Design royalty paid a visit to the Boston Design Center this week to share their stories of their rise to fame and tips for building your brand as an interior designer.

mary McDonald and Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Mary McDonald and Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Both Mary McDonald and Martyn Lawrence Bullard are stars of the popular Bravo TV reality show Million Dollar Decorators. They were both funny, gracious and very open with sharing their individual stories of breaking into the design field. I found it interesting that neither of them planned to be a decorator. McDonald started out as a hat designer and Bullard was an actor.

I thought their advice was useful not only for decorators but for anyone who is interested in building their brand so I wanted to share my top 5 takeaways.

1. Building a brand doesn’t happen over night. They both were working in the trenches for years before their big TV break that made them a household name. A great quote from one of my design mentors Tobi Fairley is,  ” it took me 13 years to become an over night success.”

2. You are your brand. Be true to yourself and your style and don’t blindly follow the trends. There is no one else exactly like you so do what you do best and you will attract the clients who want what you have to offer.

3. Never give up on your dream. No matter how many people try and discourage you or how many doubters surround you, keep moving forward. Bullard believes that those of us with a passion for design have it encoded in our genes.  Continue to follow that passion and don’t ever give up.

4. Get Published. As an interior designer the best way to build your brand is to be published. You need to take the time to submit your work. You can’t get published if no one knows what you are doing so start locally and build from there.

5. Make friends with rich people. In full disclosure they didn’t actually say this; however they both got their first big break by doing decorating for a rich friend who then referred them to other rich friends.

So there you have it…directly from the mouths of Mary McDonald and Martyn Lawrence Bullard.

Have a great week everyone. I am off to the Brimfield Antique Show tomorrow and then on to Blogfest in NY. Looking forward to sharing it all upon my return.

Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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