What steps do I need to take to reach my dream of becoming an Interior Designer?

KK: First, you need passion– You have to want to work! Second, education. My team and I all put our education first by getting advanced degrees, internships, and work experience under our belt before landing our roles as designers.

JW: Like Kerrie mentioned, education is key. Learn all that you can from industry professionals.

LB: Reach out to your community and figure out which sector of the industry you want to be a part of. There are so many opportunities and choices within the design world that it can be overwhelming, so narrowing them down can help put you on the right track.

What do you enjoy about your career? What would you mind doing away with?

KT: I love that every day and every project is different. The design process is really collaborative, so it can sometimes be difficult when a client doesn’t want to open up right away.

TT: Social media and marketing are important to the design world! Though I don’t handle fabrics and tile, I do get my hands dirty with articles and interviews. I love being able to see the design world through a marketing lens. I could do away with early morning phone calls, though!

JW: I love that all of our clients are so excited about their projects. I work remotely from my home office in Chico, so I do wish I had more time to spend with the girls at the Design Lab!

Does interior design work allow you to have a social life, too?

KK: Running a design firm leaves little room for a social life, but what I do is enjoyable exciting. Plus I get to spend time with my KKDL crew on a daily basis.

KT: It enhances my social life, actually. We get to meet fun people, go to fun places, and indulge in an after-work cocktail, or two!

EH: It’s a close-knit community. There are always social events within the industry so you can mix work and play!

TT: You’ll have to learn work-life balance skills, but when you love what you do you never work a day in your life, right?

What was a hurdle you had to overcome to get to where you are today?

KK: The process of opening a design firm and a retail space required more bodies in the building. Though the hiring process took time, it was worth every minute to find unique and talented people.

KT: When I was in school I had a hard time with public speaking, so presenting to our clients was a little nerve-wracking at first. However, after plenty of practice, I gained the confidence to speak to our clients one-on-one. In a way, we are selling ourselves and our talents, so it’s important to have people skills.

TT: When I was in school, I studied fashion business. Though design and fashion are intertwined in many ways, there was still a lot of terminology and processes to learn before I felt comfortable writing and talking about interior design.

JW: I returned to school later in my career as I made a move to focus on interior design. Learning new technology and skills was challenging but helped me reach my goals.

What advice would you give to someone considering going into the design/product development field?

KK: Congrats! Interior design, construction, architecture, and product development are fascinating and exciting career choices. When you first look into these paths, take note of why they interest you. Do you like to build things? Put together color palettes and decor? Are you a social person, who likes to solve problems? All of these characteristics are key to developing great working relationships in the interior design industry.

KT: Look into specific aspects of the design world– Remodeling and improvements, architecture, and redecorating are all parts of the job, too!

EH: Try and get involved in any form of design, whether that’s working in a retail setting or interning with a family friend. Get your feet wet!

What kind of people do well in the design industry?

KK: Flexible people.

KT: Extroverts. People who are always up for a challenge.

TT: Forward-thinkers.

LB: Creative people.

EH: Good multi-taskers.

What kind of work environment do you find yourself drawn to most?

KK: An energetic and collaborative one. Some of our best ideas and most successful projects come from retreats or day-long meetings where we brainstorm and bounce thoughts around.

KT: I like being able to connect to everyone. Our office has a very open layout so I can shout to Taylor or Lori or Erika when I need a hand, and vice versa.

TT: I love being around people, but sometimes when I’m writing or scheduling media material, I need a quiet space to focus. You can find me upstairs in the loft most days!

EH: I like working with people and groups who are always doing something different and evolving.