Native Admission Statement: Betsy Wentz, owner of Studio B, likes to host clients to a collaborative and interactive experience. Her 3,000 square foot design studio stocks wallpapers, fabrics, rugs, and accessories. Betsy believes there’s a simple psychology behind allowing clients to have ownership of their design.
Bio: Although Betsy established Studio B in 2011, its roots are over 40 years old. In 1977, Kay Wiegand, Betsy’s mother, started a design firm working from her home. Childhood served as on the job training, exposing Betsy to all of the things she’s come to love and appreciate about design. After earning a Master’s degree in counseling psychology and practicing for several years, Betsy made the decision to transition to interior design partnering with Kay in 2001. A successful mother-daughter team was formed.
When a devastating electrical fire destroyed their family home and Kay retired soon after, Betsy forged ahead. In 2011, she rented office space in Sewickley, rebranded the company name to Studio B, and her unique design studio concept flourished. Studio B purchased and renovated a building in 2016 adding a showroom space for furniture, rugs, and accessories. Studio B now has clients throughout Pittsburgh, as well as, California, Chicago, Florida, Maine, Ohio, Canada, and London.
How did you get into the industry?
My mom was a designer. She ran a business from the carriage house at our home. Childhood served as on the job training, exposing me to all of the things I’ve come to love and appreciate about design. Although I earned a Master’s degree in counseling psychology and practiced for several years, I missed a creative outlet! In 2001, I partnered with my mom. We had so much fun working together. In 2011, an electrical fire destroyed our family home and my mom, diagnosed with early onset dementia,retired soon afterwards. I rented office space in the business district of our town, renamed the company Studio B and kept going from there.
Any emerging industry trends?
I try not to focus too much on design trends because they come and go. One year color is out, the next year it’s in. I do think the movement towards sustainability is here to stay.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
Social media provides a huge opportunity to share not only your work, but to collaborate with other designers and creatives. Designers face a few more challenges now with both DIY’ers and access to many vendors who sell direct to consumers on-line.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I hope to expand the design studio concept and invite/showcase local artists and crafts people.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
My biggest successes have come from three things – taking risks, working hard and not being afraid to ask for help.
Your most difficult moment at the Business?
When our studio was destroyed by a fire, it would have been really easy to pack it in and close up shop. But I really wanted to continue and to grow what my mom and I started.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
I love to collaborate with clients. There is a lot of psychology in design and I am a trained therapist!
How do you motivate others?
Stay positive, lead by example, and as corny as it may sound – be yourself. When you work closely with people it helps greatly.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Meet as many people as you can. There are so many talented people and opportunities to learn.
What do you do best?:
I think my greatest success is listening to my clients and involving them in the design process. The end result is a true collaboration.
What are your aspirations? (Personal and Business):
Personal goals are to maintain a happy, healthy marriage – I’m lucky to have married my best friend. To raise responsible and kind children. And….I’d love to be able to show my mom one of my projects in a national magazine.
I’ve had some really special design projects, but my greatest accomplishments are my four children.
Most Challenging Moment?:
Learning my mom had early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s so hard to see someone you love go through this terrible disease.
I say this to my kids almost everything – , “If you want it – work for it.”
Favorite People/Role Models?:
Personally, my mom is my role model. Professionally, there are too many to name, but I especially love anything by Kelly Wearstler.
Cabo San Lucas is special to me and anywhere sandy! The beach, it’s a great escape.
I love wallpaper, high contrast and mirrors.
Color is everything.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about your city?
Like anywhere – the people make the place and Pittsburgh really does have the best people!
Favorite breakfast meal?
Smoked salmon and egg whites
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Working out! I have a mild obsession.
10:00 AM – At work or with a client
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
Ain’t no time for that!
7:00 PM – Kids soccer, tennis or lacrosse game
11:00 PM – Sleeping
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
Coffee by day/ tequila by night
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
Stylebeat Blog and Business of Home
What should everyone try at least once?
Wallpaper your ceiling – seriously, try it!
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
With the fabrics and wallpapers in my studio. Hours can go by and I’m still putting scenarios together.
My Pic of The Day: