After years of curating her own beautiful virtual space, Lark & Linen, and continuously sharing her love for lovely spaces and ideas in other places, Jacquelyn Clark decided that her passion for interior design and gift to create a serene ambiance needed some attention. And so came the inception of Lark & Linen Interior Design just before ringing in 2015. As Jacquelyn’s lovely content has always inspired this blog, it seemed absolutely necessary that we had her over to share her experience as a thriving interior designer in the industry. Also, I’ve tailored the questions a bit for anyone who is definietly interested in either tips for pursuing a career in interior design or looking to hire Jacquelyn!
What was your first job out of college and how did you land it? What other positions have you had in the field of design? In my last year of University I interned at an amazing Architectural firm downtown Toronto. When I graduated a few short months later, they offered me a full time Junior Interior Designer position. It was a HUGE blessing as this was during a time when the pickins’ in the job market were incredibly slim. I ended up working there for almost 5 years before getting my feet wet at another firm. From there, I was hired on as editor for Style Me Pretty Living. And most recently, I launched my own interior design business! Something I had talked about doing for longer than I can even remember… It’s been quite the journey - filled with incredible highs and terrible lows - but I wouldn’t change a thing.
What advice would you give aspiring interior designers? Are there any skills or attributes design firms look for in a candidate? What is the single best tip you have to succeed in the industry? Oh gosh, these are loaded questions! At the risk of sounding cliche, I would tell an aspiring interior designer to start a blog! The opportunities it presents are unimaginable. Not only that, but over the years it allows you to really hone in on your brand and your style which is imperative in a world where design comes in all shapes and sizes. As far as skills that firms are looking for, a good eye is obviously top of mind. Not only that but you need to be willing to get down and dirty - there are long hours, heavy lifting, and a lot more paper work than you’ve ever dreamed of. But when it’s good, it’s so so good! My biggest tip is to remember that your clients are hiring you for a reason, and they’re often spending a big chunk of change. You need to take charge and ease their mind during the process, all while making them feel heard and validated. I often joke that I’m half designer, half psychologist.
In 2014, you launched Lark and Linen Interior Design, what steps did you have to take to start Lark & Linen? How did you know it was the right moment to start your own business? I had been taking on small freelance jobs for a few years before launching my own business. Unfortunately, due to my demanding (yet terribly satisfying) role at SMP Living, I had to start turning down larger jobs simply because there weren’t enough hours in the day. As they began coming in faster and more furiously, I started to think that maybe I had a real shot at the whole ladyboss thing. To be honest, I don’t think there’s ever the perfect moment to take that plunge. Making the decision to take that leap came with a whole boatload of anxiety, but it’s easily the best decision I’ve ever made.
After you launched Lark and Linen Interior Design, how did you begin finding clients? How did you secure your first clients? You know, I can honestly, unequivocally, attribute 100% of my businesses success thusfar to my blog. So far, every single client I’ve landed has been a reader at some point in time!
What obstacles have you faced during your career, and how have you overcome them? Though I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist (who has time for that?), I do place an inordinate amount of pressure on myself to TRY to be perfect. When I launched my own business, that pressure completely bubbled over. In my mind, absolutely everything had to be perfect or I convinced myself I was going to fail. This obviously came with a whole lot of anxiety, some of which I’m still working through. I’ve actually started seeing a therapist in order to get to the root of this whole all or nothing mentality I have going on! And I’m now convinced that everyone in the world needs a therapist. It should be like going to the dentist every 6 months. Just a routine check up to keep your thoughts in line, you know? It’s revolutionary!
You were an editor for the lifestyle and design site, Style Me Pretty and you have your own beautiful blog Lark and Linen, what kind of impact has it had on your career and Lark and Linen Interior Design? Style Me Pretty has always been a place of pure, unadulterated, beautiful things on the daily. It’s always been a happy corner of the world for me and when Abby Larson reached out and asked me help launch Style Me Pretty Living, it was a dream come true. Though my blog had started to pick up traction at that point, I do attribute a huge amount of its success to said role. It allowed me to connect with the best of the best in blog world, and forge relationships that have become invaluable to me ever since. In addition, Abby was the most ambitious, most savvy, most amazing ladyboss I have ever come across and it was her drive and ambition, all the while remaining humble, kind and hilarious, that gave me the urge to try it all out myself.
Lark and Linen Interior Design has such a refreshing style that I absolutely love. How would you describe your style and has your style and aesthetics evolved overtime? Thank you so much! If I had to narrow it down, I think that my style is soft and pretty with just a little bit of edge. Though I am unquestionably feminine, or girly if you will, I always love to incorporate modern elements, or a little element of unexpected, into every space I design. I think that I’ve always been attracted to a similar style, but as I age and grow I’ve really honed in on the good, the bad, and the ugly of said style.
I recently moved into a gorgeous Georgian flat in London, and have only the basics of a sofa, coffee table, etc. How should I elevate these basics to make it more magazine-like and personal? How would Lark and Linen Interior Design make a space both impressive and comfortable? First of all, I’m not at ALL jealous of your gorgeous Georgian flat! As far as I’m concerned, there are three things that every home needs, regardless of budget. Those three things are: an area rug to ground the space, the softest throw you can afford (in the prettiest shade you can find), and coffee table books (they pull double duty as decor and, you know, learning tools!) Turning a house into a home is really as simple as layering in those little details that simply make it you.
How do you stay inspired, ahead of the trends and not burn out? Which trend are you most excited about? Though I do put in the crazy long hours, I legitimately love EVERYTHING that I’m doing, which means that it simply doesn’t feel like work. That being said, I’ve gotten really good at keeping my laptop closed over the weekend. Everyone needs a break to refresh, refuel, and re-inspire. As far as trends I’m excited about, I love the fact that comfort is reigning queen in the design world these days. Oversized plush sofas are abundant, high thread count bed sheets are all the rage and those are both something I think we can all get on board with. In addition, I keep seeing laquered walls pop up every which way. Though I’m not quite ready to go that far, I do think it adds an air of glam that you just can’t beat.
Best moment of your career so far at Lark and Linen Interior Design? Landing my very first client when I launched my design business. It was literally the day after I announced, and it was just the confidence boost I needed to convince myself that yes, I’m on the right track!