Stop being over critical or self-doubting. Avoid the fear of not knowing enough because the reality is that you are always enough.
Felderman Keatinge + Associates are a Los Angeles-based design firm with an international career spanning more than three decades of innovation and a catalog of honors deeming the husband and wife duo of Stanley Felderman and Nancy Keatinge as pioneers and industry leaders. In 2016, the duo was honored as the 37th Annual Interiors Awards’ Design Legends, as presented by Contract Magazine. Their trademark “total design concept” is evident in a portfolio encompassing everything from eco-based concepts, residential and commercial interiors, product archetypes and original structure designs ranging from the original ATM to a honeycomb jet cabin. Their proficiency lies within their partnership ability to act as artist and strategist, combined with their capacity to connect with each client individually to create a catered product. Felderman Keatinge + Associates’ work has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum.
Nancy Keatinge and Stanley Felderman have been asked to teach and lecture for organizations such as the Salone Internazionale Della Sedia in Udine, Italy, Neocon in Chicago, several AIA chapters, the Newport Harbor Art Museum, the University of California at Los Angeles and Irvine, as well as the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Woodbury University and WORKTECH West Coast 2016. Their work has been featured in numerous books and publications including the New York Times, Newsweek, Fortune, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, People, Progressive Architecture, Interior Design Magazine, Fast Company, Inc., Design & Trend, Business Rockstars, Chaise Lounge Podcast and many others. This year Nancy Keatinge was inducted into the IIDA College of Fellows.
The Felderman Keatinge + Associates client roster includes Legendary Entertainment, South Park, Aviron, Clique Media Group, Mattel, Creative Artists Agency, Playboy, Faberge, Core Media Group, MTV Networks, Disney, Universal Music Group, Samsung Corporation, Sony, Roth, Gange Tyre Rame & Brown Inc., Pillsbury Winthrop, Sheppard Mullin and Drago Centro.
How did you start your company?
Stanley Felderman (SF): I’m originally from NY, and in the mid-80s I had offices in both LA and NY. Nancy and I met at an event at The Touch Club which I had designed. Nancy and I have a mutual respect for each other. I am an introvert and Nancy is an extrovert, so together we connect the dots. Together we’ve built a creative partnership, a beautiful family, and we’re constantly building a bridge to the future in our work.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
SF: Our day starts off with breakfast with the family. Then we head over to the office to meet with staff and check in with everyone. Nancy and I make sure to get together and connect, so we’re on the same page for the day.
Nancy Keatinge (NK): We’re deeply involved in all of our projects, so we connect with every client as much as possible. Typically we’ll visit our projects on-site throughout the week. We like to be very hands-on with all of our work.
SF: Throughout the day I like to make time to sketch, and in the evening I’ll often create on my iPad or paint or do furniture design.
How do you bring ideas to life?
SF: Nancy and I work closely together. We collaborate and fully immerse ourselves in what’s going on in the world around us. We make it a priority to share the new knowledge we find of future developments with one another to expand our strategies.
We’re always pushing ourselves and our staff to think outside of the box – to look outside of ourselves for inspiration. Don’t follow trends, instead, follow information. Follow your gut. Be willing to take risks and to spend more time than planned on something when it really takes off. Make sure you materialize your ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
SF: Trends don’t excite us. We find excitement, rather in discovering something new that wasn’t expected that we enjoy. I prefer when we find connections to things that we previously did not know were linked.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
SF: Working outside of the office is key. Go home. Take a moment on your iPad and sketch or think about things outside of your particular goals set for the day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
NK: I would advise not to get so involved in your daily life that you stop being interactive with the world around you. Get out there and participate with people. That will only benefit you and lead to your success.
SF: Stop being over critical or self-doubting. Avoid the fear of not knowing enough because the reality is that you are always enough.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
SF: We often go to symposiums, conferences, or trade shows that are outside of our profession. We find that they help to connect the dots that are needed to expand the knowledge-base within our own profession.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
SF: The underlying foundation of our firm is always to be innovative. Think outside of the box and you will find new inspiration and the future of your business.
NK: We make every effort not to duplicate what we’ve done in the past and to come at things with a fresh eye.
SF: You must be fiscally responsible to your own budget, as well as your clients. Keep your eye on the ball.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
SF: At one point we thought we needed to partner with a larger firm in order to grow, but it didn’t work for us because they wanted our creativity and our clients, and at the end of the day, wanted us to fit into their mold and it didn’t work out. How we overcame, it was to sever the relationship and go back to being an independent design firm. Then we made it priority to stay lean and stay involved.
NK: It allowed us to design more and spend less time managing others.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
SF: It was for a fountain pen… I love drawing with them. They respond well to hand coordination and allow me to be creative.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
SF: I use Photoshop daily. I love taking photographs and overlaying renderings to create a new piece.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
NK: I would say any book by Daniel Pink. I love what he talks about as far as creativity and innovation. Also Brian Grazer’s book A Curious Mind, where a variety of people discuss how their creative minds work.
What is your favorite quote?
SF: Bob Proctor: “Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.”
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Felderman Keatinge + Associates on Twitter: @fkassociates
(Blurbs and ideas summarized and sometimes simply cut and pasted by the IdeaMensch crew.)
- Don’t follow trends, instead, follow information. Follow your gut.
- Be willing to take risks and to spend more time than planned on something when it really takes off.
- Working outside of the office is key. Go home. Take a moment on your iPad and sketch or think about things outside of your particular goals set for the day.
- Stop being over critical or self-doubting. Avoid the fear of not knowing enough because the reality is that you are always enough.