What do you want to be when you grow up?
At age 13, while in school in a very comfortable suburban midwestern community, my class was given an assignment on careers. I researched interior design; more specifically the kind of education that was required to work in that profession, and what the career choice might mean.
At the projects completion I declared to my teacher and peers that I wanted to be an interior designer!
I spent seven years in college studying design, and before moving to New York City I concocted a crazy mantra, repeating in my head: I want to have my own business within five years. So it was with more chutzpah and ambition than experience that I opened my own interior design business in New York City.
But to have a design business, you must have clients. I had no links to families of fortunes on Park or Fifth Avenue, in Palm Beach or the Hamptons; I did not go to boarding school or any of the Ivy League colleges. So I began working with clients that I had met in the course of my few years in NYC – one of those happened to be a young fashion designer named Michael Kors (but that story is for another post.)
While one can always hope that happy clients will share your name in a favorable light with their friends and colleagues, I have always believed that the media plays a significant role in visibility. So I took an early stand to be VISIBLE. This was of course at a time when the world was still very much analogue, there were only the standard shelter publications and very limited television to gain visibility. Things are quite different today.
Early on I had some good fortune with some print media, and having grown up with a newspaper journalist father, there was a constant stream of current newspapers and news magazines around: TIME, LIFE, National Geographic; it was a familiar landscape to me. My career began to flourish.
Then in 2008 nearly everyone in the design business found themselves in a state of shock when the financial world crashed around us. Like many others, I found myself with a lot of time and very little money. I had heard about these things called Facebook and LinkedIn – and they were FREE, I could definitely afford that!
Following the timeless adage “nothing ventured nothing gained” – I jumped in. By observing others, learning from my mistakes, being open to ideas, and being willing to take some risks, I have learned a lot over the last 6 years.
There have been many people I have interacted with on these platforms, but there are 14 who I have really gained insight from. I’ll talk about them tomorrow morning…