Designer Interviews – Lynda Quintero Davids

Today we are interviewing the amazing Stylist | Designer | Planner | Thrifter | Blogger, Lynda Quintero-Davids. Lynda is also a long time Olioboard member who has figured out how to truly utilize Olioboard to promote herself and her business. Read on to learn tips from Lynda on getting your name out there for others to take notice.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.

I love shopping, thrifting, dancing, drawing, painting, gardening, branches, flowers, the color black, cuff bracelets, the beach, history, and NYC! I have a strong passion for making something out of nothing, always finding more space, and a strong desire for wanting to make things look their best. From a simple shift to shopping thrift – My home is my lab where I experiment on looks, styles & techniques I can do for you.  Although I spent twenty five years working in retail as a stylist, fashion show coordinator and visual merchandising director, I’m very passionate about architecture, interior décor and photography. My design experience includes: apartment & townhome renovations, outdoor living & garden design, event planning & execution. My specialties include: budget design, conceptual design, room boards, interior planning, retail space planning, styling, painting, thrifting and furniture refinishing. I also enjoy creating flower arrangements and have worked as a Production & Design Assistant for David Bromstad and the ColorSplash team in Miami.

2. What’s your preferred way to start a new project? How do you typically get inspired and creative in the early stages?

Getting inspired to start a new project can come in several different ways. Often I find myself sketching a thought on the nearest paper I can find or now – as many of you do – I’ve become a Pinterest addict!  If it’s for a client I am working with, most importantly I ask several questions and LISTEN to the answers. While listening to the answers, I also take note of my surroundings by looking around for other clues: colors, keepsakes, and types of magazines & books they may have around. If the space is an empty shell, then asking, “How long you have lived here?” is usually a pretty good guide to let me know either this person is a) in a rush, b) can’t make a decision or c) is a perfectionist and may not be so easy to please. But relying back to listening – the client may not have enough time or not know where to start. We all have something we love dearly – a color, a dress, a photograph, a book, a bowl – so even that can be a good place to start.

When I’m not working with a client, EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, stirs my imagination – both good and bad. And the inspiration doesn’t always need to be taken literally. For example, back in 2006, a beautiful yellow school bus drove passed me on my way to work. Something about that yellow caught my attention and just stayed with me. A few months later, while on a trip to NYC, it dawned on me: with all the NYC photos I have, I didn’t have any of the famed NYC Taxis, so I kept trying to capture an image of them – but failed. A month later, my husband and I returned to NYC to be married in Central Park. On our way to the park, we got stuck in a Taxi jam. Jeff knew I wanted a pic of taxis, so he just stuck his arm out the window with the camerawhile we were in front of Mies van der Rhoe’s Seagram’s Building – and BAM! He got the shot that inspired me to do a black, white & yellow room, popularly known at HGTV’s Rate My Spaceas “Cash Cab”.

3. Prior to Olioboard, how did you present design direction ideas to your clients?

Prior to using Olioboard, I’d use my sketches of floor plans or elevation drawings – along with tons of magazine clippings, catalogue tear-outs and drawings. I’ve also done actual sample boards, but who the heck wants to lug that big board around? Besides – you can’t send that in an email, a tweet, or a FB message.

4. Can you name 3 ways in which Olioboard has become a useful tool for your interior design business (or career)?

Using Olioboard, I’m able to select reasonably priced style that is very desired among my target market. And even if it’s not on Olioboard, I can easily upload a phone pic of a thrift find or a deal I spot at Homegoods… and even better, now I can source on Pinterest what I’m looking for, and then add it to my Olioboard library (basically repining from Pinterest TO Olioboard. All of which is a HUGE time saver when trying to pull together a look for a client, a friend or family member, and even our home.

5. How have your clients reacted to Olioboard as a presentation tool?

Besides emailing an Olioboard to a client to review a color, a sofa style, or a room design, I have also printed my 2D and 3D boards out onto cardstock, which makes for an easy and impressive presentation. Not everyone is a visual thinker – and that’s perfectly alright. Having an Olioboard on hand helps give clarity to the vision of a space. I like using both 2D first and then show the 3D of what the selected elements can look like in the space. And since I print it on paper, it’s very easy to make notes and adjustments. Showing an Olioboard itself online is also easy because the board can be enlarged, or make the necessary adjustments on the spot –  although I still prefer to print out the boards, and put them together in a nice black folder along with my business cards, project details, the budget and a contract. As tech savvy as some people are, I understand not everyone is. People like holding onto the printed Olioboard, especially if I leave them one.

