How do you stay on top of your profession?
How do you make yourself the interior designer that everyone wants to use?
Yes, with education and constantly learning you can be the best informed designer on the block!
So what? How does this make me the best designer?
Word of mouth.
If you can solve all your clients problems, and stripped backed to basics, that is generally what we do as a designer, resolve issues in a positive manner. Then your happy client will brag about their wonderful designer who knew about everything they asked. Had an answer for every question and was fully abreast with all the new products available, in touch with the latest trends and a good communicator and facilitator with contractors and providing documentation.
Clients love to brag, lets face it, they have usually just forked out thousands of dollars to make changes in their lives, then they will want everyone to know about it! "Come and visit, we'll cook dinner for you in our new kitchen with the oven that literally tells you how long to roast your meat", or "you have just got to see this amazing new shower system in our ensuite, it has jets that massage your body from every direction", "our new wallpaper is handmade by Chinese craftsmen and takes three weeks to paint just one roll". Do you get the picture?
The friends all then want to know how you got all this wonderful stuff in your home, then you will have the pleasure in telling them that, (I'll use my name as an example!) " Lee Brown, the new interior designer from Christchurch, guided us to make all these decisions, she was wonderful, so many great ideas that we would never have thought of ourselves and had never seen in magazines, you should get her to look at your new living room, she could save you heaps of time and create something quite unique for you too, I'll give you her card, just tell her I sent you."
See what I mean, now how many people are going to be visiting that house? Heaps, so even if you only get one inquiry out of ten, it is good for business. Positive word of mouth is the best way to grow your design business. Lets face it, a service provider can be found in the yellow pages, but a designer is personal, you have to be able to relate and communicate well for your project to be a success and people are much happier to go with a recommendation than an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine.
So back to where I started, education.
Get out there and make an effort to learn something new every day. It doesn't mean reading through text books like you are studying, just see a new product in a magazine, ring up and find out about it, get them to send you a brochure, simple as that, or the obvious one sign up for interiordezine.com's dezine tip of the day and a snipit of design information is delivered via email to your desk everyday! Visit interiordezine.com's website, you can learn about fittings and finishes, fabrics, construction, color, bedrooms, kitchens, modern furniture, and the glossary has all sorts of architectural and interior decorating terms that are a quick way to learn small pieces of useful knowledge. I had to plug the website of course, it has so much to offer!
I have been an interior designer for 14 years and I still learn something new everyday. Actually since starting the website, I have learnt 10 new things a day from all the research I have to do, and it has made me a much better designer.
The point of this article is that interior designers cannot afford to be idle, this is the fashion industry after all, interiors change with the season and we have to keep on top of it or else we will fail.
So you are making a positive start by reading this, keep up the good work!
PS If you don't have a design qualification yet, then we have two areas where you can look for design school education. Design school directory and design school search. Good Luck.
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