Photo: Monica Wang Photography
"At what point did you decide to become a business owner, start your very own design business and offer services? Was it in relation to blogging or did you always know you wanted to start your own business?"
In order to successfully answer this question, I think I need to go back quite a few years and fully tell my story. As a creative business owner, hearing other's stories of how they got to where they are today is always inspiring. I hope to educate and inspire others through my story, so here is part one.
I've been creative ever since I can remember. My story starts much like any other interior designer's story: I grew up rearranging my furniture and got my hands on anything that had to do with color and decor. My mom also reminds me I was often found in the wrapping paper closet, wrapping up empty boxes and tying them with the prettiest ribbon I could find. This is one of those things that is cute the first few times it happens...and after the twelfth time...maybe not so cute ;) When I was in elementary school, I began sketching floor plans in school, just like you see above. As soon as I got home, you could find me building those very floor plans out of jenga blocks all across my bedroom floor. When other kids would be doing word searches or playing tic-tac-toe at restaurants on the kid's menu, I would be sketching more floor plans. The drawing you see above is a floor plan I drew when I was probably 10...ha! I even gave names to the kid's in the family I made up to live in the house.
I've always been infatuated with houses. Still to this day, when we drive by beautiful homes, I often try to guess the interior floor plan based on the elevation and window placement, and Heaven forbid we drive by an open house -- we must get out and look! My grandma is an interior designer and seamstress (who I now work with, as we provide custom pillows and window treatments for all of my clients!) and she used to take me on some of her jobs when I was young. I saw her doing what she loved and that really inspired me. Maybe this was possible?!
My infatuation with houses grew into a love for the home and what that safe place represents to a person or family. Throughout my childhood and teen years, the desire to create and decorate only grew. For much of my life, I remember thinking I could never actually do interior design as a job. I had countless people tell me it wasn't a good job financially, or make up some other derogatory comment about the industry, so I didn't think it was something I would pursue. Then my freshman year in high school we had to write our term paper on what we wanted to be when we grew up. For me, this was an easy choice: I would write on interior designers! I used this opportunity to research the industry, the typical pay, the skills and degree needed, and I interviewed a few designers so I could have quotes in my paper.
This is when my thinking changed and I started putting a lot of my time and energy into learning everything I could about design, even while a freshman in high school. In my high school paper, one of the most influential quotes my grandma gave me was to "Dream big. Don't stop at dreaming though; make those dreams come true by working hard with determination and integrity. Learn all you can, so you can be great at what you do. But most of all, do what you love and do it with passion.” In that moment I knew pursuing design would be hard work, especially if I wanted to own my own business one day. I needed to be creative, have business-minded goals, and have passion at the foundation.
Needless to say, after turning in the essay and receiving an A (yes, I still remember that!) I knew this was it and I would make it happen. Finding a college to support my career goals, but also one that would fall in line with other things I valued was going to be tough, but eventually my family and I found a great fit for me!
Stay tuned for next week's part two of my story! Do our stories share any familiar characteristics? I love learning how other's got to where they are now, so please do share in the comments!