IFDA Day of Design with Tobi Fairley

Last week I attended Richmond IFDA’s Day of Design event featuring Tobi Fairley! Tobi & me

Tobi is a leader in the design industry and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet her and listen to her speak.

Because I was on the planning committee for the event, I also had the chance to have dinner with her the night before the event.  Wow, what a great experience – and yes, I was sitting right next to her! (We ate at Arcadia, which is delicious!)

dinner with Tobi

(left to right: John Magor, Muffy Barden, Steve Dash, Diane Fairburn, me, Tobi, Jennifer Stoner)

First, I want to share a few pictures of the event, and then I’ll reveal what I learned from Tobi.

We were lucky to have such a beautiful day for the event!

day of design signs

The tent, before:

day of design before

and the tent, ready for the event:

Day of Design

Beautiful flowers, provided by Flowers Make Scents:

flowers make scents centerpiece

A few of our sponsors, Shades of Light:

Shades of light table

Porter Paints and Marva Marble & Granite:

Porter & Marva

Ferguson and Homelink:

Ferguson & Homelink

We had a great crowd...

day of design tent

…and everyone really enjoyed Tobi’s talk on the evolution of her signature design style throughout her career.

Tobi speaking

What I learned from Tobi:

1. Have industry knowledge

Tobi is one smart cookie!  She has been in the design industry for years, and established her own firm over 10 years ago.  She has educated herself on styles and trends and is always staying ahead of the curve.  She knows what works in a room and what doesn't,  and she uses her learned knowledge and natural sense of style to create unbelievably stunning spaces.

Tobi Fairley family room

Image from Tobi Fairley’s website

2.  Be business savvy

Tobi has a degree in interior design and accounting, and she also earned her MBA.  Her schooling and knowledge have led her to develop and create the ‘Tobi Fairley brand’ - one that is internationally known and recognized.  Along with her luxury interior design services, she also offers Inbox Interiors (a do-it-yourself approach to her design service), you can attend one of her Design Camps that are held in her studio, and she also created a home furnishings line – Tobi Fairley Home -  that includes fabrics, pillows, and lighting.  Tobi also writes a blog that is extremely popular where she shares tips, ideas, and trends with her readers.

Being business savvy has helped her anticipate and know what her clients and followers will want.  By creating her brand, she has positioned herself as leader in the design industry.

(Sign up for Tobi's A-Z course or Designer MBA program!)

Tobi Fairley & lantern

picture of Tobi from Southern Living

3.  Be gracious

Tobi was such a pleasure to be around and get to know.  She is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and her southern roots shine through.  She was delighted to be in Richmond and have the opportunity to speak at our event.   With everyone she met, she had a smile on her face and was happy to answer their questions or pose for a picture.

Being gracious and nice can never be underestimated in the business world, and Tobi’s warm personality has helped her succeed in her endeavors.

Tobi & me

4.  Be yourself

Tobi’s topic was on the evolution of her signature style over the years.  She shared pictures of her work and talked about how her style has grown.  Her inspirations and color preferences may have changed, but throughout it all, she has stayed true to herself.

As still a fairly new designer, it was reassuring to hear that everyone grows and changes as they learn and gain more experience.  The important part is to know who you are and what is important to you, and to stick to those beliefs.

I’ll leave you with some inspiring pictures of Tobi’s work.

All pictures are from her website.

Tobi Fairley dining room

Tobi Fairley girl's bedroom

Tobi Fairley kitchen

Tobi Fairley bedroom

º What have you learned from the leaders in your industry?

Cathy Green Interiors monogram