Interior Design can be a tough industry to get into. Recently we were asked by an Interior Design Graduate about whether they should start up their own business having had little-to-no luck in being able to break into the industry for the past 2 years. This is the advice that we gave:
Do you have experience as a junior designer? Have you worked in another studio?
I would implore you to please not start your own business without getting experience. Interior design is 80% business and 20% design. You need to know what you’re doing when it comes to contracts, fees, CPD, PAYE, VAT, Corp tax, bookkeeping, hour tracking, library sourcing, opening trade accounts, managing invoices…just as a start.
You learn this by experience by watching and then doing. Going it alone without a wealth of knowledge behind you is not just hard it can be damaging to the industry.
I realise it can be extremely hard when it seems like there is nothing out there but it’s worth learning all of this with another company before setting up your own. University does not (unfortunately) teach you these things.
If you can’t get a job as a designer it’s worth doing jobs that are adjacent to the industry to gain experience. Is there a design centre in Ireland that is looking for reps? Maybe that would be a good place to start. Become an encyclopaedia of knowledge in a niche of the market. Learn every Martindale test for fabrics, find out what tiles have the highest non-slip rating, learn the FR rules, whatever it maybe you will find that even working with interior designers in that way by being a resource for them may be a better way in than trying to start your own business.
There is so much to learn out there and lots of different ways of doing it. The industry can be super tough to break into but going it alone is not the answer. Be a resource. Be invaluable. Keep educating.