For most of my pre-teen and teenage years, I thought I wanted to be an interior designer. Do you remember The Sims? I was never one to actually play with the characters; I preferred to build and design the houses. I watched a lot of HGTV and was obsessed with watching “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” on Sunday nights. I always wanted Michael’s gift cards as gifts so I could buy craft kits to decorate my room. I rearranged my furniture in my bedroom a lot, and when it became time for my parents to update my room to make it more suitable for a 12-year-old, my imagination went wild with possibilities.
When I was a junior in high school, I chose interior design as one of my electives. The class was okay; it has its fun moments but honestly, I was bored to tears when we covered art history and art movements. We also spent way too much time on the color wheel. I don’t know if it was me or the teacher, but I was beginning to lose interest in the field.
While some parts of the class seemed fun, I became increasingly skeptical of interior design as a stable career mainly because, like many of my cohorts, my impressionable young adult years were shaped by the Great Recession and economic uncertainty. We were told by our teachers and counselors to heavily lean on the Bureau of Labor Statistics to give us an accurate depiction of career paths. According to their website, the housing market crash seriously affected the interior design market and wasn’t expected to grow much between 2012 and 2022.
After a lot of thought, I decided to pass on the career I spent almost a decade thinking about. At this point, it was only a few months until graduation and I still wasn’t sure what kind of career I was interested in pursuing. I thought about journalism, considering I was also a magazine junkie, but I wasn’t sure if I would be happy writing for 40 hours a week. Additionally, the type of journalism I was interested in could only be found in one place — New York City — and I did not want to have to pick up my life and move to one of the most expensive and busiest cities in the world.
I read about public relations in passing because it was similar to journalism, but I didn’t truly understand what it was. No one mentioned it to me before. It wasn’t a term you would hear in “Career Day” at school, and it’s not something you see depicted on T.V. or in movies. It seemed like a career I would be happy with, but I wasn’t sure, especially because the career required excellent public speaking skills and I was still really shy at the time. Out of curiosity, I took a school-administered career test to guide my decision. Surprise! It recommended I go into public relations.
So here I am, seven years later with a B.S. degree in Speech Communications with an option in Public Relations. Not only that but in the three short years I’ve been out of college, my career has in some ways come full circle. I started a new job last month — and it’s an oddly perfect fit for me.
I’m now a member of the public relations team at White Good, which is a marketing communications agency that specializes in representing brands involved in high-end interiors, architecture, and building materials. I currently represent the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association), the NKBA Insiders (Bobby Berk was a member), and Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, which is home to the finest outdoor grills in the world (Gwyneth Paltrow and Wolfgang Puck own grills by the brand).
I’m beyond excited to find a niche that perfectly blends my public relations skills with interests in interior design and lifestyle. Not only that, but it also melds my third passion — magazine journalism — as well. We have shelves among shelves of glossy magazines that we get for free because we often have our clients featured in ads or articles. From Elle Decor, to Better Homes and Gardens, to Departures, to Veranda, and to Interior Design, we have it all. And I have full access to reading as many as I want — as well as trying my damn hardest to continue to get my clients placed in these outlets by talking to writers and editors.
I call this unique trifecta “my oddly perfect dream job.”
My role at White Good blends three of my interested career paths all into one role. I’ve only been on the job for a month, but I feel truly in my element. I’m familiar with the niche, my personal goals will become more easily achievable the longer I’m on the job, and I have access to people and places that I didn’t have access to before. For years I longed to attend the Architectural Digest Design Show, and I had the opportunity to attend last week! Not to mention the style choices I’ve seen at the show; some people looked like they stepped straight off the runway and I LOVED it.
It also helped that in my final interview, Sherry, our CEO, wore a fur vest.
And I thought to myself, “Yep, this is my element.”