Alison Giese: Interior Design as Your 2nd(+) Career

Episode 3 January 20, 2023 00:39:04
Alison Giese: Interior Design as Your 2nd(+) Career
The Interior Collective
Alison Giese: Interior Design as Your 2nd(+) Career

Jan 20 2023 | 00:39:04


Show Notes

Alison Giese: Interior Design As Your 2nd(+) Career

Episode Details. Oftentimes the path to success isn’t linear and it might take a little longer than expected to find your true calling. In this episode of The Interior Collective, we’re exploring ageism in the interior design industry, how to avoid it, and if it even matters. If social media makes you feel like starting a career in your 40s or 50s is out of the question, today’s guest is here to tell you that it’s never too late to break into the industry. Award-winning interior designer Alison Giese found her passion for design after making two major career changes and she’s sharing her tips for breaking into the interior design industry, and creating a sustainable, thoughtful business with longevity.

In this episode, Alison and I discuss:

Mentioned in this episode:


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You can follow along with Alison on Instagram, book a call with her on The Expert, and discover more of her work on her website.



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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:04 Sometimes it takes a winding path to find your true calling. On this episode of the Interior Collective, we're exploring ageism in the interior design industry, how to avoid it, and if it even really matters, it's never too late to start building your dreams. An award-winning interior designer, Allison Geese, is walking us through how she built hers. In a world where everything feels fresh and young on Instagram, ick and Felix, like starting a career in interior design in your forties or fifties is totally outta the question. But today's guest, Allison Geese, found her passion for design after two major career changes. And we're exploring your options to not only break into the interior design industry later in your career, but also create a sustainable, thoughtful business with longevity based in San Antonio. Allison Geese Interiors has projects ranging from coast to coast. Her work has been featured in national and regional publications, and Allison was selected as one of the top 100 interior designers in the Washington DC area. Allison's aesthetic is greatly influenced by her travels and experiences from shopping trips to the Mexican artisan markets. As a college student studying in Europe and living in Brazil, her background has cultivated her ability to create a sense of place with unique and worldly elements. Speaker 1 00:01:23 Welcome, Allison. I am so excited to have you with us here today on the Interior Collective, and I'm so honored by your candor and willingness to discuss today's topic of finding your journey a little later in your career as an interior designer. Welcome to the show. Speaker 2 00:01:43 Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here. Speaker 1 00:01:46 I would love to kick things off with talking about your backstory. What roles did you have before you found your calling as an interior designer? Speaker 2 00:01:56 Yeah, so I came out of undergrad with a Bachelor of science and nutrition, and I went straight into medical sales out of school. Did that for about five years. Loved the people part of it, hated the sales part of it. <laugh>, that doesn't go so well when you're a medical sales rep. So really did a huge pivot and went to law school and graduated. Did all that. Got married, we moved outta state and at that point, <laugh>, I was like, am I gonna take the Texas bar even though I don't really live there anymore? So in the meantime, I became a barista at a coffee shop and shortly thereafter became a mother Speaker 1 00:02:32 <laugh>. So that is a very overachieving, <laugh> start story. I don't think all of us can say that. We started nutrition, then got a law degree and then decided to become an interior designer. However, Clara who was on season one actually had a very similar path. She just skipped the nutrition part of it and also the barista part, I believe. What was your thought process at the point of becoming a new mom? Where were you exactly in that? Were you still considering law at the time or had you already moved on to coffee shops? Speaker 2 00:03:10 Well, the short of it is that I didn't really know at that point that design existed as a career. So it was really just a focus as a mom, I was not interested in pursuing a law degree or in the state that we had, I mean, excuse me, a law practice in the state that we had moved to. So it was really just kind of learning how to be a mom at that point. Speaker 1 00:03:29 <laugh>, what steps in your journey do you think started to lead you to interior design? Because none of that really sounds very design ish, so what kind of shifted that focus? Speaker 2 00:03:43 Yeah, well I have always been a homemaker in the sense of I've always loved decorating our home and always, and I've always been exposed to that. So that was always kind of, I think the seed was there. Design really kicked off for me when we moved to Brazil and it was quite isolating at first. I was in an American community, but I didn't speak the language and had a brand new baby. So I was at home a lot. So a friend of mine referred me to an interior design blog and we all know Erica Powell and she was one of the first interior design blogs and I just, you know, my friend said, I think you'll really really get into this. And she's a really great, you know, talks about some really amazing things with home decorating and design. And so I jumped