Claire Delmar: Design Femme
Secondly, she has one of the most lust-worthy home kitchens we’ve ever seen and has been featured on the pages of Inside Out magazine. And lastly, she has an editorial portfolio of food, fashion and interior design projects that would send most stylists into fits of jealousy.
Claire started her career as a fashion stylist, but with an eye for style, original curation and a hard work ethic she naturally segued into the wonderful world of interior styling and design which has taken her work all over the world for leading publications such as Home Beautiful and Vogue Living. She also had a stint in education at The Whitehouse School of Design.
Stepping into the creative world of freelance design has allowed Claire to follow new passions such as food styling and contributing to her blog, The Palate Project.
We sat down to chat with Claire (and her gorgeous new baby Willow) about her journey to date and what’s next for this Design Femme who juggles it all effortlessly.
My main focus is on high-end interior and food styling for publications and advertising clients. I love the creative process of these jobs and the freedom you have to create little worlds in studios and locations.
I also have an Interior Styling and Design business that I work on residential and commercial projects and I have recently launched a table styling blog called The Palate Project.
WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER JOURNEY BEEN TO DATE?
I did a Bachelor of Media degree as well as work experience with Marie Claire and after graduation began work as a fashion stylist. After 5 years in fashion I felt the calling to move into interiors and worked with Home Beautiful magazine, leaving as Style Director in 2006 to pursue an academic career as the Style and Design Co-ordinator at the Whitehouse School of Design progressing to Department Head of the Advanced Diploma of Styling and Design Coordination.
My love of editorial work and especially interiors made me move back from teaching to publishing, on this occasion as Style Editor for Inside Out Magazine. This allowed me to develop my passion at the forefront of design and freely develop my style in a nurturing and creative environment.
I then travelled to London where I developed a busy freelance career working on Elle Decoration and Living etc Magazines. I also took on advertising and commercial clients. My extensive travels and my passion for art and design directly stimulate my work providing continued inspiration and ideas.
Since returning to Australia, I have continued pursuing my freelance styling career, expanding my skills into food styling, for Gourmet Traveller Magazine and building my advertising clients.
I also have a residential interior styling consultancy business, designing store concepts/window merchandising, styles for advertising campaigns and TVC’s with my main focus being on high-end editorial interior and food magazines.
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION / STUDY BACKGROUND?
After completing school at Pymble Ladies College I attended Macquarie University and did a Bachelor of Media degree majoring in film and digital media. At night time, I did a marketing certificate at TAFE and also an Interior Design Certificate. I have also got my Yoga teacher training certificate. Courses – Sketchup, CAD, ceramics, travel writing, bookmaking.
WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND WOMEN STUDY OR DO TO BEST EQUIP THEMSELVES TO GET INTO DESIGN INDUSTRY FROM AN EDUCATION PERSPECTIVE? I.e HOW DOES SOMEONE GET YOUR JOB?!
I strongly believe it’s all about work experience and obviously having a passion for design and style. You never know when a job will come up and if you are gaining experience in the environment you’ll always be a strong candidate for the role. It also helps with networking and getting a real feel for the industry.
WHATS YOUR ADVICE TO ANYONE WANTING TO COMMERCIALISE A PASSION PROJECT IN THE DESIGN SPACE? WHAT SHOULD THEY DO FIRST?
Know your market and audience and if you don’t, research, research and research.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
I’ve said this before, but my greatest achievement is that I love what I do every day and to me nothing could be more important. I’ve worked with some amazing people and companies, but it’s how happy the work makes me that keeps me going.
WHAT PART OF YOUR JOB DON’T WE SEE ON INSTAGRAM?
If Instagram could see me pack and unpack my car. This is definitely the worst part of my job constantly being a packhorse!
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT FROM A MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE IN THE PAST?
Accept criticism and use it to your advantage and even a reason to upskill. There is no right or wrong or a correct formula when you work in the creative industry so people are always going to like or dislike your work. Accept this and listen and learn, criticism can be a wonderful thing if channelled correctly.
HAS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS CHANGED FOR YOU OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER?
Yes of course, I was always focused on wanting to work for specific titles or clients then I realised it makes no difference what the job is it’s the team you are working with and the work you are producing that makes me happy. So balance and happiness is what I think is success and still feeling inspired daily with what you do.
REFLECTING ON YOUR CAREER TO DATE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF AT THE BEGINNING?
Take more risks and try not to lack confidence. I always did and still do find it hard to believe in myself but once you do I think you can achieve great things.
GIVEN LEARNING AND INVESTING IN OUR MINDS & SELF DEVELOPMENT IS SO IMPORTANT….HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED AND COURSES, SEMINARS, BOOKS OR GUIDES THAT HAVE CHANGED / HELPED YOUR LIFE AND CAREER?
I find that every course or lecture I attend there is always something you take away with you. It might be something small, but it can form the basis of a story or an idea or even just inspire a thought that motivates you.This has happened on many occasions. The Milan Furniture Fair was a highlight and just the sheer scale of this fair impressed me.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE STRESS / ANXIETY / WORK LIFE BALANCE?
It has taken many years to find the correct balance but I manage what I take on, so I’m learning to say ‘No’ a little more even though I never like to. I also have a very healthy active lifestyle but I think I’ll always be searching for the perfect balance especially now as I’ve just had another child.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU & The Palate Project?
What is so wonderful about being freelance is that you never know what is around the corner! This year I plan on enjoying my new baby girl and my son starting school whilst juggling my clients and building The Palate Project. I always like to push myself so I’ll be doing larger scale projects and taking on more assistants.
WHATS THE ONE DESIGN / INTERIOR PRODUCT YOU CANT LIVE WITHOUT?
Ugly but functional and I must say this is very rare! It’s my Zipp Tap in my kitchen! Constant hot water, I love it.
WHAT OTHER WOMEN INSPIRE YOU IN BUSINESS OR YOUR SPACE?
My mother has been my biggest inspiration and is the sounding board for everything I do. She is the most stylish woman I know so I suppose you would call her my femmspiration. She has taught me most of what I know and I’ve also been influenced by wonderful work colleagues throughout my career. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by many wonderful women who support my choices.
WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Self motivated, Happy, perhaps a little obsessive when it comes to work!