We had the good fortune of connecting with Enid Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Enid, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was a costume designer in the television and film industry for over 25 years. It was exciting, rewarding and creative…until it wasn’t. The producers were getting younger, the hours longer and I no longer wanted to travel to locations that took me away from family and friends for months on end. I had been drawn to interior design for years and had been taking classes at UCLA’s Interior Design program. I thought about moving over to the Art Department and becoming a set decorator but I would have had to start at the bottom…been there, done that. In between shows, I did private styling for people in and out of the movie business, which I enjoyed immensely. I loved having my own hours, the ability to shop at an easier pace and the clients were so appreciative. One fateful day I was discussing a career change with one of my styling clients. She thought it was such a good idea that she asked me if I would help remodel her home. I was very flattered, humbled, excited and terrified. I had done some small homes and condos over the years but this was a big, daunting project. I decided to jump in with both feet because here was an amazing opportunity and I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I knew the movie business was not going anywhere but if I ever wanted to cut the cord, now was the time.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I do residential and commercial interior design. I tend to work on projects that involve more than decorating. I have been studying interior architectural design because it has deepened my knowledge of construction and architecture. Up until Covid-19 brought the world crashing down around us, I had been very busy and my work has always come through referrals. I would say nothing in business is easy…that’s why it’s called business! My background in film and tv has helped me with listening to the client versus thinking I know what is best. One of the challenges for me (and probably one that a lot of creatives have) was learning the business of my business. It’s always fun to shop for clients and come up with new, exciting design ideas but I wanted my own business and knew that I needed to learn the “grown-up” part as well. I hired a bookkeeper and learned Quickbooks. When a client asks where we are budget-wise, I can answer immediately.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Day 1: Friends from out of town always want to see Malibu so that’s where we’d start. Driving up PCH until we get to Cross Creek Road which has so many fun shops. Lunch would be at Nobu because there’s usually a celebrity sighting (very important for visiting guests). If the weather is great, we’ll go to the beach and grab an iced latte at Malibu Farm Cafe for the ride home. Day 2 would be Santa Monica. I love Montana Ave. so it would be fun to start our walk at Montana/7th and window shop until we hit 17th St. Walking back to 7th St. will make us hungry so it’s off to Birdie G’s for lunch (noodle kugel, house made matzoh, brisket you can eat with a spoon) and then walking next door to Bergamot Station to check out the galleries. Day 3 We’ll start off hiking Inspiration Point Trail in the Palisades followed by breakfast at Cafe Vida. Lots of great shops at the new Palisades Village and the Erewhon there is fantastic. Lunch would probably be a great burger at Hank’s. Day 4 I lived in Montecito and love driving up there with several stops along the way. The Design Within Reach outlet in Oxnard is first and conveniently right off the freeway. I HAVE to stop at Garde in Summerland which was a 1921 antique barn at one time and is now a crazy expensive but perfectly curated home store. Walking distance from Garde is a new store called Field & Fort which I discovered in March (literally days before Covid-19). The vibe is vintage-y, industrial furniture & home wares and I loved the food at their cafe. They had some great Willy Guhl planters that I always covet. Note to editor: 4 days is the maximum length of stay for my guests;-)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The person who encouraged me to become an interior designer is Marina Day, a dear friend and mentor. Marina is a prolific artist who works in mixed media collage. Her studio is at the 18th Street Arts Center Gallery in Santa Monica and I can’t wait for life to get back to normal so Marina can show her incredible work again. I can honestly say I could not have made the leap from costume designer to having my own interior design business without her support.
Photographer: Marco Franchina 818-429-1422