into that and it was like, whoa, wait a minute. People do this for a living. This isn't just like, you know, wealthy housewives doing this for their friends <laugh>. So that really just set the ball rolling for me that, wait a minute, this can be a career. Let me gather some more information on this. Speaker 1 00:04:38 So at this point, you've had two careers really and you have a new family. What steps from finding these design blogs did you take to really start making it into a business Speaker 2 00:04:52 At that point? It was really just about soaking it up and learning as much about design as possible. I mean, I knew that I had, you know, grown up like decorating my room and my mom decorated, but I didn't, I didn't know the technicality of it. I didn't even know the technicality existed. So I really started to absorb that. We had also done some remodeling in our first home in Houston after we got married. So I had dabbled a little bit in that and loved it. Probably should have been a sign at that point that I should have gone into design when I was doing that a lot more than studying for law school. But really and truly it was just soaking up the atmosphere in Brazil. Brazil's a really, really cool design kind of amalgam because there's a lot of mid-century modern going on there, but then there's a lot of kind of the colonial influence from Portugal. So they just really have a vibe happening. Um, so I was really, really soaking that up and not focusing so much on how can I make this a business? Cuz we had really, you know, we were still having babies and young family and all that. So it was just the learning time for me. Speaker 1 00:05:52 And how long were you in Brazil? Speaker 2 00:05:55 Five years. Speaker 1 00:05:56 Oh wow. That's amazing. Yeah. So when you left Brazil and you came back, is that where you established roots in San Antonio? Speaker 2 00:06:04 That's when we moved back. We moved to Virginia. My husband's in government, they were kinda like, you gotta do some time near the flagpole, which is, you know, DC So we moved into, moved into Northern Virginia and at that point, you know, I had a six week old baby, so I still wasn't really thinking business business, but I was starting to lay the groundwork of, okay, do I want to go get some education in this? Do I wanna have some sort of credentialing in this? And I also started to look around at places that I could maybe volunteer or get an internship. And that kind of just started to building on the, okay, I need some technical skill here. Speaker 1 00:06:40 So talk to me about that technical skill side of things. I know a lot of people are seeing young interior designers who say that they're self-taught or just graduated from design school. At this point in your journey, how seriously are you taking the concept of some sort of accreditation? Or if you're like, I just am ready to start taking clients, talk to us about your technical preparation for this leap. Speaker 2 00:07:05 Sure. I think because I had so much education in front of me, I felt like I needed something to hang on the wall. Some sort of piece of paper that said I've got some cred to do this. However, I did not wanna go back to school for four years and most of the people that I, you know, admired or at least a handful of designers that I had seen who were successful at least kind of in the celebrity realm, did not have that technical background. So I, you know, tried to get hired as an intern, but they all, even like unpaid intern internships, they all wanted cad sketch up those things after I did do just a certification course and interior decorating at a community college, I did take a sketch up course, but sketch up is one of those things that I feel like you need to be doing that every day and you need to be building that skillset and it really needs to be your focus. And I couldn't do that. I couldn't do that. Have a small family start to put feelers out to do projects, you know, and try to learn to draw there. So I, it very quickly became, okay, I need to focus on being kind of like the business owner and the lead creative and I can outsource this technical stuff for people who are doing it all the time and doing it much better. Speaker 1 00:08:19 I love that I am a firm believer in outsourcing and that you should be doing the things in your business that someone is actually paying you to do. And believe it or not, people are not paying you to be doing the SketchUp or CAD drawings. They want your design vision and your process, not those super technical elements. So can I ask, this is totally off script, sorry about it. Where did you start to find those people that you outsourced to for those technical drawings? Speaker 2 00:08:47 The first thing I did, and I didn't even, I didn't even outsource like just for technical drawings, I just did a Facebook, I mean at that time it was like, like, I don't know, 2015 ish maybe I did a Facebook job posting <laugh> for a designer and listed that as a skillset that I needed. Speaker 1 00:09:04 So you hired a junior designer with those skills first? Speaker 2 00:09:09 I did. Awesome. I hired, I mean she had come from, she had actually, I would say she was a senior level designer. She had come from a partnership, you know, out of the country. So she was very familiar, you know, she was formally trained, very familiar with the process and all the technical things in her partnership. It was my understanding that she didn't do the business side, she didn't do the most of the client facing things. So I was like, this is great, you can do the technical stuff. I'll be the client facing aspect of it. Speaker 1 00:09:38 So a, at this point you've moved back, you have super young babies