To The Naked Truth
To The Naked Truth
Welcome to The Naked Truth – I’m super excited! This has been on my bucket list for soooo long and finally, the time has come.
I’m Claire Jefford, a certified & award-winning Interior Decorator, business coach, vlogger & speaker. I’m here to bring you THE NAKED TRUTH about running a successful ID business. Here we will have real conversations about the multitude of topics & situations that affect your business and our industry every day…but these will be conversations that we don’t often hear discussed within a public forum. More on that in just a minute.
First, if you already know me, you may know me from either my YouTube coaching channel – Claire Jefford. Or perhaps you saw me speak at a Design event or you may be part of my private Facebook Group – Interior Design Business Strategies. IDBS – where there is no BS.
A lot of the discussions that we have in my private group of over 4000 interior designers, decorators, and stagers from all across the globe, are similar to the discussions I will be having here, out in the open on THE NAKED TRUTH – TNT the podcast. Bringing you dynamite Claire-ity for your interior design business.
I will be speaking with design professionals just like you and maybe even speaking with you too in future episodes as The Naked Truth evolves. Let’s face it, without you, your stories and your willingness to share, this podcast would not be possible.
Some of these conversations will take place as ‘roundtable’ style discussions. Who doesn’t freakin’ love roundtables?! The magic that happens during open talks at roundtables is the most exciting, the most exhilarating and the most highly anticipated part of many events and conferences.
The roundtables are where the nitty-gritty questions are asked and answered by speakers and participants. The roundtables are where real stories & actual experiences are shared. It’s where we look at one another and can truly empathize with a situation or feeling, shouting, ‘Yes! Yes! I’ve been there too!’
This is my goal for THE NAKED TRUTH podcast and it aligns perfectly with the reasons behind: why I started my coaching business; why I created my private FB group & why I speak at events & coach designers all across the world. I get the opportunity to connect with you directly and remind you that you are not alone in this…not at all. When we share real-life experiences and stories of real situations we come up against in running an interior design business, we come together as a supportive community. Collaboration over competition is something I believe in 100%.
Consider this podcast as an extension of my YouTube channel and my FB group. All of the content I share across these platforms are focused to help you gain more confidence and a better understanding of how to run a successful design business, so be sure you follow me over on YT –search Claire Jefford and be a part of my amazing tribe over on FB – search Interior Design Business Strategies.
I’ve been in the interior design business for nearly 10 years. I graduated as a Certified Interior Decorator and thought that starting my own business was going to be so much fun! The problem was, despite having a certification; I had no idea what I was doing in terms of running a business! I started ‘Creating Contrast Designs’ (this was the name of my business for 6 years before moving under one umbrella as Claire Jefford in 2017 and now Claire Jefford Inc in 2019)
And let me tell you, I was going at it blind my friends. I had very little clue as to what I was doing. Does that resonate with you at all? Hmm? Maybe just a little?
Here’s a little bit of background for you on my journey in life so far and how I came to be where I am today.
I grew up just outside Toronto, Ontario in the beautiful city of Burlington. My parents divorced when I was 10 years old. I lived with my Dad, sister & stepfamily close to the Niagara Falls area from the time I was 11 years old until moving back to Burlington with my Mom to attend a local college in my early 20’s.
After initially graduating from Corrections in 1998 and having done a short stint in prison – not as an inmate but as a Correctional Office –an opportunity presented itself for me to move to England. My Mom’s side of the family was all from the UK & so I decided to take some time out to head across the pond to nanny for my aunt & uncle, as well as explore Europe. I was 23 years old. (To save you from doing the math, today I’m 44 years young.)
In August of 1998, I moved to a little town called Watford, just outside London. In November of that same year, I met Chris. Chris is the lovely Brit whose voice you will hear in the intro of every TNT podcast. He is my other half – probably the better half if I’m honest…and seeing as my podcast is called THE NAKED TRUTH, you’ll soon learn that there is no other way that I know how to be than totally upfront, all the time.
