Yvette I. Piaggio
<b>Short bio: </b>
I am an only child, born and raised in New Jersey. I moved to the D.C. area in 1999. I started attending F.I.T. for college courses, without credit, in the eighth grade to immerse myself in the design business. I am a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and Rutgers University in New Jersey. I have been a Designer since graduation. Prior to opening my own business I worked as a designer for Manufacturers who supplied retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Horchow, and Bloomingdale’s to name a few.
<b>Why did you choose this particular business? </b>
Design has always been my passion! Since the eighth grade I have wanted to be a designer and own my business! There is nothing greater than seeing something go from a concept to a finished three-dimensional design.
<b>Why did you choose to work for yourself rather than as an employee for someone else? </b>
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted a business to call my own. For me it is about building a brand and becoming a household name. The benefit about working for other people before starting your own business, is you come to figure out what works and what doesn’t work in business and how to treat employees and how not to.
<b>What have you learned from being in business? </b>
I have learned so much from my clients. Everyone really does have a unique story, which in fact translates into their own personal style. That is why I love being a non-stylized designer; I take each client as an individual. Not everyone fits into a box. I really want their house to reflect them and their lifestyle.
<b>Share an anecdote of a challenging or humorous experience or biggest surprise learned from working your business: </b>
To anyone out there who wants to start his or her own business, I absolutely encourage you to do so! The number one misconception in owning your own business is that you can take off when you want and do whatever you need to do when you want to do it, because it is your own. That is absolutely not true, my clients always come first.
<b>What have been the advantages and/or disadvantages of operating a business in Alexandria? </b>
Honestly, there are nothing but advantages! I certainly have a great Alexandria client base, but I also service the entire D.C. metro area and out of state. Alexandria is such a phenomenal city, with great character, history, people and the location is amazing. I like to think of Alexandria as a manageable city, meaning it is a great city, with that small town feel.
Gino Piaggio, Malarin Armstrong and Leanne Shortley.
<b>Key staff: </b>
Malarin Armstrong and her assistant seamstress, Leanne Shortley, Jane Pryor and Fotini Tsapakis.
<b>Description of services and/or products: </b>
Piaggio’s Loft is a full service non-stylized Interior Design House. I have created a mini design center with thousands of fabrics, custom furniture and accessory options. We have currently launched our own private label line of furniture and fabrics. The concept behind the business is to build a brand and become a household name!
<b>Professional affiliations/associations: </b>
Nationally, I have filmed 6 episodes for HGTV’s show ‘Curb Appeal.’ I have recently filmed for another HGTV special set to air in the spring.
Locally, I love to contribute to the Campagna Center (supporting friend) and the Alexandria Animal Welfare League (my dog Mozart was the cover dog for 2006).
I also do live segments for CBS affiliate WUSA Channel 9 in Washington.