actually. And talk to me about how you overcame that fear associated with making that leap, especially with the young family because I know that people are so scared to hire out when you don't necessarily have that list of clientele quite yet. And at this point you're potentially starting your third career. How do you navigate that fear and how did you overcome it? Speaker 2 00:10:05 It was a sink or swim situation, honestly because I got my first whole home project and I knew I couldn't do it on my own. And the fear of failing on that and not looking like I had my, you know, what together <laugh> to a client was worse than the fear of paying someone to help me. So I just jumped in and said I've gotta do this. Speaker 1 00:10:28 I have heard from our listeners that they feel immense pressure in this industry to be young and successful as an interior designer. Do you feel that pressure? Speaker 2 00:10:40 I do feel that pressure, but I don't know that that is legitimately the landscape. And I'm so glad you asked this because what we perceive is not necessarily what's true. I am certainly subject to, I think it's worse, the worst on social media because that is a platform that, you know, a younger generation grew up with, they're very comfortable with it in general. It already kind of sets, you know, people in my generation a little bit further back, it's a little bit more intimidating. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it does feel like everyone on there is very young. But what was the follow up question? <laugh>? Sorry. Speaker 1 00:11:18 No, it's okay. I'm just wondering if you feel that pressure. Like I, I so appreciate that you say that you feel it and you know it's there, but you're also like it's self-induced. Yeah. To be honest. Yeah. So talk to me about how you feel like that doesn't actually matter all that much. <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:11:36 I think what matters more is standing in the space of where we are and acknowledging that, you know, yeah, I'm not, you know, top 40 under 40, but what I do have is crazy life experience. And that applies in every scenario with a client project. In all cases we are trying to improve people's lives through functionality and beauty in their home. And you know, now that I am where I am in my life, I can work with someone who has babies and say, okay, well this was my experience going through that with my children. Maybe we need to think about kind of the next stage. We are not, you know, unless you wanna design specifically to stay in this point. And then we'll, you know, transfer that when they get older. I think the experience is really a bonus that we bring to the table. And I think we're just scared to, and when I say we, I think, you know, people, my generation that maybe feel that feel a little bit of just intimidation at all of the, all of the youth out there, we forget what we actually have in spades, which is the experience. Speaker 1 00:12:43 I completely agree. I think that so much of that pressure comes from social media and as you said, naturally a younger generation grew up with social media that just innately includes a slight advantage in marketing their business and putting out that young and successful persona. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'd love to talk to you about how you've tackled your social media marketing efforts because I think you do it so, so, so well. So explain to me how that came to fruition. You've been doing Instagram really since you started and you have seen that the power of what that holds and you've totally held your own in this younger successful persona of Instagram. What does your social media plan really look like and how are you managing it with your business? Speaker 2 00:13:29 Oh gosh, I wish I had a bigger plan. Speaker 2 00:13:34 Let me just start by saying, I think that as you know, this is really a generalization, but I think my generation does get a little intimidated just by the technicality of it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, whether it be the size of the device, the apps that you use to create content. I am grateful that that doesn't intimidate me. In fact, it's interesting to me. I usually have a really clear vision, if not a, if not a big plan. I have a vision individually about what I want to say or what I want to convey and the feeling I want to convey. So it's really cool to me that we have access to conveying that almost like in a producer director role, we can take music and your words and imagery and, and build this, you know, aesthetic basically. So that is interesting and fun to me and I do think that makes it easier for me, but I still suffer the pitfalls of, oh my God, I don't feel like creating content today. I don't have an Insta husband following me around with a camera to get my best angles. Like I, you know, I'm not in the mood. I've got client work that is definitely a priority. So the content creation is certainly overwhelming, but when I've got my game on <laugh> and I'm, and I can and I can create the content, I actually don't mind it so much. Speaker 1 00:14:50 Do you hire out your social media and is it like, is it managed by someone else and is that person in-house or contract? Speaker 2 00:14:57 This is the first year that I have actually hired someone to help me with social media. I have always done it myself. Wow. And it feels like a business baby. So it is really hard to let go. But I did just take a step back this year and realize also the kind of mental health aspects that it was having on me. Not just the pressure to to post so much and create content, but just the pressure of kind of being on the app, which you inherently are if you're doing