Inevitably, when I meet someone for the first time, the topic of what do you do for a living always seems to make its way into polite conversation. When I inform them I am in the business of interior design and architecture, I am often met with the reply: “Oh, that must be fun. You get to shop all day.” I kindly smile, but realize they have no idea of what it is I actually do or have little regard for what designers and architects really do in their day-to-day life. Interior Design and Architecture were once well-respected professions. Somewhere, there has been a decline.
One could say it is the fact that universities are handing out degrees by the thousands to people who achieve a mediocre level of understanding of the role and duties of interior designers and architects. They have literally saturated the market and job force. If you take a in depth look at those that actually completed degrees in the field of interior design or architecture, how many of them are actually working for firms, own their own business, or even still work in the industry?
I also have to give respect to those who never went to formal education and entered into the field. I have a great deal of admiration for these individuals. The one thing I do know is they have surrounded themselves with others to help them be successful. I have to applaud them. It is virtuous to know the areas that you excel, and to surround you with others who are the best at what they do. Let them compliment you. I think one of the greatest design talents; Vicente Wolf is a prime example of someone with no formal design education that is one of the most talented sought after interior designers of this generation.
I admit; at one time, I was a fan of HGTV. That was until I went to school and gained a greater understanding of what an interior designer’s job description and duty to clients and the world. It didn’t align with what I was seeing on HGTV. In 2011, being a young, emerging designer, I was approached by HGTV to be a designer on a new reality series, Showhouse Showdown. Looking for money, success, fame, and glamour, I jumped on the bandwagon to be disheartened at the world of “reality television.” Of the approximately twelve designers from across the country, Corey Damen Jenkins – to my knowledge – is the only designer that leveraged his appearance on the show to skyrocket his career.
I believe HGTV has done a disservice not only to designers, architects, landscape architects, and real estate agents, but I believe it has done damage to it’s viewers by setting up unrealistic expectations when it comes to budgets and timelines for projects. Let’s be honest.
A few years ago, a new platform, Houzz emerged. “We are a platform for home remodeling and design, bringing
homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community.” I had dismissed it for several years. With the importance of website, Google rankings, blogging, and social media in today’s industry, I thought this might be a viable option to attract more business. I
did my research. I reached out to a several designers across the country that I r
espected. They all had positive feedback on how Houzz has been an affirmative factor in their business. I set up an account. Almost two years later, I have yet to receive a job from this site. Under their Advice tab, there is a forum for Design Dilemma. It is filled with over 300,000 homeowners seeking free advice for their design projects. It seems to me with a site that boasts over 1,000,000 professionals, you as a homeowner would seek out the services and advice of one of these professionals rather than relying on them to give you free advice. At the end of the day, this is a business for me. I can’t afford to give out free advice.
In closing, I feel hopeful for the future of our industry. It is cliché, but the cream always rises to the top. AARON B DUKE is a luxury brand that focus on not only excellence in design, but providing service and an experience for our clients. We carefully chose the projects and clients we decide fit into our core values and beliefs. Craftsmanship, quality, and excellence are paramount to the designs we create, as well as the showrooms, vendors, contractors, and tradespeople we collaborate with on a daily basis to bring our clients design not intended for the masses, but for those who are discerning, worldly, and sophisticated. We enjoy working with clients who appreciate our knowledge, expertise, and experience. There is no need to question our every choice. We chose ones who trust that we are making the finest decisions in their best interest.
We unveiled three different services this year to appeal to a wide audience, while keeping our brand and values in place.