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  • Dawn A Turner - Principal Designer

I May Be Older but I’m Still Learning New Tricks.

Choosing a New Path…


This is a bit unrelated to designing but I felt it was incredibly relevant at this very moment. I’m older now, 45 to be exact. With that comes a level of experience and knowledge that grows. Sometimes we feel like older is wiser but is it really?

I’ve been fortunate to walk through life working in industries that I’ve always wanted to so I never really felt like I was “working”. I spent most of my young adult life as a hairstylist in a very prominent salon and here is where I developed my work ethic and abilities to connect with clientele. But my favorite and strongest attributes was my style and skills as a hairstylist and artist. Attention to the smallest of details was everything. It could make or break the entire look not to mention destroy someone’s hair or worse, their heart. For the exception of the hair none of this is dissimilar to designing a space for someone. But I’ll get to that a little later.

Part of being a hairstylist is the constant need to stay up to date on techniques, products, and current trends. I had to attend classes every so often to earn “hours” towards keeping my license current so I could keep working. I was in a perpetual state of learning and did it for 15+ years. I loved every bit of it until I didn’t.

It was time for a serious change.

Here I was, in my early thirties, applying to go back to college and as a full-time student to study Interior Design. My husband went with me to the orientation and helped me with all of the paperwork that goes into applying for college. To say I was nervous is an understatement but I was even more excited at my new journey.

Not only was I studying another passion of mine but I was doing so in one of the most architecturally stunning cities on the planet, Chicago. I suddenly felt that excitement and fire to learn new things and absorb as much knowledge as possible.

To sum up my experience of college is simple. I loved every bit of it. It was new, exciting, and incredibly challenging and I would do it all over again. It was that much of a blast. This older girl was learning new tricks….

Fast forward to current times and WOW it’s a doozy, right?!

I launched my design firm a little over 2 years ago knowing it was going to be a grind. Everyday I learned something new, mostly from the business perspective and not so much the designing aspect. The business end wasn’t taught in school so I certainly went into this blindly, for the most part. I have since joined a myriad of online design communities that provide a plethora of knowledge pertaining specifically to the business end and business is changing…

On any given project I use up to 7, sometimes 8, computer programs. If the technology gods are in a good mood, I can jump seamlessly from one program to the next. Some days I’m not so lucky. I’ve currently started learning ANOTHER program. This one delivers hyper-realistic 3D renders that are simply out- of-this- world fantastic. I knew upon seeing this program in action that I absolutely had to learn it so I could add this to my skill sets but more importantly add it as an amazing service to my clientele.

Given these unpredictable and chaotic times (at least that’s how it feels) I realized quickly it became an Adapt or Die situation. I had to learn something new, again, stay on top of my game.

Most of my on-site projects have wrapped up leaving time open to really dive into another program. It’s not like anything else I’m using and often find myself contemplating throwing my laptop out into the street. I plan on using this new program towards my remote design service (E-Design) so that my clients can have a near dead-on-accurate representation of the space I'm designing for them AND coming soon my client's will be able to purchase their proposed items directly from renderings in their design packages. It's all new to me but

nevertheless I keep going. Keep learning. Keep moving forward.

I’m not writing this as a BELIEVE IN YOURSELF proclamation, but more of a YOU’RE NOT DONE YET statement. Similar yet different.

What are you doing right now to keep yourself going? What new challenges are you considering?

Whatever it may be, don’t give up cuz you’re not done yet. You got this.

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