your own social media. So I did, I did hire out a company to be consistent with my posting. We do some content strategy and kind of big picture outlook, but I'm still, you know, the person creating the videos and like sending 'em their way and saying, Hey, can you put this together in a reel? Or sometimes I have an idea for a reel and I'll be like, okay, I'm gonna put this together. Can you put it to music or something. So it, it's a little bit of both but I, I still have my hand very much in that pot. <laugh>, Speaker 1 00:15:54 The concept of Instagram and TikTok and Pinterest can feel super overwhelming to someone coming from a different career in their forties, especially someone who is in something like nutrition or law. How necessary do you feel focusing on social media really is to your business now that you've lived through it? Speaker 2 00:16:14 I think it really goes to what your business goals are. If you need to build a brand, if you need brand exposure, then I think social media is probably the necessary evil. There's no way around that. But if you are, you know, just cool with like, hey, I'm going to plan with a radar and really have a successful business. I don't need partnerships or brand awareness or all that, I just need to have a good reputation in my field and my ideal clients aren't necessarily on Pinterest or TikTok or Instagram, then it might not be the best use of resources. That's still coming full circle for me cuz I am still figuring out what my, what success means to me. You know, I've done the social media part, I'll probably continue to do it, but I put less mental weight on it, certainly that if I haven't grown to the point that I, you know, feel like I should be on follower numbers or engagement numbers or anything like that, it's not a reflection on the success of my business. Speaker 1 00:17:17 As Instagram continues to evolve and I know this season we're gonna do a dedicated social media episode, I just wanna say that I feel that so, so deeply and coming to a place where you can, can really understand what your goals are with social media, whether that is to convert clients or to be really honest and say, I do want a big following. I think it's really important to not only look back at that decision and what that goal is and reevaluate that goal on a fairly regular basis because you might initially say it's just to book clients and after you've put all of this time and energy and resources into creating content for six months and you feel you haven't grown a lot and it makes you feel a certain way, that's when you might need to look back at your original goals and remind yourself that hey, you did book to clients over that six months because they found you on Instagram even if you didn't grow exponentially with your number of followers or engagement. Speaker 1 00:18:17 So I really appreciate you sharing that journey that you're going on because I am absolutely living through that as well. One of the first impressions prospective clients have of your brand is your website. If you don't have a strong online presence to show off your work, though you're losing out on potential clients. ICO Studio offers a selection of limited edition website templates designed specifically for interior designers just like you. If you're looking for a more hands-off experience, you can add on implementation and professional copywriting and we'll have your new website up and running within a few short weeks visit to choose your favorite before it sells out. Earlier in our convo, you mentioned something that I think is so important to those listening who are thinking about either jumping careers or starting a career in interior design later in life. You were talking about how you have a specific skillset that these younger, super successful designers don't have and that is life experience. Talk to me about what specific skills you feel like you as an individual bring to your projects that are unique to someone who took the scenic route into interior design. Speaker 2 00:19:27 My particular scenic route because it was non-creative, I think is interesting because I, I do have a very analytical brain sometimes that gets in the way of creativity <laugh> and sometimes I hate that. Like I wish I was just one of those crazy creative people sometimes. But I think the analytical aspect is really appreciated by clients because it's not just about, oh but this is beautiful, make your house beautiful. It really is about how is this going to make your life better? How are you gonna function better in your home? How is it going to make you feel better in your home? And that's as much analytical as it is, you know, creative. Um, you know, I think there probably is a part of me that was born litigator at least I think that's part of how I ended up at law school is cuz my dad used to always say, you need to be a lawyer, you need to be a lawyer. And I think it's cause I argue really well, but law school does hone your skills for building a case and creating an argument and mm-hmm <affirmative>, sometimes you do have to basically create an argument, not an argumentative sense, but you have to lay out facts and back them up as to why you think a design element is critical for a client. Sometimes they just wanna know why and you have to, you have to give that rationale. Speaker 1 00:20:46 So before I hit record and we were chatting before we started the podcast today, I mentioned to you how today's topic was actually the most requested topic that we had people email in about and the most questions that anybody asked, whether it was on Instagram or on the blog talking about this next season, was how to make the career jump if you're not starting out at 25. So I wanna go