If you have a knack for planning spaces and coordinating furnishings and accessories, then interior design is the field for you. The first step to becoming a successful interior designer is establishing a name for yourself. Professional presentation is key in our modern digital world so the best way to establish your name is through a focused portfolio and person website. Your website will be even more successful if you have a ‘look book’ that clients can download to view your designs and products. Once your website and portfolio are up to snuff, start sharing your work on social media and interior design blogs to attract attention and a solid client base.
Now that you’ve established a name for yourself, it’s time to start licensing your designs. Licensing designs to chain buyers and manufacturers is a great way to increase visibility for your work, put your designs out into the world, and earn a little side income as you get your career going. Licensing designs and illustrated projects is a quickly growing business, and it’s an attractive prospect for designers who enjoy creating new projects in their spare time.
So how do you license your designs?
There are two ways to find clients to license your design work to: physical presence and online presence. Physical presence might sound old school, but meeting clients in person at trade shows is still the main way that many interior designers attract clients. Attend larger trade shows where there are hundreds of attendees from high street chain buyers to major manufacturers (and don’t ignore the small manufacturers either). Research is the best way to prepare for trade shows so take a look at some designs and illustrations similar to your work then find companies who hire similar designers and discuss licensing your designs to them.
Trade shows are still a highly effective market for finding clients to license to, but internet and social media are an unparalleled marketplace where you can find and meet clients from all over the world. Buyers today often rely on Pinterest and Google Images to find new work relevant to their target audience, so make sure your work appears on these platforms. You also have to learn how to market yourself well, primarily through a personal website and well-crafted portfolio like we discussed above. Reach out to new clients in other countries who have their own unique and thriving markets where your designs could be a perfect fit. These kinds of specialty markets will discover your work online, so make sure you’re discoverable.