Sara Touijer is an interior designer with a passion for beautiful spaces. After working in the industry for several years, she decided to start her own business, Touijer Designs. In this interview, Sara discusses how she turned her passion into a successful business and offers advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Hi Sara, thank you for accepting our interview! How did you start working in the industry? Who is your biggest inspiration?
My career in Interior Design started almost 10 years ago. I was working in the medical field as an MRI/CT technologist for a decade when I decided I needed to change careers. I was always a creative person, with a love for painting and drawing. With my family’s encouragement, I went back to school and got an Interior Design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology and the rest is history. It’s hard to pinpoint someone in particular who is my biggest inspiration. There have been so many people who have inspired me in different ways. I would have to say I’m most inspired by people who are willing to take a chance and go outside their comfort zones.
Can you tell us more about Touijer Designs that you founded in 2012? Can you tell us about the early days of your company? How has your company evolved since it was founded?
I started Touijer Designs with little knowledge of running a business. Let’s just say there was a lot of trial and error back when I started the company. When I first worked, I took on as many projects as possible which probably wasn’t the best idea. I breathed design and loved it so much, however, I became very overextended and oftentimes found myself working late into the night to finish projects. I got burnt out a couple of times. Luckily, I grew the company pretty quickly by word of mouth and repeat clients. This gave me the opportunity to be more selective with projects and better with time management. The company has evolved into a well oiled machine, where we have systems in place that make the design process organized, streamlined, and of course fun. I think when clients know what to expect, it reduces the stress level and makes the design process a great experience. I’ve also started designing product lines which has been such a great experience. We currently have wallpaper, fabrics, and lighting lines.
What has been the most rewarding part of running your own company?
Running my own company has so many rewards. I get to make my own decisions about what I want to do, which is empowering. I think the main reward is that as a woman-owned business, it’s satisfying to make your own income and not have to depend on anyone. Financial independence is so important for women and something society should advocate more for.
You have a lot of experience under your belt. Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting out in the home improvement industry?
My advice for someone just starting out is to lose all sense of ego and be open to learning. Also, shadow someone or do internships so that you have a better idea of the design field. The home improvement industry has so many moving parts and it’s impossible to know everything about it. Surround yourself with people who are the experts in their field and watch and learn from them.
What do you see as the future for you and your company?
I see my company expanding even more with employees and product lines. I also see a career in the tv world on the horizon. I’m currently filming a pilot for my own show called We Bought A House: Now What?. I want to be able to reach people on a larger platform and inspire people with creativity and positivity.
Can you share your top design tip to our readers?
My top design tip is to design your home for yourself, not to impress others.
Thank you for speaking with us, Sara! Be sure to stay tuned for more interviews with inspiring entrepreneurs who have turned their passions into successful businesses.