EXPERIENCE HAS TAUGHT ME

It’s been a while- miss you! In case you forgot what I look like since it’s been so long since I’ve posted here’s a quick photo from BlogPodium, with the lovely Sean Stanwick (the other half of the fab Jen Flores of Rambling Renovators– Cutest family ever).

We’ve been busy working on client projects and a few fun media opportunities I’ll be able to share more about in the coming weeks. But what I want to speak about today is experience- and what it has taught me.

Listening to the radio on one of the many commutes I do in between client projects (including a new one in Sudbury Ontario) I heard a saxophone player say he had heard it takes at minimum 10,000 hours to master a craft. This takes into account many hours invested in practice, in making mistakes, taking risks, refining a style, learning from masters. While he was talking about music the same is very true for interior design.

Custom upholstery & pillows at a recently completed Etobicoke condo lobby refurbishment.

I started in this business with a Bachelor of Design in fashion but with no formal training in interiors. I was hired to host / design for a show on HGTV and busted serious chops that summer figuring out how to translate my fashion styling skills into interiors. Clients came as a result of the exposure and a business plan (on a napkin) and a business was born.

In 5 years I learned to focus on a niche- small spaces like condos, hence the blog name “CondosByCanning” (ps I also love modern kids design), that having a business coach is a game changer, and that while you might have passion, you also have got to have strategy behind it in order to succeed and make money.

Speaking of money- I’ve also learned it’s important to charge properly for professional services. I offer a service that is loaded with value. The project management and budget management aspect of a client project is pretty intense- procuring products, delivering products, assembling products, etc. But most importantly, we guide clients in making decisions that are going to improve their quality of life.

To design a room that looks good, reflects the client and improves their quality of life is an important combination of elements. I think the ability to design a “pretty” room has become easier due to tools like Olioboard & Pinterest. However, the last two points I mentioned- reflecting the client and improving their life- I argue this takes experience. It takes the experience of knowing what is out there, knowing who can execute work, & who can execute work well. Experience is also necessary in designing custom pieces- and going custom in my experience has proven to be worth every penny in the value it provides to the clients.

Simply put, there are things I do now that just would not have been possible 5 years ago when I first began. The concepts, relationships, influences I have now simply did not exist then- and all these experiences have made me a better designer and more effective for my clients. This is also why I charge significantly more than what I did in 2007, and definitely why I work with clients that have a budget that can realistically encompass design fees, trades and materials.

That’s my little rant for today- making room to blog a bit more consistently in the coming weeks, with lots of client project updates for you all soon. Hope everyone is enjoying this summer- we certainly are.

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