27 March 2020Written by ISCD Team

ISCD Alumni: One Year On with Lauren Holmes

Minimalist interior design on arch wall background. Wall mockup concept, 3d render

Earlier this month we had our very first live webinar with ISCD alumni Lauren Holmes. We talked about her life one year on from graduating design school. Check out the full recording on YouTube or keep reading to see what was discussed.

How has your year been since graduation? 

Since my graduation, I jumped straight into looking for part time work in the industry and I just happened to find a role at Talostone as Showroom Consultant in their new showroom in Danks Street Waterloo – through the ISCD job board!  This role started in October 2019 and the showroom looks amazing!  Whilst I was waiting for the showroom to be fitted out I spent time creating my branding, website and launching my business.  

How is this role helping you build your skills?

I think it helps to find a job that helps you work directly with customers and also being able to meet other designers and architects.  I really like working directly with end users, asking questions about the space and other design elements and then assisting them with their stone colour and finish choices.  We explore different options and can build a story with the available sample library within the showroom. It’s encouraging for me to see some people come back multiple times to see me for some free interior design advice and then leave feeling more confident about their decisions.

Can you give us your insider info on trends in finishes for 2020?

There’s definitely a shift towards matt + leather honed finishes and also thin benchtops. Talostone have released some beautiful new colours in 12mm thickness such as their Super WhiteTM 9300.

Upon graduating, you started your own business, can you tell us what led you to take this step?

It’s always been my dream to set up my own interior design practice and that’s why I chose to study again with ISCD and now was the right time for me to bring my dream to life. 

Ensure you set up the right model for your business. Investigate the different ways to structure your business and check with an accountant to help you choose one that’s right for you.  Get the right insurances and also seek some advice from a lawyer to get some contracts drawn up as well as disclaimers and copyright notices.  

Tell us a little about your business…

Natural Instinct Interiors is an interior styling company offering bespoke interior solutions for predominantly residential clients. I offer consultation packages for styling clients, colour consultations and property styling.

I created Natural Instinct Interiors to help people transform not just the look of their homes, but also the way they live in them. Our living spaces have a huge impact on our lives, and I believe that by enhancing their design, we can restore balance and live more holistically. My goal is to bring happiness to all my clients by working closely with them to help understand their needs, and create naturally beautiful, unique, and timeless spaces.

READ: ISCD Graduate Launches New Business, Styl Studio

For designers, an important part of creating their own business is branding. How did you go about choosing your branding?

Initially I did a moodboard of my own and researched some other brands. I invested in a professional photographer for quality images for my portfolio gallery and also a graphic designer for quality branding for logo design, business cards, social media and stationery.

Make it true to you – so it’s authentic and real!

I chose my branding style based on my interior design style and importance of using elements from nature in my styling with a soft neutral colour palette.  I have always had a natural styling talent and my friends and family have been getting some great advice – I realised I’ve been doing this intuitively all along so this is how Natural Instinct Interiors came to life. 

Speaking about branding, we love your Insta feed! What were your tricks in creating such a beautiful account?

Initially I did get some assistance in setting up my social media and linking with Pinterest and Facebook etc. I use a lot of my professional images along with other inspiration I come across in Pinterest.  I then started to pay attention to how it looks, and using the basic elements and principles in design to create a nice looking feed which supports your brand is important.  

I could be planning my posts and doing videos and stories and creating a more themed approach but honestly this is very time consuming and sometimes you just need to prioritise.  

How did you feel when you got your first job?

 My first client was brilliant!  I felt that all my years of experience and hard work had paid off.  The advice I was giving away during the consultation just flowed naturally, I felt confident, authentic and professional.  The client was very happy and assured me she would get my assistance again in the future and that’s the main aim of the game!

One thing you’ve learnt since being out in the industry?

Not all clients are going to be the right fit and the consultation is also the time to determine this from the outset. It’s OK to turn down work and you don’t have to feel compelled to do it – if it’s not in alignment with you. 

It’s always good to build a tribe and get in touch with other designers who are mostly happy to share their experiences including pricing and tools of trade etc.  I have found it to be a generally very supportive industry – however you may come across the odd one or two that feel threatened – so beware not everyone is happy to share.

Why did you choose online? What were the advantages of studying online?

I live in Helensburgh and needed to study in my own time, rather than spend hours travelling to campus.  

Also I felt that I was not constantly being influenced so much by other designers’ work and could develop my own style and be comfortable with it. 

And the challenges you faced? How did you overcome these?

I sometimes felt challenged when learning a new program for example photoshop and AutoCad.  I subscribed to Lynda.com which I could watch and do at the same time – it was so worth it! Also Google became my best friend!

READ: ISCD Partners with Programa to Prepare Students for Their Future Careers

Any tips for design students before they graduate?

Get to know your fellow online students via Discussion boards.  Perhaps arrange to meet up and form support networks and at the same time making friends with common goals and interests. 

It’s always nice to have other interior addict buddies to go to industry events and workshops with.  Start networking and sign up for everything you can. 

ISCD has a 40-year proven track record of producing leading Australian interior designers. We know design intimately, from colour theory, to furniture selection to the latest industry trends.

Are you interested in studying interior design or decoration? Do you want to know more about our online courses and where a career in interior design could take you? Connect with us today to learn more about our Diploma of Interior Design, the Certificate IV in Interior Decoration or any of our industry-focused microcredentials.

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