Design Career Spotlight: How I Started a Business with A Fellow QC Alumnus! - QC Design School

When QC Design School graduate, Daniella De Luca, recommended QC to one of her friends, she never expected that it’d one day lead to a partnership and joint business endeavor! Join Daniella as she spills all the details about the latest adventure in her design career!

Daniella is a multi-certified graduate and Student Ambassador of QC Design School. She is also the owner of her own personal business, Maximize Design.

Design career spotlight article, June 15 2021, Daniella De Luca headshot
The Friendly Market business logo

My Design Career: A Little About Me

Hey there, my name is Daniella De Luca! As you may know, I’m a QC Design School Student Ambassador. What you might not know, however, is that in addition to being a graduate of QC Design School, I’m also a graduate of QC Event School, too.

In total, I’ve completed the following certification courses through QC:

Moreover, I recently submitted the last unit of my Color Consultant Course, and I’m currently enrolled in the Aging in Place program!

Starting My Own Design Business

If you’ve read my previous blog article, you’ll know that I didn’t originally set out to start a design career when I first enrolled with QC Design School. However, since completing my courses, I decided to take the plunge! My first business, Maximize Design, focuses on interior decorating services. I provide clients with creative and unique ways to maximize their small spaces by implementing functional space, thus saving elements to their homes. For now, this business mainly operates virtually.

My second venture is Doodle in Disguise. This is a calligraphy, engraving, and digital design business. As a Toronto-based calligrapher and engraver, I provide services to create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. These pieces can be used as decor for homes and events. Furthermore, I utilize and offer various mediums, such as paper, wood, acrylic, glass, and/or digital prints.

Expanding My Design Career: Partnering with A Fellow QC Alumnus

Recently, I decided to embark on a new business venture with a close friend: jewelry designer and fellow QC graduate, Marie Ostrom! With our combined knowledge and experience (that we both gained from taking QC courses), we were able to create The Friendly Market.

Our individual businesses are very different, in terms of the products and services provided. However, we both share like-minded ways of running our new, joint venture together. This, in large part, is due to the incredible business knowledge we’ve goth gathered from our QC training! For instance, we share common goals and ways of approaching:

  • Finding our target audience;
  • Marketing our new business together;
  • And a major component: networking.

This partnership speaks to the value of networking with friends, other artists, fellow students, and alumni. After all, you never know what opportunities are awaiting… and this chapter of my design career is a testament to that!

The Value of Networking

So, what is networking? Furthermore, why is it so important when starting a business?

Simply put, networking is when we interact and form connections with other people. This can be for social and/or business purposes. From a business standpoint, the goal is to exchange information with each other and use that information in a way that benefits our career and goals.

Networking is SO important when starting a business, regardless of the professional field you’re in. Moreover, it’s important to not only network within your specific field; but also to expand your range by networking with those who are not in your same field, too. You never know – those relationships can grow into something mutually beneficial for you both.

Networking During a Global Pandemic

With everything going on in the world today, networking has become a little more difficult. We’ve been lacking face-to-face events and opportunities. However, QC Design School provides all students and alumni with the perfect virtual space for networking within their Virtual Classroom on Facebook! In this space, students and grads can share ideas, help one another with questions, collaborate, and network with like-minded individuals.

It’s SO important to take advantage of this opportunity! If you’re a current QC student or alumnus, I cannot recommend the Virtual Classroom enough. By exchanging ideas with other people, as well as putting yourself and your business out there, you’re creating different avenues of opportunity. You can forge connections that you may not have originally considered for yourself or your design career!

Linking entities. Networking, social media, SNS, internet communication abstract. Small network connected to a larger network. Web of red, orange and yellow wires on white background.

Meeting Marie Ostrom

Now I’d like to introduce you to my new business partner, Marie Ostrom! Marie is a longtime friend. She’s an entrepreneur in her own business, Orange Sky Art Co., and now the Co-Founder of The Friendly Market.

We originally met through a mutual friend (did someone say, “social networking”?), Catherine Dodge. Catherine is the owner of Cliffside Style – who is actually another one of our vendors in The Friendly Market! Over the years, we became closer after all of our friends had gone to University out of town. Fun fact: Marie was even a bridesmaid in my wedding back in 2014!

Steering Marie Towards QC

Years ago, I had told Marie about how much I was enjoying my QC Design School courses. I was always talking about how much I was learning and how convenient the payment options were. Moreover, I gushed constantly about how QC’s flexible, online learning structure was the PERFECT fit for my busy schedule as a new mom. When Marie saw that QC had an Event School as well, she also decided to enroll!

Fast forward to today… Marie is currently enrolled in the Promotional Event Planning program. She’s also graduated from the following QC Event School Courses:

Furthermore, Marie also aspires to cross over into QC Design School and enroll in the Interior Decorating Course. Her business, Orange Sky Art Co., is a collection of unique, handmade polymer clay products and mixed media art.

This business was created as a passion project so that Marie could design and create earrings for herself. Soon after she made her first pair, she was creating polymer clay earrings in every color and style! From there, she began expanding her products into necklaces, jewelry dishes, ornaments, keychains, wine charms, and even customized products.

Our Design Careers: Coming Up With The Business Idea

The idea for creating The Friendly Market came from Marie. She wanted to start a rotating neighborhood market after COVID restrictions were lifted in our area. Importantly, she wanted to embark on this endeavor with a group of friends who also had their own businesses. This way, everyone could all expand their networks. Once I heard Marie’s idea, I jumped right on board!

