Have you always had a passion for interior design? If so, how did it manifest before you turned professional?
I never thought about being a professional interior designer. It was always just something I did, a passion that came naturally – making the various rooms and homes I lived in as comfortable and as beautiful as I could with what I had.
What prompted you to turn your love for interiors into a career?
Growing up, I didn’t have a specific direction I wanted to go in career-wise, I just knew I wanted to run my own business. I thus got a degree in Business Administration and co-ran a restaurant in Switzerland and worked in a hotel in Spain before becoming Marketing Manager for a Swiss Hillclimb Race for classic cars. Throughout this time, I was investing in properties, buying, doing them up and selling them. I found people appreciated my eye for interior design, and I was lucky enough to be published three times – some of my projects featured in industry magazines! When I became pregnant with my second child, I decided it would be a good time to go back to school and study to become a professional interior designer.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in making that career change?
My biggest fears when changing careers were my age (I was going back to study in my 30s), my lack of freedom to work 18 hours a day due to having a family, and a sense of being an imposter because I hadn’t studied design for four years at university or worked professionally in the design world.
What question should someone wishing to move into interiors ask themselves?
Are you willing to go back and start at the bottom and work up, and, if you want to start your own business, can you go for two years without making money? Setting up a business is a massive investment. You have to be able to take the ups and downs until you land on your feet and start running. Therefore, think carefully about whether you have the time, energy and financial backing to take it forward through this tough beginning time.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice on making that switch, what would it be?
Once you’ve decided to go for it, do whatever you need to do to feel confident in the industry, whether that is completing an interior design degree, course or diploma. Increase your knowledge at every opportunity and try to get real-world experience as fast as possible – you will always learn most on the job! Also, surround yourself with mentors and others who are in a similar situation, to advise, collaborate and provide support and, of course, network, network, network.
Are you happy you made the switch?
Yes, I am passionate about interior design and although there are many things I didn’t get right at the start, it has been – and still is! – an extremely interesting, instructive and enjoyable journey.
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