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Stephanie Badillo & Cynthia Dennard
Influencers 12 years ago No Comments

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Paddling with the swift environmental current, two interior designers have paired up to meet public demand for the next level of social consciousness: sustainable soirées. Stephanie Badillo and Cynthia Dennard, Principals of Organic by Design Party Planners, obdppsbcdtitle.gifare capitalizing on their extensive experience in both residential and commercial design to create aesthetically aware functions with an eco-friendly focus. Backed by a combination of degrees and certifications from Parsons School of Design, New York School of Interior Design and Syracuse University, these two industry veterans are adding a natural touch to everything from corporate events to charity fundraisers to birthday parties. These girls just want to have good, green fun.

What kind of interior design background does each of you have”

Together: We were both fortunate to have teachers and work with designers who set excellent design standards, valued hard work in order to achieve those standards, and maintained a working, friendly, respectful relationship with their clients. It helped to shape us into the designers we are today and for that, we will always be grateful.

Stephanie Badillo [SB]: I worked in the marketing departments for the Merchandise Mart Properties and the New York Design Center. I collaborated with many trade magazines such as Interior Design and Elle Décor on events such as Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, The American Society of Interior Designers and The American Institute of Architects.

Through my many contacts in the industry I started my own residential design firm in 1991 specializing in high-end custom designed furniture. Some of my celebrity clients include Aretha Franklin and Rick Moranis. Later my company expanded to selling antiques in my furniture showroom located in the D&D Building.

obdppsbcdwebb.jpgThen in the late 1990’s I was a contract designer for Herman Miller, designing many dot com company offices. Some of my clients included Lincoln Center and Rolex.

In more recent years I’ve specialized in designing luxury kitchens and worked for several manufactures of European cabinetry such as Poliform Varenna, Smallbone of Devizes and bulthaup. While at Poliform I made an appearance on The Food Network with Guy Fieri’s show “Gotta Get It.”

While Commercial Sales manager for bulthaup, I designed kitchens and baths for many multi-unit high rise buildings throughout the United States such as the Manadarin in Dallas, the W Hotel in Austin, the Urban Glass House in New York City and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Cynthia Dennard [CD]: I began my career in Advertising, starting out as a receptionist for a small boutique firm in New York City before rising through the ranks to become a Print Production Director. While working for a number of number of reputable agencies (Muller Jordan Weiss, Shepardson Stern Kaminsky, Doig Elliott Shur) I produced newspaper and magazine campaigns for such as clients as New York University, Southern Power, Time Warner Cable and PFLAG (Parents of Lesbians and Gays) for media outlets around the country.

Once the advertising boom ended, I began freelancing sporadically for a friend who happened to be an interior designer. It proved to be my official segway into the interior design industry. I began to work with a few select, well-known designers, whose projects consisted of extremely high-end residential and commercial properties for clients located within and outside of the New York City area.

At the end of 2004, I opened my own interior design studio, INSIDE DESIGN, creating modern, contemporary interiors with an eclectic edge for high-end residential properties such as rentals, condos, brownstones, townhouses and privately owned homes. My clientele consisted of those within the sports and entertainment industries residing within New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. I became one of the featured interior designers who participated in Elle Décor‘s "Dining By Design" event in the Hamptons benefiting DIFFA.

In addition, in conjunction with a Brooklyn based home furnishings shop, I produced a monthly interior design series highlighting design issues for neighborhood homeowners and commercial property owners.

Concurrently with my interior design studio, I began to design a children’s bedding line called "Bubbly Babies," a line of handcrafted, custom designed bedding for infants, toddlers and teens using a combination of fabrics from Africa, India and Asia. "Bubbly Babies" was a featured new start up at the BKLYN Designs held annually in DUMBO, highlighted in the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce news magazine and also included in a December 2005 Essence Magazine spread as a "Best Pick" for children’s accessories.

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The two of you met through a collaboration with Home Depot. When and how did this happen and what did you do for the home improvement giant”

In 2004, we were the two designers hired by Home Depot to initiate a one-year interior design pilot program for their flagship store located in the Grammercy Park area of New York City. We created and produced a twice-monthly live interior design seminar series for consumers and professionals using the company’s products. The program proved to be extremely successful, garnering over $2,000,000 in sales during the first year. We wrote a number of design articles for design magazines, local newspapers and real estate magazines, and Cynthia was featured in a variety of commercials for Home Depot.

In all your years in business as an interior designer, what has been your most rewarding installation so far and why”

SB: Out of all the installations I have done over a twenty year period, I would say it has to be 11 Spring Street, otherwise known as The Candle Building. It was originally built as a carriage house in the late nineteenth century. It became internationally known as a mecca for urban street art in the twentieth century. The candles that burned in the windows at night gave it its name. The façade and the interior went under extensive renovation. While working at bulthaup, I collaborated with the developer, builder and marketing firm to design all of the luxury kitchens and baths in the apartments throughout the building. It was a pleasure to be part of a project that brought new life to an abandoned building in my hometown of New York City.

