Student Success - Victoria Jones

By Sarah Van Arsdale on October 26th, 2009

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!

If you missed earlier installments of this series, here's your chance to read more about the accomplishments of NYIAD students. Just visit our NYIAD Student Success page.

Jens Praet Table

Here’s a catch-22: you are already working in the design field, but you’ve never had any formal training. You decide to go back to school, but attending classes would seriously interfere with running your design business.

“I was already working and had a number of jobs behind me; however, I knew that credentials and proven tricks of the trade, plus professional guidance and help, would be invaluable to growing my business,” Victoria said.

She found that some courses were too pricey, and many required a full-time, two- to three-year commitment.

“This was out of the question as I had to juggle work and finishing the course with promoting my business and helping run my husband's businesses. Sheffield offered the price and the flexibility I needed,” she said.

The main thing Victoria got out of the Interior Design Classes was learning how to use systems in her business.

“I was already doing many of the things I have learned through the course, but now I have a system that I follow instead of inventing a process myself. It's hard enough to run a small business without having to invent the entire process,” she said.

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After

But she also gained two other things which are more abstract but perhaps more important: confidence and affirmation.

“The training has helped boost my confidence, and hearing how others do things and noting that I was ‘on the right track’ makes me feel competent. Sheffield has helped me refine my approach.”

One system that works for Victoria is to keep a portfolio of before and after photos to show prospective clients.

Before
After
Before
After

“Even if it does not relate to their particular project, it delivers a strong visual message. Try and capture the same angles in the before and after. People also love concept boards when you present your ideas. They see that done on TV and think it's really professional. Don't be afraid to develop a color scheme ‘bible’. If a color really works- keep it in your ‘bible'. No need to constantly reinvent the wheel.”

Victoria got her first job the way many successful Sheffield students do: by offering to do someone’s home. In this case, a client of her husband’s wanted to convert a “golf house” into a guest house.

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“My husband told them that I was great with color and interior design and they hired me,” she said. “That was fortuitous — having a husband to pitch my work — but the bigger lesson I learned from this first job was to take time to befriend the contract laborers and the architects on a project, if you can, because they are a great source of future leads. If they like working with you they will refer you to their clients on new jobs.”

Before
After

That kind of communication is crucial. In fact, the challenges Victoria finds in her work are communication, timing, and of course, “staying on top of all the details.”

“You have to be at least three steps ahead of the client in terms of overall vision and anticipating problems and delays,” she said. “Thinking through the big picture all the way down to the smallest detail- and clearly communicating that to all the hands in between.”

Jens Praet Table

But once the project is done, it’s an immensely satisfying feeling. What Victoria likes best about her job is “seeing it all come together at the end and hearing the client sound over-the-top happy.”

Victoria’s most recent project was a remodel that included a wine room, two guest rooms, a living room with home theater and a bar/game room.

But up next is even more exciting — a move to Costa Rica, where Victoria will be “working with Remax to help prospects and real estate investors fulfill their dreams- with designs and furnishings to complete their homes in Guanacaste.”

We’re sure that Costa Rica will be all the more beautiful upon her arrival.


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