through a few of those questions with you and get your take on them. One of the questions was, how do designers avoid ageism and is that even a real issue in the industry? Speaker 2 00:21:26 <laugh>, I can't say I've been called a boomer designer. I think it's more the less the ageism outright as it is the glorification of youth and this appearance that the younger you are and the more successful you are, the better. I think it's really part of a bigger, you know, American obsession with youth and beauty that ties into that. However, I do think that there, you know, we combat it by, you know, again, just really embracing where we are in life and not trying to be something that we aren't or me that means not putting filters on my Instagram videos, even on days when I'm like, oh my goodness, I really don't wanna post this and it's raw form. But if we blur out the lines and all that, then we also kind of blur out the, the evidence of our experience. So I really think that's important in combating that is kind of as a whole, as a generation, you know, women in this, in this age group really just need to stand together. And I know it sounds cheesy but, but really just embrace where we are in life because it's a great place. It's not anything to be scared of. Speaker 1 00:22:42 I love that when I first received this question, I was actually surprised because it's coming from a perspective that I'm not at I, I'm quickly creeping up to, I guess you could say middle age <laugh>. But I'm definitely coming from like the younger business owner side of things and I feel like this being more experienced and an older designer is this incredible asset because I feel when you are talking to someone during the courtship phase of your design project, having someone who has tons of experience or just even is older can be a much easier sell to a couple when there's multiple decision making partners in a relationship. And so I think that if you are feeling like this is something you're up against, remember your goals as an interior designer and in your business because having that experience makes you that much more legitimate in designing someone's home in managing these large budget projects. Speaker 1 00:23:47 So I challenge you to reframe your mindset if you're listening instead of feeling I'm too old to be doing this, say that I am old enough to justify every single decision I make throughout this process. And that also goes on the flip side. If you're feeling like you're faced with some ageism in the industry, ask yourself, is that because it's what you're seeing on social media and is that because you're comparing yourself to an influencer where that is possibly more susceptible to that younger, more beautiful look that Allison's talking about. And if you really are focused on what your goals are as an interior designer, I think your age can be one of your biggest selling points. Speaker 2 00:24:29 Yeah, I completely agree. Yeah, Speaker 1 00:24:32 It feels like the design world is all about being young and fresh with new perspectives. Someone asked how do you stay so relevant Allison, while maintaining your distinguished and established point of view? Speaker 2 00:24:46 I was thinking about this the other day because you know, people have a hard time I think determining their personal style when it really is there. They're just, it's hard to latch onto. There are things that you have always loved and probably find yourself going back to and that's like your core style. That's your core aesthetic, that's what you love. But for me, I also love, you know, pop culture and music and art and fashion, you know, and I keep up on that just kind of as for fun. But I do think it helps you keep on the pulse of you know, what's trending, what's, what's fresh, what's going on. You know, just observing it doesn't mean that you have to incorporate all of that into your work, but I just try to loop a vein of that into what is my core aesthetic and then I usually have a good marriage between feeling fresh and feeling true to my work. Speaker 1 00:25:43 So the last question that was submitted for you, someone was saying that it feels like designers need to have partnerships or launch an e-commerce website to have an upward trajectory in their career. Do you agree with this and what do you realistically think a long career for the average interior designer looks like? Speaker 2 00:26:05 I think that also is one of those things that we see a lot of it on social media. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, we see a, you know, everyone has partners, like not everyone, it seems like people we aspire to be like design-wise, they have the partnerships, they've got the book deals, they've got the shows, they've got, you know, all the things. So I think we perceive it as being that's the way, you know, establish a brand and that's the way to have longevity. I don't necessarily think that that's the only recipe for me. It's about establishing relationships with architects, builders, professionals who I admire their work and really kind of creating that core creative community. I mean these are brilliant people that I wanna work with and those are people that are not gonna go by the wayside. Those are relationships that are going to be there. You establish your cred and you do a good job with those people that refer you and you'll keep having work because you know, good design doesn't grow old. That to me feels like something that's authentic and sustainable for a long-term career. Speaker 1 00:27:07 I love that. Thank you for sharing that. I know you have a really amazing partnership. You designed gorgeous cabinetry with unique kitchens and baths and every project you roll out with