As the end of August is nearing I am getting into the vibes of starting fresh! You know, those “back to school” feelings that include new clothes and new beginnings; it is like a September NEW YEARS resolution planning! One of my new resolutions for this year is proper decorating in our new place. I came across this KILLER design firm out of Atlanta and had to share the epic stories of Monet Masters and Tavia Forbes with you guys 🙂
First off, thank you both so much for coming onto Fernweh Society! I was completely mesmerized by your work and had to get you on here! So tell me, how did you determine that interior design was your calling?
Thanks for having us Annika! To answer that question it really started early for me [Monet]. As a child had an obsession for organizing and staging my teddy bears and books. As I got older my relatives began asking me to decorate their homes and well, my passion really grew from there. After that I knew that design was my destiny so to speak. Once in high school I absolutely loved the DIY projects that I could make in home economics class. After high school I applied and was accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design – in Atlanta, where I got my BFA in Interior Design and was recognized as one of the top students in my class!
That is amazing, I really love how you actively turned your passion into your career; it is much easier said than done! So let me ask you, were there any bumps along the road? Were you were ever considering an alternative career path?
No, not really actually! I have never considered doing anything other than interior design since getting accepted into SCAD. Being in Atlanta and being around entrepreneurs has really helped me to keep pushing with confidence that I can do whatever it is I choose to do. The thought of interior design not working out has never crossed my mind 🙂 When I left corporate, the first two years was nothing shy of a struggle but even then, having my own design firm was my reality and focus.
I love it! I posted a quote the other day about how you shouldn’t focus on ‘plan B’ because only ‘plan A’ will make you happy; you did just that to find your success! How did find your place in the world of interior design during and after your school program?
Exactly Annika; great quote!
I have always been a very social and driven individual so mingling with and connecting with other successful interior designers was a daily task and goal at the beginning of my career. Even while in school at SCAD I was shadowing and assisting 3 different designers while going to school full time. This facilitated my entrance and access into the design community and resources.
That is perfect! With hands on work and networking one can never go wrong! How did you both meet and come together to start Forbes + Masters?
Tavia and I met on a project that I was let go from. She was the designer chosen to complete the project and I took interest in her. I admired her success and found many similarities between us. I called her up the next day and we became work friends. Over time we built a friendship and through quarterly conversations of how business was going, we realized that we both needed help and decided to take the advice of a mentor who had been encouraging us to merge for months.
That is such a great story! Sometimes it can be scary to take that first step in creating industry peers but it really panned out for you! What do you each find are the most difficult parts about running your own business?
What we are learning now is that the hardest part about running your own business is growing. It’s easy to stay constant and consistent with existing tasks but knowing when and how to take the next steps can be difficult. Simply hiring another designer can be hard and takes a lot of time and energy. Our mentor has always said, “to make money you have to spend money”. Sometimes the hardest decisions in business are making the right investments!
That is very true, your mentor is on point with that! On the flip side what is the best part about running your own business?
At least for me [Monet], although I am an early bird, I am incredibly thankful every morning to be able to wake up and take my time easing into the day and creating my own schedule. Working for yourself, you tend to work more in fact, but having control over your schedule is priceless. It allows you to take those breaks when the day is getting overwhelming or traveling in the middle of the week.
I completely agree! I think that is definitely the driving goal for many other entrepreneurs starting out! What is your favorite part of the design process?
We really love the design presentation and the reveal. We are always amazed at how accurately we can pinpoint our clients needs and style with just a few conversations and inspirational pictures. We really excel in being able to give the clients what they want and more and we are able to see this in their reaction to the design presentation and reveal!
I can imagine that part of the process is your client’s favorite as well 🙂 Do you have favorite project(s) that you have worked on?
We love all of our projects completed thus far but we really enjoyed completing the sitting den for our Alpharetta clients. They had this one large, blue, velvet, swivel chair that had to be used in the room. At first we struggled with the how…and why (lol) but we made it work very well. We were able to integrate the chair to create a look that has many focal points in the room!
What are your tips for other women who want to start their own businesses? Perhaps an interior design business 🙂 ?
Anyone looking to start their own interior design business should focus on shadowing other designers and collaborating! They should even consider the possibility of working at a small established design firm. We are still learning after 5+ years of being in this field and will never stop learning but this will help to filter through the broad spectrum of what exactly you want to do in this field.
Great advice, collaborating and shadowing are some of the best ways to grow in an industry! So to close this amazing interview, I would love it if you could share your top home décor tip on a budget for the readers of Fernweh Society.
Our number one design tip for budget friendly projects is to paint it first! Start with paint. It is inexpensive but will offer a dramatic change and update in any space! If it’s a old piece of furniture that you are trying to update, paint it. Paint is the ultimate miracle when used correctly!
Amazing!!!! It is so true, a new color can really transform the space (or furniture). Thank you so much Monet and Tavia for being on Fernweh Society and sharing your stories, business advice and home décor tips! You can find FORBES + MASTERS here and definitely check out their Instagram here !
Now please excuse me while I go decide which room I am painting first! 🙂
Happy decorating my friends!
images provided by FORBES + MASTERS