What did you dream about becoming when you were young? Did you want to be a nurse, a firefighter, an acrobat? Most of us dreamed about becoming something like that because it sounded fun and exciting. As we got older, we realized we had to make a career choice based on ability, practicality, and finances. Pretty boring stuff, right?
When I was little, I wanted to do anything creative. I participated in art shows at school. I constantly rearranged my room at home. I even repainted my room (without permission) when I was in high school. I always loved coming up with new ways to lay out my bedroom and tweaked it often. In tenth grade I took a class called Visual Design. It was taught by an architect and I LOVED it! From then on, I was hooked. I wouldn’t even consider anything else. I had to major in Architecture.
My real passion was the interior but that was covered in the curriculum. Sort of. It was the mid-nineties and I wasn’t really aware that I could major in design so I chose Architecture. It didn’t take me long to figure out that such a major did exist at some schools and I switched after my freshman year.
DESIGN IS NOT A “REAL” CAREER
I had to listen to the objections from my family. They told me I needed to major in business or education. They said design wasn’t a real career and that it led nowhere. Twenty years later, I still get those objections from my family. But I pressed on then and I press on now.
There have been times in my career when it’s been tough. Very tough. The recession hit us in 2008 and my clients dried up to nothing. I took a second job, then a third just so I could make my mortgage payment. I also started going through a divorce in 2010. How was I going to support myself? It took years for the design (and building industry) to bounce back. But I hung in there. What else did I see myself doing? Nothing.
I’ll admit I have questioned the value of my choice on more than one occasion. Sometimes I even felt ashamed that interior design was potentially frivolous and extravagant. I’m not a nurse, I’m not a social worker, I’m not an educator. How is what I do even contributing to society? So I did volunteer work on the side but I kept right on doing interior design.
Then I worked with a client who had lost her husband and I realized my “why”. Right there on her tear-stained cheeks was my reason for choosing this career.
HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED
I received a call from a new client asking if I could come re-decorate her home. We arranged a consultation and I was excited to meet with her since we really hit it off on the phone. Once I got there, she told me her husband had recently passed away very unexpectedly and that being in their home made her so sad. She didn't want to remove his memory completely but she needed a change. We talked about everything she wanted to do and what her budget would be. She kept a lot of her furniture but we bought some new pieces and I rearranged things and brought in new art and accessories.
On the day of the reveal, she and her son came in and were so excited. They went from room to room looking at everything and ooohing and aaahing. I stood in the foyer to stay out of the way and observe her reaction. She came over to me and hugged me with tears in her eyes. I said that I hoped she loved everything. She nodded and said,
To know that my job, a job I had previously thought was fun and frivolous, could have that much of an impact on someone's life was humbling. Design is a very personal thing. My customers invite me into the most intimate spaces in their home. The fact that I can increase their enjoyment of their home, or even their ability to move on from tragedy is a powerful, powerful thing.
WHAT DESIGN LOOKS LIKE TODAY
Interior design is a very competitive business. Clients watch HGTV and think projects are quicker and less expensive than they really are. I constantly get asked to reduce my prices. I even had one client tell me she wouldn’t pay a deposit of any kind to get started. Not my retainer fee or anything towards what we would be purchasing for her. I ran from that lady!
The field of interior design is thriving and will continue to thrive but it is changing. While a lot of my colleagues are still enjoying being in the field, I have decided to take a more behind the scenes approach. I LOVE doing design so I wanted to figure out a way to keep doing what I love. There are more resources than ever available to clients through home improvement shows, Houzz, Pinterest, and DIY workshops. How am I going to compete with all of that?
First, I needed to get on all of those platforms. I’m on Houzz and Pinterest. (Still waiting to hear from HGTV!) I’ve created a beautiful website and regularly post on Instagram and Facebook. It’s a digital age so the next step made perfect sense - I needed to start doing digital design.
WHAT IS DIGITAL DESIGN?
Digital design (eDesign) is the interior design of a space done entirely online. eDesign is a way for clients to work with me no matter what state they live in. If they live locally, it’s a way for them to get a great design they can DIY. If they live in another state, I can create and provide everything they need at the click of a button. It’s an affordable way to work with an interior designer and have a more collaborative experience.
It’s a very simple process that takes less time and is more affordable. Going digital is the future of design and I want to make sure I’m on that train!
LIVING MY DREAM
I am a creative person and I want to share that gift with my clients. I will always be doing some form of design. I also write (novels and short stories) and I love to cook. Creativity is not in short supply around here!
I can’t imagine doing anything that wasn’t creative.
For twenty years I have stuck to my guns. It hasn’t always been easy and I haven’t always had support from my family. But I am doing what I love. Thankfully, my husband is beyond supportive!
I’m also lucky enough to have some fantastic clients I have worked with for years. I’m looking forward to building my client base with eDesign as well. I do this job because I love it. I also love the results I can get for you. Interior design may not be the life-saving career a nurse has but it is a life-changing career. Design can improve your quality of life more than you can imagine.
And that’s why I’m here.
To learn more about eDesign click HERE.
If you want to launch your own decorating career, click HERE.