Several would be an understatement.  I am a new business owner, of JP Designs, and a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Interior Design program at Yorkville University.  To say that owning and running my own business was NOT my plan is the truth. I was the person who, when asked during the discussion topic in my Professional Practice class, “Would you entertain running your own business once you graduate”, said no.  No, no and no.  Its funny how life sometimes just takes you by the hand, and says trust me, then leads you in a direction that you would never have considered in a million years.  But here we are.

When I moved from Calgary to Halifax, in June 2020, with my husband and cat…during a pandemic…in an RV…which encompassed a 4 day insanity tour…door to door…and very little sleep, the last thing on my mind was opening my own business. 

Once settled in Halifax, during one exploration drive down the ever famous Bedford Highway, I said to my husband, “Wow, look at all those shipping containers in the harbour, I wonder if there are any companies here who re-use/re-recycle those sea cans to build homes and businesses?”  Turns out, Saltbox, was one of those companies.  I reached out to the owner and inquired if he would consider utilizing my services.  I knew coming out of school that I wanted to do something different and unique, and as luck would have it, he responded to my email and we have had a fantastic working relationship ever since!!  From that came another client who also utilizes shipping containers, or sea cans, to build homes, cottages, storage sheds, business, etc., called SeaCanGuys.  Needless to say, I have found my niche designing small spaces from shipping containers and I am loving the challenge these particular spaces present.

What I did not expect, from owning my own business, was the many (MANY) hats that one wears. I was once told by a professor at my school, that after graduation, we would only design a portion of the time.  I am finding that is not the case.  I am the Principal Design and Space Planner at JP Designs, and I design 70-75% of the time.  In addition to that, I wear several other hats.

They are as follows:

  1. Administration
  2. Procurement
  3. Contracts Analyst
  4. Accountant
  5. Collections (sadly)
  6. Marketing
  7. Social Media Specialist
  8. Sales

All of these roles, while unique in nature, are necessary in running your own business.  Nowadays you need to know how to not only create posts about your company on social media, you also need to know how to promote and market yourself.  Many of my new clients have come from the simple act of boosting a targeted Facebook ad. 

One also needs to not only generate invoices but to track payment, or in some cases chase payment, which is not my favorite part, but sadly something that occurs when you have your own business.  I sign a contract with every client, big or small, to ensure that we are both protected.  This is where my background in contracts comes in to play.  A large part of interior design is procuring furniture, fixtures and equipment for your client, and thanks to my extensive procurement background, I am very familiar with this process.

I was surprised by how many hats I wear throughout the day, all in a day in the life of a designer, but I can also say, that I am never, ever bored.

Jennifer Proctor
Principal Design and Space Planner
JP Designs

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