With my legal background and knowledge of by-laws in our area, I knew that there may be some limitations to what we could do. Marie and I brainstormed, and had consultations with Jamil Elannan, a business consultant. Together, Jamil helped us navigate the complexities of our ‘market style’ approach. As a result of all this preparation, we’ve landed on creating a virtual market (for now)!

Funny enough, Jamil is also a student of QC Design School as well! This is just another example of how networking can put you in touch with the right connections and help you grow your business. His insight and expertise were essential to our start-up!

The Friendly Market stand logo

Creating The Friendly Market

Once we figured out what we’d need to do, in order to start this business, we knew it would be a big task for either one of us to take on alone. So, we divided up the tasks and pursued them together! With the help of Jamil, as well as our knowledge from QC’s business development modules, we were able to effectively identify our target markets. We knew how we wanted to appeal to our potential customers. Furthermore, we also knew how to prepare a business plan for where we see ourselves going in the coming years.

Take it from me: completing the optional business training associated with each QC Course is essential! It prepares you for starting your own business. You learn to think through ALL aspects of your business, even if it’s not directly related to a design career or an event career. Plus, business training is great general knowledge that can be applied in any venture you embark upon!

So, What IS The Friendly Market?

The Friendly Market is an online market of vendors. We created this business as a convenient, one-stop-shop for unique, local, and handcrafted items. Currently, we have 3 sponsors:

With the help of our sponsors and consultants, our goal is to one day hold in-person market in the Greater Toronto Area. Marie and I hope to get the ball rolling for this once COVID restrictions are lifted in our area.

Vendors of The Friendly Market

Each vendor that’s currently part of our market has their own set of dynamic skills and talents. They bring these to the market in the form of either a product or a service. For example, Area Apparel provides custom apparel. Cliffside Style creates wood, glass, and stone home decor beads. Saw Something Nice creates geometric wood art, while Heart’s Desire Beauty makes nail polish, cuticle oils, and hand creams.

We’ve also since launched an application process which welcomes other businesses to be a part of The Friendly Market as vendors. This way, we can continuously grow our list, and provide even more opportunities for small businesses to create an even larger network of business owners. This network that we’re building can help our vendors get noticed in different markets, as well as providing a one-stop shop for customers!

Design career spotlight article, June 15 2021, last in-post image. Two casual business women at work.

My Design Career: Final Thoughts

With our joint backgrounds in design and event planning from QC Design School and QC Event School, Marie and I have been able to apply so much of what we’ve learned to The Friendly Market. YOU may be thinking about enrolling with either of these schools. I can assure that regardless of whether or not you want to pursue a design career or event career specifically, the possibilities you’ll receive through QC’s certification training are ENDLESS!

The knowledge that Marie and I have both obtained has helped us with specific knowledge in our fields of choice. But it’s also helped better our creative mindsets, too. Now we can both approach new ideas with an understanding of what it takes to start a business – and market that business to clients. Speaking from my own experience, I originally enrolled at QC without any intention of starting a business. But now, I own 3!

My point is: QC sparked something very inspirational inside of me. My training made me want to keep creating. Furthermore, it made me want to keep expanding my knowledge by enrolling in more courses. (Did I mention that I also hope to one day enroll in the Winghill Writing School? This school is also a part of QC!)

Start YOUR Design Career Today!

If you haven’t started your design career yet, but dream of doing so, this is your sign to make TODAY the day you jump in with both feet! While you’re at it, you should definitely go join the QC Design and/or Event School Virtual Classroom. I truly do hope to see you there after reading this article!

Use this virtual space to your advantage and network with fellow QC students and graduates! At the end of the day, you never know which profession could use your design career or event career’s insight and experience. I mean, think about it: without networking, Marie and I would have never met. Marie would not have enrolled at QC (on my recommendation) to obtain her professional training. Moreover, The Friendly Market would not exist today!

I’d love to hear YOUR networking stories in the comments below! How has networking helped YOU get to where you are today? Alternately, where do you hope it can get you in the future?

Thanks so much for reading! 💕

Launch your design career in as little as 3-6 months by enrolling with QC Design School today!

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Maria Papailiadis says:

    I love this idea 🙂
    I was also an event planner before covid, I can’t wait to start networking in person again.
    I am just north of the GTA, reach out if you ever need anything from my contact list up here (venues, ad space, etc)!

    • Sarah-Lynn Seguin says:

      Hey Maria, thanks so much for reading and commenting! We LOVE how you and Daniella seem to be in relatively close proximity to one another! Do we sense a possible future collaboration in your (and Daniella’s) design career? 🤔😉

      All the best,
      The QC Team

  • Bradley Schlagheck says:

    Thanks for sharing your story! Sounds like a fun new adventure in life and a great business!

  • Fernanda Petizme says:

    I loved the content of the blog. I thought the idea about The Friendly Market was amazing! Congratulations for your creativity and skills. I wish much success in your adventure!

    • Sloane Seguin says:

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Fernanda! We were absolutely ECSTATIC when Daniella told us this exciting news about her new design career venture. The Friendly Market is such a cool concept, and we can’t stress enough how much we love that this amazing idea came from the joining together of two QC alumni! <3

      All the best,
      The QC Team

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