a group on a monthly basis through Nicole Heymer at Curio Electro.

Courtney loves her Vision/Goal/Task Strategy.

  • Vision is big picture, soul of your business
  • Goals are set quarterly
  • Tasks are narrowly defined and tackled each month.

At Business of Design™ we call this a Design for Living.

Meet Gail M. Davis

Award-winning and celebrated designer Gail M. Davis infuses her designs with a refreshing air of lively elegance. For more than a decade, she has forged a blazing path in the interior design industry, following a successful career in fashion at Saks Fifth Avenue. She studied at New York School of Interior Design, and honed her craft interning at the legendary firm of Bunny Williams Inc. and the prestigious David Kleinberg Design Associates.

Today, Gail’s projects can be seen in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, as well as on the west coast in the state of California. Gail has been featured in Ebony Magazine, domino magazine, Design Sponge and more. She is lauded for her traditional yet timeless style. Gail’s honest and dependable nature and her commitment to each client’s happiness make her a unique talent in the industry. Her passion is fuelled by the desire to deliver welcoming, personal spaces that envelop her clients in warm energy and love.

Gail Davis Designs LLC

Meet Courtney McLeod

Courtney McLeod is the founder and principal of Right Meets Left Interior Design, an award-winning Manhattan-based full-service design studio. The name Right Meets Left perfectly reflects her approach to the design process – an ideal balance of a creatively vital mind (right brain) and a sharply analytical one (left brain). This approach allows the studio to conjure magical environs for exacting clients and execute these dreams with efficiency and diligence.


Creatively, Courtney is a colorist at heart whose designs express both her client’s unique tastes and her vivid, collected aesthetic.  Born and raised in New Orleans, Courtney brings a sophisticated view to her rooms, informed by her Creole background and extensive travels throughout Europe and Asia.


Practically, she approaches each project with a keen understanding and appreciation of the significant financial investment required to execute a successful interior design project.  Courtney guides each client on how best to invest their financial resources, and takes great pride in rigorous project management, enabling projects to stay on time and on budget.

Right Meets Left Interior Design has been featured in print both in the US and abroad – including the cover of Aspire Design + Home Magazine.

Courtney earned a business degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and pursued a successful 15-year career in the financial services industry, rising to a leading portfolio management role in real estate private equity.  Despite her success, at the peak of her career she realized it was time to commit to the pursuit of her true passion – designing beautiful interiors. Taking the tremendous skills gained through her experience and enhancing them with design-related studies at Parsons, Pratt, and the New York School of Interior Design, she confidently embarked on a new course and has never looked back.

Right Meets Left Design

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