The person I chose to interview and shadow is a young woman named Nancy who graduated from the same university I am now attending. I thought it would be interesting to see how she applied a similar educational experience to the field of Interior Design. I knew her when she was a student and I thought that contacting her would allow me a chance to network with someone who had gone through a similar educational experience as I have. I also thought that renewing my friendship with her would provide additional networking opportunities in the future as well as person who could act as a mentor as I graduate and pursue my own career in Interior Design. Finally, I chose to interview Nancy because she has created her own franchise design business which is an avenue I have considered for exploration after graduation.
Networking is a vital and essential aspect to the Interior Design field. Ensuring that many of my colleagues know my name and my expertise will allow them a reference me when they find customers looking specifically for what I offer and vice versa. This can help build my credibility as well as help me grow my business as I obtain recommendations specifically for my talents. To this end I asked a series of questions that shed some light on how to become successful in the field of Interior Design as well as how to advertise and network effectively. First, I wanted to know what courses were most beneficial to Nancy so that I could pay particular attention to these and make the most of the information provided throughout the course. I learned that courses such as lighting and studio are the most useful because they allow for hands on practice. However, Nancy also helped me to realize that all classes have a practical aspect and can be positively incorporated into a career in Interior Design. Additionally, she informed me that she uses her computer and boards training the most.
We then discussed networking in order to seek out clients. Nancy told me about her advertising plans but emphasized that personal contact and word of mouth are the most effective networking techniques available. She told me that she is constantly networking, even when she is at the supermarket! We also discussed working with vendors and contractors. These are additional network resources because building a relationship of mutual trust and respect allows for increased opportunities to grow an interior design business through word of mouth and personal recommendations. We also discussed Nancy’s policy that clients choose their own contractor in order to eliminate insurance issues. At the same time, allowing the client to choose their contractor takes the blame off of Nancy when something goes wrong and allows her to only work with reputable contractors in the future.
The information about networking is extremely useful and valuable to me as I approach graduation. However, the other reason I chose to interview Nancy was because of her expertise in franchise business, which is something I am very interested in for my own career. Therefore, we discussed budget issues and difficult clients as well. This experience provided additional information about the Interior Design business from the perspective of someone who received a similar education and has similar career goals. This conversation made me realize that I have the ability to network effectively as well as plan to own a franchise business one day and I can start before I even graduate.
Overall, the shadowing experience was very positive and has me excited to pursue my Interior Design career. Networking is the first step to setting up a successful franchise business as I build a name for myself and become known for high quality and visually appealing interior design. As I network, I will meet many interesting professionals with the same career goals that I have and this provides the chance to build mutually beneficial relationships as we all work together in our own areas of expertise. Nancy showed me the rewarding aspect of the job and the potential that I have to own a successful business just like the one she has worked so hard for.
Spears, Nancy Sakino. (2009). Personal interview and job shadow. Conducted on January