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Decorating & Furniture/Interview -please answer as many as you can

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Question
How do you make your job fun?

How did you get started?

What do you like/dislike about your job?

Where did you get training/experience?

How many hours do you work per week?

What are some of the stressful parts of your job?

How do clients find you/ how do you find them?

What types of skills do you need?

Answer
Aimee,

I gather you are interested in a possible career in design.  I hope my answer encourages you.

1) My job is inherently fun.  Working with clients and the relationship you develop with them is the best.  Climbing inside their heads, and making their dreams become reality with my talent and knowledge is incredibly satisfying.  Teaching my clients about design AND specifics (about furniture, color, lighting, etc) is very important and that is among the many reasons I have been as successful as I am.  Of course, there is NO substitution for talent and hard work.
2) Long answer cut VERY short... 22 years ago I was hired by a design firm as the Business/General manager, out of necessity, I helped clients.  Within six months, I was their top producing designer.  I was relentless in my quest to learn, reading everything available (back then, there were no TV shows to turn to.)  
3) I love most everything about my job.  I love how everything changes, that you are always working with new people, new colors, textures, styles, mediums, etc.  I love the relationship I develop with my clients, I love seeing the vision become reality, I love the challenges presented by many circumstances.  

I get exhausted by the long hours.  It is difficult at times dealing with clients who freak out as the job is in progress... they fear that the end result will be poor as they don't necessarily understand the 'stages' of a project.  Much like building a house... you don't drive up to a house that is merely framed and say, "Oh, this is a BEAUTIFUL house... I love it."  It has to be FINISHED before that vision is complete.  It is also frustrating dealing with designer 'wannabes'... people who feel that just because they have an affinity for design that they would be successful OR that they 'should' be great.  There is NO substitution for hard work, endless hours of HANDS ON experience.  Trial and error, reading, researching, sketching and just plain old hard work.

4) I am largely self taught.  Again, I spent hours upon hours reading, going to the library, reading magazines, etc.  I did take seminars and classes at industry events and trade shows.  I still do.  Several years ago I was approached by CCM to teach Interior Design at the college level.  I taught for several semesters.  It was one of the most satisfying things I ever did.  

5) I generally work at least 6 days per week, generally 16 hours per day.  My contractors start calling for direction by 6:30AM to 7AM, and I am on the road, more often than not, until after 11PM.  This is not a job for the faint, or week of heart... unless you are working for a large firm and have a very small segmented part of an overall project.  

6) Answered above.
7)  I have been in business for over 18 years... clients find me, plus, I have a design center/store.  I am extremely fortunate to enjoy a very good reputation.  Hard work and a belief in ALWAYS doing the right thing has served me well.

8)  Interestingly, there are many skill necessary for this job that one wouldn't think of at first pass.  Obviously, strong design talent is imperative.  There is no substitute for knowledge, in EVERY area.  A designer must know the furniture industry, flooring industry, lighting, fabric, window treatments, space planning etc.  THEN... a good designer should be a great psychologist, a diplomat, a wonderful team player, with wonderful interpersonal skills.  THEN, a great designer should be able to visualize, draw, understand MATH... be good with a measuring tape, at giving understandable direction, be able to make good decisions on a dime.

In conclusion, this is not an EASY career.  It requires great passion, dedication and hard work.  HOWEVER, I can not imagine doing anything else... ever.  I love my work.  As with anything truly worthwhile in life, it gives me back at least as much as I give it.  

I hope this answers your questions!!  I encourage anyone who is willing to work their butts off to follow their heart and their dream to do so.  As my husband says... I wish your clients knew how much of YOU and your heart you give to them.... I like to think they do!!

Best of luck to you,
Julie Henry
Julie's Interior Designs
Hackettstown, NJ
908-684-3900
www.juliesinteriordesigns.com

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Julie Henry

Expertise

In the past 22 years, I have assisted countless residential (and some commercial) clients in the design and decorating of their homes. Within reason, I can assist on ANY question for the interior of your home. From design of a new home or addition, to layout, color, truly custom window treatments or just accessorizing... as our brochure says... from ceiling to floor, windows to walls and EVERYTHING in between... if it is for the Interior of your home, call Julie's Interior Designs. Well... you don't have to call, just write and ask!

Experience

With twenty two years of experience, 18 of them self employed with a large showroom/retail store and great staff on my team, there is little I/we haven't encountered. For several years I enjoyed being the on air "Home Editor" of the local cable station and have written a column in several local newspapers for years. Taught Interior Design at the college level. My work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers. This is the greatest job on earth, and not nearly as easy at it looks...

Education/Credentials
William Paterson College, NJ, Ramapo College NJ, Continuing Education with trade periodicals, etc.

Awards and Honors
Multiple for custom window treatments, best local business in our county (located in northwestern NJ,) best home furnishing store in our county, etc.

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