Introducing Mandy

I knew I wanted to be a designer at a very young age. I was always very crafty. Drawing, scrapbooking, stamp parties, making jewelry … you name it, I tried it! When I was seven, my parents bought our first house and then I realized all of the creative things that can be done with home interiors, when you are no longer renting a space! Then, when I was a teenager, my mom bought a piece of land and began to build our new home. That process only assured me that interior design was for me. Planning a space on paper and watching it come to life was a process that amazed me. We were always at the construction site because my mother opted for us to do all of our own interior and exterior painting, as well as cleanup. My uncles also did all of the electrical work, so it was kind of like a family gathering every weekend. Looking back on it now, it was a lot of fun!

After visiting Harrington College of Design the summer before my junior year of High school, I was SOLD! I started at Harrington thinking I would go into residential design. After learning more about the industry, commercial design was much more appealing. I dreamt of going into education design and transforming learning environments across the country!

Then I graduated…

Then my dear Aunt Sallie started sending me outrageous bills …

Then I was working 80-hour weeks in the food service industry …

Boy was my life glamorous. I had a few interviews here and there, but no one seemed impressed with a 21 year-old waitress with no industry experience.

In June of 2012 something miraculous and amazing happened. I received a call for a contract position as a Store Planner for Sears Holdings Corporation. I was ecstatic! Goodbye serving pancakes at IHOP in Boystown! HELLO INDUSTRY JOB! My career was actually going to start right when I began to think it was time to call it quits.

winter mandy

My coworkers at Sears were all very recent grads and they were not nearly excited as I was. They had not suffered the harsh realities of struggling to find work, while trying to support themselves. At lunch they would discuss how depressing it was to work in a cubical and I said, “I always wanted my own cubical!” Then they proceeded to look at me like I was Miley Cyrus at the VMAs. Eventually the novelty did wear off, but store planning is something I do enjoy being a part of. It’s a sector of the design industry that anyone who has ever gone shopping can relate to. I get to help plan the spaces where teenage girls pick out their fist prom dress, men buy their lawn mowers, and where old couples discover the wonders of the i-comfort mattress. Although it is not exactly what I pictured for my career, I am more than grateful for this opportunity.

That being said, there’s a creative itch that retail planning does not quite scratch. So, I decided to start doing what I can to satisfy the creative aspects of design I miss. I recently got together with a close friend and we threw a joint art exhibition! See pics from the show on our events tab!

Oh and I forgot to mention – right before my art show, I gave birth to my first child! Abella Marie, the love of my life.

Abella in a Basket

So, as I dive into the retail planning industry, begin to sell my own original art, raise my daughter, and start a blog with two of my fabulous alumni friends, I hope you will read on!


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