How To Develop Your Working Knowledge As A Designer, with Andrea Hysmith

Episode #246 the Wingnut Social Podcast

One of the many challenges for up-and-coming designers (and those of us who have been in the industry for a while, too) is in the area of “working knowledge.” There’s a LOT to know and it seems like nothing but time is going to help you know it. But the guest on this episode proves that even though she’s been in the industry for over 20 years, there are clear things you can do to accelerate your learning curve.

Andrea Hysmith of A.S.H. Designs (in Ellicott City, MD) is an Interior Specialist, Kitchen and Bath Designer, Manufacturer Representative, Speaker, and Presenter, and has been sharing her knowledge of luxury design for over 20 years. She focuses on residential and light commercial spaces and recently opened her own design space in Ellicott City as the first woman of color to do so. She’s a hard-working, hustling woman who has done the work necessary to educate herself about her craft, all for the sake of serving her clients with excellence. You’ll learn a lot about developing your own working knowledge, faster, from her intentional approach, so be sure you listen.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social

  • [0:42] Where I’ve been… answering the common question, “Why the break???”
  • [2:09] The Mini-News session: Instagram Reels (reply with another reel)
  • [5:16] Andrea Hysmith: Designer extraordinaire
  • [13:04] The movement to curate antiques and how Andrea got into it
  • [21:25] What is “Certified Aging in Place?”
  • [28:27] How did Andrea become an independent manufacturer rep?
  • [36:58] Why it’s important to be true to yourself as you being your design career

Connect with Andrea Hysmith

Resources & People Mentioned

Taking a proactive approach to design by getting into the trenches

It’s easy to feel that you are handicapped when you need to know more about a specialized area of design but simply don’t. Andrea never let that stop her. She’s a “go get it” kind of woman. She takes the initiative to find the resources and open the doors that will provide her with the knowledge she needs — and you can do the same.

For example, at one point in Andrea’s career, she needed to know more about custom cabinetry so she reached out to establish a relationship with a custom cabinet builder and worked shifts in his facility to learn what she needed to learn. She’s done the same with painters, a plumbers, and other specialized tradesmen, all for the sake of educating herself at the source. Though it may seem that’s a lot of irons in the fire, Andrea says it’s all cohesive if you keep things integrated within a common goal or mission.

Special certifications can help you stand out in a crowded area

Andrea holds a special certification that Darla had never heard of. The National Association of Home Builders offers a “Certified Aging in Place Specialist” certificate and Andrea is one of those who have completed the course they offer. It’s a specialty in the design and refurbishment of homes to enable those who are aging or otherwise disabled to continue to live in their homes rather than having to move.

Andrea says this is especially important to her because she has clients who have been with her for many years. Her certification enables her to serve them in new, fitting ways as they age and the relationship continues. She’s also had people reach out to her specifically because she holds the certification, and at one community event a realtor who works primarily in retirement communities asked if Andrea would serve as a recommended service provider for those the realty group serves. Are there certifications that would serve the community where you work or the clientele you specialize in serving? If so, go get them!

Connect With Darla & Wingnut Social

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