Have you ever thought about throwing the towel in on your career and following your passion? Here is the story of Kathie Argyros, an iscd graduate who did just that. From the fast pace of the airline industry to embracing her passion in all things French and creating her successful business French Cargo.
Prior to commencing my studies at iscd I was a Product Delivery Manager, Airports for Qantas. My life was filled with back to back meetings and project deadlines. Although it was a great job and immensely challenging, I yearned for something creative. A restructure in the company gave me the opportunity to chase a dream.
How did you hear about iscd and what made you want to study with us? When I decided I wanted my career to change into a creative direction, I researched all the available courses on Interior Design. iscd seemed to be the right fit. It was flexible with study options and was well connected in the industry. Once I attended the Introductory Seminar, I knew straight away that I found my calling and iscd was the right place for me.
How would you describe your educators at iscd and how did they help you throughout your journey? All my educators have been fantastic. They are people that have worked in the industry, so they know what they are talking about. They are approachable, helpful and encouraging.
What did you enjoy most about the Cert IV in Interior Design and Decoration course? I loved it all, as it was so interesting and informative, but I enjoyed the styling aspect of the course the most. I loved learning about Elements and Principals and how a room can be transformed by choosing the right pieces and the right colour.
What made you want to continue your studies at iscd in the Colour Design Diploma following the completion of the Certificate IV? I wanted to cement my studies in Cert IV and go for an industry based course. The interior landscape is constantly changing and it is important to stay ahead of the game. The decision was worth it.
What are your main sources of inspiration? There are many influencers of style that I follow. Claudia Strausser from ‘The Paris Apartment’ @theparisapartment was my initial inspiration. We met up when I was in Paris and we did a tour of the Flea Markets together in 2013. She was doing what I have always dreamed of doing. I am also inspired by @sibellacourt who has done some amazing work in interior design. I admire her spirit and work and how she looks at things outside the box and takes risks. Being a French Homeware store and enamoured with France, I also follow a lot of French Sites, like @sarasantoni, for french country side living, @quintessencefrance for the simplicity of her french fashion (and I carry her range in my store); @carinaokula for french inspirational photography; And of course, Megan Morton @megan_morton. She is so inspiring and talented and she is doing what I have been dreaming of doing re: trips to France with groups. For bloggers, I follow @paintmewhite for inspiration for up cycling and @getinmyhome for interiors and styling.
What do you love about the world of colour and design? I love how the landscape is constantly changing. How it reflects our moods, are opinions and our climate. I love how colour and design can emotionally lift us and provide us with an escape from the every day. I get inspired every day by the people I meet and the places I see. Colour and design is exponential. That is what i love about it. It never stays still – always changing.
How did French Cargo begin and what was your inspiration behind starting your own business? French Cargo began as a result of my love affair with France and French design. It is timeless, elegant and classy and surpasses trends. I wanted to have a French Homeware shop that offered authentic French homewares. So that my customers could take a touch of France home with them. I liked to not only have traditional french products like Savon de Marseille, but also wanted to introduce French designers, fashion and homewares to Australia.
Taking the leap of faith and leaving a corporate well paid job, in order to chase my dream was the first step. Enrolling myself in iscd’s Interior Design Course was the best thing I did because it gave me a platform where I could make informed decisions about design, style, and it also gave me the training to have a supplementary income as an Interior Stylist. Now, I have the best of both worlds. I have a retail shop selling beautiful hand selected French homewares and vintage pieces from my annual trips to France, and I also can provide styling advise to my customers. My business has blossomed because of my training at iscd. I have a Retail Shop, and I am an Interior Stylist and decorator and I work with Real Estate Agents, private clients and photographers. iscd gave me the impetus to grow and push forward and take risks – and most importantly, gave me the skills and confidence to pursue my dream.
What are your tips/ advice for students that are almost at the end of their studies and looking to get out into the industry and start their own business? Firstly I say congratulations on making a choice to pursue your passion. Then, I would say, get out and start door knocking. Don’t wait for work to come to you. Take on interships, work experience, anything that would get you some experience in the Industry. Thirdly, don’t be afraid. Take risks, go for everything. You have nothing to lose as you are starting out. People are accommodating. Work hard, be punctual and be prepared to learn. So go for it and follow your heart, it will lead you to amazing opportunities.
What do you have planned next for yourself? I will continue to grow my business and interior styling portfolio. In 2018, I plan to start my own French Cargo linen label focusing on soft furnishings and I am also looking at producing a small range of Linen clothing. Maybe even look at wholesaling. Long term goal (within the next 3-5 years) is to start Interior shopping trips to France for small groups of women. And of course – travel to France annually – that will never change. I attend the Maison et Objet annually and get inspired by the European designs and trends and I get to catch up with my suppliers and discover new ones.
Do you have any tips/ advice for anyone contemplating studying design? Do it now, whilst there is fire in your belly. Don’t wait. But, be prepared to work hard, to dedicate time to your studies and be focused on competing your studies. There are great things to be accomplished, but also know that you have to put in the work to find yourself a job in the industry. It is competitive, but you need to persevere and think outside the box. Success awaits those that are committed, driven and are willing to work hard to pursue their dream.