We recently caught up with iscd alumni, Alix Helps to talk about how she is designing her way in the industry.
What did you do prior to iscd?
Before iscd I had worked in my previous role for 18 years – very corporate, very un-creative! With a long held desire to indulge my passion for interior design. I cut my teeth in some crucial aspects of running a successful business here. We had a laser focus on the customer experience due to the nature of our work, and project management was instrumental in ensuring I delivered client projects on time, and on budget. I knew I was ready to step away to a more creative career.
When we say “Design your way” what does this mean to you?
iscd gave me the tools I needed to design my way. I took a call for my first project on the day after I graduated and I haven’t looked back since. I was immediately equipped with the skills and confidence to start helping clients to create homes that they love. My business has grown over the last 5 years affording me the freedom to live and work exactly how I choose.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Totally depends what day it is! First up most mornings is a quick review of work in progress for all current projects and half an hour of attending to any pressing administration. Time is precious so I tend to focus on specific tasks at certain times of the day. New consultations and site visits are scheduled for certain days of the week, leaving other days for research, design work and sourcing. Staying up to speed with new products means there are plenty of launches to attend, which are always a nice opportunity to catch up with other designers and industry buddies.
What is the best thing you have learnt since being out in the industry?
That the design network here in Australia is a wonderfully supportive one – I’ve enjoyed making many meaningful connections with other like minded business owners. At times it feels like a virtual team – sharing tips, advice, useful new tech, great suppliers. It’s a great gang and I’m happy to be part of it!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Travel and leisure pursuits primarily. My clients are typically looking to create a unique blend of the best ideas sourced from all over the world to make their homes a truly relaxing place to return to every day. I think it’s my job to get out there and research the techniques to create an inspiring space. I take my inspiration from boutique hotels, beautiful homes, all kinds of restaurants, museums, libraries, public spaces or gardens. I soak it all up, take photos, record notes and scour the media for new ideas. It’s a full time job, but someone has to do it.
What are your highlights since graduating?
I’ve felt extremely privileged to have my work featured in magazines such as Home Beautiful, Real Living, Inside Out…It’s extremely rewarding to see pages of stunning imagery of projects that I pulled out of the depths of my own imagination. I think my other highlight would be some excellent client relationships that have been forged over the years.
Tell us about some of your favourite projects you’ve worked on since running your own business?
Ah too many to mention! I worked on a whole house modern Hamptons renovation in West Pymble last year which came together beautifully. I also recently worked with a noteworthy gentleman who had recently purchased a new build on Sydney’s north shore. He’s a busy professional, and was looking for assistance to complete the home to a beautiful standard for him to move into. We designed and installed custom joinery to key areas of the house to ensure total functionality. Then I set about working with paint schemes, wallpaper, window treatments, rugs, furniture and artworks to create beautiful rooms that were finished right down to the backyard with elegant pots containing stunning succulents and a seating area. We planned and executed every detail on his behalf and the client could not have been more appreciative. It was an extremely rewarding client relationship and now I’m just hoping he moves house soon so we can do it all again.
What’s one thing you wish you had been told when you were starting out in the industry?
That you can’t do it all yourself, and that’s OK. Developing great relationships with those that can support you allows you to grow and have enough time to spend on all aspects of running your business, creative and otherwise. Putting systems and processes in place will prevent you from reinventing the wheel and create a more efficient and streamlined operational environment.
What advice would you give to someone looking to study interior design?
Be prepared to learn something from every situation. Be kind to everyone you meet and remember that the reward for work done well, is the opportunity to do more.
All photos: Interior Design and Styling Alix Helps Interiors Photography Helen Ward – Inward Outward
Are you feeling inspired by Alix’s story and want to learn more about our interior courses?