Breaking into any industry can be difficult but design industries can be particularly so. We have been chatting to successful interior designers to get their Top Tips on how to break into the interior design Industry.
COMPLETE A COURSE
It always helps to have a qualification behind you. It will help you to feel more confident and help clients have more confidence in your abilities. There is a huge range of courses out there, look for ones with good reviews and speak to the college or university about their student’s success rates of moving on to the industry.
Possibly even more important than a qualification is experience in the workplace. A course is a great way to gain a strong foundation but time in industry will help you learn how things work in the real world. Many of the designers we spoke to said they wouldn’t consider employing someone without some real-world experience. It can be difficult to gain paid work experience but if you are able to offer to work for free, even for a couple of days, it is a valuable experience and helps your CV look more relevant to potential employers. Even if you are thinking of setting up on your own straight away, industry experience is key to help you avoid costly mistakes and to help you learn how to interact professionally in the industry.
The saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is so relevant here. Making contacts in the industry is key. Suppliers, other industry professionals and media contacts will all be invaluable in helping you to be successful and gain work as a designer. Attend as many industry events as possible. Shows, talks, seminars and networking events are all great ways of meeting people and forging relationships. Remember to always have a business card on you so it is easy to exchange contact details with people.
COMPLETE A PROJECT
Whether it be your own home or that of a family member or friend, the quicker you can complete a project that can be photographed and used as an example of your work and style the better. Clients and employers will be far more likely to work with you if they can see proof of your design abilities.
VISIT TRADE SHOWS
An interior designer is only as good as the products they use. Visit trade shows and read trade magazines to source a range of go-to suppliers that you can build relationships with. Trade shows are a great way of meeting people and seeing new products, see our recent post on trade shows to see the best ones to visit http://weareblanc.com/blancs-trade-insights-the-worlds-best-trade-shows/
GET A MENTOR
Having someone who has ‘been there, done that’ and who can give you advice on what pitfalls to avoid is invaluable. Asking a seasoned interior designer if they would consider mentoring you is a great idea. As long as you respect that the mentor is busy and running a business, most designers find it flattering and are willing to offer advice and answer questions. Proposing a meeting every 6 weeks and the odd email is usually manageable but it is a good idea to ask the designer what they think would work for them.