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Lloyd Princeton

Lloyd Princeton, BSB/M ’03, Founder, iMatchDesigners, New York City, New York

 

Fifteen years ago, Lloyd Princeton didn’t have a clue that he’d one day land a starring role in a reality television series pilot—about his life. He also couldn’t predict he’d ink a book deal, travel the world on international speaking gigs or be featured on the pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Back then, the future looked anything but promising. He’d just lost a job without another in sight, so finally he created one. In 1999, he launched Design Management Co. (DMC), which offers design professionals sound business advice on contract negotiation, pricing, marketing, staffing, product licensing and distribution—all to help designers better manage and grow their businesses.

Entrepreneurship was a real game changer for Princeton. “I’m not saying it was easy,” says the 44-year-old who now divides his time between homes in West Hollywood, California, and New York City, “but forming my own company has been one of the best things for me.” 

A who's who of clients

Today, DMC’s client list includes American Express, Design Within Reach, Williams-Sonoma, High Point Market Authority and numerous design and architectural firms throughout North America. Princeton is a sought-after speaker who strikes a chord with designers through timely talks on how to succeed in a do-it-yourself world. From DIY tips on YouTube and Pinterest to TV shows on DIY Network, “consumers are mired in messaging related to the do-it-yourself market right now,” Princeton says.

Still, designers are as essential today as ever, he says, especially when consumers realize a DIY project isn’t as easy or inexpensive as advertised. Princeton also shares his know-how with designers in his book, Marketing Interior Design, now in its second edition. 

Twelve years after launching DMC, he became a professional matchmaker who set out to revolutionize the way designers and potential clients meet. In 2011, he created iMatchDesigners (imatchdesigners.com), a concierge-style matchmaking service that pairs clients with designers who are the best fit for their projects, based on scope, budget, timeline, style and temperament.

Providing a glimpse into his world as principal of iMatchDesigners, Princeton created and appeared in a television series pilot, Matched by Design, which aired on Style Network in August 2013. The show follows Princeton as he introduces his clients, Grammy Award-winning producer Tricky Stewart and his wife, to three interior designers who must compete to be hired to do a makeover of the clients' guest bedroom and bathroom. The three designers each present their concepts to the homeowners, who then decide which designer best captures their style and personality. Next, viewers watch as the transformation takes place—and see the complete makeover as the grand finale. 

In a real-life dramatic twist, Matched by Design was about to be picked up by Style Network until NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group scrapped the plan when it rebranded Style as the Esquire Network. “That’s not the end of the saga because I just signed a contract with Relativity Media as my new producer,” Princeton says. “They’re going to possibly repackage and re-shop the show.”

Winning the match

In retrospect, Princeton sees how the path to success can have many unexpected twists and turns. He’d dropped out of college multiple times before enrolling at University of Phoenix at age 28, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business degree in 2003. Before discovering his career’s ultimate destination, he took detours into banking, real estate, human resources and trade associations. “I did completely different things until I finally saw a need in the design industry, jumped into it and created my own company,” he says. “I’ve never looked back.” 

 

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