The Magic School Bus:
Stephanie Plymale and her Personal Journey to Heritage
Many designers find out early on in their life that they want nothing more than to design and decorate homes, but how each designer comes to that realization is unique. Stephanie Plymale spent much of her childhood moving from place to place, without somewhere she could really call home. During a time when her family was in between houses, she took a walk with her sister along the beach and what she saw changed her life forever – a yellow school bus that had been renovated into a home. Stephanie was enamored by the beauty of the bus and remembers it being so elegantly decorated with a sitting area, kitchen, and even curtains at the windows. The sight of the bus stirred her desire to design and create and she began building mock houses out of what little materials she could find. From that point on she knew that she wanted to give people the experience she had when she saw that bus by making their lives and homes more beautiful.
Upon graduating high school while attending college, Stephanie worked in customer service and banking and found that she wanted a more creative career. She saw an ad in the paper about Heritage School of Interior Design and met Jan Springer, the founder and former owner of the school. Little did she know at that time that she would someday own the school that helped her take the first steps on her own personal journey as a designer. She took Jan’s introductory design courses at the school and then went on to further her education in design while raising her young family and was inspired to start her own design business.
Despite the discouragement she received from others and comments that interior design wasn’t a sustainable career, she started her own design business, Designs by Stephanie, which she successfully ran for 18 years. She found a niche in doing before and after reveals similar to what you would see on HGTV today. She also did commercial design, staging, remodeling and interior decorating. She was driven by creating spaces her clients loved and the relationships she built with them fueled her business. She even worked with local celebrities Shauna Parsons, Wayne Garcia and Pete Ferryman.
Stephanie loved having her own business but after 18 years as an independent designer, she decided she wanted to be part of a larger team. She joined a design company as an in home designer that specialized in custom window treatments and custom furnishings. Working in corporate design allowed her to develop stronger sales and design skills, and gave her an understanding of business development. She helped the company grow 30% and had a 95% close rate with her clients. After this success she was ready for a new adventure. She briefly started a personal branding company but realized that she still had her passion for interior design. Soon after, she received a call from a former colleague who informed her that the Heritage School of Interior Design was for sale. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Stephanie and the decision to buy the school was easy.
Stephanie feels blessed to have had such a wonderful career where she was able to
continuously grow and improve while having the flexibility to play competitive tennis, raise her children, and nurture a loving relationship with her husband. She has proven to herself and to others that you can’t let a rough past dictate your future. During her career as a designer, she received a Master Level Certification in Executive Business Coaching and a Masters in Hair Design, Fashion & Makeup Artistry for Photography & Film. She has also been involved with Dress for Success doing personal image consulting, makeovers and career development, all with the desire to help empower women towards their career goals. She believes that her knowledge and experience has uniquely prepared her to take Heritage School of Interior Design to new heights and she looks forward to developing aspiring designers and inspiring and empowering them to take the next steps on their personal journey as a designer.