Ep. 5: Working for a Design Firm, Interview with Lead Designers Kylie Ray + Rachel McCloskey
Episode 5 is here! Kristen sat down with Kylie (Blanche) and Rachel to interview them on what it’s like working for a design firm, specifically LCo. The girls both say (and frequently we might add!) that they’re working their dream job! But, as we all know, “dream jobs” don’t usually just fall into your lap without hard work, trial and error, good timing and a little bit of luck. If you haven’t listened, be sure to do so because this is one episode you don’t want to miss! Keep reading for some amazing advice and takeaways that you can apply to your own life!
THE SHOW NOTES
If you don’t know, Kylie and Rachel have very different backgrounds, both of which have served them well along their journey to their career at LCo.
Kylie has a degree in Nonprofit and Special Events Management from Arizona State University. She was working four jobs prior to her full-time role as a designer, including retail at a big box furniture store, real estate agent and spin instructor (fun fact! She met Kristen because she used to take her classes - shout out to The Madison!).
Ky started part time as a junior project manager at LCo, which lasted basically two weeks before Kristen changed lanes and brought her on full-time as a design associate. While she didn’t have any formal training, she has a natural eye and passion for interiors. A pivotal moment in Kylie’s professional life was when Kristen asked her, “Is the future of Kylie a spin instructor? Or is the future of Kylie an Interior Designer?” Ever since then, it’s been guns blazing and she’s grown into her role as Lead Designer.
Rachel has a degree in Graphic Design from Michigan State University. Rach got into interiors because of her graphic design internship experiences at design firms in LA where she was doing mostly brand and branding deliverables. She used her internships to her advantage to refine her skills and also make great connections in the industry.
After college, Rach ended up moving to LA for work, bouncing around as a junior designer or associate at firms through her network. Perhaps one of the most pivotal experiences of her early career was her role at Croft House in LA. It was in this role that she expanded her knowledge in SketchUp and the details and specific roles that furniture has in an overall design - she loves this experience and says that it helped lead her to the place she’s at today.
Kristen started firing off questions to the girls and we documented some of the highlights below, and while we of course want you to read them, you really gotta just listen because they’re a wealth of knowledge and HILARIOUSLY entertaining.
You’ve both said on multiple occasions that you’re working in your “dream job” - why?
Rach: The quote “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” has always really resonated with me. If you have to work too hard for something and it isn’t necessarily a good fit, it can really not be fun, and your dream job should be something that you wake up excited to go and do. When I’m away from work I miss it, it just makes me so happy. There are also so many different niches within LCo (fashion, custom furniture, we do it all). Once you reach your dream job, I think you also realize all the hard work that went into getting there.
Kylie: I totally agree with Rachel, but for me, I worked multiple jobs before LCo. I love working and never felt like one job was enough. But after getting hired by Kristen, I finally feel like I’m at a place where one job is enough and I feel totally fulfilled in all aspects of my career. There are good sides and bad sides, but even the bad is amazing.
What’s your best advice to those who want to break into the interior design industry?
Rach: If you’re in a time of transition and you’re doing it on the side, just do it and develop yourself because any experience will help when applying for jobs. For me, I was in graphic design and wanted to get into interiors, so I got graphic design jobs at interior design firms. The same goes for marketing or sales, use your strengths and background to your advantage to get your foot into the door and things can totally evolve from there. Another thing you need to ask yourself is, are you willing to put in the work? Or start out at the bottom as an intern or assistant?
Kylie: Don’t be afraid even if you don’t have experience and think you need to go back to school for design. While it gives you a leg up, it’s not a make or break deal. If you love something, find a friend that will let you do something for you, do your own spaces and take photos! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, especially on social media! Before I started out I was super active on social and made connections with the designers in our area.
What is it like working on a team of all women?
Kylie: Our office is tiny, we sit shoulder to shoulder and sit on top of each other, but there is zero drama. Similar personalities. We’re all in tune with ourselves and stay in our own lane.
Barb: I take so long to hire because it needs to feel right. It’s all about timing. I’m constantly gut checking and when it isn’t working, you gotta pivot and figure out what you’re going to do. As women in general, we can get along. It doesn’t have to be nasty. Another thing that makes it easy is that we all have a personal connection. Anyone who says business is personal, I’ve never been able to resonate with that because it’s 100% personal. It’s money, time and family, and in our business, it people’s homes. There really isn’t much that’s more personal than giving your house to someone to design.
What makes you proud of your team?
Barb: OUR team. We have each other’s backs. We call each other out, we joke and have fun, and work really really hard. We’re also very honest with each other.
What’s something about Rach that people don’t know?
Her dance moves. - Ky
She is really deeply hilarious and has amazing comedic timing. She also pronounces Arizona words very, very wrong. - KF
She doesn’t let more than 10 seconds of silence pass before bringing something up - Ky
She hates white stuff, mostly all white sauces (crema, sour cream, mayo), and constantly ask us how to spell words. - Rach
She eats an avocado a day - no joke. She has also never been capable of cutting her own toenails! - KF
She’s so hard working. She’s very pretty and put together on IG and people might not think that about her, but she has such an amazing work ethic. - Rach
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