Our Interview with Amelia Barry (ABI)
It's been just over 6 months since we awarded the 2022 TDC Scholarship to Melbourne interior designer Amelia Barry, and it's fair to say that she has certainly been working hard to maximise the lessons she is learning from the various courses, classes and programs.
Already an accomplished designer, Amelia came into the scholarship program with an established portfolio of clients, and some beautiful projects under her belt. Working with TDC, she has been able to further streamline her processes in order to deliver even more successful project outcomes and an increase to her profitability. Amelia has an incredible work ethic and is very driven to continue learning, which makes coaching her such a privilege.
We sat down with Amelia recently to find out about her journey as the 2022 TDC Scholarship winner so far.
TDC: Thanks for taking time out from your busy schedule to speak to us today, Amelia. We last spoke to you in March this year to see how you found the first part of your Scholarship program. We’re now just over halfway through the year, so we’re keen to get an update on your progress. Generally, how do you feel about your business journey with TDC?
AB: Thanks to TDC, I feel great about my business journey. Focusing on the systems, processes and business side has been an incredible experience. I’ve gained amazing skills to use now and in the future. Stepping outside the designer space to develop my business has been really empowering.
TDC: How has being the recipient of the 2022 TDC Scholarship most impacted your business?
AB: Over the last six months, I’ve gained so much confidence in myself and my business. I’ve fine-tuned my systems and processes to create superior experiences and services for my clients. It’s not that I didn’t provide these services before TDC, but now I have the tools to take them to the next level. It’s empowering as a business owner to have greater confidence and skills.
Ultimately, we’re in a service industry and want to give our clients the best experience possible. Developing my processes and fine-tuning my services so they’re clear is something I now work on consistently learning Andrew’s system and methods clarifies everything from my clients’ perspectives.
TDC: At the moment, you’re taking part in the Premium Group Coaching Program. The program provides fortnightly group coaching, 1-on-1 coaching sessions, a framework for setting powerful goals, and a regular accountability group. How has the ongoing coaching and support helped you achieve your personal and professional goals?
AB: I’ve loved this aspect of TDC—I genuinely feel part of a community. And the coaching and accountability groups keep you in check. We often work alone in our industry, so it’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off when making decisions. It’s powerful to discuss industry-specific issues and share stories with like-minded people. It helps keep me on track and puts everything in perspective.
The one-on-one coaching with Andrew is incredible for guiding my business in the right direction. Implementing the new elements, I’m learning each fortnight takes a long time. The constant reinforcement I receive through the accountability groups helps to fast-track implementation.
TDC: You’ve just launched your new branding and a beautiful new website. How has the “new look” Amelia Barry Interiors influenced your confidence and approach to business?
AB: It’s created a platform for my brand that feels authentic to me, which is important. People now get an idea of who I am and my services, making me feel more confident in my business.
My new branding is consistent across my website and other marketing channels. I now feel my services, style, and voice leave minimal opportunity for confusion because it’s clear how to navigate who I am and what I do. I’ve also noticed increased engagement across my website, Instagram and LinkedIn.
TDC: You recently attended the Masterclass with industry icon Andrew Parr (SJB Interiors). Can you tell us about the day and what you’ve taken away from the opportunity to connect with such an influential designer?
AB: The masterclass blew me away! I felt like a kid in a candy store touring such fantastic projects. Hearing Andrew Parr discuss his processes and influences was a privilege.
Then we toured his own house, which was incredible and inspiring. His almost eclectic use of colour and texture really resonated with me—I was in absolute awe.
Andrew gave a two-hour talk and generously shared his career journey. For me, the most engaging projects were his personal ones. Designers can let loose and express their unique style when they design their own space. It was so insightful—he’s a creative genius.
We then had a lovely lunch to top it off, and it was so enjoyable connecting with the community we’ve established during the program. As a solo entrepreneur, coming together as a collective over lunch to share our stories helps make you feel more connected to the industry and other designers.
TDC: You recently took some time out to rest and replenish at a wellness retreat in Queensland. How was the experience, and has it shaped your view on the importance of looking after your health?
AB: Yes, 100%. During the Premium Group Coaching Program, we discuss balance when setting goals. I’ve got two young sons, so I need to think about how to do my best at work and be my best at home as a parent. I can’t do any of that if I’m running on empty.
One goal I set through the Premium Group Coaching Program was to carve out time to look after myself. I hadn’t been making my health and well-being a priority—I’d always pushed them to the very back of my to-do list. Now, I view them as a necessity, not an indulgence. Now I know they’re crucial to performing well at work and home.
TDC: What are your plans for the rest of the year? What are you hoping to take from your continued involvement in the TDC Scholarship Program?
AB: I plan to continue growing the business, creating beautiful projects and working with amazing clients. I’ll keep refining my systems working with Andrew and TDC. It’s all about implementing the procedures as you go.
Practice makes perfect. When I onboard a new client, I try to make their experience seamless and enjoyable. It’s a journey that never really ends. With Andrew and TDC’s support, it’s less overwhelming. Following his steps helps me focus on the other aspects of my work, like designing homes.
TDC: As part of the Scholarship, you have a place at the 2023 Queenstown Retreat in New Zealand. What are you most looking forward to with this special experience?
AB: I haven’t been on one of Andrew’s retreats before. I feel very privileged to be going. I’ve never been to New Zealand, so that’s exciting. I’ve heard that Queenstown is incredible.
I’m looking forward to meeting the other designers and seeing the architecture. There’s nothing like being in those spaces. Accessing that level of architecture and hearing the story behind it is so inspiring.
I’m also looking forward to seeing how other designers create and display their spaces. And, knowing how Andrew loves food and wine, I’m sure there’ll be many other wonderful experiences in store!
We couldn't be more proud of Amelia. She clearly has loads of design talent, but more importantly, she is dedicated to running a successful and profitable business, and is prepared to do the hard work to make that happen. We're excited to see where the second half of her scholarship year takes her!
The TDC Scholarship will be an annual program and we encourage all designers, decorators and architects to apply, no matter their level of experience. Learn more about the Scholarship here.
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