Some designers wait years for the perfect profession to find them—instead, Tina Ramchandani went looking for it. Her mother and father, immigrants from India, had their own ideas for the future of their firstborn child, hoping for a dependable line of work like law or medicine. Yet Ramchandani was determined to find a career that spoke directly to her. After eventually enrolling in college, she surveyed all kinds of coursework, but still the search continued. Then one day, she walked into a hotel and her future became much clearer.
“I had a very positive emotional reaction, and I knew immediately that whatever this feeling was, this was what I want the rest of my life to be,” Ramchandani tells host Kaitlin Petersen on the latest episode of the Trade Tales podcast. “That’s when I realized that it was the design of the hotel. It’s where the windows are placed, it’s the scent, it’s the lighting—it’s design.”
Armed with the epiphany she’d been searching for, Ramchandani pursued a degree in interiors. After graduating, she initially set out to design hotels—like the space that had first sparked her passion—and sought positions at various commercial firms before landing at a boutique women-owned design business. It was a dream first job, with a team that felt like family and allowed her to learn the ropes while studying every part of the design process from start to finish.
Her next role was in the residential realm, working for design legend Vicente Wolf. Within a week of joining the firm, her fate became just a little bit clearer than before: It was residential, not commercial, interiors that had captured Ramchandani’s heart. The designer spent five transformative years with the firm, she left her job, launched her own firm—today, a five-person operation—and began to fully chart her own path.
On this episode, Ramchandani shares why she doesn’t want to sign a new client without a budget in place, her shortcut to guilt-free hourly billing and the impetus for finally starting to charge what she’s worth.
Homepage image: Tina Ramchandani | Jacob Snavely