JUST MY TWO CENT Statistically it’s almost as hard to quantify the degree vs. non-degree factors within the Interior Design industry as it is with some positions in the corporate arena. It’s interesting that in many states one can be free to title themselves an Interior Designer without a degree. While there is some passion around this point, I won’t belabor it. I merely started with this to say although in my state it’s not a requirement, I’ve found myself tippy toeing around the “title” as a newbie over the last year. At this point having a multi business model I’m ok with just the title CEO/Owner of my company. But for industry sake I’ve embraced ‘Interior Stylist’ and have coined title of the ‘Baby Designer’ for my titles (using both or one or the other when needed). A baby designer was used by LuAnn Nigara in her podcast referring to those of us in the first couple years in business. I actually appreciated this knowing it takes some baby steps in the first couple of years. I am also humble enough to say I‘m ok with understanding the need to earn my stripes knowing it takes time, lots of work, and furthering education to perform certain aspects of design work. In any case contractors/tradesmen and in some cases architects are relied on to bring our visions to life on every level of an interior designer. MY CORPORATE EDIT
Before moving on I’ll leave you with some corporate gems; an area where I’m not such a novice in, business. Experience is not just the best teacher; but in many areas will bring in the most coin. There are allot of college graduates with a misconception they’re going to step in the shoes and earn the salary of those of us who’ve put in 20 plus years. Not so much in many corporate settings depending on the position of course. Nonetheless, I’ve worked my way up without finishing my degree yet and at some point was told I couldn’t have my current position without finishing it or having 10+ yrs in my industry. Well, at the 10yr mark exactly came the promotion and a testimony shout (credit to God’s unmatched favor)!! Truth is I had already been doing the same work and training new hires as a training lead for the department. This made me work harder and ultimately it taught me that to be a good leader you must know how to serve first among other things. Everything we do and often where we begin prepares us for what’s later to come. Little did I know the 10 plus years of working my way up to that point gave me all the tools needed outside of the ‘industry equivalence’ required. (Hind sight is always 20/20.)
MY OBSERVATIONS & BEGINNINGS
Get to the point Kelly. My point is that I’ve quickly discovered that 80% of Interior Design is business, 20% is actual design creative work. If you have just SOME of what it takes and lots of faith, you can be successful in just about anything. Perhaps degree holding designers have the advantage of more knowledge in their novice days, but a few of the top in the game that I’ve met and admire have been proudly self taught. They proudly wear the title of interior designer and are very well respected industry wide. For my corporate position or my entrepreneur life titles just don’t matter much. My start? I didn’t wake up expecting to walk into this business making top dollar next to those with years in established firms. I prayed, fasted for some general life clarity, and prayed some more. Then made the decision to listen to what was put in my spirit to do. I started this business in faith with this mindset: Be a learner, be ok with being a novice, believe in yourself though some may not, and stay in your lane while earning your stripes. Working full time, early mornings and late nights I completed an interior design professional cert program at Temple University in the evenings and to follow completed about 6mos of interior design formal business coaching. Almost one year since establishing my LLC, two businesses to date, a couple of great mentors, and a plethora of design sister friends later; this was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Adding the Real Estate division was the cherry on top for a later post!
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ“ -Bible
XOXO Kelly PTD
Are you a seasoned Interior Designer or a Baby Designer like myself? What advice would you offer anyone just starting out? This same question applies to anyone in business; drop some words of wisdom.