rebecca atwoodDESIGNER, ARTIST, AUTHOR
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN DESIGN?
For as long as I can remember, I've always loved to draw, paint, and work with my hands. I studied painting, but then became interested in textiles towards the end of my time at Rhode Island School of Design. Looking for a job, I quickly realized that I loved home. Creating environments and objects that people use every day is inspiring to me. I knew I had made the right decision choosing home when I began at my first job out of school with Anthropologie.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE LOOKING TO BREAK INTO THE INDUSTRY?
Spend the time getting to know the company you're applying to work at. Tailor your portfolio for those meetings. It's extra work but putting in the extra effort, and sometimes even doing a new project to showcase how your talents could translate to their aesthetic, helps them connect the dots. Especially when it's visual work – you can't assume that someone hiring will know you understand the aesthetic unless you show them.
I'd also say, don't be discouraged if the first job you get isn't your dream job. There's something to be learned from all experiences, and while you might not immediately realize how you can apply it in the future, it will still be helpful. Learn as much as you can from those who work in the same company as you – even, and maybe especially, if they work in different department from you but your jobs interact with one another. Understanding what a buyer does, or how a planner thinks, etc. can help you greatly down the road.