12 Black Designers Reveal the Career Advice That Transformed Their Lives

For Black History Month, it’s only fitting that we’d choose to highlight interior designers and design taste makers of color who are making their mark in a competitive industry. Here, a few of our favorites reveal the career gems that have contributed to their success to date. From generating multiple revenue streams to learning from failures, their advice is honest, motivating, and worth remembering the next time a career setback arises in your own life.

“One of things I’ve learned having my own design business for the past 25 years is that it’s important to have different revenue streams to support your design business—that is why I’ve had a television show, written books and designed products. The more you diversify and the more flexible you are, the more likely it is that you will be around for the long haul.” Sheila Bridges, Sheila Bridges Design

Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason

Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason

“The most important thing that you can do as a creative is to be authentic to yourself. It’s important to have a point of view and to understand how it contributes to the larger conversation. Our focus has always been on how the blend of modern design and culture serves to tell a human story in the medium of four walls. As people of color, it’s important not only to find the aspect of your industry or craft that is uniquely your own, but to build and defend that space. For us, AphroChic is about expanding the notion of design as it is popularly held to include an approach that is uniquely African American, and is as easily recognized as Scandinavian, Japanese, or Danish approaches. It’s that focus that’s allowed us to build a strong brand where the affirmation of our culture, and our status as unabashed fans of it, is central to our practice.” Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason, AphroChic

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