Student Success - Eileen Sanger-Profit

By Sarah Van Arsdale on April 13 2003

NYIAD students are out there in droves decorating clients' homes, serving as consultants in department stores, and re-designing everything from metropolitan penthouses to lakeshore cottages. If you've started your own business, if you've been hired by a decorating firm, or if you've achieved success in some other way in the field of interior design, we want to hear from you! Click here to let us know about the waves you're making!

© NYIAD Student - Eileen Sanger Profit

NYIAD students are fully aware that interior design is much more than knowing how to match fabrics. It involves business savvy, an artistic sensibility, and a passion for working with people. NYIAD graduate Eileen Sanger-Profit has been able to bring these elements together to create a successful business for herself, landing two clients just months after graduating.

With 30 years of experience creating oil paintings and teaching painting, Eileen first became interested in interior design when her husband, a building supply salesman, started recommending that his contractors? clients consult with her about wall color. Eileen started creating faux wall finishes for these clients, and quickly realized that she would benefit from some formal education in interior design.

Eileen enrolled in and completed an adult ed class in interior design at her local high school.

?I enjoyed the class so much that I looked for an Interior Design school in my area. I didn?t have time to go to class full time, so I ended up looking online. That?s when I found NYIAD,? she says. ?I completed the course in eight months, and after receiving my diploma, my first client called,? she says.

© NYIAD Student - Eileen Sanger Profit

Eileen landed her first clients by putting together her business skills with her design sense, when a friend with a hand-painted furniture business asked her to leave some business cards. Wanting to really catch the customers? attention, Eileen did more than just bring in a stack of little cards.

?I decided to raise my chances of getting clients by putting together a small pamphlet describing each design service I had to offer,? she says. ?Surprisingly, I received my first client within one week of leaving the pamphlets, and just the week after, I received another.? Both clients wanted to make over their living rooms.

As her business and her confidence have grown, Eileen has found that working for herself suits her personality.

?I enjoy working freelance because I can make my own hours and my own decisions. It was scary at first, but after designing several interiors, my confidence grew,? she says. ?I do have to remain focused on my original concept, which takes a lot of discipline. It?s the only way I would work.?

While a background in art is certainly not a requirement for becoming a successful designer, Eileen?s experience as a painter has helped her talk with her clients about color.

© NYIAD Student - Eileen Sanger Profit

?Whether the client wants a cool, warm, or monochromatic color theme, the choice within their design is easily accomplished. I find most clients have a fear of color, and with a little coaxing, I can usually persuade them into soft color.?

While some people think designing a home?s interior is just a matter of throwing together the right elements, Eileen has learned that careful planning is everything.

?I find most people have some wonderful pieces in their homes, but just can?t put them together. With a proper floor plan and some adding or subtracting of pieces, their room is easily transformed,? she says.

Her clients have the final say, and the beginning say as well.

?It is important to me that the client has a lot of input. I never push clients in a direction that they don?t wish to go. If a color scares them, I suggest softer tones. If the price scares them, I go out of my way to find a better price. In the end, when they have added their opinion, the room becomes theirs, and they are proud and comfortable with the outcome,? she says.

© NYIAD Student - Eileen Sanger Profit

But for all the skills and experience Eileen brings to her clients, perhaps the most important element at work is that she loves her work.

?I think clients see my enthusiasm, and soon they become excited and anxious to see the results. Interior design has enabled me to use my creativity in a way that helps others,? she says.

And the greatest payoff is in the clients? response to her work: ?Hearing my clients say things like, ?I just love this room,? is the most rewarding thing to me. And it?s these happy clients who refer me to my next job,? she notes.

Come learn at our interior decorating school and become a success just like Eileen!