Toronto native Meghan Carter is the Principal at Meghan Carter Design Inc. After a successful 10-year career as a Senior ‘Suit’ in the advertising business, Meghan decided to switch it up to pursue her lifelong appetite for design, ultimately launching her interior design firm in 2007. She is happy to say that now she is rarely, if ever, seen in a suit… but often wears many hats…
Describe your job in a nutshell.
Problem solver with style. My job is to listen to my clients, interpret their needs and desires, and ultimately translate them into a cohesive vision that I can make into their reality.
Why did you risk your established career in the advertising industry to start your own interior design business?
Growing up, my dad came home from work each night excited about his day at the office. He was an extraordinary role model who taught me you really can love what you do for a living. I guess I just assumed that this was normal and when I realized I wasn’t feeling that way about advertising, I knew it was time for a change. I’ve always loved interior design and architecture and had even considered following that career path when I was younger. So I decided to take a leap, create a new path for myself following my passion, hoping to capture just a little of the joy I see in my dad. A scary step, but one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – interior design is a perfect fit for me!
What is the best part of your job on a day-to-day basis? And what is the most challenging part?
Without question, the best part is having a happy client. I find it incredibly rewarding when a client calls or sends a note to say how much they love their new space and how it has transformed the way they live.
One of the most challenging parts is narrowing the elements of a design down, from a range of great options to just one final composition. When I’m in the frame of mind for editing, this part of the process just clicks. But when I’m not, it’s tough.
What does success mean to you?
Right now success means a few different things to me: Having happy clients and transforming the way people live in a positive way. Feeling like I’ve pushed myself to bring excellence and real creativity to each design opportunity. Relishing those rare moments when I feel like I’ve achieved harmony between it all – work, love, friends, family, health – that’s perfection.
What is the most memorable milestone of your interior design career?
I’m thrilled at how busy I’ve been since changing careers; we always seem to have a full roster of interesting projects on the go, from full houses to single rooms. So there have been a lot of amazing milestones along the way. But I guess in terms of most memorable, I’d say the day we broke ground on the first project where I designed a full house renovation and extension. That was a pretty exciting moment in my career.
What advice do you have for other young professionals, especially those who may be struggling with the decision to switch careers?
If you’re passionate about it, go for it! I know that in the real world it’s hard to give up an income in an established and successful career to try something new. But if you can make the logistics work, and will give it your all, entrepreneurship is worth the risk. Whenever I started to second-guess my decision, I reminded myself that nothing would be worse than being stuck in 10 years wondering, “What if?”
How do you balance work and social life?
I struggle with the balancing act and do a better job of it some days than others. It’s hard in any career but when you run your own business it can be difficult to walk out of the office without taking it with you. I’m lucky because I love what I do, so when work blurs into my social life, that’s OK.
How do you keep energized and active throughout the hectic day?
I give a lot of credit to my morning spinach and berry smoothie.
Blackberry, IPhone, or Android?
I almost switched to the iPhone but at the last minute I decided to stick it out with BlackBerry. I love my Z10, but I do miss my keyboard!
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why are they important to you?
I’m currently supporting both CAMH and the AGO.
I believe CAMH is important because in a city I think we sometimes overlook all of the members of our community, particularly those who may be isolated and struggling with illnesses many of us don’t understand and can’t imagine having to live with.
On the lighter side, I’ve always been really interested in art, so when I had an opportunity to join the AGO Massive Party committee I jumped at it. Next year will be our 10-year anniversary and it’s amazing to look back on the creativity this event has brought to the city’s arts culture over the last decade.
What, in your opinion, is notable?
Unending creativity and the tireless ambition to bring ideas to life. Whenever I see this I think it’s just remarkable.