Design professional who is transitioning from fashion to a career in Interior Design.

So that's the opening sentence and reality of my world! I have been a Children's Wear Designer, in NYC, for the past 23 years. I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and received a BFA in Fashion Design. It has been rewarding and considering I have worked 4 days a week much of my career, and make a good living, I shouldn't complain. BUT personally it feels like Groundhog Day! I should warn you now I will proof read this but English/ Spelling (thank goodness for spell check) and grammar have never been one of my strong points. 

Going back to my childhood, my mother for the first 12 years of my life was a stay at home super creative mom. She wallpapered, painted, sewed and could make whatever she wanted. My father had an aluminum siding and roofing business. Both my parents came from large families. My mom was the oldest of six children, while my dad was third youngest out of eight. Most of my uncles were in construction from small jobs, to full house remodels and rental properties. As a child I was up on the roof and always around some sort of remodel/ construction job site. If my families houses were being improved my uncles did the work themselves. I loved seeing the mess turn into beautiful spaces.

In High School, I was in the Fashion Design program and we had an annual fashion show, where I made several garments from scratch. I didn't know that Interior Design existed as a career option back then so my creative outlet was fashion. I took classes at F.I.T. on Saturdays and then during the summer for High School students. When I graduated (a year early), I ONLY applied to F.I.T. so THANK GOODNESS I was accepted!! I was married and had a baby from the age of 16 so I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't been accepted. Luckily "it all worked out" and I graduated F.I.T. in 1996. I was only 5 years into my career when I realized  I wasn't going to want to do this the rest of my life. I owed a house by then and loved decorating and remodeling. I also pretty much only watched HGTV which is when I realized, I wanted to be an Interior Designer when I grow up!!

I attended night classes in Interior Design and in 2004 I received my degree. Around the same time we took on a huge remodeling project of our home. We added an entire second floor and extended the house out 10 feet. With the help of my step father and brother-in-law, I designed the entire remodel, which was given to the architect to draw up for the permits. My uncle was the contractor that did the remodel so I had hands on experience though out the entire process. Every morning at 7am we went over the plan for the day. The house went from a 1975 sq ft ranch to a 3800 sq ft 2 story home (including the basement). With my degree out of the way and the distractions of the house, I faux finished, applied venetian plaster, painted and designed my house. I LOVED every minute of it. Life happened, my son attended college and a career change was just not an option. So I continued on as the not so glamorous "Fashion Designer".

Fast forward to today.... Finally after dabbling here and there over the years in Interior Design projects, I am in a position to make a career change! I am super excited for what the future will bring. I hope you will follow me in my journey as I transition from Fashion Designer to Interior Designer : ))) I hope to aspire everyone to follow their dreams because I truly believe that if you put your mind to something and work hard ANYTHING is possible!!!


Nicole de la Cruz

(my alter ego since my husband spells it Dela Cruz but I told him de la Cruz is more glamorous lol a la Oscar de la Renta ; ))

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Interior Design Podcasts

In my internet search to learn what I wasn't taught in school I stubbled upon several Interior Design Podcasts. I've never listened to any before but in the past few months I found three that I'm obsessed with! Since I graduated college I believe there was a major shift in the Interior Design Industry. As a way of building business many successful designers and industry partners started podcasts and coaching, as an extension of their business. Through these, they teach and inform others of their experiences and knowledge. Listening to the podcasts has been so informative for me. I have a pen and notebook out while listening and take detailed notes. Most have show notes written up that you can download and print, but I have always absorbed and retained information better when I write things down.

The podcast I discover was Million Dollar Decorating. The shows host James Swan, speaks to established successful Interior Designers. He asks them a series of questions. Some of these are when they discovered their love of decorating, their education and background, how they started out and at what point they started their own business. His podcast is extremely inspirational especially since several of his guest have discovered their love of design and decorating later in life and after careers in other industries. Having spent the last twenty three years in fashion I can relate and am inspired by their stories. James, an interior designer himself, has 578 podcasts episodes and even with bing listening I'm not even close to being up to date!

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The next podcast I found was The Chaise Lounge: Interior Design with Nick May. He is not an Interior Designer but a painting contractor. He has a successful business and learned through the years of working with Interior designers that many do not know about building a business: building systems, marketing, managing employees, and sales. He interviews successful Interior Designers with the hope of helping to educate others to be successful as well. He has 158 podcast shows and again I am not even close to caught up!

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The last podcast I'm listening to is A Well-Designed Business with LuAnn Nigara an award-winning window treatment authority. She owns and runs a successful window treatment company, Window Works, with her husband and cousin. The show airs three times a week on itunes and features in-depth conversations with interior designers and industry professionals on just about every subject on the business of interior design, from “Branding for Designers,” “How to Get PR,” and “How to Structure Your Fees.”

I have to admit I listen to her show regularly. For me the person who really made me realize my love of Interior Design was Candice Olson and her HGTV show Divine Design. That is what sparked my interest and sent me back to college. LuAnn interviewed Candice on one of her shows where she spoke about the "luck" or hard work and sweat that it took to reach her level of success. I have to admit I LOVED her interview and she is still my favorite designer role model!! I truly want to be Candice Olson when I grow up! 

LuAnn's interview with former Fashion Designer Robin Baron was especially inspirational for me. She spoke about getting clear on your goals and that you have to be ready for them. What I realized from listening to her show was that when I originally graduated with my Interior Design degree ten years ago my life wasn't aligned with my goal of having a new career. As Robin mentioned I too just wasn't ready at that time. My kids where younger, we had just remodeled our house, my son went to college and I wasn't ready to have the same level of commitment that I do now. That was quite an epiphany for me since over the past few years I felt as if becoming an Interior designer was the one thing I wanted to achieve in life that up till now I hadn't. 

LuAnn has 238 podcast shows. I'm trying to go in order and listen from the beginning but I have to admit I jump around a bit when I see names like Candice Olson lol.

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Listening to all these podcasts has been such an inspiration and is truly motivating me to step by step get closer to achieving my goals. For anyone reading this that is also trying to have a career in Interior Design I encourage you to listen as well.