Ambassador Feature: Bradley Schlagheck - QC Design School

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi! I grew up outside of Orlando, Florida, and moved to Boston at age 17 to dance professionally. I danced with Boston Ballet for about 12 years. After that, I moved to New York to join the Broadway cast of An American In Paris. I’ve also toured the country with AAIP and am a 4-year veteran of the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

I got my certification with QC Design School back in 2019. After graduating, I started my own company, Bradley Ryan Home Organization. Since then, have been pursuing turning this hobby into a successful career after dancing.

How did you get into the world of professional design?

I think I’ve always been an organized person, whether at school or in my dance career. I pride myself in my work and my ability to use my intelligence outside of the dance studio. Organization and decor have always been a passion.

There comes a time in a dancer’s life when they have to start asking, “What’s next?” So, when that thinking started for me, design was a natural progression of where I could see myself in a new career.

Why did you decide to pursue your design certifications online, rather than in-person?

I’m still also a working performer. I never know when my next gig will come, or how long I will have off in-between. The uncertainty of that life can be frustrating, but I knew that if I were to continue any sort of secondary education, it would have to be online. An in-person program would have had a different schedule and time commitment that I just wouldn’t have been able to work with.

Why did you decide to enroll with QC Design School (compared to other schools out there)?

I decided to enroll with QC Design School because of the ability to become a certified professional organizer completely online, on my own time, and at my own pace. After researching other schools and programs, I knew that QC was the one for me!

The structure of the programs fit directly into my schedule and NYC lifestyle. I knew that I would benefit the most from a program where I was being guided by a dedicated tutor, and where I would receive personalized feedback. It’s also super helpful that the courses include a business section, so you’re completely ready to start a new career when you graduate.

You’ve recently joined QC’s team of Student Ambassadors. As an Ambassador, what is the #1 reason you would recommend QC Design School to aspiring designers?

I think the #1 reason would be the flexibility of earning an online certificate at your own pace. You have up to 2 full years to complete a course, and each course is less than 40 hours long. Knowing that you can do coursework without crazy, weekly deadlines and without interrupting your current schedule is a huge plus!

You are now a certified professional organizer and interior decorator. What is it about these two areas of design that interests you so much?

I absolutely love that organizing and decor can be transformative. Getting things in order in your home and creating a space to live can really change your life! Many people don’t realize how their homes affect literally every other aspect of how they function in the world. As a certified professional organizer, going into someone’s home and helping them better themselves is my main goal.

Your business is located in New York; a major city with over 8.3 million people. In such a competitive market, how do you feel you stand out from other designers in your area?

If you’ve ever walked through Midtown on a work day, you know how that many people can make you feel. I’ve always had an interesting desire to stand out, which has been something I’ve been able to cultivate during my performance career.

I think my onstage presence comes out when I’m working with clients. My attention to detail and style is unique to what I do. In a female-dominated industry, being a young (ish) ballet and Broadway-dancing male doesn’t hurt either!

Your business, Bradley Ryan Home Organization, offers virtual organizing services. Tell us a bit about this service and what it entails!

Virtual professional organizing is a really great service, especially when it comes to busy parents or working professionals who just need some help. After my normal initial consultation, we work together on FaceTime or Skype to do exactly what I would do during an in-home session – except I’m not there to do the hands-on work.

There aren’t any location restrictions in terms of where the client’s home is. The hourly rate is lower AND sessions are usually shorter. It’s kind of like a mini crash course in organizing and decor, if you aren’t able to do a full in-home session.

As a certified professional organizer, which room is your favorite to work on? Which space do you find the most challenging?

I’ve come to love organizing closets the most. They’re my favorite and also have been the most challenging. In NYC, you’re lucky if you get at least one! It’s always interesting to see what size and shape it is, but that’s what makes it fun. Sometimes, clients are just overwhelmed with not having the space. So, creating a functional closet is always a journey.

What obstacles did you face when first launching your own business, and how did you overcome them?

After becoming a certified professional organizer, starting my own business was the next hurdle. I think, as with most new endeavors, there’s a learning period where it’s trial and error until you figure out what works best.

Luckily, the business section of my QC Design courses really helped with a lot of questions I had. I didn’t have any prior business background, so I had to do a lot research when it came to insurance, contracts, and keeping track of finances. When it came to something I was unsure of, I asked a lot of questions to friends, family, and even other organizers on social media.

How has your career been affected by COVID-19? In what ways have you adjusted to the changes the design industry has been undergoing during this global pandemic?

2020 has been such an interesting time to be building a business as a certified professional organizer and interior decorator! With things shut down, I’ve had a LOT of extra time to devote towards my business and what I want for the future.

Sadly, going into people’s homes isn’t happening at the moment, which is actually why I started doing virtual organizing. The demand has actually increased for design help, because everyone is being forced to spend more time at home. Most people had to start working from home so quickly, and create temporary offices in their living spaces. Using virtual sessions, as well as a lot of social media content, to connect with clients is kind of the new normal.

What has been your favorite moment to date in your career?

I recently helped a previous client, who had moved out of the country due to the work/COVID situation, to pack up their apartment in NYC and move everything into storage. We worked together completely over text, email, and FaceTime to get everything organized pre-move. Then I spent an entire 8-hour day getting it all done.

When it was all over, I felt so good about my work! More importantly, the relationship we had created during the process was invaluable. Having a connection with my client really made it special. At the end of the day, I was so happy that my new life as a certified professional organizer had truly helped someone in their own life.

What’s in store for Bradley Ryan Home Organization in 2021 and beyond?

Well, with the state of the world, I hope that I can just continue pushing my business above and beyond. I hope to keep growing my client base and making great connections along the way.

I’m so happy to be a new QC Design School Student Ambassador, and I’m excited to hopefully help others start their careers in design. I want Bradley Ryan Home Organization to continue to help create functional, stylish spaces that enrich the way people live.

Finally: what is YOUR definition of “success” as a professional designer?

For me, I think the idea of “success” has constantly changed. But as I dive into my new career as a certified professional organizer and interior decorator, I think success is the feeling I get when I use my skills to really help someone create order. My goal is to bring lasting change to their space.

Inspired by Bradley’s story? Enroll in QC’s Professional Organizing Course and start your journey today!

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