Welcome to our new business client profile feature! Each week we will feature one or more of our business clients, giving you a chance to learn more about them and the services they provide. More than ever, it’s important to support and encourage our local businesses. We will also be posting reminders about year-end tax planning opportunities and any potential changes coming for the 2020 tax season. Our first feature is Farrha Hyman, founder and principal designer of Mod Interiors. Keep reading to learn about how her business began, her passion for changing her clients lives, and her philosophy on Christmas décor!
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Why did you decide to go into Interior Design?
Ah, that’s a loaded question! So I guess I got into interior design because literally everyone was telling me I needed to. I was working as a temp for another company when I moved here, my initial background was HR. I would help them move their VPs from another state to here, and I would help them, organize their office, make it pretty, and I would help them with their homes as they got moved over. After about the fifth one in they said “you know you really should do this for a living!” At the same time, I had a friend of mine who’s a realtor and she got me into staging homes. Every one that I would stage would sell, and she said “You can do this, you really have to do this for a living!” and that’s how I got into the business. She would keep referring me and referring me. I was doing staging and organizing at first, and everybody who I would do work for would tell their friends “she came in to organize my space and look how pretty she made my office!” or whatever I did for them. The business went from staging and organizing into full-blown design. Eventually, people would come to me for design and not necessarily for organizing. So that’s really how I got started.
What was the turning point from this being a side-gig to becoming a full-time business?
When I moved here, my background was HR. I moved here two weeks before September 11th happened, and I did HR for a hotel company. I temped with them for about a year and a half, which is unheard of. The company would pay me holidays, give me bonuses, it was the weirdest thing—but yet, they wouldn’t hire me. I was so disappointed. I’d been there so long and they would keep me busy but they wouldn’t hire me. The guy that I was I was working for was one of the VPs, whom I had a good relationship with. At the end he said “I couldn’t tell you, but we didn’t want to hire you and let you get comfortable because they were going to sell the company.” They didn’t really know what was going to happen or who they were going to keep. So, it was a blessing. And he told me “but you know, you’re so good at this” and I thought, “Okay! One more person tells me…” My whole situation was doing HR, and then I ended up losing that position. It was like, well you know, do it or not… and I kept doing it. Business kept coming to me, it just kept coming. So I just kept doing it. I finally decided, okay, okay, I’ll start a business! I went out and got the business started officially and said “okay guys, this is on you!” I didn’t know what to do, I had never run a business before. But I did take a class and got a certification just to make sure that I knew what I was doing and that I was taking care of my clients. Then, it just became the joy on people’s faces when I would take a space that they dreaded being in, and turn it to one that they now want to spend all their time in. I’ve had people cry. And it’s just all of that– the feeling is overwhelming that you are literally changing people’s lives and how they live. Then it was a no brainer and I was really good at it, so I just kept doing it! This all started in 2001, and I think I officially got the business in 2003, so it’s been 17 almost 18 years.
What is your favorite part of the creative process with each client?
I love creating something that’s specific to them: the things that they enjoy and the things that experience. Every client is different in that sense. If you go on my website, you’ll see that. Every project is different. I’m not one of those designers that you can go through their portfolio and say “okay, they do it like this” because every one of my projects is different. I love to incorporate my client, who they are, how they live their life, the experience they have. Sharing that and trying to put in things that they collected along the way or maybe something they got from a family member. To me that’s the thing that brings me the most joy is that when I’m done with their space, it is specifically their space. They love every corner; they can see that there is something special to them that they’re not going to find in any other home that I do.
What advice would you have given yourself when starting out given what you know now?
Ohhhh what advice would I have given myself!? I would have told myself “don’t be afraid to hire someone!” At the beginning, I was very nervous to hire someone to support me. That’s the biggest thing I think I would tell myself—hire someone to help you do this, don’t try to do this all by yourself.
How have you, as an individual, grown?
Oh my, leaps and bounds! The changes, the growth, it’s been insane. I’ve grown a lot in my abilities as a designer, just my skill level obviously because of time and different projects and classes and courses and all that. I’m definitely more skilled at what I do. But I think I’ve grown in being more sure. When I’m speaking with a client it’s a lot easier for me now to kind of get to the bottom and pick up the clues that they’re giving me. And sometimes the clues they’re not giving me, right? Sometimes it’s what people don’t say that can really help you. I’ve grown to be really good at being able to read that. It’s funny because sometimes people will ask me how, and I’m like “I don’t know, it’s just one of those things I do!” When I’m talking to that person and I connect with someone, I just get it.
How did you get connected with Christi, and what’s your favorite thing about working with our firm?
Actually, I was in the market for a new accountant and of course I drive up and down Main Street all the time. I always see her sign so I’m like “you know what, you need to just go in there!” Every time I would think I need to call and I never did, so I think I literally just stopped in. I just found her based on location. And I love that she takes the time… to deal with my crazy! I’m totally the opposite, being what I do, my brain works so very different from an accountant brain and she takes the time to explain things to me and deal with them. When I came to her I had a bit of a mess in my hands and I love that she takes the time to do the things that I need to make sure that I’m comfortable moving forward in the things that we’re doing. I really do love and appreciate that with you all.
What’s your favorite part of the holidays?
Christmas! I love Christmas, and I do remodels, I do all kinds of crazy stuff, but the idea that I do Christmas decorating as well… my friends look at me like “you’re insane”. And I think… “I know! It’s glutton for punishment, like who does that?! Let somebody else do it!” But I love Christmas, and I love helping people create their Christmas. I started because a client of mine forced me into helping her, and she said “well you did such a great job you should come back and do it next year!” Next thing you know I’m doing Christmas decorating. But again, its about that joy that you bring to people. That time of the holidays is either one of those times where people love it and they do everything to make it grand, or they’ll call me because they just want to do something to add a little bit of joy for their child, their family, depending on whatever they’re gone through for the year. I can come in and create that space that just really makes them happy and just brings the joy of the holiday home for them. That’s why I do it, I just love that. It truly is magical; it just takes you to a different mindset.
When do you think is too early to start decorating for Christmas?
It’s never too early to start Christmas decorating! You know how it is, you never see it coming it just sneaks up on you! I don’t think its ever too early. With a lot of our clients, we will start in the summertime. Start planning things out, especially with people who have big parties and our commercial clients. If they’re changing anything, we usually start that early so that we can get everything in place and get everything ordered for them. I’ve had people email me and say “okay, now that we’ve taken everything down, next year we want to do…” and it’s February!
Is there anything else you would want people to know about you and your business?
The one thing I would like to say is that we love to create spaces for our clients that is uniquely them and brings in joy, and still really functions well for them. A lot of time people say “oh you just took a picture” or “the space is cleaned out for the photo.” But when we design for our client’s we design for the way they live, not for a photo. So, we think about all these things and I think that’s the biggest differentiator for us and I love for people to know that’s how we design. We design to help people live better in their space.