them, I'm just like, okay, we need to redesign our house. Cause I wanted to look exactly like one of Alice in houses. Speaker 2 00:27:23 Thank you. Speaker 1 00:27:24 Allison, what are you most proud of about your business? Speaker 2 00:27:29 Gosh, I was thinking about this, and this might be personal, but you know, the last two years have been so crazy, crazy for everyone. But we, you know, my husband got orders that we were moving to Texas, which was so fantastic. That was like February right after lockdowns <laugh> or right as lockdowns were starting to happen, especially in Virginia, we got word that we are moving. So that was fantastic. But you know, so we moved cross state, you know, in the middle of a pandemic, I lost my mother to suicide. So that was devastating. So I'm proud of just, sorry, my voice is shaking out. I am proud of just being here and sorry, anesthesia. Speaker 1 00:28:08 No, don't be sorry. Speaker 2 00:28:11 I'm so sorry I wow, that kicked me outta nowhere. Speaker 1 00:28:15 I cry on every episode so don't worry. <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:28:17 Geez. So I think a lot of people would've just been like, whoa, Jesus <laugh>, um, maybe this is time to take a step back. So I am proud of just kind of standing tall and staying here, but also the fact that we are so scrappy in agi. I I have no formal business training prior to this. I have no formal design training prior to this. So everything has been a, you know, learn from experience, kind of recreate the wheel kind of thing. And I just think there's something to be said for that. And we're, we're still here and you know, we're profitable and we're, we're doing pretty dang well <laugh> Speaker 1 00:28:56 <laugh>. That's amazing. It's amazing to watch your, your business grow and your team thrive and you're obviously juggling so, so, so much. Thank you for sharing that. Alison. Going from a traditional nine to five job or close to it before to running an interior design studio at all hours of the day can be a huge transition for both yourself and your family. How did you set boundaries and how do you set boundaries with your clients to proactively control your schedule both professionally and personally? Speaker 2 00:29:30 We do try to lay that groundwork right from the beginning. We have bought the ID code templates. I'm so <laugh> grateful for those, whether it be investment guide and you know, email templates. So we do communicate that please communicate to us, you know, through email, not text. However, that does still infiltrate our life. You know, there are still things that clients will text, text us about, but what we, you know, pretty much go by is just because you receive a text doesn't mean you have to answer it. It's certainly not right away. So that's kind of, you know, that aspect of it. The other part of, you know, blurring the lines between personal and work is harder because I do still office at home a lot. There's really never a turnoff time and I, I, you know, that is something I'm constantly working on is, you know, time blocking to say, okay, let's returning it off now let's step away. Speaker 2 00:30:21 But sometimes like after eight o'clock when the kids have started to wind down or we're trying to get them to wind down <laugh>, that's when my creative, you know, part hits or mm-hmm You know, I may be thinking less about the day-to-day business running and something will stir. So you hate to turn those moments down <laugh>, but you know, I do have, my design coordinator does text me at nine o'clock and she'll say, don't answer this, put your phone away. I hope you're not on your computer. You know, <laugh>. So I do have some accountability on that too. Speaker 1 00:30:54 <laugh>, I am just like that. I say that nine to five is for running my business and anytime after 8:00 PM is when I'm actually a creative person. <laugh>. Yeah. So I definitely feel that. Alison, how old are your girls? Speaker 2 00:31:10 My oldest is 15, she'll be driving next year, middle's 12 and baby is nine. Speaker 1 00:31:16 Wow. So you have like a busy household of girls and you are still balancing it all and I feel like you're such an involved parent, which I admire so, so, so much. But to hear that you've been able to set those boundaries while also not really compromising on your creative process and how you actually like to manage jobs is really, really inspirational for me. So thank you for going into that A little more detailed. You had mentioned in our pre-interview discussion that you had an overwhelming response from your community on Instagram and elsewhere as you shared your late bloomer status. What advice do you have for those listening who are considering taking the sleep? Speaker 2 00:31:59 I would say make a plan. <laugh>, when I was in medical sales, I literally came home one day, told Ben my, at that time, boyfriend that I just didn't think I wanted to do sales anymore. And I, he was like, well if you go to law school, I turned around and I quit and I applied to law school <laugh>, I don't recommend that I would say develop an exit strategy, whether that be six months, a year, figure out, you know, maybe start taking some side gigs and doing some things, doing some side side hustles and designs. See if it's really where, what you think it is before just taking the plunge. But I would, if you feel that burn there, there that is your, your heart, your soul, your body telling you that something is there, I would definitely follow that. But I would do it with sort of like a reverence to, you know, but it, it's not easy. It is not easy. So map out of map, out of plan and then go for it. Speaker 1 00:32:58 So let's say someone's planning this and maybe they