Have you always had a passion for interior design? If so, how did it manifest before you turned professional?
I’ve always loved expressing myself creatively. Purchasing my first property was a stepping-stone to becoming an interiors addict – ordering multiple subscriptions to interiors magazines, spending my free time in furniture showrooms and show houses, and watching every single property and design programme I could find! It seemed that every two years, I was redecorating my home, looking to improve on the current iteration.
What prompted you to turn your love for interiors into a career?
Prior to becoming an interior designer, I had a successful career in marketing, working for large global companies. Whilst I had great job satisfaction and worked with wonderful colleagues, I always knew my drive came from a personal determination to achieve rather than a passion for what I was doing. Moving into my late 30s and faced with another 25 years + of working life, I wanted to take a fresh direction and focus on something I loved.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in making that career change?
Initially I just dipped my toes in, doing an online interior design course. However, faced with the challenges of a hugely demanding job that involved travel and long hours, the studying went slowly. At the rate I was going, it would have probably taken me a decade to complete! However, I had a comfortable lifestyle and knew that giving up my current job to pursue interior design full-time would involve financial sacrifices and a complete change personally as well as professionally. It was only with the support and guidance of a fantastic partner, friends and family that I summoned the courage to do it.
After completing a year-long course in interior design, the next challenge was actually going out and seeking work in this field. I had to prove myself all over again and find a way to position myself that capitalised on my design skills as well as my existing business skills and life experience.
What question should someone wishing to move into interiors ask themselves?
You need to be fully aware of what you’re letting yourself in for financially. You might be passionate about design, but are you willing to make the short-term personal sacrifices involved in building up a career that’s often poorly rewarded in the early years?
If you could give yourself one piece of advice on making that switch, what would it be?
I would advise getting a career coach. The best decision I ever made was to start working with Polly Williams at Camberyard. From the day I graduated, Polly has been instrumental in guiding me down the right path, helping me to identify the kind of designer I want to be and work out how my skills can be best utilised. Professional mentoring and support are invaluable, as is building up a network within the design community to share information and build on your experience. As an interior designer, you never stop learning and the wider your exposure to the design world, the richer that knowledge becomes.
Are you happy you made the switch?
I am incredibly happy in my new career and have been fortunate enough to work as a freelance designer across a spectrum of projects with a multitude of diverse and talented people. Like any job, there are challenges but there are also many days when I literally feel as though I’m not working because I love what I’m doing so much – you can’t put a price on that kind of job satisfaction.
The recommendations, information and materials included here have been provided by others and have not been verified or approved by us and the views expressed do not represent our views or values. Please refer to our disclaimer for further information.