At Studio Designer, our goal is to streamline the logistics of an interior design business so that more attention can be devoted to creative pursuits. Our Designer Spotlight series highlights the business success and design work of Studio Designer clients who use our platform to advance their goals and thrive as creative professionals. Cheryl Stauffer launched her firm Crimson Design Group 20 years ago with creative collaboration in mind inspired by the natural beauty of her childhood in Paraguay. For her clients, she aims to conjure up “transportive wonder” with the vivid colors, textures, and daring styles of her unique interiors. Cheryl calls her process “co-creative and structured, transparent yet playful” and shares more details about her artistic process, how she uses Studio Designer, and how important it is to share her success in the following interview.

A photo of Cheryl Stauffler with information about her

Tell us a little bit about you. How and why did you decide to become a designer?

I was born in Paraguay to two Mennonite missionaries. Natural beauty shaped my childhood and continues to guide my work as Crimson’s CEO. I have always been interested in the way our surroundings influence who we are and who we want to be.

A huge chandelier over a stone table
A residential dining room in Bexley, Ohio. | Photo by Reagen Taylor

Describe your design aesthetic

In my firm, we are colorful, passionate, vibrant, global, people-inspired, and provide high-touch service and creative excellence. We love to incorporate both new and vintage pieces into overall design, as well as a collection of items from our clients’ travels. Crimson aims to cultivate a sense of grand, transportive wonder while bringing to life each client’s unique story.

Share some design references to turn to frequently to spark your creativity.

Newly opened luxury hotels and restaurants, design magazines, Instagram, and traveling always sparks our creativity!

Large stairs with red carpet
The grand staircase at Luxe88 Apartments in Columbus, Ohio. | Photo by Addison Jones Photography

Who are the interior designers, architects, artists, or creative professionals you admire?

Ken Fulk, Kelly Wearstler, and Kit Kemp.

Blue bookcase in the living room
A seating area at Baxter Park apartments in Columbus, Ohio | Photo by Addison Jones Photography

What design project of yours are you most proud of and why?

There are so many projects we are so proud of, but if we had to pick one it would be a residential client we created an amazing partnership with. We created some amazing custom, unique designs that challenged our design team. We rallied and successfully designed, managed construction, and installed at the height of Covid-19 during shutdowns and all of the supply chain issues.

Share a story about how you acquired an unusual item for a project.

At our Luxe23 project in the Short North in Columbus, Ohio, the developer wanted a feature in the vestibule meant for interactive and Instagram moments. From that desire, the pink lady was born! The Pink Lady is a 12-foot-tall, 3D-printed sculpture of a woman from the waist down. The underside of the skirt is a globally inspired printed fabric. This one-of-a-kind piece is a local landmark that makes for a memorable experience.

A large pink figure of a woman in a skirt and high heels in the hall
The 12-foot pink lady statue at Luxe23 and Whiskey Lounge in the Short North in Columbus, Ohio | Photo by Addison Jones Photography

Share your advice on how to run a successful design business and maintain a creative edge at the same time.

The art of interior design can have an emotional and spiritual effect; we enjoy creating something beautiful for the client to appreciate. We have found great success in really getting to know our clients and building that relationship, and as a result, our clients trust us to translate their vision. We also pull a lot of inspiration from our travels and experiencing various cultures. The world is so much bigger than us and what we know; you can always find something new, beautiful, and thought-provoking by stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Cheryl quote

How do you use Studio Designer to successfully run your business?

Studio Designer has been instrumental in managing our projects start to finish. Not only do we create proposals and invoices, Studio Capture, and place orders, but we also use it for time billing and reporting. Studio keeps our business streamlined through well-managed projects.

Corridor with dark green walls
The lobby at Sheldon Park Apartments in Hilliard, Ohio | Photo by Addison Jones Photography

What advice do you have for designers building their businesses?

To get to the top you have to start at the bottom. You have to be willing to take leaps beyond just interior design; get out from behind the computer and go to your sites, see the whole process from start to finish, and actively participate in each step. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. There are many layers and details to each piece of a project; it is a complex industry. Knowing how to navigate the many working pieces and streamlining processes to increase efficiency will always need continuous attention and improvement.

Want to learn more about Studio Designer?

Email, or register for our weekly demo. We can’t wait to connect.

Studio Designer is the leading digital platform for Interior Designers managing and growing their design businesses. Featuring fully integrated project management, time billing, product sourcing, and accounting solutions for the interior design industry.