Just a Minute with Greg Theiss, President, Theiss Interior Design Ltd.

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:39 pm

Address: 740 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee

Web site: www.theissinteriors.com

Industry: Interior design

Number of employees: 6

Education: Bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Family: Wife, Lynn, and daughters, Laura Robinson and Sarah Theiss.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

"I think the smartest thing we did was look back at the past 20 years with a critical eye and make the decision to both diversify and expand our client base and our company’s project geographical presence. We concluded that, although we have been successful all this time, marketing-wise we have been lulled to sleep, due to the vast majority of our work coming to us through former client referrals. That has been working up to now, but there is never any way of knowing how long that can continue. In some cases, we felt we had two many eggs in too few baskets, so it was time to become pro-active in delivering our message. Up to date, our only attempt at marketing has been our Web site and a blown up business card on the roof of our ‘party barge’ pontoon boat, ‘The Bombay Sapphire.’ It docks in a slip in the river where our studio is located, above the Rock Bottom Brewery Pub."

What’s new at your company?

"We retained Jenny Rebholz to help us ease into some marketing efforts in order to reach a wider audience. Our goal is to continue to focus most of our efforts where we do 90 percent of our business, which is in medical and dental facilities, and continue to enhance our relationships with developers who work in those project categories. We also decided to go back and see how much we had accomplished from our list of goals that we developed with Vernal Management Consultants (VMC) a few years ago. We also revisited our strategic planning with VMC in order to use that information to enhance our marketing efforts."

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

"Not at the present time. My focus today is continuing to invest in our current staff, making their salaries, incentives and enjoyable working environment the best it can be. This benefits all of us. It continues the loyalty, longevity, and the high level of quality and creativity which is the foundation of our firm."

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

"Although slow to reach Milwaukee, I think condo office suites are really taking off fast. I think our clients have a different attitude toward the design process, space planning and interior architectural enhancements when they approach the project as a building owner instead of as a leasee. Many clients are more willing to use non-standard higher-end lighting fixtures and finishes when they are making a long-term commitment in their own suite. They are also usually willing to take enough space to expand in the future to avoid outgrowing their own space."

Do you have a business mantra?

"Yes, and it is symbolized by sea coral. Not only beautiful, coral represents, calm, slow steady growth, while it moves with the rhythm, ferocity and calm of the sea."

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

"I have to say locally, Michael Cudahy. He’s a creative, brilliant entrepreneur, who after tremendous hard work and amazing business and financial success, has never lost track of what is important to him – his work with people and giving back to society. I think his book, ‘Joy Works,’ should be a must read for any aspiring young entrepreneur or anyone in general. I think Milwaukee is really fortunate to have him here."

What was the best advice you ever received?

"A former boss and good friend, now deceased, John Morgen, told me many years ago, ‘It doesn’t matter how much money you make, but how much you keep that is important.’"

What do you like to do in your free time?

"Piloting small planes, boating, motorcycling, scuba diving, driving sports cars, snow skiing, and when I can find the time, painting."


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