In the moments leading up to the first take, Barbara Viteri takes in her surroundings. The television production crew dash across the gorgeous purple studio space, perfecting Viteri’s million-dollar set before filming begins. She looks over and exchanges a warm smile with one of the industry’s leading interior designers seated across from her. As her mind drifts back to the grunt work it took to reach this level of stardom in her career, Viteri hears, “We’re rolling in 5, 4, 3, 2, ...”
The show, Designerlebrity™ Talk with Barbara Viteri, gives this well-respected guru the perfect platform to introduce the best and brightest of the interior design industry to viewers in a fresh and unique way. With a brief conversation, or a quick skim of Viteri’s resume, it’s not difficult to figure out why The Design Network approached her for this project.
The young entrepreneur has been on the fast track to success since she landed her first role at Howard Kaplan Antiques. The world-renowned antique dealer to the stars for over a quarter century saw much potential in the ambitious young lady, who was then fresh out of college and eager to climb the career ladder. She gives Kaplan, a fellow Brooklyn, NY native, and his team of seasoned employees credit for introducing and molding her into the high-end world of interior design. “Back then, interior design was it’s own luxe and powerful circle. To see a designer come in with their celebrity client and shut down the whole store was amazing,” Viteri gushed with excitement as she relived the moments of her early career. Jackie Onassis, Woody Allen, Faye Dunaway and Robert De Niro are a few of the big names who have graced Howard Kaplan’s shop at one time or another. “Technically, I’m a groupie,” she joked. She was increasingly becoming exposed to a world where designers were equally as famous as their superstar clients--a concept that left a lasting impression on Viteri, and would later become part of her livelihood.
Most people undergo several career changes throughout the span of their lives, but that’s not the case with Viteri. She takes great pride in her ability to remain evergreen in her field for nearly two decades. Though she’s a 20-year veteran in the field, Barbara Viteri makes it clear that she’s not your ordinary interior design professional. As a matter of fact this Brooklynite isn’t even an interior designer at all.
Viteri is the industry’s best kept secret--she is a top business management guru and founder of Viteri Style Management, LLC. By day, the vivacious CEO provides state-of-the-art design software development consultation to the industry’s top designers. Her clients sing high praise of Viteri’s expertise, as well as her ability to boost profits and increase productivity.
“I cannot begin to describe how much more streamlined and efficient the business side of my design business became once I started working with Barbara,” lauds one of her many clients, Michele Green, Principal of Michele Green Design and Owner of The Open House.
Along with her superior business management abilities, Viteri is described by her clients as a humorous, down-to-earth professional, yet one who gives no-nonsense consultation. “She never holds back from telling me exactly how she see’s a situation and that is fantastic!” said Catherine G. Hersacher, Principal and Interior Designer at Bespoke Fine Interiors. “It gets me immediately motivated toward results.”
Viteri explained that her work ethic and earnest approach stem from her modest childhood while living in Brooklyn’s Marcy housing projects. Raised by her adopted parents in the same apartment building as entrepreneur and hip hop artist Jay-Z, she turned to the images she saw on television for inspiration. “Seeing business moguls like Donald Trump survive a terrible bankruptcy in the 1990s motivated me to succeed,” she explained. She’s never met Trump, so she considers him and his daughter Ivanka to be her “virtual mentors”.
Along with the Trumps, Viteri admires fellow talk show host Wendy Williams, who rose to fame due to her unconventional broadcasting style. It was her addiction to watching the Wendy Williams show that inspired her to come up with the Designerlebrity™ show idea.
The buoyant, self-proclaimed “street smart” entrepreneur’s childhood in the urban New York environment created a fearlessness that is exuded perfectly through Viteri’s social media and online presence. She said her bold persona mixed with her day-to-day experience with top designers attracted the attention of The Design Network. “I also believe in luck, but there’s also a thing called hard work that will bring you even more luck”, she said.
The business management specialist recently decided to add another all-star client to her lineup: herself. She invested time in her new role as show creator and host, turning the Designerlebrity™ brand into a series that she’s confident is well overdue for the design industry. True to her take charge style of work, Viteri was involved in every aspect of the show, from conception to execution. Despite her recent rise to fame, the Jane of all trades still handles each of her projects single-handedly. She says she couldn’t imagine being a “9-to-5er”, so her flexible business hours allow her to run her respective ventures solo. “My chaos is my norm,” she reasoned.
Over the course of three days, she and The NextRound Productions team produced the first season in a total of 16 hours, which included episodes, promos and exclusive after show footage. Each Designerlebrity™ Talk with Barbara Viteri episode will feature a Designerlebrity™ guest who participates in the show’s Q & A sessions, games and a social media “Hashtag Alert”, which aims keeps online show conversations going even after the show ends. Viteri’s interior design guests have responded well to her on-air personality. “I took some of the designers out of their comfort zones, sometimes playing devil’s advocate when asking questions,” she said. “I had a grand old time!”
The show guests, whose names will be revealed the week before the November 4th premiere date, are a mix of well-known designers from all walks of life. Viteri designed the set, hand-picked her lineup Designerlebrities and provided them with luxury treatments while hanging out on the set. Their response to Viteri’s hospitality as a hostess was overwhelmingly positive and they all want to be repeat guests after the first, five-episode season ends.
With the first season of the show recorded, Viteri is already looking forward to the next phase of her budding career. Her new-found broadcast experience has inspired her to explore other avenues of the interior design business. ”I’d love to help designers create promotional videos for their websites,” she said. She said she would even be interested in expanding the Designerlebrity™ brand into multiple shows with The Design Network or another network. The wife and mother of two, who calls herself a “born hustler”, says that she will continue to channel all of her passion into her business and her brand.
Though she’s a leading businesswoman in her field, Barbara Viteri’s also a woman that is extremely family-oriented. She said that some of her peer’s 20-year goals might strictly include having a product line, fame or fortune, but she’s all about family. At the center of her life are her elderly parents, husband Ivory, daughter Bell, and son Leo. “In 20 or even 40 years, I would like to continue to have a strong connection with my family and be involved in their growth.” she said. For the time being, she will enjoying the perks of being a CEO, industry expert and TV show host. “I’m just living in the moment right now.”
Contact Barbara Viteri Viteri Style Management New York, New York 914.500.8760 viteristylemanagement.com