A day in the life of a luxury interior designer, who starts her day with a 'caffeine cocktail,' has designed penthouses for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and goes to a SoulCycle class every night
- Cheryl Eisen is the CEO of Interior Marketing Group, a New York City-based company that does interior design, staging, and marketing for luxury homes.
- Her past clients include Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, Bethenny Frankel, and Swedish real estate broker Fredrik Eklund.
- She typically starts her day at 9:00 a.m. with a "caffeine cocktail," spends her mornings traveling to sites of design projects across the city, meets with members of her nearly 80-person staff in the afternoon, and goes to a SoulCycle class every evening.
Cheryl Eisen is unapologetically not a morning person.
In sharp contrast to the many executives who wake up at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m, Eisen starts her day slowly, waking up at 9 a.m. and enjoying a "caffeine cocktail" of Poland Spring water, espresso, Truvia, and Lactaid milk.
"In all honesty, it takes until noon for my brain to fully wake up," she told Business Insider.
Eisen, 50, is the CEO of Interior Marketing Group, or IMG, a New York City-based company of nearly 80 employees that does interior design, staging, and marketing for luxury homes that start at $5 million. Eisen has done the interior design for apartments in buildings belonging to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, an Airbnb rented by Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, and homes for Bethenny Frankel and Swedish real estate broker Fredrik Eklund. IMG also does projects in Miami, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and the Hamptons.
Eisen said IMG's designs tend to be neutral and classic. They layer with textures rather than color, sticking with neutral tones that let the focus stay on the selling pieces of the home, whether that's high ceilings or jaw-dropping views. One of her favorite parts of the job is the big reveal when the client finally gets to see the finished space.
"People cry," she said. "And I get it, because once you see something that you've been working on for months, you see it come to life and it can be overwhelming because a home is a very personal thing."
Here's a peek into a typical day in her life, from her morning "caffeine cocktail" to rearranging furniture and choosing drapes for multimillion-dollar New York City penthouses.
Cheryl Eisen is the CEO of Interior Marketing Group, which does interior design, staging, and marketing for luxury homes primarily in New York City, but also in Miami, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and the Hamptons.
Eisen says she is "unapologetically" not a morning person. She starts her day at 9:00 a.m. with a "caffeine cocktail," which she describes as "a carefully crafted combination of espresso, Poland Spring and Truvia: 3 parts Poland Spring, 2 parts espresso, a ton of Truvia, and Lactaid milk."
By 10:00 a.m., she's out the door, drinking her coffee and answering emails in the car she commissions during the week, which she calls her "mobile office."
Two or three days out of the week, Eisen goes to the hairdresser first thing in the morning to prep for client meetings or TV appearances. She's been going to New York's Rita Hazan Salon for 25 years.
Her TV appearances include giving tours of homes belonging to celebrities or other notable individuals.
Eisen takes advantage of her time in cars to post on Instagram.
She has more than 26,600 followers.
Eisen's company is working on more than 100 projects, so she can't visit them all every day, but she checks in at various sites periodically to see their progress.
During a tour of this New York City townhouse, she thought it looked too dark, so her team reconfigured the furniture and added white drapes.
They also made some changes to the artwork to neutralize the home's color palette. Interior Marketing Group's design style leans toward layered neutral tones and textures.
Eisen loves the big reveal at the end of a job, when the client finally gets to see the finished space. "People cry," she said. "And I get it, because once you see something that you've been working on for months, you see it come to life and it can be overwhelming because a home is a very personal thing."
Eisen typically heads back to the office for meetings in the afternoon, but one day in mid-November, she accompanied the company's CFO to look at office spaces. "Our company has grown so rapidly that we’ve outgrown our main office in just two years," she said.
In between meetings, Eisen typically eats a finely chopped salad with lots of vegetable toppings for lunch.
Eisen spends most afternoons in meetings with her nearly 80-person team, which she says is 75% women. At about 3:45, after touring office spaces, Eisen and her CFO headed back to the office, where she was greeted by the office pup, Coworker, or "CoCo" for short.
She checked in with the marketing department to see what was on the docket for the rest of the week.
Then she met with her team to choose images for an upcoming coffee table book that will feature their designs.
"My meetings always have to have snacks," Eisen said.
After the day's meetings, Eisen often spends the rest of the day working at her desk. The meetings wrapped up at 5:30 p.m, so she caught up on emails and texts while CoCo looked on. CoCo goes home with Cheryl a few times a week and spends the rest of the time with the CFO.
At about 6:30 p.m. every day, Eisen rushes home to change into workout clothes to make it to a 7:30 cycling class. "I do my best to go to SoulCycle every single day," she said. "It's my version of work-life balance and I really feel it if I skip a day. The endorphin high is such a stress reliever!"
On her way home from SoulCycle, Eisen passes a Sweetgreen and a Whole Foods, so she usually grabs either a salad with tofu or salmon with cauliflower rice for dinner.
Eisen lives in a one-bedroom duplex apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
At 9 p.m, Eisen returns emails and texts while watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.
Eisen says she's a "night owl" like her mother, so usually they FaceTime every night around 11:00 p.m. to catch up and talk about current events and family plans. This time, her mother was sick, so she FaceTimed with her boyfriend instead. Most nights, she's in bed just after midnight.
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