Interior designer Michel Boyd, The Decorista blogger Ashlina Kaposta, and Viteri Style Management owner Barbara Viteri all joined forces at the D&D Building’s Robert Allen showroom last week during Spring Market for “Design Your Hustle”—a discussion all about making it in the modern day interior design industry.
From left: Ashlina Kaposta, Michel Boyd and Barbara Viteri
Viteri, who moderated the discussion, referred to the discussion format as “kitchen table talk,” whereby designers could speak freely and honestly about creating and maintaining a successful business. She flipped through a slideshow of famous quotes from influential business people to get the conversation rolling.
“Designers have to be a good balance of creative, smart and organized,” said Boyd, who explained that being successful requires a lot more than just being a good interior designer.
The group agreed that above all, it’s a business, which requires a set of skills outside of interior design.
“You have to think of yourself as a business instead of just an interior designer,” said Viteri. “You’re not a designer, but a business owner and you have to work extremely hard to build that business.”
Some key tips from the panelists on being successful were to be true to yourself, network, and don’t be too influenced by other designers.
“You have to learn to say ‘no’ to a project if it’s not in line with your vision,” said Kaposta. “That will keep you on the right track.”
“I’m constantly networking,” added Boyd. “You have to in this business, but I try not to pay too much attention to what other designers are doing so that I don’t inadvertently copy them or have my own vision clouded.”
But what is the most important thing of all? “You have to have a plan,” said Boyd. “A dream without a plan is just a wish.”