Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I’m half Filipino and half Chinese, from the Philippines. I moved to Dubai in 2005 and am now a proud mother of two wonderful kids. I’m also a Psychology graduate. The majority of my career, my background has been in Sales and Marketing. However, I then decided to try moving in a different direction and pursue my passion for interior styling!

How did you get into the world of interior decorating and professional design?

I’ve always liked looking at beautiful spaces, and rearranging my furniture to make our home cozy and inviting. When my kids were younger, it was all about beautifying my space with safety in mind. Now that they’re older, I’m more flexible with the arrangement. The good thing is that my kids grew up appreciating my decorations and style! They always say that our house is beautiful – and that’s all I need. I’m all about functionality with a personality!

Why did you decide to become an interior decorator through online training, rather than in-person?

I’m the General Manager of a small but challenging company – a.k.a. my household. As such, I need flexibility in my already busy schedule. While balancing all of the other responsibilities of a typical busy parent, I also need to ensure that learning will be a joyful process for me. It didn’t seem like such criteria could simultaneously be met through a brick-and-mortar school.

I kid you not, I didn’t know if any school would realistically be able to meet my needs… until I discovered QC Design School! The flexibility of a self-paced learning environment is what drew me to QC. Plus, I loved that I’d have the freedom to become an interior decorator and earn my design certification from the comfort of my own home!

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How did you first hear about QC Design School?

I was searching for online schools and reading reviews. QC Design School kept coming up, so I started looking into what they offer students. Right away, I knew they’d be the ideal school for me: a school that offers self-paced learning, and could help me transform my passion and hobby for interior styling into a legitimate career!

Were there any other benefits to QC Design School that made you decide to enroll?

When I was looking for a design school, these were the 3 most important factors for me:

  1. A self-paced learning environment. I didn’t want to have to go to a physical school. Furthermore, QC gives you 2 full years to complete your program.
  2. Cost. Ideally, I didn’t want my professional training to break the bank. Luckily, QC Design School offers a lot of promotions and flexible payment plans suitable to practically any budget.
  3. The quality of the education. To me, this meant the number of things I’d learn, and how likely I’d be able to use my knowledge to start my own design firm after graduating.

I discovered QC Design School after reading numerous articles and reviews. When I saw the course catalogs on their official website, as well as their flexible payment plans, I became positive that it was meant to be!

You enrolled in our Interior Decorating Course back in 2019 and recently graduated this past April. Overall, how was your experience? Do you feel that QC truly taught you how to become an interior decorator and launch a thriving career?

I was beyond ecstatic! I’m a Psychology graduate and ended up in the Sales and Marketing field for the majority of my corporate life. After completing my interior decorator certification training, I felt successful in reinventing myself as a Professional Home Designer. I felt confident because I knew that QC Design School’s course materials, assignments, and business unit all prepared me to shine in the industry!

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How valuable were the materials, assignments, and tutor feedback for your interior decorator course?

I absolutely love my tutor, Ivy Ellerby! Every time I submit a unit, I simply can’t wait to receive her feedback because there’s always something new that she teaches me. Ivy’s helped me a lot through her constructive feedback. She really takes the time to go through each assignment. Her attention to detail has really helped me improve my work, and give my best to each and every task!

You’re also currently enrolled in QC Design School’s Staging for Designers Course. Why are you interested in professional home staging, and how do you foresee this additional training will further help you become an interior decorator?

I’d like for my business to eventually offer complete home design services. Having home staging in my portfolio, alongside interior decorating, provides versatility and gives my business a wide array of services to offer.

You’ve recently joined QC’s team of Student Ambassadors. As an Ambassador, what is the #1 reason you recommend QC Design School to those who want to become an interior decorator and/or design professional?

No matter what age you are and regardless of which stage you’re at at work or in life, if you have a hobby or a passion, go for it! If you don’t know how or where to start, I strongly recommend enrolling at QC Design School! They’ll guide you through each and every step.

Where else can you find a school that will also teach you to start your own business? Everything is readily available and all you have to do is take action!

How to become an interior decorator article, Caryl Lo Portfolio Image 3

You’re passionate about re-designing and decorating spaces in a budget-friendly way. Why do you feel this niche will help your business, Moods of Green, stand out from other designers in your area?

Everyone deserves to have a functional, relaxing, and beautiful home! It doesn’t matter whether they’re renting or owning that space; whether they live in a huge villa or in a small apartment (like myself). I’d like Moods of Green’s services to be accessible to the majority, in terms of affordability. Moreover, I strive to help others refresh their spaces and achieve a stress-free home. That way, it can increase the well-being of all those who live there.

A simple rearrangement of the furniture layout can drastically improve the functionality of a space! For example, I like to decorate using conversation pieces that my client may already have. Doing so allows them to express their unique personal style. Plus, by combining nature and bringing the outdoors in, I can help them create a warm and inviting atmosphere – without having to spend a fortune!

To build on our last question – your business is located in Dubai; a major city with over 3.3 million people. In such a competitive market, how do you plan to attract clients and make a name for yourself as an interior decorator?

Like with any other product, I believe that even if you have the best packaging, the best-looking product, or the best functionality, you’ll never be able to reach your target audience without proper marketing execution. As a result, you won’t meet your sales goals.

In addition to this, networking and surrounding yourself with the right people is critical. Right timing, creativity, and adaptability are also essential for success, too. Lastly, nothing beats a winning attitude that radiates positivity! People gravitate easily towards these attributes. So, that’s what I strive for my business to emulate.

Personally, I would also like to be known for biophilic interiors (so, that’s something else I will continuously explore).

