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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