have been a stay-at-home mom and their kids are leaving for college and they're getting ready to step back into the workforce. Workforce in the sense of having their own business or they're ready to change careers. Um, you mentioned having the opportunity to maybe like test the waters a little bit and have an exit plan. I know a lot of our listeners are type A personalities and are like, if I'm gonna do something, I'm gonna go all in. And so the concept of like dipping your toe in while you're still working at your previous role can be stressful to someone who doesn't want to eliminate kind of that level of control or that ability to focus entirely and wholeheartedly if someone's going to make that step. Do you have any advice for like where to invest in potentially building this business before you've even committed to doing so? I know everybody wants their client experience to be really great from the beginning, but if you're like, I'm still testing the waters, do I even want to like hash out this process that I don't even necessarily know yet? Should I have a brand in a website? Should I start telling people on Instagram that I'm taking clients? If you could do it all over again, how would you roadmap that? Speaker 2 00:34:15 The only thing I would probably change in my journey is to try harder to work for another interior designer so that I could have seen the inner workings of the business. That has been, I mean our process continues to evolve and I think that that is probably the case for a lot of particularly small design firms is that you're constantly evolving your process. You're constantly learning from every client and every project. But I still think it would've been hugely beneficial to have seen the inner workings and while you see that, you probably also see how much do they devote to marketing? You know, are they getting clients without even having to try it at marketing? Is it just on referral? That sort of thing. And it, it just gives you an overall, I think it would've been easier to kind of prioritize because when you're starting out scratch from your own, you feel like you have to do all the things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> because you, that's what you see, but truly you don't, there's, there's probably, you know, three things that are the key to doing well in the first year or two. So just figuring out what those are is probably more important. Speaker 1 00:35:25 I have just a couple more questions for you as we get ready to wrap up. The first being, what do you want your three girls to know when they're thinking about what they want to be when they grow up? Speaker 2 00:35:39 I want them to know that they, they don't have to know that, they don't have to know at 20 or 30 or 40 <laugh> what they want to do when they grow up. Certainly not when they graduate from high school. When these kids are expected to, you know, pick a degree and oh, that's what I wanna do now we so encourage our girls to, you know, follow maybe more of the European model of take a gap your work, you know, build up, build up a little bit of a mess of a, you know, savings account so you don't go into crazy amounts of debt right off the bat that there's no, there's no expectation that they have to have it figured out right off the bat. For sure. You know, I took such a scenic route and it's kind of crazy, but I don't think I change a thing. Speaker 1 00:36:30 I love that. I definitely envision for my future family that things can happen slowly and what matters most is discovering what your passions are and then we can figure out a career. Speaker 2 00:36:44 Yeah, for sure. Speaker 1 00:36:46 Lastly, as we conclude, I always like to break fun news first on our episodes with our guests. Can you share any exciting updates coming to a g I soon, Speaker 2 00:36:58 Oh my gosh, there is pressure on this Pressure, pressure <laugh> probably, I mean it's not like a press release kind of thing, but we've got some crazy cool new builds we're working on with an architect here in San Antonio and I'm just so, so grateful to have been pulled in on a referral and it, the collaborative process has just been like mind blowing. So super excited about that. One of them's a lake house so you know, really flexing kind of a kind of a retro vibe with it and it's just so fun. Speaker 1 00:37:30 Ugh, I cannot wait to see those. That is super exciting news. You're crazy. That's amazing. I to see you in like Speaker 2 00:37:38 Two years on those <laugh> Speaker 1 00:37:40 <laugh>. Perfect. We'll circle ba back around then when they are finished. Thank you so much for your time today. I have really enjoyed everything you've shared and I feel so much closer to you than we even were just as Instagram friends before. So thank you so much for your time and we will chat again very soon. Speaker 2 00:38:00 Wonderful. Thank you so much for having me. Speaker 1 00:38:04 Allison Geese is the positive cheerleading mentor we all need in our lives. Her gorgeous work brings heritage and depth to central Texas and beyond, and I'm so grateful to have her nearby. You can follow along with Allison at Allison Geese Interiors on Instagram or book a call with her on the expert. If you're listening on the go and miss details of this episode, you can find all the links, projects and images we referenced and other details from this episode of the Interior Collective on our website at iica dodge studio slash podcast. We're excited to be back for season two of the Interior Collective. As always, your reviews make a big difference to us. If you have questions or topics you'd like to hear this season, email [email protected]. Again, that is

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