Invaluable life lessons from 3 of the industries top designers

by Faith Parker in ,


I've had a pretty amazing August, in which I flew across the country to meet some of the industries top designers. These design Mavens all have dynamic careers in which they employ a variety of their talents. I can't wait to share with you what I learned, so read along as I unveil valuable insight garnered from these talented designers/authors/bloggers and TV personalities.

 

Photo credit TheJungalow.com

Photo credit TheJungalow.com

Justin Blakeney and Faith Parker at Las Vegas Market

Justin Blakeney and Faith Parker at Las Vegas Market

Justina Blakeney author of The New Bohemians, is one of my all-time design idols. She not only authors one of the best blogs out there, The Jungalow, she also has her own custom lines of wallpapers and rugs and she just launched an entire line of furniture and home decor items called Selamat. I could go on... but I wont because all the sudden I feel incredibly lazy and unaccomplished.  (insert weeping emoji here)

While attending the Las Vegas Market earlier this month I got a chance to see Justina Blakeney host a panel of design experts. Mainly they discussed design trends, but that wasn't the big take away for me. I found the fact that of the six design panelists, only one of them went to design school. Which answers a very important question, just how do you become a  famous blogger or designer?  The general consensus from the experts panel was....Umm basically you just put yourself out there and give it everything you've got. There is no formal university degrees in blogging (is there? I am pretty certain there isn't... but I could be wrong) there may be universities that offer degrees in interior design but some of the top designer and Instagram influencers didn't get to where they are via those routes. They got there by hustling hard and getting better everyday (of course a large dose of natural talent never hurt either, just saying)

Photo Credit stylebyEmilyHenderson.com 

Photo Credit stylebyEmilyHenderson.com 

Faith Parker with Emily Henderson

Faith Parker with Emily Henderson

If you don't know who Emily Henderson is, then you shouldn't even be reading this blog right now. Obviously you have no interest in design or you would know this extremely popular author, designer, and HGTV Design Star winner and host of Secrets of a Stylist. 

So if you know Emily, then you know she came prepared, she had notes, slides and volumes of content. Here's what I gleamed from her presentation on blogging, at HGTV's Bloggers Block Party.

My Girl EM HEN believes that getting started is the biggest step. She stressed the importance of putting yourself out there. In the beginning aspiring blogger like myself, should focus on producing content. It might not be gold, or even good, but it's a starting point and it will give you something to build upon. The idea is that you will naturally improve as you continue on your path, which makes it crucial to be consistently publishing content.

She continued to say how important it is to find your authentic voice. "Universal and unique" were words she used to urge us blossoming bloggers to find a balance between appealing to everybody and not appealing to anybody. She stressed not to be "too weird, but rather compelling".

She continued to advise us to own what we know, and be transparent about what we don't know. Basically she was saying don't be a phony, everybody hates a phony. There's nothing wrong with taking on tasks that are out of your comfort zone, but be careful not to over sell yourself, know what your limitations are and be as forthcoming about your experience as you are about your inexperience. 

Retro Living room designed by Meg Caswell Photo from HGTV.com

Retro Living room designed by Meg Caswell Photo from HGTV.com

Meg Caswell with Faith Parker

Meg Caswell with Faith Parker

Meg Caswell 

If you follow my Instagram account than you already know just how desperately I wanted to win the NyNow design challenge which would include breakfast with the Meg Caswell. Thanks to everyone who voted,  I was selected as one of the 25 finalist. 

So what does Meg have to teach us?

Her story is inspiring because she has truly combined hard work and intention to get where she is today. She believes in the law of attraction and actually credits the secret for helping her to achieve her career as a HGTV design star and television host. 

Looking back on my decision to don bright yellow clogs, I am feeling that perhaps they were prophetic and symbolic of the Yellow Brick Road. As Dorothy and her friends find the attributes they were lacking, my bright yellow clogs lead me to find just the advise I was seeking. To summarize, Justina and her design panel showed me that, what's more important than a fancy-pants design degree, is talent, drive and an initiative, Em Hen was the kick in the buns to get started with a healthy reminder to always be authentic, while Meg taught me to work really hard, but also not to forget to trust the Universe, and remember to ask it for what you want.