When I Grow Up…

I received a phone call last December from a very kind and passionate woman from South Burlington High School asking me if I would like to participate in the Business Expo the high school puts on every year. She said the students had taken a survey, and interior design came highly requested. I felt honored to be a part of expo and stood alongside many reputable, successful businesses in Vermont including photographers, architects, physicians, and engineers.

Juniors and seniors were asked to be ambassadors for the business of their choosing. My ambassador, Nicole, did a great job making me feel welcome and navigating me around a big high school.

We had fun setting up my table. Design is a very tactile and tangible profession. So, I brought items like fabrics, furniture books, samples, and an example of my design-in-a-box package which makes a great gift for single room designs. I also showed the students floor plans, specifications, mood boards, and elevations. These are the more technical parts of my job but are often the most important. They loved touching and browsing all of the items on the table; it was a really fun and interactive experience for all of us.

I had such a great time answering all of the questions the students asked, and I definitely had to be on my toes! The students were hungry for advice and answers, and I loved knowing I was inspiring and influencing our future leaders. The most often asked questions was…

Why do people come to you? People come to me for help with nearly anything that has to do with their house. I’ve had people call me in a panic because their painter is coming the next day and they hadn’t decided on paint colors for their entire house. People call me when they’re planning on building a home and want me to get involved at the very beginning of their project. Some people who are remodeling ask a designer to help with selections and to work alongside the contractor. A designer can pretty much help with anything, and if I’m not comfortable or don’t have the experience of doing something they request, I refer other professionals to the client.

The second most asked question was…

“Do you have to know a lot of math for your job?” Much to my chagrin, the answer is YES. I don’t have a fancy calculator, but I do work a lot with budgets and numbers. For nearly every, I have to work within a budget, and I have to make sure I stay on track. Being a business owner means looking at reports and making sure you know what those numbers mean; however, my bookkeeper and CPA help a lot when it comes to the really nitty gritty numbers!

“What kind of degree did you need to become an interior designer?” I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this one. Many people don’t know that many designers go to school specifically to get a degree in interior design. Sure, I took a lot of art classes and minored in art, but I have a bachelor’s degree in interior design.

“I don’t draw very well…do I need to draw well for this career?” This is a very valid question. Interior design is a very artistic and creative profession, and I find myself sketching a lot when meeting with clients to explain my vision. The cool thing about this career though is there are A LOT of things you can do with interior design, and drawing skills make up a very small percentage of this trade. I told the students they would find their strengths and that they should stick with them. I learned from a very wise interior designer that you hire and work with people who are better than you.

My favorite question was…

“Where do you see yourself in ten years?” I was a little caught off guard, but I know exactly where I see myself. I hope to have grown my business to at least three to five people (I want to keep it lean and mean), and I want to have a storefront/design studio packed with custom furnishings, lighting and curated, and unique finds from my travels from around the world. I also want to have a style with which people identify me, just by looking at an interior I’ve designed. There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the gist!