Name: Tammy Hart
Location: Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
QC courses you’ve taken: Interior Decorating Course
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for interior decorating!
First and foremost, I’m a mother to two beautiful children and a wife. When I’m not designing and decorating, you’ll find me in the kitchen baking up a storm. But my every day is about design. My brain is always in overdrive thinking and learning about design, how I can constantly strive to think outside of the box for my clients while creating designs and concepts that are functional, yet stylish, for everyday families like my own.
What pushed you to start your career as an interior decorator? What were you working on before you decided to make the switch?
I held a very successful career managing events for almost 20 years from corporate events to galas and everything in between. I was at the peak of my career and wondered what was left. As hard as it was to leave the events industry, I took 6 months to contemplate what I was passionate about – what was it that kept me getting up every morning.
Every time I asked myself what was it about events I enjoyed, I kept coming back to design. It was getting to understand my client’s vision and partner that with their needs and wishes, then drawing up concepts, executing them and bringing them to fruition. I knew that I had no choice but to follow that passion.
You’re actually a Board Director for DDA (Decorators and Designers Association of Canada – formerly CDECA)! Can you tell us about your role and how it has help to shape your career path?
I was so used to knowing the events industry that starting a new career, even though I was confident this was and is the right path, I felt a little intimidated. Joining DDA really was a game changer for my new career. It has connected me with like-minded professionals and suppliers. I’m constantly learning through the CEU’s that are offered and many of them are free. And then the opportunity came to join the Board of Directors which involved an application and a nomination process. I thought I was crazy for applying! But sometimes, you have to follow your gut.
Being elected to the Board and surrounded by its very talented members has been an incredible learning experience. I think being a Director of DDA and the Director of the Ambassador Program, shows your belief in the importance of belonging to an association, that you are committed to providing ethical business services and by doing so it helps instill confidence for your clients.
What’s next on the horizon for you in terms of your career goals and aspirations?
I’m always working on something. I will be back on TV and will continue to have speaking engagements. As for my business, well, that’s a secret!
Will you share your top career highlights with us?
I’m excited to share – since graduating from QC Design School, I have had the opportunity to have my TV debut as a guest speaker on Daytime Durham where we chatted about the home’s exterior and spring trends for the home.
And I’m thrilled to share, I’ve been selected to speak at IIDEXCanada on November 29th. My presentation is called “Beyond the Design”, where I’ll be speaking to Designers, Decorators, Architects, and Construction Trades about the ROI of the Customer Experience and how it’s going to set businesses apart. I’ve also been a key note speaker for Heart of Networking – a women’s entrepreneurial networking group and have been the panel moderator for Getting Down to Authentic Business.
Finally, most near and dear to my heart, I believe in giving back to the community in which I live, work and play. I am a repeat panel speaker for “Empower Our Girls” where we help to encourage, motivate and inspire the future female leaders from the age of 10.
You completed QC’s Interior Decorating course in February of this year. How has your designation helped you in the industry so far?
I’m proud to be a Certified International Decorating and Designing Professional. This designation means that I worked incredibly hard to build upon my existing transferrable skills. My clients appreciate that I took the time to go back to school and trust that I know what I’m speaking of when it comes to designing and decorating. For me, it’s the confidence of saying I’m an I.D.D.P. and my clients know that they are hiring an expert that has had a solid education.
Congratulations on becoming a QC Design School graduate! What advice would you give to anyone just starting out in the industry?
Thank you. I’m incredibly proud to be a QC Design School graduate.
I made this career change at 40 years old (or should I say 29 again?!). Starting out at any age in a new career is exciting and terrifying. Here’s what I believe:
- Partner with industry leaders. Surround yourself with them. It’s like the saying goes, “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck!”
- Get a mentor and a coach (there’s a difference!). They will be a sounding board, especially if you are taking the entrepreneurial route.
- Ensure you partner with like-minded suppliers, vendors and contractors.
- And most importantly, this is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. It will not happen overnight and it will require hard work. But it will be so worth it in the long run. So enjoy every minute of it!