The very first connection that most people make to an interior stylist is that of pretty fabrics, furniture rearrangement, or material shopping. If only being an interior stylist was as easy and straightforward! What if the big picture also involves cabinet spacing, steering a client away from investing in a budget-blowing item, working on the seasonal installation for a commercial storefront, and developing a solid presentation for an architectural review board?
For those who are all set for it but wondering, “How to get to this point?” here are a few essential steps to follow.
Step#1 Pursuing an interior styling course
An interior stylist must possess several technical, creative, and transferable skills. Though creativity, strong intuition, a good sense of colour, and the ability to learn fast are largely innate, they still need to be nurtured via formal training and constant practice. For this to happen in record time, it is best to pursue an interior styling course from a top institution.
Being an interior stylist means having the ability and confidence to make solid creative decisions in a room full of creative directors, photographers, assistants, and the likes. This is also something that students of professional courses will be instilled with besides a good understanding of space usage, daylight optimisation, aesthetics, different designing materials and their nature, and more.
Step#3 Attending styling retreats and workshops
Top interior stylists such as Julia Greenhouse, founder of Greenhouse Interiors, conduct regular interior styling workshops and retreats because knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied, right? She says that her styling retreats “focus on leveraging experiences, utilising transferable skills, and understanding one’s point of difference in a competitive space.” Now that’s a great career push for any budding stylist!
Several other experts also hold such retreats to help students make their place in the interior designing world, and these are often responsible for offering much-needed direction.
Step#3 Gaining on-the-job experience
Once out of college, it’s now time to put all accumulated knowledge and ‘self-notes’ into practice in the “real-world.” Greenhouse says that she even offers assisting and interning opportunities, inviting passionate styling enthusiasts to create beautiful imagery and a portfolio, discuss action plans and ‘how-tos’ over a cup of warm coffee besides letting them see her in action on the ‘designing field.’
Watching a master at work and assisting them can go a long way in developing crucial skills such as client negotiation, stress management, creative inspiration, etc. almost naturally. Some things are best imitated before they’re given a touch of originality and internships are gateways to such opportunities.
Step#4 Assembling an impressive portfolio
Combine the power of four – a professional interior styling course, workshops, internships, and self-practice, and the by-product has to be a stellar portfolio capable of wooing potential clients. Aspirants must include at least five to seven of their exceptional projects displaying their skills of hand-rendering or sketching, perspective drawing, best-angled pictures of design boards, CAD drawings, and other special skills they may possess.
It is best to follow a particular theme for each or some of the projects combined. For example, – a portfolio could include six projects; with two each focusing on residential projects, commercial projects, and hospitality industry projects, respectively.
Step#5 Forming good connections
It is a well-known fact that the interior styling industry is ‘heavily guarded,’ making it really hard to break into it. Here’s where comes the importance of forming good connections with those already within the industry. Through a professional interior styling course from world-class institutions like the Pearl Academy, this process will begin right from the early years as the academy has on-board industry experts and master stylists.
Stepping into the interior styling world is an experience, unlike any other. The joy-ride of being an interior stylist may be full of early morning wake-ups, long and tiring days, aching muscles, and sore feet, but ultimately, no interior stylist worth their salt would have it any other way!