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!)
(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!
The tent, before:
and the tent, ready for the event:
Beautiful flowers, provided by Flowers Make Scents:
A few of our sponsors, Shades of Light:
We had a great crowd...
…and everyone really enjoyed Tobi’s talk on the evolution of her signature design style throughout her career.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
º What have you learned from the leaders in your industry?