Today we’d like to introduce you to Candis Garcia.
Hi Candis, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I fell in love with interior design as a teenager. I was introduced to this computer game called The Sims and my life was never the same. I didn’t initially pursue interior design as a career because my high school friends and I were all going to be nurses. I didn’t quite make it that far in my nursing journey before I jumped on the interior design train. Some time went by, and I worked in retail management and the healthcare field before I attended The Art Institute of Austin where I began my interior design journey. I learned a lot going to an art school, so design was more of an art to me. I graduated in 2014 and I immediately began working for Mary DeWalt Design Group. There we strictly focused on model home merchandising. My final job title there was Creative Director. I worked there for almost 6 years before I ventured off to start my own business right before COVID hit. I received my final boost of confidence when I was one of the lead interior designers on the Parade Home of 2020. I worked closely with Sterling Custom Homes to design their model for the parade. All I remember is Duke McDowell being disappointed when he didn’t win the last parade of homes that he participated in. He even had a hard time selling it, so his goal was of course to win and sell the house quickly. With those goals in mind, I was determined to make sure we delivered on our end. The architects did a fabulous job with the floor plan and the model turned out beautiful and not only did we win best interior design we walked away with 6 other awards for the model, and it sold before the parade even began. That was my first full design of a million-dollar parade home and here I am today pushing through and trying to make a name for myself here in Austin.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has not been a smooth road. I would have to say that COVID came and took us all by surprise! It was very challenging trying to navigate starting a business and it was very stressful. It’s not easy trying to build clientele and make them understand the value that I bring to the table. I have struggled with marketing and which way to go to generate more leads. It can get pricy so I’m really depending on God, referrals, and word of mouth. Also being a woman of color is always in the back of my head and I am not always someone’s first choice or people trying to shortchange me, and of course, you have the friends and family who want a “discount” aka free, but you must start somewhere. I underestimated how much nondesign work that would be involved in the day-to-day. I really look forward to being in the position to hire someone to do the office management tasks and assist me in some of the design aspects of the projects.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
I am the proud owner of House Jefe. I am a one-woman show now. House Jefe is a full-service interior design studio and I also offer e-design services. Most of my clients reach out to me because of my use of color. I do consider myself a fancier of color. Color is so important to our everyday lives, and you can’t be afraid to use it. I always push my clients to try to incorporate some color in their environments. I also have an online store of curated items of furniture, accessories, and lighting. I’m working on eventually opening a storefront for the shop.
What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
There is always something to learn. One of my biggest lessons learned is to be as transparent as possible with your clients. You must set boundaries and know your worth and what you are bringing to the table. It can be a very slippery slope when you don’t have a clear design scope for your clients, and they want to keep adding on things as the project progresses. It is also very important to have a solid contractor. If you find one hold on to them for dear life! So many contractors will bid on a job, and you never hear from them again or they don’t show up when they say they will. Also, if you take on a project with a client who is working with a contractor already make sure you take on the project management role and be compensated for it or make sure your client knows that you are not taking on the project management role if they don’t want to pay you for it. If there is not a project manager things can fall through the cracks and fingers will get pointed. We don’t ever want fingers being pointed at us for something we are not responsible for.
- $225.00 per hour (standard billing)
- Flat Rates Available (upon request)
- E-Design Packages (price varies on package))
- Design Consultation $100.00 max 2 hrs.
- Design Tips & Advice $300.00 max 2hrs.
- Website: www.housejefedesigns.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/housejefedesigns/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/housejefedesign
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/home
- Youtube: https://youtu.be/mSbSoSDeAkw?t=569
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/house-jefe-austin-5