By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!

Tobi Fairley on Growing into the Next Version of You and Your Business








We all go through times when we struggle with confidence, question changes happening in our industry, need validation that we are doing something correctly in our business, and take the leap of faith into something new. 

In today’s episode, Tobi shares her journey to creating her 15-year consulting business, starting a new business, the knowledge, wisdom, and confidence she has gained along the way, and how she has helped so many other people do the same. 

Tobi Fairley is an award-winning interior designer and business consultant with over two decades of experience helping high-achieving, creative professionals take their companies and lives to the next level. When she’s not running her luxury interior design firm and her consulting practice for artistic business owners, she leads an online membership community for ambitious professionals, hosts the Design You podcast, and is launching her new Home Decor and Apparel eCommerce venture, Fairley Fancy, in June 2023, a collaboration with her daughter. Fairley has been featured on television and in top-shelf publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, The Huffington Post, Southern Living, and on the covers of House Beautiful and Traditional Home.

Tobi has not only been a mentor and coach to me, but she has also become a dear friend that I continue to lean on for advice and encouragement. So it is truly an honor to have her on this podcast, which she inspired me to create, and to share her wealth of knowledge with all the designers listening today.

Tobi shares how she first began offering classes to women on design and decorating. Her classes would fill up….and then she had women reach out to her asking for classes on the weekend. So she decided to offer that option as well. 

Tobi’s accidental, now 15-year consulting business, was born because she put herself out there when she was really trying to solve a problem for herself. She was willing to step into that space of sharing her knowledge and wisdom, helping other people, and pouring into people.

If she hadn’t been willing to see herself as a teacher, if she hadn’t been willing to stretch herself and show up, if she hadn’t been willing to be the next version of herself, that business wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have met Tobi, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, and there wouldn’t be hundreds of people that she mentored over the last 15 years. 

“The common thread is really my own confidence to take the leap to say yes to things that felt scary, that felt uncomfortable. And then the number one thing I was selling and giving and pouring into other people was also confidence in themselves. That they could get this stuff, that they could stretch, that they could learn.” 

And boy, did Tobi push me. She helped me find my niche and what I was truly passionate about.

“The number one thing people probably need is the validation. Because they do know a lot of it and can get most of it right, but most of it is, the constant questioning and self doubt. Especially in an industry that you have so many decisions you have to make and so many things can go wrong. As talented as people are in their skillset and design, the thing that is the most difficult to overcome is the questioning. From billing, to talking to clients, to billing, etc. That is the thing that is paralyzing to so many people. Getting to hear someone, whether it’s paid or free, who validates that you’re getting a lot of that right is so instrumental in how you show up in your business.” 

Other topics we dig into is AI, how we pivoted in the past and the exciting news that Tobi is starting an eCommerce and brick-and-mortar store and shares how she has adapted to the changes in our industry along the way. 

She is opening up a new, mostly eCommerce and retail boutique. Tobi explains in the episode how far eCommerce has come and how her daughter wanted to open an apparel boutique, so it evolved into doing their projects together. They want you to be serious, Tobi explains. So they are opening a tiny retail space. The fun thing about having the boutique, Tobi says, is yes, they will get some traffic, and yes, they will be a destination, but it’s really a TikTok and and Instagram backdrop. Most people will never step foot in the store, but they will buy things because they see this quaint little experience and the things you have, and the way you present them online. 

“It’s blowing my mind what’s possible, what’s available, how it can work. It’s such a fun experiment. So it’s going to be fun, and it’s the next iteration of me.”

There’s so much you can do under the umbrella of interior design, whether it’s coaching and mentoring or retail spaces, and so few industries have that width and they’re always evolving and in my opinion, adding to.

For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of being coached by Tobi, I hope you hear her encouragement coming through in today’s episode and how she doesn’t hold anything back. She shares all of her knowledge. And like I’ve said many times before, we’re stronger together. Each of us offers different things. And this circles back to confidence. You have to have the confidence to know that you’re right for your clients. Building confidence should be your number one goal.

Building confidence is building belief in yourself. And that’s the thing that keeps Tobi from feeling competitive with other designers and keeps her willing to share what she knows.

We also discuss the value of investing in yourself. Learning curves can be avoided or sped up when you invest in people who have the skills that you are hoping to obtain. 

Figure out what will move you into a feeling of confidence….then go do that. Whether that is pivoting something you have going on, or look into AI and taking that fear factor away, or invest in courses like Tobi is offering, or learning how to manage construction with me. There is so much out there that we didn’t have access to in the early days of our careers, and we are so fortunate today. 

I hope you all take away how important it is for Tobi and me to support interior designers’ growth in their businesses. Whether that’s an eCommerce site, luxury interior design, podcasting, building courses, or really anything a designer wants to take on and excel at, we are all in and willing to help!

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