Path to Design ~ 3.18.11

It has been a while since I updated you all on my new design job! Happily, it is going well. Some days I still feel like I'm dreaming! I had my first (and second!) client presentation last week, so I'm starting to finally feel like an official designer :)

You may also be wondering about my business, Estilo Home Interiors. Sad to say, I have put those plans on hold - I had to sign a non-compete contract with my company, and do not want to cause any issues. This was tough because I had been finally working towards launching the business, and was really looking forward to seeing those plans come to life. On the other hand, I'm glad it happened this way because I am learning so much that I will be able to apply to my business when it is finally time to do so.

So what have I learned? Well, here is a random sampling, from things I have learned about design, clients, and myself:

~ As a designer, it is important to remember that clients cannot always visualize what you are proposing to them, whether describing a sofa in a different fabric or a room's layout. Drawings and samples are critical to make sure you both see eye to eye.
~ Fabric is expensive! Ok, I kind of knew that already, but yardage really adds up fast when quoting window treatments, bedding or a sofa.
~ You've got to be open-minded and knowledgeable about different furniture styles. At my store, we have to be well-versed in everything from traditional to modern styles, as we have a wide variety of clients with different tastes. I have to say I am learning a lot about more traditional decor, which I hadn't been as exposed to before. 
~ I am really bad at making decisions. It is a little ridiculous how many fabrics I'll look through before deciding on the right ones for each project.
~ Design and sales really go hand in hand. You might have a wonderful design idea, but if you cannot communicate it, or "sell" it, to the client, you won't have a successful business.

There is so much more I learn every single day - which makes me so glad I am going through this now with a team of people behind me, as opposed to on my own. Sure I can design, but quoting things like curtains and carpeting, knowing the elements of quality furniture construction, scheduling installation - all of these "behind the scenes" stuff I am being exposed to as I go. It's funny because I thought I was ready for my business, but that was when I didn't know just how much I didn't know! Not to say it wouldn't be doable, just more challenging.

Having said that, I still can't wait for when that day comes! Only then I will be truly ready.


Karen said...

It sounds like working with others before launching your own business will bring you great success in the future through the experience you'll get.

I often wonder if it's difficult for a designer to put a room together for someone when the style the client wants is not the designer's personal aesthetic. That would make (IMO) an interesting post topic.

Connie @ SogniESorrisi said...

Sounds like this job and learning experience are a great first step to having your own business. I am also terrible at making decisions but I find I'm much better at them when I'm making them for someone else!

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