NJ Interior Decorator Shares Tips for Success
Joanna Gagis talks to young New Jersey entrepreneur, Amanda Amato, about the challenges and rewards of the interior decorating business and what it takes to succeed.
"Welcome to Life and Living, I'm Joanna Gagis. She's been giving design advice since the age of six, so it's pretty fair to say she was born with it. Hopefully we can learn a thing or two from her now. She's Amanda Amato, designer, and owner of AMA Designs and Interiors, LLC. We got the LLC in there. Welcome to the program Amanda. Thank you for having me. Explain how it's true that you were giving design advice at the age of six? [laughter] Well, I always had this innate feeling about design. My father had a construction business, so I was basically born on the job sites, looking at the blueprints, and hanging out in the trailer, and when I had playdates, I was so involved with the Barbie house, and where everything should go, and my playdates involved -- transformed into me giving consultations to the moms and the dads. [laughter] "Why is this here?" "Why is that there?" And I would help them with their space. In their homes? [laughter] Oh yeah. Organizing closets. I did it all. [laughter] Did playdates sometimes get frustrating for you? And the kids wanted to move things around, and it's like "No no no that doesn't work in the room"? [laughter] Oh yes. Well, I would say my friends, at the time, were a little upset with me when I was hanging out with their mom more, so... [laughter] Talking about curtains? Yes. [laughter] Rugs and furnishings? [laughter] So it's in your blood? Right? It's something that you always had, something that you always knew was in you, but did you always know you wanted it to be your career? I feel like, "yes". I always wanted a career that would help people. Design came natural to me. I was drawing rooms at the age of six. And I always stuck with it. I had a feeling that I was always going to be a designer. Talk about... I tried going into other... exploring other passions. But design was always the one that stuck. [laughter]. What was your trajectory? How did you pursue this through your education? Well, I started designing on my own, and then I went to Berkeley College to continue my education. I then went off to Pier 1, and I started working there, and I was doing all the visual merchandising, and that's where I actually got a few of my first clients. I would make the store look really nice, and a customer would pull me off to the side and they said they would want me to come help them with their house. And then from there, I worked at a high end furnishing store as an interior designer, where I grew my following, and I... that's where I really started to build my business..."