CD: To be honest, I have enjoyed all of my projects in both the client relationships and the design aspects. But, my most rewarding installation was a 850 sq ft one bedroom studio located on Central Park West and Lincoln Center for a bachelor new to living in New York City. His budget was limited ($30,000) and his desires were far reaching (i.e., “I want a fabulous NYC apartment!”). But, in the end, the place turned out to look like a million bucks! It was easy for he was willing to learn, listen and be involved in the process while allowing me to be incredibly creative in every way.

You two now own Organic by Design Party Planners, a company that specializes in eco-friendly event planning services. When and why did you decide to start a company together, and how did the idea for the company develop”

We started the company six months ago in response to the current economy affecting the interior design industry at large. It was time to start looking at design differently: How could we provide high-end design in a smaller venue in a more cost effective way” A plus was that we enjoy gatherings and we wanted to address the growing concerns about our environment by creating an exclusively organic event, one that uses only green, recyclable and or reclaimed products. This would allow us to help save the environment – one party at a time.

What range of services do you offer and has this range grown as per requests from clients”

We offer pre-packaged design ideas in addition to providing custom designed party venues. We treat it as any large scale design project: meet with the client to determine their budget, needs and expectations then present them with some options as to how they can reasonably achieve that.

Our target market started on the corporate level since they usually give guaranteed parties on a small scale per year (annual holiday, retirement, etc). However, it has grown to include obdppsbcd2b.jpghome entertainment and weddings because they provide that intimate client relationship that we have grown accustomed to. Also, it’s fun to make dreams come true!

What is the toughest aspect of owning your own business”

I don’t know that owning this business is any tougher than what we are use to for we have both owned our own interior design studios so we are familiar with being entrepreneurs. What is difficult is trying to do so in the current economic market. But we remain positive that we can and will be successful! The best ideas arise out of the ashes and contribute to the economy getting back on its feet again and that is the most rewarding of all.

The daily operations are just as challenging as working for someone else in terms of sales goals and responsibilities. The difference is that you wear all the hats. You are the CEO, project manager, accountant, customer service rep, designer, installation supervisor, etc. Also, you don’t have the resources larger companies provide so you often find yourself running to Kinko’s, Staples, etc. for those last minute presentations!

How are you currently marketing your planning services”

We are starting at the beginning: networking, networking and more networking. Working with our current client list, we’re contacting everyone we have ever worked for, worked with, had as a client, had as a potential client – you name it! It is like Marketing 101 all over again! We created a website, blog, advertised through LinkedIn and Facebook, and we also have at least one vendor party a month where we showcase our work and the vendors we recommend. The reception so far has been wonderful.

What is the best advice that you could give a student emerging from school”

Gain real life experience from a designer who you admire for both their design sense and their personality. It will provide an invaluable lesson as to how you present yourself and your future business. Believe in yourself and your design style. Clients who respond to your work will find you – trust me. Do it for the love of design, not the money, for sometimes the money on a project might not be what you desire. Your hard work and diligence will pay off in time.

Any other words of wisdom to share”

Together: It is time to make women all over the world first class, contributing citizens now. The days of women being treated horribly inhumanely and basically invisible, needs to end for the healing of the world to begin. Women need to support one another professionally as well as personally so we can create an unbreakable networking bond that will help us to achieve these goals.

SB: I love Greenzer. They stock all things green and organic.

CD: Please support the American Cancer Society. I had an uncle who passed away from brain cancer this year.

Now for the lighter side…

Did you get any time at all to take a vacation this summer”
SB: Yes, I spent several weekends on the Jersey shore and the Hamptons.
CD: I had lots of “staycations,” which proved to be fantastic. I got to learn and love New York City and my home borough – Brooklyn – all over again.

What’s your favorite cocktail to make for guests when entertaining”
SB: Mojitos. I love the sugar cane and the mint together. Refreshing after a hard day’s work!
CD: I am super corny: a cosmopolitan. It’s so 1990’s Sex In The City, I know.

What television show do you love but have a hard time admitting you watch”
SB: Rescue Me. It’s really for guys, and one of my kitchens is featured on the show. Plus I dig firemen…sexy.
CD: Aaarrgghhhh…… Family Guy, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and America’s Next Top Model.

If things ever slow down, what book is on the top of your reading list”
SB: Eat, Pray, Love. I’ve had it for two years and haven’t cracked it open yet.
CD: Ben Okri’s The Famished Road and David Sedaris’ When You Are Engulfed In Flames.

Have a question for this dynamic duo or want to hire them for your next shin-dig” Then shoot them a earth-friendly email at organicbydesign@gmail.com.