Welcome back! Today in The Student Lounge, Trish chats with Laura Stewart, an interior designer, founder of Plinth and Chintz Interior Design Blog, METROCON manager and chairwoman on the Texas ASID. It’s a great interview with loads of succinct advice from Laura on how to break into the industry as a student or emerging designer.
Laura grew up in a small town in West Texas, and didn’t know a single interior designer when she lived there. As a child she had an affinity for art as well as math and science, and later attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas on an engineering scholarship. She said she was good at engineering, but didn’t love it. After graduation, the economy tanked. To pay the bills, she ended up temping in several office environments and became interested in interior design and architecture – somehow! At night, she put together a portfolio and ended up going back to school at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Afterward she ended up back in Dallas and experimented with hospitality design until she was hired on at a small firm to design workplaces, and she loved it!
- Early on, Laura learned that she was more of a project manager than a designer, and she’s good with money. That’s helped her in her own career. Laura recommends the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 to learn about your passions, traits and workplace habits.
- Go to parties and industry events and network. People like to talk to students at these things because they are optimistic!
- You’ve got to know yourself in this business. As you get older, it is easier to understand what you can tolerate, what you love, and the kind of work environment that you can thrive in. Moving forward, learn about how you work and what you actually enjoy.
- You can learn something at every job! Laura temped at a big corporation, and she got to work in different departments and learn about how business actually works.
- Learn about products, but also make friends with product reps. These are the people who know who is hiring, who is leaving and who is going where.
To learn more about the business of interior design and life as a designer after school, visit The Chaise Lounge Podcast.
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Our blog is up and running! Head over now to read a really helpful blog from Taylor Coleman on what she wished she had known before design school and graduation.