SL: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to the “you” that’s just starting out?
ALISON: When I started my firm, I would’ve been more selective about the kind of work I was taking. I was taking on everything, but sometimes it’s not a good fit. A project has to be a good fit for the client but also for you. I definitely think I should’ve been a bit more strategic about it in the beginning; you can get really slowed down and disillusioned. When you remain true to yourself and what you really love, you produce better work.
SL: Can you share a few career resources you find invaluable (books, websites, podcasts etc.)?
ALISON: One of the people who has really helped me in my career would be my business coach, Anna Scott. She has really shifted my mindset from how I deal with problems at work, how I deal with them in my body, and how I respond to clients.
There is a podcast I love that’s called A Well-Designed Business. It’s about a woman from New Jersey who owns a window covering business, but she actually has these really insightful interviews with other designers, and that has been pretty informative.
I also talk to other designers. I feel like talking to others while being transparent can help you do something in a lot of different ways. I think there’s this idea that everyone on the outside knows exactly what they’re doing, but no one really knows. Even my friend, an interior designer and arguably people would look at our work and think we’d be competitors, but she’s my friend. We share insights, troubles and successes - having that support system is so important.