It’s so refreshing to chat with creative people who have a strong passion for their work. I had the opportunity to speak with New York City-based designer Sarah Sarna on how she started her business and she reminded me of just how important it is to be brave enough to follow your dreams. Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out her fab blog.
Decor Musings: How did you come to branch out on your own as a designer?
Sarah Sarna: I had been working in the interior design industry for 10 years and felt like I had enough experience to go out on my own. I worked at Sara Bengur, Shawn Henderson and Pembrooke & Ives. It was about a two-year decision before I actually pulled the trigger [in 2011] and began telling people my business was official.
DM: How would you describe your decorating style?
SS: I love to travel. I’ve been to France a couple of times and my husband is from India, so I’m drawn to both of those countries in terms of their aesthetic and history. I often pull from images related to French design and Indian fashion. Both have an impact.
DM: What was the most challenging part of going out on your own?
SS: Taking the leap of faith. Collecting ideas and data and thinking about how you are going to make it work. At a certain point, you have to realize you kind of have to just do it. The hardest part is telling someone you have gone out on your own—making it known and thinking what if it doesn’t work out. All your work will pay off, but it takes time. You have to enjoy the process. Otherwise, it becomes overwhelming.
DM: Any other challenges in working for yourself?
SS: There is so much that is unknown. Working as a senior designer at a firm, for example, you are managing projects and don’t have a full understanding of marketing yourself, handling accounting and all the other things besides the design work. So being out on your own means all the little things you had coworkers doing before are left to you.
DM: How did you go about securing clients when you first started?
SS: It’s really word of mouth and friends of friends. A lot of designers start with friends. To trust someone with your home and the way you want to live, you hire people you know or feel you can work with.
DM: How do you stay on top of the latest trends in interior design and keep your skills fresh?
SS: I subscribe to all the shelter magazines, which are great. There’s something amazing about curling up with a magazine. I also subscribe to about 75 blogs that I receive in my e-mail. I don’t have time to read them all every day, but they are fantastic and are always ahead of the magazines. I’ll read about something on a blog and then see it in a shelter magazine the following month.
DM: What are some of your favorite blogs?
SS: I read coco + kelley as often as I can. I also like LaDolce Vita, This is Glamorous and Le Catch. I really like fashion blogs, because there’s a lot of back and forth between fashion and design.
DM: How fulfilling is your work for you?
SS: Going out on my own is probably the best decision I could have made. Every day is exciting and new. It’s really gratifying.