Clara Jung always wanted to be a lawyer—at least, that’s what she thought. Following her early ambitions, she attended law school in Ann Arbor, Michigan, then moved to San Francisco, where she went on to practice law for six years. Eventually, however, she came to realize that her interests had strayed elsewhere. “Instead of being motivated by the briefs and documents I was reading as a lawyer, I would be obsessed with Domino and Apartment Therapy,” Jung tells host Kaitlin Petersen on the latest episode of the Trade Tales podcast.
Jung’s growing affinity for interior design coincided with another, equally important realization: She did not like her job as a lawyer. A combination of extra-long hours and a cutthroat workplace eventually drove her to a breaking point, for which a total career change felt like the only escape route. She decided to give herself an ultimatum: one year to figure out if she could become a designer and make a living out of her nascent hobby.
With her self-imposed deadline, Jung had no time to waste. Instead of dipping her toes in the design waters with classes or informational interviews, she dove straight in—a process that included taking whatever jobs she could get, including one project that basically amounted to cleaning out a client’s garage. “I was like, ‘I was wearing a suit and tie and talking in front of a judge seven months ago, and now this is where I am. What did I do?’” she says. “I quit my very well-paying job at a law firm and I was like, ‘Did I make a mistake?’”
Over time, that uncertainty waned as Jung’s confidence in her design talent grew. In 2014, she officially launched Banner Day Interiors, though the firm would need a few more years before it found its footing. In this episode of the podcast, she shares how she carried over some aspects of her first career—including ironclad contracts and invoices detailed right down to the minute—while also cultivating the supportive, growth-oriented workplace culture she missed out on the first time around.
Homepage image: Clara Jung | Courtesy of Clara Jung