Student Feature: Jamie Cromar - QC Design School

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Jamie Cromar and I’m currently a student at QC Design School. I started my company, Leigh Allan Design, in my hometown of Hudson, Quebec. I am a wife, a mom to two boys, and have two dogs. For as long as I can remember, I have loved all things design and making my surroundings beautiful.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in professional design and become an interior decorator?

When I was growing up, my mom and I would always redecorate my room, or repaint the whole house. That really gave me the bug! I have always daydreamed about how a room can transform and evolve. I love how a space can affect how you feel, depending on the design. The next step for me was to become a professional designer, so I could make my visions come to life.

Where did the name for your business, Leigh Allan Design, come from?

I struggled with finding a name for a while. Nothing seemed right. Then I asked myself, what is the most important thing to me? The answer was: my kids! Leigh and Allan are my sons’ middle names. It felt so right, and I have not looked back since!

For a while, you hesitated to delve into the world of professional design and become an interior decorator. What fears were initially holding you back, and how did you overcome them?

I’ve always had a fear of failure; of the unknown. These fears initially held me back from pursuing my dream. But design was always a path I thought about regularly. My husband was the one who encouraged me to jump in with both feet and do what I love. I enrolled in QC Design School and have been loving everything I’m learning. I feel like I’ve really been excelling!

I have started to put my passion out there, and the doors opening up to me have really changed my life. I am so thankful for my husband for being so supportive! Going forward and knowing that my family is there for me, no matter what, has given me the confidence to put myself out there and see what happens.

Why do you feel obtaining a professional certification is critical in the design industry?

I am always over-prepared for most situations. So, schooling for me was a must. I wanted to learn as much as possible, in order to have the right education in the design industry. Getting the most information will only make me and my business better!

When figuring out how to become an interior decorator, one of the biggest decisions is determining whether online or brick-and-mortar training is the best fit. Why did you decide to pursue your design training online, rather than in-person?

Online learning was the only way I would have been able to go back to school. My youngest is only 8 months old, and when I signed up for QC Design School, I was pregnant with him. I knew online learning would work perfectly with my schedule, as an already busy (and expecting) mom. I am able to work on my own time, as well as when my youngest is napping. 

Also, in light of COVID, online learning has become a perfect way to continue my studies in the comfort – and safety – of my own home. So, its been a fantastic experience so far!

Ultimately, why did you choose to enroll in QC Design School? How did QC stand out from other online design schools?

I looked for the right online school for a long time, and always came back to QC Design School. I loved the course outline and how I could choose multiple courses to take. I love that it’s a valid course in Canada, as well as the fact that QC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. A lot of other online design schools I found online weren’t.

I was also drawn to the fact that the school has a full business unit included in their courses. Being able to learn the business and how to work with clients is so amazing! QC Design School has been a fun and very positive experience for me.

You have done a ton of gorgeous renovations and projects within your own home. How would you describe your design style?

My home is the place where I get to experiment and play around with all my ideas. I’m so proud of how far my home has come, since my husband and I have done all the work ourselves.

I love so many different styles, and feel like my style really just nods to a lot of different ones. I love the clean look of Scandinavian, the relaxed feel and textiles of Bohemian, and the simplicity of Minimalism. So many styles have so many great aspects! I feel like borrowing bits and pieces from these different styles really makes a space more dynamic and interesting.

To sum up my style, I would say: light, bright, and calming neutrals.

The design industry is known for being highly competitive. How do you feel you and your business stand out from the competition?

There are definitely a lot of wonderful designers out there, but what makes it interesting is that we all bring new, different styles and ideas to the table. When it comes to making myself stand out, I would say that my work ethic is very strong. I definitely eat, sleep, and breath design! I’m determined to work until my client and I are happy with the results. My goal is to always make every space pretty and homey!

You’re currently enrolled in QC’s Interior Decorating and Staging for Designers Courses. What is it about interior decorating and home staging that interests you so much?

My mood has always been affected by my surroundings. So, I started to experiment and change my spaces until I found the style or feeling I was going for at the time. I think that this is what’s so interesting about design – that you can change it around as many times as you like. Little or big changes can make such a huge difference in a space. It’s such an expression and extension of who you are!

Home staging is interesting to me, too, because you are setting the home up for people to see the potential of that space. Lots of people are unable to see past clutter, personal items, and certain design trends. Staging a home brings a new and different challenge. You’re helping others to feel at home in the space and envision themselves living there. Home staging helps compliment the space by showcasing the best features of the home.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far from your online training?

I have learned so much from my online courses! Particularly, I’ve loved learning about the history of design. Knowing where design trends started is so fascinating.

I would also have to say that I’ve enjoyed learning about the design business itself. Being able to understand and learn important information about my future industry is really priceless. It not only makes me feel more prepared to start my company; it makes me much more confident in all aspects!

Give us an example of one piece of valuable feedback you’ve received from your tutor!

My tutor, Ivy Ellerby, has been so helpful. She has given me so much great feedback and guidance! Ivy has really taken the time with each assignment and gone over the pros and cons of each. That has been so helpful!

The advice I have remembered the most is probably her telling me to “keep it up”. Her constant encouragement to keep going, and assurance that I’m on the right track, has been very motivating.

What is your biggest career accomplishment so far?

One of my biggest accomplishments has to be when I chose to get started and just go for it. Once I decided to take the course and put my journey out there, so many amazing opportunities started to come up! Being able to  work with so many great people, while doing something that I’m so in love with, has really been a dream come true… and it’s only just the beginning!

What’s on the horizon for Leigh Allan Design in 2021?

By next year, I hope to have graduated and to get to work. This year has been such a challenge for so many, so hopefully next year will be a positive and productive one. I would love to start really working in my community, offering interior decorating and home staging services. I am really looking forward to officially starting my business and using all that I have learned at QC Design School to grow in my field!

Want to know how to become an interior decorator? Get professional training! Enroll today in QC’s Interior Decorating Course and get certified in as little as 3-6 months!

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