Alex Larsen realized her passion for design and the opportunity to be creative early on in her life. She enjoyed going to specialty stores and looking at all the vignettes and accessories. From wood working, clever ways to re-purpose materials, and beautiful decor, she always dreamed about having a house that leaves you breathless when you walk in the door. An early memory Alex has which proved her interest in design was her obsession with re-arranging things in the fabric store if they were out of place. “My mom would look at fabrics and I would go to the key chains and organize them by color, type, and size. I mean… who does that?!” Having things staged in a way that pleases the eye has always been something she’s enjoyed. “I’ve always loved space planning and re-arranging furniture to give the room new life. Until this last year I never realized that this industry was my calling!”
Alex went to college at the University of Oregon and graduated in 2014 with a BA in Music. Before Alex decided to attend Heritage, she was in sales for a local catering company. She was constantly on the phone and doing mundane work just to pay the bills. “The environment was uplifting, but I really just didn’t feel fulfilled. I had been in many sales jobs and all of them felt the same.”
Alex decided to do some brainstorming to figure out what her next steps would be in her career. “I’ve always been a creative. I started thinking about what I want out of a job and how I could make a difference and feel satisfied afterwards.” One creative field that came to her mind was interior design and a simple google search led her to Heritage. “I was so impressed with the website and the reviews – I had to meet with the director! I knew I wanted to do this for myself – I felt empowered and wanted to accomplish something amazing!”
After meeting with Stephanie it was apparent that Heritage was the perfect fit for her. “I met with the Director, Stephanie, and immediately fell in love with the space, location, and how much love and energy Stephanie has put into the school. I immediately felt welcomed and at home. I was so excited! However, I didn’t have enough money to cover all of tuition and wasn’t sure how I was going to make that happen.”
Alex had to decide whether to leave her full-time paying job to go to school, or risk continue working in a career she wasn’t passionate about. “I expressed my concerns to Stephanie about needing at least a part-time job if I did the full-time program, and within 24 hours she sent me an email saying there was an opportunity at a local furniture store.” It was a weekend receptionist position at Parker Furniture in Beaverton which is conveniently located near Alex’s home. She applied that day, got an interview, and was employed at Parker Furniture within 3 days. “It seemed like the stars had aligned.”
“Heritage has been such an uplifting atmosphere not only with the instructors and guest speakers, but with my colleagues as well. The intimate setting creates so much room for collaboration and problem solving that when I felt I was lost, I could rely on my classmates to help me figure out where I lost it.” Alex feels that Heritage is exactly what she needed to gain a thorough understanding of what it takes to be a designer and how to become inspired. “I know with the relationships I’ve made through Heritage, I will be able to go far in my career. I couldn’t be more excited for my future!”
Just before graduation, Alex expressed her career interests to her managers at Parker and soon after got hired at Thomasville, a franchise owned by Parker Furniture. She will be working at their in-house design center helping customers space plan, select fabrics, and take care of design needs that anyone might need that walks through the door. “The manager is phenomenal, the other designers are friendly and motivated. It’s really the perfect place for me as I learn the industry that much more.” Alex is so thankful to have taken the opportunity to work for such a reputable company with strong management and uplifting positive staff. She feels at home when she’s at work and is surrounded by creatives – what more could a designer want!
Alex would love to continue learning about the furniture business and absorb as much as she can so that she can help clients avoid mistakes in the process of buying furniture for their homes. “Knowledge is key and the more you know about what you’re investing in, the more confidence someone will have in you.” I would love to gain as much experience as possible in the next few years and eventually start up my own consulting business.”
Eventually Alex is going to start her own consulting business and would like to design residential spaces but also be able to help people stage their homes while on the market. This goes back to her love for a home that takes your breath away when you walk in. “The options are endless and i’m just enjoying the ride as I hone in my skills!”
Alex now owns her own Interior Design and Home Staging business, Stumptown Staging! Visit her website to learn more!