I was at a designer event recently and chatting with some colleagues when the conversation, as it invariably does these days, turned to the economy and “what little business there is”. One of my friends – a sophisticated and successful professional – told us that he had just had a client postpone a project because “it wouldn’t look good right now”. Oh. So – not only are we dealing with folks who have lost actual money and those who are worried about future losses – but we also have to deal with “perception” factor – showy is clearly out. Meanwhile – the client’s decision to postpone the project, not because of lack of cash, but because of how he felt he might be perceived, meant that the designer lost income. And so did every trades person associated with the job – painters, seamstresses, upholsterers, electricians, plumbers, etc. Income they all use to pay their bills, shop in their local stores and eat in local restaurants. Quite a domino effect. Of course, we all have to make decisions about how we spend – or don’t spend – our money and no one really has a right to question us. But, it gets one thinking about the effect emotions have on our economy.
I then heard the following interview on NPR:
I’ve done a lot of chatting with designers over the past few weeks and everyone reports varying degrees of loss of business. From reduced budgets to postponements to full on cancellations. And these are designers who have been in the business for 20+ years.
Which brings me to me. I’ve run my own firm Chameleon Interiors for seven years. Two years ago I had a waiting list of clients, a bookkeeper and an intern. I’ve appeared on television and have been interviewed in many national publications and local glossy magazines. Since that banner year, my business has fallen off in lock step with the downturn in housing values, the credit crunch and now the full on implosion on all fronts. If designers with 20+ years in the industry are losing clients – what’s a relative newbie going to do? The bookkeeper is gone, there are no interns – how does one lay off oneself? Is there a severance package available? Anyone…? [crickets…] Just to be clear – Chameleon Interiors is not officially closed. I left a lucrative job in public television business management because I was looking for a more creative career. And I found it. But the reality of the situation is that I am single and have only my own income to support me and this is a bad time to be self-employed in the housing industry.
Well, my blog has flourished and I am so grateful for all my blogging friends, those who comment and email me with questions, virtual design clients and all the bloggers whose work inspires me every day! I am, basically, a glass is-half-full kind of person and while I am job hunting (anyone have any leads?) – I am grateful for the creative outlet of the blog and all that it brings. Yay blogging!
My resume is available upon request!