My Time at ChameleonPosted: March 7, 2014
Well, what an experience. It has been a huge learning curve for me working at chameleon I have learnt more then I ever thought I would in just 2 weeks. I have gained far more knowledge of the things they don’t teach you at university. For example the business side, as that is what 90% of the job entails. For most of the day the designers would be sat at their desks responding to emails, I never realised this was such a common point of contact. I thought most things would be discussed over the phone as it was more professional. However it was explained that it was quick and easy to use emails and also if you needed to refer back to something it was all there in writing and saved on making notes.
Little of the day was spent putting schemes and designs together. I now know the process of ordering samples from other companies which is not as difficult and scary as I thought. I have seen how schemes are presented to clients, and how it compares to the presentations we do at university and the skills we are taught. They are actually very different to each other. The presentations I have done on my designs to my tutors have been very prepared for and formal. However in the ‘real world’ presenting schemes is a very informal process. You must have a personal relationship with your client to get a good understanding of them and their lifestyle. The client is going to have so many thought and opinions on what you present that they will want to feel comfortable enough to ask questions throughout. It is much more a conversation as you put your ideas across, and listen and respond to the clients input with a friendly approach.
I had the chance to familiarise myself with top end companies that are used in interior design and get a understanding on each ones individual style, expense and identity. Some of the brands I recognised as they were well known and well advertised or I had previously research into them. But at the same time there were lots I hadn’t come across before. It was interesting to see which companies were used more regularly then others and the style each one had. It will help in the future when I am set a specific brief as I can refer to the according design company which specialise in the particular style I’m looking for, also to know they are a company thats is regularly used in the real world.
Orders can take up to 6 weeks to arrive and sometime longer which means to save time they have to be made quick. The time before an order is placed is just time a client has to wait longer. To prevent this happening organisation is very important, the same goes for if an order is wrong! That is also money that comes out of the designers pocket, so there is no room for mistakes. Some mistakes are made to be learnt from, and they will improve with experience but there must be confidence behind every decision made. And it pays to double check everything!
Yvonne told me numerous stories of mistakes that have happened over the years, some of which are small but still very significant when working on someones home. But she has learnt from them, and learnt that things very rarely go to plan which means problem solving is something you get very good at. Time management is also key to success, allowing enough time in the day for things to over run as most things do. This is information I already had a slight gasp on with previous work. I think within art and design lots of things don’t got to plan to a certain extent, but you do expect that to stop once you enter the professional industry, and that things run a lot smoother.
Overall my time here has been indescribable, I’m unable to note down every bit of information I have gained as there is so much. And a lot of it isn’t practical learning, it is more about a way of thinking, presenting yourself and communicating with others in a professional way.