Designing Women: Best Career Advice from 5 Design Pros

Designing Women: Best Career Advice from 5 Design Pros

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Jennifer Hunter
Apr 23, 2015

Lucky us, we often get to chat with awesome design professionals about their jobs and — lucky you — we always ask them for their best career advice. Looking to get going in a design career? We've gathered their pearls of wisdom right here.

Vanessa DeLeon:

The New York City Interior designer and recent contestant on NBC's Dream Builders says, "Live by the triple "D" motto: Drive, Dedication and Discipline. This motto has helped me to blossom over the years. You can never doubt yourself or what you're capable of. If you want something go after it. Procrastination does not equal success; the time is now!"

Aelfie Oudghiri:

The hilarious founder and designer of her own rug-based business advises, "One of the first things I did when I launched AELFIE was set up a meeting with an accountant. I didn't really know what to ask at that point, but we talked through basic business accounting practices, tax obligations, and things to keep in mind as the company grew. There is a lot of fluffy advice for entrepreneurs out there, but I'm going to get real for a second. Learn Excel. Then learn to love Excel."

Amanda Dameron:

The Editor in Chief of Dwell Media and recent judge on Ellen's Design Challenge told us, "Never underestimate the power of an internship, and don’t hem yourself into a particular specialization too early. Ask questions, and walk through any door that opens to you. That’s the path to figuring out your strengths and weaknesses."

Anna Brockway:

The Founder and Chief Curator of furniture company Charish says, "The best advice I could give is the best advice I received: "If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." - Reid Hoffman
Our first really big decision was deciding when we were ready to open. My experience from the fashion world was to hold off until the site was airbrushed perfect. My co-founders were dead set against waiting. They felt we needed to get the first version of our site up to get some user feedback. This would allow us to answer the first and most important question: Does anyone need or care about this service? I took a deep breath, trusted their advice and we launched with terrible looking visuals and limited inventory. I felt like I did when I got a wedge haircut in 4th grade - totally mortified. But in our first week, people started to buy from us and in week two, we scored our first single sale for $10,000. Quickly we saw that there was a market. Had we waited to launch, we would have wasted resources perfecting something that was only bound to change. Moral of the story: Don't let perfect be the enemy of trying. Or as my handyman Merle says, "Just put some paint on the wall and see what it looks like."

Charlotte Crosby:

The Head of Creative at Farrow & Ball gave us this great gem, "When you first start out make your priority learning and absorbing as much as you can from any and every discipline (even finance!) rather than about moving up the ladder. Be open to try things, even if you don't think you'll like them. Work experience or internships over summer holidays are definitely worth it to understand whether the creative environment is how you imagine it will be."

Pitch in, what advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in design?

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