Looks like were not the only ones obsessed with Veronica Sanders - shes just been featured in Designers Today!
Veronica Sanders is the president-elect of the ASID Texas chapter; she will be its first African American president when she assumes office in October. She talks about her journey, her plans for the group and why building her digital footprint is so vital to her business.
(Originally published on Designers Today)
Transcript: I'm Veronica Sanders with design with Veronica Sanders I create bespoke retreats for everyday living by combining personalized design with sophistication and joy.
Andrea Lillo: Where is your design firm located?
Veronica Sanders: So my design firm is based in the Dallas area but I design all over, so whether you're in New York or if you're in Texas if you call me up I'll come and design for you.
Andrea Lillo: Tell me about your design background.
Veronica Sanders: I kind of run the gamut a little bit with my background so I am first generation college graduate but I was also a teen mom who had no clue what she wanted to do as a career. And then I was also a second career student and so, you know I first found out about interior design when I was just really frustrated with my banking job. I was a bank teller, so imagine that! Boring you know, money work all day, listening to customers complaining about, why there's an overdraft in their account like I'm the one who did it right. And I just, I couldn't, you know it was just super frustrating trying to deal with those personalities about people's money. I've learned from that job, don't mess with people's money.
On top of that, I would just kind of decompress by binge watching HGTV and then like reupholstering my furniture, rearranging my furniture, all of those things. And then my husband was just like, "hey, you know what, maybe that thing that you're watching, maybe that's a career. Maybe that's a job." Because where I'm from, the community that I grew up in, we don't know about interior design or we didn't know. Like we're learning more now, but in those days we didn't know that that was an actual profession. I was like, you know what this is, like this is the thing. Like I found my my passion. I found, you know, that dream career that I've always been looking for. And the light bulb just went on and you know I graduated in 2018. I just was working with a couple of design firms and then decided in 2020 to go out on my own.
Andrea Lillo: Veronica is a big advocate for American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and is President-Elect of its Texas Chapter.
Veronica Sanders: When I discovered I wanted to be an interior designer in 2008, after I took that break from having my son, and I went back to school in 2012, that's when I learned about ASID. So I learned, you know, about the interior design organizations, there's tons of them out there by the way, but that was the one that just kind of, you know, they kind of got first dibs! They captured me first, and so I got super involved with them, you know even on the campus. I was our Student Chapter President, I was also a President-Elect, a semester before that. Even when I transferred to the university I was involved in leadership and interior design organizations from there. So I just knew that the networking and all those possibilities that I could receive would be super beneficial for me. But primarily the scholarships. That's actually what helped me pay for my senior year of college was the scholarships primarily through ASID. And so I was like you know what, I've gotten the most benefit from this organization and I've been volunteering with them ever since I was a student since 2012.
And it actually happen-stanced when I became President or President-Elect which I currently am this year but my term starts October 1, but yeah, I didn't, I think I inquired about like what are the requirements to be a president. But I didn't, I wasn't expecting that months later they would be like, "Hey, we've nominated you!" [Laughter]. It was really more so like, you know what do I need so that way I can prepare myself in the future but they were just like, yeah no you've got the qualifications now and so we're gonna bring you in. Now, I'm the 44th president and the first African-American president to hold this office in the Texas Chapter and also the first Allied practitioner. Because primarily, the previous presidents have all been NCIDQ licensed and I haven't passed all my exams yet. I'm in the process! So I'm the first who hasn't yet passed their exams to also hold this level of office as well.
Andrea Lillo: What are some of the biggest challenges do you face in the chapter as an organization?
Veronica Sanders: One of the biggest challenges that we face is our diversity. You know it's funny because when we say diversity we automatically think, you know, minority groups and LGBTQ+; which it obviously does entail those important groups. So that's super important to me, especially as a black designer myself, however, it also entails those who are differently abled, I like to say, and then it also incorporates those who are seasoned in age. You know, our elderly Community, our 60 plus. You know, those who are struggling with Technologies, how to get around, how to see, you know all those different things. So yeah, I actually would love to improve that portion of our membership. I would say over 90 percent of the members are seasoned in age. And so we have a lot of designers getting ready to retire, trying to plan for their futures. And then we also have the newer designers who are just trying to get their foot in the door.
Andrea Lillo: What is your design super power?
Veronica Sanders: I am the neutrals Queen that's what I like to call myself. I'm like your neutrals unicorn you know. I provide you that space of respite. Kind of take things back to the bare minimum, the basics and then I add a little Pizzazz. I take all the things that are super important to you. Whether it's some family heirloom that you want passed down and you want to highlight it in your space or it's, you know, a bunch of knickknacks that you've picked up along the way from your travels that you really want to just like remind yourself of like, "Look what I've done in my life, this is who I am. This is what I want to be, who I aspire to be." And so that's what I do. I basically bring things back to the bare minimum, take it back to the basics. We start with the neutrals and then we bring in color through decor. Through paintings. Through fabrics and and all those things, so it's really just it's more so about the clients and and who they are and what they want to be. I basically create you in your space.
Andrea Lillo: Tell us a little bit about your design process.
Veronica Sanders: Regarding my process, one thing that I do is you know I start with the in-home consultation after we've had a brief Discovery call. The consultation takes about two hours, but you know, that's because I really want to like take my time with those clients. Walk through their space. Like really visualize it, which is why I call it my Vision Session. Because this is our opportunity to kind of dream. We brainstorm, we dream up the space and we really get excited about what's to come for these homes. Then from there we go back to the drawing board and we work our process of doing all the white glove deliveries. You know the sourcing of the furniture and really bringing in that personalized aspect to our clients homes.
Andrea Lillo: How do clients find you?
Veronica Sanders: I learned really early on to build my digital footprint. I'm putting my name in digital print so whether it's having my website posted somewhere from another social media channel and bouncing it back and forth, things of that nature. I just learned really early on from a cohort that I was in through a conversation with Daymond John that SEO is the end-all-be-all. If they can't find you then you have no business, you have no work. And so, because of that, I made sure throughout my career that I'm building my digital footprint. So that's typically how they find me. They Google black designer primarily, but if they're looking for a designer in the Dallas area, they just Googling me and they find me. And then obviously, my website and my aesthetic attracts them, and then they call me because of that.
Andrea Lillo: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Veronica Sanders: Here's a funny story. When I was working as a production assistant for an awards show, I was super hungry we were getting ready to go into a conference call to prepare for this award show and you know and all the makings behind how to pull this this event off. I had a piece of bacon that I took with me and I was eating with it. This media Mogul, who's like you know obviously over this entire event, and it was really funny because he looked at me. Then he was just like, "Okay, are you eating bacon?" He was like, "You hungry?!" [jokingly] and I said, "I am!" I said, "but you know what I'm here to work, and so I'm just gonna snack on the way and then it's all business once we get in that conference room!" And he was just like I love that. You know I love how you're just being yourself you know I got a new nickname for you. Your nickname for me now is "Bacon" that's her name! That's a funny story but you know I don't want to reveal the this person's name but yeah that's, I think that would be a funny a new thing that people don't know about me is that I have a nickname, it's called Bacon! [Laughter]
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