On October 26th over 100 interior design students from the tri-state area gathered at International Market Square for 2018’s Student Affairs Day.

The highlight of the day was a Q &A with a panel of 5 local designers. Brandi Hagen (Eminent Interior Design) David Heide (David Heide Design Studio) Amber Ranzau (Modern Design Cabinetry) Rachelle Schoessler Lynn (Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle) and Linda Engler (Engler Studio Interior Design) spent a couple of hours with the students answering a wide array of questions about the industry.

The hot topic of the day seemed to be the question of what sort of educational program would best be beneficial upon graduation. (the choices being 2-year or 4-year programs.)

David Heide encouraged the students to get as much education as possible. Linda acknowledged that “life happens” so a person should just get as much training as possible, recognizing that technical training can happen in both a two and four year program. She went on state that there is more to Interior Design than technical training- “the degree is just part of the puzzle.”  Linda described the conversations she needs to have with her team- they need to be able to talk art history and furniture design- context for their projects. Rachelle encouraged students to decide what it is they want to pursue and then be strategic about the education they get to support that decision.  David jumped in and stated that education needs to be occurring outside of the classroom as well- networking and seeking knowledge on one’s own are important steps. Brandi stated that her 2-year degree has served her well and after establishing oneself in the industry- certification falls by the wayside. It was a solid discussion with valuable opinions provided.

Other questions were lighter faire. How do you get through a tough project? (Teamwork and patience) How do I network if I come from a smaller community? (The internet and community participation) What is the most challenging aspect of your job? (Pinterest + HGTV) What is your most memorable mistake? (Amber’s response says it best. “Measure, measure, measure.”)

I had a chance to connect with the Panel as they broke for lunch. I asked if they found they took away anything from Student Affairs Day, themselves. They commented that in pervious years designers sat with each of the student tables- providing an opportunity for networking and more casual questions. They commented that they liked that interaction and hope to see it return.

Lunch was provided by D’Amico and I connected with a few of the students while we ate. They reported finding the panel helpful and were looking forward to the design project part of the days. Many were concerned that they may need to explore different educational plans after the response from the panel regarding the 2 year/4 year question.

After lunch, the students broke up into groups for their Design Project. The break-out session began with a short introductory speech by Crown Shipping- explaining what they do and how they can be of service to the design community. Benjamin Moore and Express Window also provided quick intro seminars to the students. Then students split up and went out into IMS; visiting several showrooms to select finishes, fabrics, and furniture-on a timeline and a budget.  Leaders emerged, project plans were developed and executed.  (One student was overheard commenting “this wouldn’t be our style if we weren’t rushing.” Sounds like important lessons about compromising on personal style were being learned!)

Sadly, there wasn’t time for the teams to present their final project. The day wrapped up with a raffle drawing.  The event was sponsored by IMS, The Tile Shop, FK Ltd, Intersource, and Express Window Fashions.