I'm interviewing real-life designers about what it is like to run a design business in countries all over the world. As you'll see these designers have all different backgrounds and experiences, but I think you'll be surprised how similar we all are too.
About Jamie Daley
A native of New Jersey, Jamie Daley has a post-graduate degree from Parsons School of Design. She matains an office in New York, however, she lives full-time in Paris, France. She has 10+ years in luxury residential design and has had her own firm for over 4 years.
Why did you become an interior designer?
I was always interested in art and design and creating in general. I went to school for
fashion, then switched to advertising when I realized fashion was becoming more of a
numbers game. After leaving Miami and moving back to NY I was spent some time at home
and renovated my mom’s house. I realized I really loved it and went back to school for
interior design at Parsons. I have stayed on the interior design path because I really love
interacting with my clients and delivering a beautiful home or space to them. The
combination of the connection to the client and the expression of design makes me the
What are the requirements to be an interior designer in France?
There are no credentials needed outside of having a company set up. It’s more complicated
and serious than in the US as you need to hire an accountant to manage your taxable items (if
you resell items to clients.)
What is a successful interior design business look like in France?
Again, in France, it’s all about where you went to school, your credentials, and like
everywhere connections. The most successful designers here I feel work a lot with an
international clientele as the local culture doesn’t really use designers.
What is the biggest struggle you face as a designer in France?
Being a designer that works in France and America, I can see a lot of differences. The biggest is the design culture is so much more prevalent and accepted in the US. For example, I was searching today for bathroom fixtures and the only finish I could find was in polished chrome and a few brushed nickel. There are very few options when it comes to sourcing sometimes.
What does it take to be a successful designer in France?
In France, the culture likes to keep people in the boxes they came in. For example a hotel
client would only hire a designer who has worked on hotels, exclusively. And vice versa, a
residential client would only hire a residential interior designer. So, in order to be successful
I would say that having a good education from a very specific discipline is very important.
How do you charge?
I charge hourly (90 euros in France vs $125 in NY) and a 20% commission on everything I
source for my client. Occasionally, if it’s a large construction project, I charge a 15%
commission on the overall construction budget and 20% on furnishings and do not charge
my hourly rate.
What traits or talents have made you successful?
I am really good at reading and understanding people’s wants and needs and I love this
interaction. I am happy to make people happy in their homes and happy with the process
we share together. I also love sales, and as much as our job is about design, we also have
to sell our visions. So being a people person and loving the connection I share with my
clients has made me the most successful.
Do you see any differences between design in the US and France? If so, what are they?
A lot! I work and live in Paris and as an American I know the fascination that us Americans have
with Paris and France. It all feels so glamorous when you are the outside looking in. However,
the salaries are way lower here and people don’t have the culture of spending a lot of money. I
know there are some here that do, but the overall vibe isn’t to flaunt it. Design wise-there are a
lot new things and trends really stick and feel IKEA. But, the amount of antiques and real gems
that are here is really REAL!
What is your ideal project?
I love working with luxury residential clients and having the opportunity to create everything
bespoke. I love to design furniture, lighting, rugs, and even down to the details with custom
linens and lamp shades.
What is the design community/ design industry like in France?
I notice that the lines are blurred between architects and interior designers. They literally call
an interior designer an architect. But, I see that while designers are called architects they
work on only interior design but many people who hire architects for architectural design will
use the same people for interiors or just do the interiors themselves. As an expat I have
reached out to other designers and some are open and some aren’t interested, the same I
would expect in the US. I would love to network with a community of designers/architects here!
You can contact Jamie at www.jdaleyconcepts.com.
With the exception of the title image, all photos are courtesy of Jamie Daley.