STARTING UP AN INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS
I feel like sharing my story can help other designers start up their own business. I actually grew up in the world of creativity. My Dad was a developer and I truly think I inherited that love for architecture, construction and design at a young age. My Dad always said that he didn’t want me to go into design because it was so up and down financially depending on the economy. I originally pursued accounting and truly disliked what I was doing. I always believed that if you do what you love and are passionate about it, you will be successful.
I did get married at a young age to a professional baseball player. My dream always was to go to design school and after 3 children, I decided to go back to school and pursue my dreams. It was not easy with three children but I was determined to get through and start a career that I knew I was passionate about. I ended up finishing school two weeks before the birth of my fourth child.
I had done my internship with a design firm and presented a set of models to a developer. He hired me right away and gave me an opportunity of a lifetime for a person just out of school. Two years later, I ended up divorced and a single mother with four children. I have always been thankful that I had a career that would allow me to take care of my children in the manner they deserved and not have to change their lifestyle. I knew I would need to either have my own business to have the flexibility to be there for my children but also pursue my career. I was fortunate to be able to have a nanny to allow me to work and give my children quality time and focus on them on my time off. I would make sure I was at events for my children but then would work late or early in the morning to make up the time needed to complete projects.
I remember that one of professors at UCLA, talked about picking a portion of the design that you love and hire the other people to fill in. I decided early on that I loved the creative side and loved meeting with the clients. I hired a CAD person that could interpret my design drawings and we made a great team. I did need an office that would allow me to store design materials and meet with clients for presentations. I also decided that I needed an assistant to help with expediting. These expenses can range from $5,000.00 to $20,000.00 per month.
There are so many options available that allow you to share spaces and not have to incur all the expenses on your own. I recently have become involved with Build-it Create-it Design-it. The program gives designers an opportunity to become a member and have all those services available to them without incurring the burden of all the costs. You have the comradery of being around other designers, builders and architects. There are training sessions, a full-service design center complete with materials for flooring, counters, tile window treatments available to you. Expediting, business plans and CAD drawings are also part of the memberships. Buying services are available for all construction items as well as artwork, furniture and accessories and still allows you to be competitive. It is a great program because you actually can meet with the clients in the design centers and have the staff available and don’t have the burden of expenses on your own. You can pick your membership according to your needs.