Please introduce yourself and what you do.
I’m Casey and by day, I’m an Interior Designer, working on primarily commercial spaces with a focus on schools and educational institutions.
How did you get started with interior design?
I knew early on that I wanted to be in the design field for a career. I thought originally that would translate into architecture, but after a year in an architecture program at Portland State University, I realized that my passion really lay in the interiors of spaces which often interact with the user much more than the shell of the building. I transferred to The Art Institute of Portland and finished my BA of Fine Arts in Interior Design there. From there, I started working for an architecture firm in Honolulu, Hawaii and have loved designing buildings ever since!
What is a normal day for you like?
A normal day for me is not normal at all, as each and every day is totally different, which I love! Some days I’m on CAD doing floor plans, elevations and other drawings all day long, other days I’m choosing finishes like flooring or paint colors, other days I’m billing clients and working on the business end of things or meeting with clients. Every day is different and each project I work on is different as well.
What inspires you creatively?
Travel inspires me tremendously in my work. I’m always looking for ways to incorporate what I see around the world into the spaces I’m designing. I think also that I love what I do and just that in itself is inspiring to me as I work through a design problem.
What do you love about running your own business?
I love the flexibility of running my own business. I can work when I need to and work around my own schedule. I also love the interaction I get with clients as it’s just me. I get to be there from the very beginning until the end, which might not happen at a firm.
What are your least favorite parts of running your own business? How do you overcome them?
My least favorite parts of running my own business would be the grunt work — things like invoicing, keeping track of items for taxes and other business items. I’m so much more the creative that dealing with the real business stuff isn’t my favorite.
How did you learn how to run the business side of things? Do you have any useful resources to share?
I learned the business side of things basically by trial and error. I started off small with just small projects which helped me get my feet off the ground and figure out what I was doing. My husband is also a Business major, so when I was stuck I would go to him to get help. But for the most part, I was just figuring it out as I went. I think that it’s really rewarding to do it that way because now I feel so fulfilled that I did that all on my own.
What were your biggest fears about self-employment?
Honestly, my biggest fear about self-employment is the learning curve. I’m nervous about something coming up in a project that I have no idea what to do and having no one else to ask or lean on is kind of a scary concept.
What’s your best piece of advice for other women who would like to start their own business?
I would advise other women who are looking to start their own business that it’s a lot of work and to know that going into it. It’s also important to remember that when it’s just you, you’re the boss, but you’re also the worker, meaning that you do everything from the menial grunt work to the stuff the bosses get to do, knowing that you have to be able to take all that on can be daunting but also incredibly rewarding.