6. In addition to the upcoming Olioboard Pro Plan (which includes a color scheme tool, text tool and budget tool), what features or improvements would make your life as a designer easier?

Since Olioboard first started up, I’ve seen them go through a few changes – all for the better to upgrade their site. And the best change by far has to be the addition of the ProPlan Tools. Before the tools, I’d have to save my board and reload it to another site to add in text. Now, with the text tool in the ProPlan, I’m able to easily integrate not only text for the project name, but I can now add in details like “before” and “after” to photos or notes such as “this chair style – in this fabric”

Since I also blog, using Olioboard with Pinterest has been helpful to create blog content for style trends I spot in stores, on the street, or on Pinterest. I am also creating lifestyle spaces- merging fashion with home décor – which is so important to both industries and our economy. This helps me demonstrate that as a designer, I have a CLEAR understanding of the different lifestyles. It also allows me to incorporate my retail background of visual presentation, which is what I did while working at JCPenney: help give brands an identity that the targeted market can relate to their lifestyle – and they will likely the goods. Well, now the goods I’m selling is myself on the internet.

Going forward, an enhancement I’d like to see with the tools is the ability to “save” the color schemes (which is actually already in the works). Another feature I’d like to see is maybe teamining up with Picnik to offer other editing options for boards – for example framing them – plus options to edit photos – for example convert a “before” photo to B&W on a board.

7. What are three time saving / creative tips you would give to designers and members just starting to use Olioboard?

1.Learn the buttons and what they can do for you. From cropping, to locking, to shifting images in your layers back to front & front to back. The other important buttons to be aware of are “Public” and “Private”. Some items you may want to keep private are shots of your client’s space, your signature, and your logo. Items to share with the public would be those fab furniture finds you have just pinned or an inspirational photo. Be sure to “save” often.

2.Create your library and take the time to organize it into sets. I started building my library with items I’d find in Olio’s categories and dump those onto an open board, then click save – all the items are saved, regardless if it’s for the current project or a future one. Afterwards, I take the time to put those library items into my sets. Easy sets to categorize are rugs, chairs, flooring, wall colors, and wall coverings – and then create other sets by color. Eventually sets can become client project specific.

3.Don’t be shy! Share your completed boards with friends on Facebook and Tweet them too – especially if you are a designer looking to build your brand. Not all of my boards are blog worthy or represent my design style – but for those that are, I created a tab with a library of my boards on my blog. Although I’ve experimented and have done a bit of DIY projects on my blog, I mostly use my blog as a current portfolio of my work, my design style and my abilities and hopefully it also shows my organizational skills – like an online Resume. Olioboard has been a tremendous help to me being able to apply and showcase my skills in visual presentation, planning and organizing.

Lynda was born and raised in North Bergan New Jersey and frequently visited New York City on the weekends with her Godmother. She grew up seeing her dad sketch something on a napkin one day, and the next, he’d be outside building it. At age ten, her parents relocated them to South Florida where, over the past 33 years, she developed her metropolitan style with an occasional flare for the tropics. She relocated from South Florida to Phoenix, Arizona, (“in the valley”) where she is already tapping into acquiring different décor styles because of the new location.

Early in her teens, she had wanted to go into fashion design. The closest thing to it, that she could do, was window displays. Window displays grew to a love of fashion show production and visual merchandising stores. In her late twenties, she wanted to develop her fondness of merchandising to do store planning and design, so she decided to go to school for interior design. Being her father’s daughter, she too enjoyed building, painting, and decorating the house. Now she passionately combine the two loves. Her work has been featured on HGTV, Houzz, CasaSugar, various blogs and right here at Olioboard! You can connect with Lynda via: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, flickr and her blog, Focal Point.

To learn more about each design in this post, just click on any of the board images.