Although I was meant to stay in the UK initially for only 6 months, after meeting Chris I stayed for 6 years. I traded ‘Corrections’ for ‘Collections’ and got a job at a large car company that you may have heard of – Ford Motor Company. I worked initially in Collections for a short time at Ford Credit until being promoted into a Human Resources position.
Here my role was to support management in different divisions within the company. I worked in recruitment, interviewing new and current employees looking to advance their career, monitoring absence patterns, initiated a ‘return to work’ program, as well as creating many processes and systems.
As I’m sure you can appreciate if you’ve been in this business for any length of time, this HR experience proved invaluable as I began my career in Interior Design.
After much travel across the UK and through Europe, including a 3-week backpacking excursion on my own to Greece, Italy, France & Spain, Chris and I planned our inevitable move back to Canada. In February of 2004, we had our son Adley who was born in London just a few months before we made the move back to my home town.
Back in Burlington, I was extremely happy to be a stay at home mom for 4 years, welcoming our daughter Elise into the world on Remembrance day in 2006. As my children went from babies to toddlers, it was time to consider what I was going to do for work. Despite having worked 4 years in HR in the UK for one of the biggest auto companies in the world, it was not possible to get a job here doing the same role for another company because I had no formal education or certifications in human resources. Don’t get me started, because, in the end, it really was for the best. Even though, it’s totally ridiculous because we all know that practical on the job experience is way more than valuable than anything we learn in a classroom. Anyway, moving on and let’s fast forward.
I enrolled in an Interior Decorating course and after graduating with honours and with no previous experience whatsoever in the interior design field, I started my own business.
Let me tell you, I learned a lot about myself throughout the process of trying to figure out what the heck I was doing! And I had an urge to document and share things that weren’t really being talked about when it came down to dealing with clients and how to run a business.
We often hear a lot of the ‘what you need to do’ but very little about the ‘how to actually do it’. That’s when I took to video and to social media platforms to share with the world what I was learning and how I could help. Oooh, it was then that I knew I had found my calling.
I shared videos titled ‘THE NAKED TRUTH’ on my Claire Jefford Consulting YouTube channels, showing actual costs of furnishing a space & revealing clients’ costs for full room designs including fees for my services. I was determined to educate my clients and the world about the benefits of hiring a design professional, determined to overcome the ridiculous stories & unrealistic timelines portrayed by HGTV.
In private FB groups previous to starting my own, I would post videos showing my processes for organizing client folders, what my marketing strategies were for getting clients and much more. It was then that I realized through the comments and private messages that so many designers were interested to SEE how I was doing things and what was working for my business. Gone are the days where we need to feel all alone when working as a business owner. Thank goodness we’ve come a long way since then my friends.
It was also then that I learned how much I loved teaching and how I knew there was the need for not only homeowners to see behind the scenes & better understand how design professionals do what we do, but that it was just as important for designers to learn in the same way –because in school we did not learn how to deal with client’s, we weren’t taught how to hire and handle the trades or even what services to offer in our business or how to bill for our time & so much more.
While all of that was disappointing, frustrating and super scary, there was a relief in knowing that I was not alone. And neither are you.
In this podcast, we will get real. My guests and I will talk openly & honestly about the ups and downs in our journey as business owners in an industry that’s ever-changing. If you are in my FB group you will be familiar with my weekly live WIDWIL videos or should I say ‘WIDWIL!!’ What I did and what I learned.
You can expect a very similar flavour here on TNT. Here you will hear us sharing real stories about what we did and what we learned. All I ask is that you understand that the only way I am currently able to bring TNT to you without it being perfect and being overly time consuming (which is why I have been delaying it for all this time), is that it will be for the most part, uncut & unedited. What you hear is what you get. This is…THE NAKED TRUTH – TNT the podcast. Dynamite Claire-ity for your interior design business.
Okay, are you ready? Let’s do this! Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, links are below. Follow me on IG at @clairejefford and use #tntclairejefford to get updates on new shows, tag me when you are listening to the show, do a selfie so I can see you! In the show notes, you’ll always find links to everything we talk about by visiting my website…www.clairejefford.com/podcast