Design Career Consulting founder Simon Hamilton talks to Property Week about how he got started in property, the challenges he has overcome and his advice for young people. He also shares some of his cultural recommendations.
What do you value in people?
Honesty, being down to earth, gratitude, their collaborative nature and being fun and friendly.
What do you like most about yourself?
I am very sociable, optimistic and colourful in terms of what I wear.
What does your job entail?
Through my practice, Design Career Consulting, I help interior designers with their careers by advising them about CVs, reviewing their portfolios and preparing them for interviews. My clients range from new design graduates to existing interior designers wanting to change sectors and professionals entering the design world. I also teach design online, which is great as it means I can reach a varied and interesting international audience.
How did you join the property industry?
I worked with architects and interior designers when I first started my career, and also with Nicholas Ayre of Home Fusion, who is a property search agent. I worked with him and his clients.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The variety and types of buildings you can be involved in; the history, the different quirks, the features, all of which vary enormously.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The lack of progress – it is quite conservative and traditional. It can be a bit stuffy. It’s also very exclusive in terms of class to some degree.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Lots of barriers. I mean, there are the obvious ones of colour and race and class and education, but also perhaps not being aware or worldly enough. I think that in certain periods, maybe in the late-1980s and early-1990s, it was a bit more tough and difficult to get into certain sectors and industries. If I had been offered some guidance, I might have got through things more easily.
What are you most proud of in your career?
The spaces that I’ve designed for different clients, some of whom have become friends and really love what I’ve done for them.
What advice would you give someone starting their career in property?
First thing: be cautious. Listen and learn. Don’t believe everything you hear. But just try to learn from lots of different people. I’m involved with a charity called United in Design, which addresses the lack of diversity in the interior design industry. I think if you are young and starting out and have a passion, then it’s good to find other people that share that passion, but also to have good role models.
What do you want to change about the industry?
For it to be more inclusive and progressive.