Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Ali Budd, who opened her own interior design firm to offer clients spaces that meet their aesthetic expectations while remaining efficient and effective, a passion she’s harboured for as long as she can remember…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
My job is to realize interior spaces that meet the aesthetic preferences of clients while ensuring their space works efficiently and effectively in their daily lives. My business is structured with a process in place that ensures projects are completed in a set amount of time, on budget, that negates the need for large time investments from my clients, and always ends with completely finished spaces.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
For as long as I can remember I have always loved creating spaces. I have extremely creative and open-minded parents who would let me constantly re-arrange the house into different types of spaces, took me to art galleries, and taught me to strip and paint furniture in the garage. When I got older and realized it was possible for me to make a living doing something I loved, I was sold. I knew quickly that I did not want to end up working for other people, but I didn’t just want to open a business. I wanted to make sure I was set up to succeed. I studied English and art so that I could become a well-spoken, communicative person with knowledge of the history in my field. I learned the technical aspects of my business at design school and, most importantly, I spent several years working under some of the best designers and architects in the city – an education you (literally) cannot pay for. I took everything I learned about this industry and in 2010 opened Ali Budd Interiors.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The most challenging part is managing so many moving parts that are out of your control. It’s extremely difficult in this business to find trades and suppliers that deliver when and what they say they are going to and that stand behind their products and work. You have to stay on top of people and problem solve on a daily basis. You hear people talk about a renovation being one of the most stressful things you can live through – multiply that by however many projects we are working on at a time and that’s my job. The best part is most definitely on our reveal days. We have everything delivered and set up in one day. When our clients walk into their home and see it transformed into a space they have always wanted, it’s a huge rush and sense of accomplishment. I absolutely love giving people spaces they love being in.
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I landed myself in the hospital for dehydration and exhaustion. That was pretty bad. I have since made changes to make sure I am achieving a better balance. I have realized it’s okay to say no and to turn off my phone when I am spending time with my family. You have to put things in perspective – I’m not saving lives.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Doing exactly what I am doing with five more years of experience, learning, and success.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Quite honestly the biggest challenge was deciding if I was ready to go out on my own. With a push from some close people in my life I made the leap and never looked back.
What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
On the professional side, success to me is waking up every day and owning my own day and whatever happens. I feel privileged I am able to do something I love while making a living, and not have any one but myself and my clients to answer to. On the personal side of things, success is all about my amazing friends and family. They make me feel like I won the lottery.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
It was a pretty incredible experience when I got the call to do the first house on a prominent street in the city. It was the moment I realized that I could really make this dream come true. I also have a bunch of press coming out this year that I am really excited about.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Passion and talent are important and a great place to start, but the reality is they are only a part of running a successful company. You need to think about the business side of things – what is your plan for obtaining new business? How are you going to deliver on time/on budget? How are you going to ensure you’re managing your time efficiently? What separates you from the competition? (I don’t care what you do – there are 100 other people doing the same thing). How are you going to run the financial aspect of things? I think a lot of people fail because they think their talent alone is enough. It’s not.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
It’s hard to pick a favourite. We have had some great meals recently at Trinity Taverna – the atmosphere is fun and the food is great. We also love hosting dinner parties at our house! Our backyard in the summer is a pretty awesome place to be.
When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
At the cottage with my husband, daughter and two pugs is my favourite place to be.
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I most definitely have a taste for the finer things in life, but am a very outdoorsy person and love being in nature. We rented a gorgeous house in Montezuma, Costa Rica with some friends a couple of years ago and it was an amazing vacation. We toured national parks on ATVs, sat on beaches where we were the only people for miles, ate amazing food, and drank fantastic wines. We were not in a busy hotel stepping over a hundred people surrounded by technology. It was a true adventure and completely off the grid in the jungle. It was incredible.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
Probably something with animals.
What to you is notable?
People who don’t make excuses.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Can you even still buy BlackBerrys? iPhone all the way.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Want more updates on the most Notable things happening so you know before your colleagues do? Get our exclusive newsletter here and follow us on Twitter for all the latest.