I guess to my surprise I went into design for many reasons. My parents were painting and wallpapering around me everyday…this definitely caught my interest looking back. Or how about my high school boss encouraging me to follow in ‘something creative’ expressing my creativity that she spotted…”Hmmm never thought of that? Do creative people make money?” And well there was also the obvious reason of choosing a design degree…Mom called me up one sunny summer day, a full year into college classes and said, “I need you to pick a degree. We are not going farther into this without knowing what the plan is”. Truth. So, I skipped the joy of summer’s off and went straight into design school, not stopping for 3 years straight.
The paragraph above, those few sentences…they were years and years of decisions and hard work and lots of deep thinking and also just being me. And for all of that it really makes me look back on high school and college and realize it was all worth it. College isn’t for everyone but it definitely was for me. Not just to come out with a diploma but to come out with knowledge and experience that I would not have gained on my own otherwise. At that time, I was taking a stab at what I wanted to do based on a lot of evidence…but wether that was the right thing to do wasn’t exactly clear in that moment. Was I doing the right thing? On the right path? Would I find a job and was my design degree going to pay off in the end? Further yet, would I make any money? Maybe I wanted to really be a banker?…(Yes, I love numbers and seriously thought about going into finance, spreadsheets and analytics are a nerdy passion of mine).
It was the right thing! The rewards are paying off. Now, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine everyday…I will definitely write on the hardships because well its kinda fun to look back and learn isn't’ it? Interior design is a complicated industry and you need some major stamina and will power and passion to stay in this business because it is exhausting, its hard - making a custom pillow has literally 20 steps to it! 20 people! And yes that is why pillows are a small investment, gulp, I digress. But today I want to focus on friendships and relationships. Like REALLY breaking them down into the great treasures they are.
I bet you didn’t know that design school doesn’t teach you how to interact with your clients or maybe you did! It doesn’t teach you how to pull a design together - say what! Or to avoid parking on your clients custom driveway pavers just in case your car decides to leak oil. How about having a clean car at all times just in case someone helps you out to your car with all your bags!! (These bags by the way will forever keep interior designer’s biceps bulging and somehow within months we are all 12-Bag-Pros, throwing bags over our shoulders, hanging them off our elbows and gripping the last one with our pinky! We are very serious when we answer “Oh thank you for the offer, but no I got this!” Really we got this…almost like we learned it in a college class, LOL). There are just things you cannot learn until you have been immersed in them for years or until you make one mistake - we all know this! Well, except for the delivery boy who just put a hole into my clients wall with an 18” wide nightstand going down a 60” wide staircase (insert palm slap to forehead emoji here)…he will probably never make that mistake again…at least if he has to pay for the repair of a two-story wall. On a staircase. That needs professional uninstallation of the gigantic piece of art before the painter can begin. Not to mention the bottom of the wall curves around into the lower level…so, “No, Buddy we will not be just patching it!” LOL…but you will be learning a very good lesson and I bet you never ever…E to the V to the E to the R… do this again - but thanks for testing my patience during the process! Oh course this cost me days of income getting this dime sized dent fixed but it is part of the job and I remain calm. I win the cool battle against delivery boy. So I have gained all of this knowledge, experiencing things day by day for years and years. And I know that 20 years from now I will still be learning, SMH! But one of the coolest thoughts hit me the other day…my interior design relationships both friends and clients - they fill my cup. They begin to teach me about my WHY. The 20 designers that are some of my closest friends comprise of this group of girls that are unexplainable! They are smart. They ask questions. They are strong and creative and helpful. Above all they are funny…they keep me laughing…no, they keep me belly laughing! They bring over chilled sauvignon blanc and cheese trays that appear to have taken days to prepare with glistening delicious grapes. And they never forget the chocolate. For some reason, designers know how to bring great food and drinks to the table like pros! Beyond food, they are a huge part of my support team. Who knew…that these supportive ladies would also blow the ‘typical’ hyperactive demanding designer out of the water, (DUH) and therefore I feel so lucky to be surrounded by them all! As for my clients, they couldn’t be a bigger part of my life! Well, of course, right, because I am working with them Monday through Friday. But they truly understand my job, respect my business and show their gratitude towards me. That is what makes the hard days worth it, super cheesy right! Are you rolling your eyes? But breaking it all out, laying it out on the table…running a business means you really need to figure out your WHY and without it its tough to get up in the morning. But here I am breathing in deep and knowing that my clients are a big part of my WHY. Because at the end of the day, the finished home attached to smiles or happy tears (tears are totally fine and welcomed) are the reasons why I keep going forward in this complicated business…a business that not many can swallow and stand up against everyday. In the end, the finished room with sunlight shining through the custom drapes, bookshelves stocked with personal trophies and photos, a once unusable space now a favorite niche or the moment I walk out the front door at the end of a project with a huge smile from my mouth to my heart…that is my WHY. This warm feeling that is hugging my heart right now - it makes me sleep so good at night. And in the morning, we rise and do it all over again.