I recently had the opportunity to talk to Interior Designer, Danny Taylor, owner of DT&Co. Read our conversation to learn about his journey to creative success, along with details about his exciting new fabric line.
- Where were you born and raised? Has that influenced your design style?
DT: I was born and reared in Eastern North Carolina, Pitt County, generation 14 in this Country. I would have to say that my history and my Mother influenced my early style and my stint in New York City during the late 1970s and early 1980s added a bit of a twist on that Southern traditional style I had become accustomed to.
- Do you find working with teams in interior design is better or or worse than working alone?
DT: I am a bit of a control freak, so working by “committee” does not suit me very well. I will say though, that a few great design assistants are a must have for research and keeping everything in order. I have a tendency to make quick decisions, so I must have someone that can keep up with me! This is not to say that I don’t welcome the challenge of an alternate opinion.
- Tell me about the first time that you stepped into a leadership role?
DT: I have been self employed since the age of 24. A leadership role is the only role I really know.
- What are your career goals as an Interior Designer? We read that you plan on launching your line in 2017?
DT: My goal as an Interior Designer is always to leave the client happy. So happy and ecstatic, in fact, that they send their friends, children my way and call me back to continue to refresh their home. The home environment is a constantly evolving and changing place. The worst thing ever is to do a home, come back a year later and find everything is static . . . just as you left it!
2017 will bring a fabric line with coordinating wallpaper and some trim, which we will evolve into ready made luxury bedding. Bedding has become the “forgotten stepchild” of the industry. It is either hyper expensive or total junk, lacking in quality. I aim to offer the market something out of the box.
- You have been described as having a classic style with a twist. In what ways do you keep current with new trends?
DT: I stay current in many different ways. First and foremost I surround myself with young people! My fabric reps make it a point to see me several times a year in the studio, I travel to New York (for D&D) and Atlanta (for ADAC) in addition to the High Point Market twice a year. Plus I get every Shelter magazine in print!
- How would you voice your opinion on a project if a client disagreed with your suggestion?
DT: The client is not always right, BUT the client does pay the bill. However, I do step in and gently assert myself if and when I feel they are making a mistake. If I explain WHY it is a mistake, usually the client will understand and have the “lightbulb moment” . . . the ‘A-HA!” Once that happens, you have completely gained their trust and respect.
- In what ways do you get your clients motivated and excited for the project? Why is that important?
DT: When I begin a project with a client, I ask a lot of questions about their motivation, expectations and their budget. THEN, I listen. Once we are sympatico, they feel very involved in the process. Alternatively, I have had clients who just say “Do it!” then pay the retainer and the bills. I personally prefer the clients that wish to be involved. After all . . . they are the ones that have to live there, I have my own home.
- What do you think is the most unique project in your portfolio?
DT: The most unique for me has to be the Trump Tower Penthouse in New York. “The Donald” was the next door over on the same floor. So much pink, coral marble and GOLD! But that’s for another interview!
- What do you love most about being an Interior Designer?
DT: I love being a Designer for many reasons. First, the creative outlet is essential for me. Secondly, I love meeting and working with nice people to help them create their home . . . a nest.
- Can you give us an example of an interior design style that you dislike?
DT: Minimalism . . . I just don’t get it. My brain will not process it.
- How do you market yourself? How has this garnished the success of DT&Co?
DT: The better question is how do I NOT market myself? I have been featured in Garden and Gun, The Scout Guide, Huffington Post, Houzz, local glossy magazines Walter and Midtown in addition to social media marketing on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, 5 Company and Personal Facebook pages and a blog!
- What associations do you recommend interior designers to join for career enhancement?
DT: There are quite a few. Again, I hate to work by committee, or some imposed rules by an association that does not know who I am and how I work. But they certainly do have their place in terms of networking if you feel that you need that. I have been fortunate to not have to network in that way.
- Do you advise Interior Designers to choose a specialty right away?
DT: No. My belief is that every individual has to embark on their own journey of discovery. How do you know if you prefer high end residential as opposed to contract or commercial if you have not experienced any of it yet firsthand?
- What is the major difference between an Interior Designer and Interior Decorator?
DT: Arrogance and Attitude.
- What advice would you give to a designer just getting into the industry? What do you wish you knew when you started out versus what you know now?
DT: My best advice for a newbie is to intern with the best Designer/Decorator in your local area. You will learn the nuts and bolts of the business. Only then will you be of any use and value to your clients. Once you have that under your belt, you can find your own style. I had started decorating as a child! My wish was that I knew how to charge for my talents from the beginning!
For More on Danny Taylor and his Company you can visit:
715 W Morgan Street
Raleigh, NC 27603