As you mentioned earlier, you have years of experience in the corporate world. How do you feel this makes you an even stronger interior decorator and overall designer?

I’m driven by passion and challenges. I believe that apart from the creative process (design), the “business” side of every design company is equally crucial. Finances, organization, and the ability to easily reach out to various types of people are all incredibly important.

That is exactly what I’ve been doing in the past: meeting different kinds of people and networking. I’m a people person – but also a sales person at the same time. Only this time, I’m not going to be selling another company’s products and services. I will be selling my own. That makes it even better and more exciting!

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What has been your favorite QC Design School assignment so far and why?

I’ve loved ALL of my assignments, as interior decorating and home design are new to me (professionally). I make sure that I give my best effort and do extra research for any given task at all times. One of my favorite parts is learning about the different design styles. Personally, I really gravitate towards period-style homes. It’s just so grand, classy, and beautiful!

That being said, the funniest experience I’ve had so far actually happened recently while completing an assignment for my Staging for Designers Course. I needed to take a photo of a porch and patio. The thing is, I live in an apartment, so I don’t exactly have those. Plus, none of my closest friends live in a villa that has a porch and a patio.

So, I had to go find a property being sold on the market that had both a porch and a patio. It was really funny to me because I went there with the sole intention of taking photos for my homework – and not because I was actually interested in buying it. 😅

What obstacles did you face when first becoming an interior decorator and launching your very own business? How did you overcome them?

To be honest, I haven’t really encountered as obstacles yet.

QC Design School made it really easy for me to start up my interior decorator business! I actually strongly suggest that everyone takes advantage of the optional Business Unit included in their QC course. This unit practically guides you through every aspect of launching and running a business!

Moreover, I’ve created a realistic, optimistic roadmap for my business objectives and career goals. So far, I’m still sticking to my plan and schedule. I’ve actually just registered my company two weeks ago, and I already have potentially three projects lined up!

In what ways do you feel the COVID pandemic has changed the way the world at large views home design?

I think that when people suddenly need to spend a lot of time in their homes, they become a lot more aware of their surroundings. A lot of people used to just come home at night to rest. But since the pandemic, they’ve been forced to think of their homes as an extension of their work and school. At the same time, they’ve also needed to see it as a place to relax.

There has to be a separation, one way or another. As a result, people have become more conscious of their living environment. In turn, many have made the decision to make positive changes, such as bringing in more plant life or getting creative. Even something like organizing a part of their space for work and school can make their homes more relaxing AND efficient.

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

I’ve just started my business, so I can’t really comment on that yet. However, my favorite moment in my educational journey so far was when I finished and aced my Interior Decorating Course! It was very rewarding. The moment I received my International Design and Decorating Professional (IDDP) certification was unforgettable and very touching! Who would have thought that I would study again after having two kids and being in my early 40s!

The moment I went to apply for my business license, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I still could not believe that I’d left the corporate world and was able to reinvent myself. There’s really NO age to start and learn something new. Age should never ever stop you from pursuing your passion!

So, if you want to become an interior decorator, my advice is to go for it!

What’s in store for Moods of Green in 2021 and beyond?

I’ll be busy refreshing spaces! I’m also looking at bringing awareness of my roots to Dubai, in terms of home decor pieces. The Philippines is abundant in raw materials like rattan and abaca. So, I plan to source small to medium-sized producers that use sustainable materials and handmade products, and start bringing them Dubai.

Inspired by Caryl’s story? Write your own and become an interior decorator in as little as 3-6 months by enrolling with QC Design School today!

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Bradley Schlagheck says:

    Thanks for sharing your journey! I always enjoy hearing other designers’ stories and path to a new business. And I love that your flair is always with personal style!

    • Caryl says:

      Thanks Bradley! We’ve all come to share our personal journeys in the hopes of inspiring others. ❤

  • Daniella De Luca says:

    Thank you for sharing your story!! I can’t wait to read more of your articles!!

    • Sloane Seguin says:

      We can’t wait, either! She’s got so many awesome insights to share and we know she’s going to do such a wonderful job writing articles for QC. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Daniella, that’s very sweet of you! xx

      All the best,
      The QC Team

    • Caryl says:

      Oh thank you Daniella! I’ll always try to impart as much knowledge as I can. 😊

  • Alexa Jorgenson says:

    Excellent! And, I enjoyed reading about Caryl’s journey to interior decorating! Welcome to the QC Ambassador Team, Caryl!

    • Sloane Seguin says:

      Thanks so much for all your support, Alexa, we’re sure Caryl will really appreciate it! We’re so excited to have her join the Ambassador team, too! <3

      All the best,
      The QC Team

    • Caryl says:

      Oh thank you Daniella! I’ll always try to impart as much knowledge as I can. 😊

    • Caryl says:

      Thanks Alexa for the warm welcome! 🤗

  • Maria Papailiadis says:

    I loved reading about your passion for design, and helping clients on a budget! It’s also amazing to hear about your experience as a student on the other side of the world 🙂

    • Sloane Seguin says:

      Thanks so much for reading and welcoming Caryl to the Ambassador Team with open arms, Maria! You’re so sweet and we’re sure Caryl will appreciate it! <3

      All the best,
      The QC Team

    • Caryl says:

      A big thank you Maria, from hot and sunny Dubai! 😎

  • Caryl says:

    Hello everyone from the hot and sunny Dubai! Thank you all so much for your warm welcome and support!!! 🙂

    • Sloane Seguin says:

      Welcome again, Caryl! <3 Thanks so much for joining our amazing Ambassador Team - we're very excited for all the insights you have to offer! <3

      All the best,
      The QC Team

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