Vivian Panagos

Career Change into Interior Design

Vivian Panagos

“Look for a mentor - don't be afraid to approach someone whose work or business-savvy you admire.”

Vivian Panagos is an interior designer and author of design blog, ish & chi. She shares residential, retail and architectural tours, interviews with creatives and decorating and style ideas along with the makeover of her Sydney home.

1 What did you study and how has your career path evolved over time?

I have studied quite a bit! I hold a Bachelor of Computer Science and a Masters in Information Technology. While I was studying I worked in the IT industry and I still do today as a Project Manager. In 2008 I was renovating my home and I enjoyed the process so much that I started a design blog, ish and chi, to document the process. Through this, I discovered that I really enjoyed design and wanted to take it seriously, so I studied to become an interior designer completing a Diploma in Interior Design and Decoration.

2 How flexible and stable do you find working in the industry?

As an interior designer and design blogger, I work my own hours and accept projects based on my availability. The work has been consistent over the years and I haven't had to actively look for work, much of it has been word of mouth or people contacting me directly having seen my work online.

3 How do you show your clients your credentials?

I have a portfolio of work on the Houzz website and I also share my work on my blog, ish and chi.

4 What are the biggest challenges you face in your work and how do you overcome them?

Balancing my time between the various jobs I do. I'm still working on it! Mainly I find this difficult because I want to throw all of myself into each project and it can be all consuming but also very rewarding.

5 What advice would you offer students looking to get into the interior design industry?

Network with other people within the industry and build contacts with suppliers, contractors etc. Also look for a mentor - don't be afraid to approach someone whose work or business-savvy you admire.

6 What's the secret to running a successful interior design business?

Approach each project with confidence and be honest with clients upfront if something won't work (budget / ideas etc). Once you set expectations it makes the entire project and process easier to manage and avoids disappointment.

Previous article:

Children's Bedroom & Nursery Designer
Svjetlana Miskovic

Next article:

The Style Project
Kim Knox-Thurn

Are you interested in getting into the Interior Design Industry? Hear more real life stories from industry professionals here.