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BIID Leadership & Management Masterclass

Event date

Event description

BIID Registered Interior Designers are invited to attend the BIID Leadership & Management Masterclass, a three-day course set over September, October and November 2022, designed to help principal designers renew, refresh, and develop their practice for the future.

These sessions have been developed to meet the needs of more established practices that struggle to find appropriate guidance beyond start-up phase and who find it hard to develop systems to cope with success when it comes.

Over the 3 sessions, Dr Smart will take a small group of 6 designers through a guided development based on management theory, practical advice and experience of successful commission-based design and architecture businesses.

Preparation material will be sent by the delegates to Dr Smart before each session so that delivery can be guided to each practice attending and constructive feedback will allow busy professionals to develop their company systems over the course.


Wednesday 7th September 10am to 5pm

L&M Session 1: Setting a professional strategy and marketing to win targeted clients

This session will focus on adjusting your practice statement and description of how you operate to speak more specifically to your identified target market.

Wednesday 12th October 10am to 5pm

L&M Session 2: Successful client, practice and financial management of projects

This session will focus on an analysis of your agreements with clients, fees set and how you forecast money within the practice.

Wednesday 16th November 10am to 5pm

L&M Session 3: Human resource management (employed or contracted staff) 

This session will focus on understanding which resources (internal, external, employed or subcontracted) are necessary for your success – and how to find, recruit and retain your team.

After the completion of the sessions,1:1 surgery sessions will take place in January 2023 to review progress and set further objectives.


Preparation materials will be required of participants before the sessions for Dr Smart to review, this will inform and direct the groups discussion for the sessions. Requirements will be communicated exactly to delegates prior to the start date with an in-depth guide to the course which you will receive upon registration.


Designers will be able to take time out of their practice to assess areas of current practice management and then to take steps to practically adapt and develop themselves and their team for the future.


The Masterclass is aimed at experienced BIID Registered Interior Designers that have been in business for at least 6 years, whether they are sole practitioners or employing staff. The Masterclass is to be taken as a complete course and we ask delegates to commit to the 3-day curriculum.

Testimonials from attendees to Leadership & Management Masterclass:

“The small group format allows focus and discussion on how the theory can be applied in a practical & positive way to each different business. No two businesses were the same, so it was very interesting to discover that we all had similar issues!”

“It has given me and my practice so much information and a long list of ideas that we can incorporate into how we conduct our business…The knowledge that Rachel has in delivering the course is impressive and as an extra bonus we also had the opportunity to share the journey with other business owners. The size of the group made this possible, we all appreciated that it was only 6 of us and all on similar levels, giving us more time to discuss the needs of our individual business. To summarise I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would urge others to attend.”

“Rachel is brilliant, and it was fantastic to meet others who struggle with the same issues…it was a really good experience and I would recommend it to everyone Thank you for organising.”

Testimonials, two years on:

"I can highly recommend the Leadership and Management Masterclass course taught by Dr Rachel Smart as a MUST ATTEND if you are serious about your design business.  I was hesitant to sign up to start off with as I could not work out how I would find the time to attend the course. At the time my business was very demanding/stressful, and it often left me feeling out of control with the sheer workload and the pressures of running it. I can honestly say that this course turned this around. I gave me time to take a step back and evaluate what I was doing and it gave me the much needed opportunity to discuss and get feedback not only from Rachel but the other participants. It was an intimate course with 6 delegates all of similar experience and running our own design businesses. It quickly became clear to me that I was working too hard and not very smart, this was the consensus from the other attendees too “working hard but not necessarily smart”. Based on Rachels excellent tuition and support I was able to arm myself up with an array of tools that I could apply to my business to turn it around to be a smarter business – a better business with me as a happier owner with and overview and control of my life and business, a plan, a road map, a future which I had lacked". Mia Karlsson-Matthews, Mia Karlsson Interior Design 

"Firstly, the Masterclass opened my eyes to my business, how to cherish and look after it and how small can be beautiful and to stop being pressured by other 'outside management consultants' into growing or developing for the sake of it. The experience and knowledge gained from the course became even more valuable during 2021 as I had acquired confidence in both myself and my business. The business was sustainable and could adapt to meet new challenges. Two years on, the experience is still fresh, the knowledge relevant and the precious notes used and reviewed. I'm so glad that I did the course, you may not use or implement all the information at once, but it will be useful one day!" Claire Tull, Studio 12 Designs



Rachel Smart provides a unique combination of services for architects and designers including management consultancy and professional practice seminars. Her knowledge is informed by:

  • the understanding of a designer’s aspirations having trained in interior design for five years 
  • the experience of being director of a leading London architectural practice
  • the rigour of a Master’s in Business Administration at Durham University with a specialisation in design business strategy
  • the specialist knowledge of PhD research completed at Birkbeck focusing on successful design entrepreneurs and their firms
  • the practical knowledge gained by helping small design and architecture businesses to thrive since 2000
  • working with BIID since 2003 to develop professional practice for interior designers

Rachel offers a range of services to start-up, run and grow small design and architectural businesses for more profit and less stress. “Creative people want to get on with the job and not worry about management and paperwork. My intention is to help designers enjoy their businesses more and optimise their financial success.” Rachel Smart 


The European Experience Centre in London is Lutron’s European home for the design and specification community and their customers. The state-of-the-art, 585 m2 (6,300 ft2), space showcases a full range of Lutron commercial and residential solutions, including total light management with daylight integration, advanced LED compatibility and control, and scalable, expandable retrofit options for single rooms through entire buildings. It also features a guestroom showcasing cutting-edge integration for comfort, style, and energy efficiency, and a model home equipped with a variety of sleek, innovative Lutron products that incorporate the latest in smart-home technology. Three meeting rooms provide training and collaboration for up to 60 people. The European Experience Centre - like its associated facilities in North America - invites customers to talk with a Lutron professional about all their design and enterprise needs.

Additional information

The cost for this 3 day in-person course including 1:1 session is £950 + VAT . Upon registration, attendees will receive the Delegate Preparation Document containing key dates and preparation summary. The Delegate Course Document and Reading List will be presented upon commencement of the course. 

If you have any queries, please email the office at or call 020 7628 0255.

All BIID events are subject to standard terms and conditions which can be viewed here

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