On this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty welcomes Kelly Wearstler. Wearstler's design includes residential buildings, hospitality and retail environments, lifestyle product collections, and brand collaborations. She received awards from Architectural Digest, Wallpaper Magazine, Time Magazine, and Vogue. Wearstler recently launched her book, Synchronicity, featuring her work for Proper Hotels and private residences. 

Design Can Influence Your Mood

Wearstler shares with Jay Shetty that design can indeed make people happy. She finds immense joy in her work, which involves creating spaces that inspire and delight individuals. Whether it's designing hotels where people come to relax, socialize, or work, Wearstler takes pride in knowing that her creations contribute to the happiness of others.

The designer believes that design has the power to surprise and engage people. She highlights the significance of incorporating local elements and authenticity into her projects, making each space unique and memorable. Her approach is client-centric, ensuring that the designs align with the client's intentions, ultimately leading to happiness and inspiration.

Kelly Wearstler's design philosophy revolves around creating environments that offer familiarity and happiness, like the feeling of being at home. The design has the potential to elevate our lives and bring joy into our daily routines, whether through thoughtfully designed hotels or our personal living spaces.

Finding Your Creative Spirit

Jay Shetty highlights the challenges many face when redesigning their homes and their desire to infuse their spaces creatively. Wearstler highlights the importance of personal connection and discovery in the design process. She encourages the listeners to explore museums, flea markets, and vintage stores to find inspiration. 

Vintage stores, in particular, offer the opportunity to connect with history and discover soulful, unique pieces with a story to tell. Wearstler's design philosophy blends the old and the new, infusing spaces with an old soul and a new spirit, a concept she finds both meaningful and inspiring.

The designer advises taking baby steps and pacing the design process thoughtfully. Rather than rushing to fill a space, she advocates for curating pieces gradually, allowing each one to hold a special memory or significance. It's about creating a space that resonates with you and reflects your interests, whether collecting art, incorporating color, or exploring various design elements.

Remaining Original

Wearstler shares her passion for discovering new and innovative design elements with Jay Shetty, comparing the feeling to falling in love. She explains that staying curious involves exploring various roads, from galleries to embracing technological advancements and pop culture influences. With a diverse clientele from different parts of the world, each project presents a unique canvas, ensuring that no two designs are alike.

There's abundant inspiration to tap into in today's visually driven world. Wearstler and Jay Shetty encourage the listeners to have an open heart and actively seek out what moves and excites them. Attending events and parties or exploring homes and spaces that stand out and resonate with personal tastes is crucial. For instance, Wearstler keeps a visual journal, capturing images of everything that inspires her and regularly revisiting these images to understand her evolving style.

You can discover your style by examining your clothing choices. The designer often helps clients identify their preferences by looking at their fashion sense, whether they gravitate toward neutrals or patterns, modern or minimalist designs. The answer to finding your style often lies in the things that naturally draw you in. It is a process of self-discovery and a willingness to stay open to new experiences and influences.

Develop Your Taste

When designing his spaces, Jay considers the energy they emit, aiming to evoke specific feelings when he enters a room. He also pays attention to small details, such as the first thing he sees in the morning and the last thing at night. This way, he ensures that his surroundings positively impact his well-being.

However, adults can sometimes lose touch with the childlike curiosity and tactile exploration they once had. Jay Shetty still tries to approach things with the same interest he had as a child, exploring textures, details, and aesthetics hands-on. 

Wearstler highlights the importance of intuition when deciding whether to acquire an item. The more exposure you have to various design elements, the better you recognize what's truly special. Patience is crucial, especially in Wearstler's work with clients on long-term projects, where finding meaningful pieces that resonate with the client's vision and emotions is essential.

The designer recommends investing in art, as it carries personal meaning, can be moved to new spaces, and enhances the ambiance of a home. She encourages the listeners to consider where to allocate their budget wisely. Not everything in a home needs to be extravagant; it's about finding a balance between comfort and artistry.

Jay's Experience With Design

Jay Shetty explains the design and intention behind his podcast studio. To him, creating an intimate and heart-centered atmosphere for his on-purpose conversations is crucial. He intentionally selected artwork that evokes emotions and conveys the themes of heart-based discussions, present-moment connection, and service to others.

Moreover, Jay's interest in design and fashion predates his monastic life. He believes that mindfulness extends to various aspects of life, including clothing choices and home design. Jay Shetty discusses how different clothing can affect your mood and self-expression and how he strives to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere in his podcast studio.

Wearstler highlights the interconnectedness of lifestyle choices, including clothing, home design, and overall wellness. She believes in  embracing one's multifaceted self to  allow all aspects to coexist for a more authentic and fulfilling life. Her design exhibits unexpected combinations that challenge conventional notions of what works. Despite initial skepticism, Wearstler combines diverse elements into cohesive and harmonious compositions.

Bold Beginnings

Kelly Wearstler discusses with Jay Shetty her early experiences in interior design and how she gained confidence in her creative choices. She recalls her first job, where she was initially hired to design only one dining room. However, she ended up redesigning the entire house with colorful and unconventional elements. 

Wearstler admits feeling nervous about presenting her ideas to clients who don’t  immediately grasp her vision. However, she believes in her heart that her design choices are accurate, and she works hard to help clients understand her perspective and have faith in her work.

While creative fields are often associated with artistic expression, they also require effective communication, especially when dealing with clients' personal spaces. Wearstler emphasizes to Jay Shetty the significance of confidence in presenting ideas. She notes that visuals are crucial in conveying her concepts to clients, as they can better understand her vision through visual representations. More importantly, confidence is paramount in creative communication.

Reflecting on Valuable Past Experiences

Kelly Wearstler reflects on her journey in the interior design industry, sharing some of the early challenges she faced. Starting her career alone was one of the most daunting aspects. Wearstler had to handle the job's creative and business aspects, from loading furniture to dealing with contracts and budgets, all while asking many questions and seeking guidance from experienced professionals. The designer also highlights the importance of having a supportive team and family to overcome these challenges.

Jay Shetty notes that many aspiring creatives may find pursuing their passion intimidating due to unfamiliar tasks like accounting, taxes, and presentations. Wearstler emphasizes the value of passion, drive, and ongoing self-education in tackling these challenges. She encourages aspiring creatives to take the initiative and educate themselves.

Also, Wearstler opened up to Jay Shetty about her mistakes on her journey. She recalls a project early in her career where she and her assistant painted an entire house themselves after a design mishap involving too many colors. Wearstler recognizes that making mistakes is essential to the creative process and sometimes necessitates going the extra mile to rectify them.

A Leap Forward

Kelly Wearstler discusses with Jay Shetty a pivotal moment in her career when she received a call from Bergdorf Goodman to design its restaurant on the top floor. Despite initially feeling like it would be given to a New York designer, she got the commission, and the project became a significant success. Following this project, the company's president approached her with the idea of having a shop within Bergdorf Goodman. Wearstler accepted the challenge, and within six months, she designed a successful shop, leading her into the world of product design.

The designer believes in having an open heart and being open to various opportunities that come your way. Her willingness to embrace new challenges and think creatively allowed her to expand her career in unexpected directions, such as designing hotels and working with different brands on exciting projects.

Regarding her favorite places for inspiration, Wearstler mentions to Jay Shetty her love for European cities like Paris, Amsterdam, and Belgium, where she often discovers emerging artists and unique craftsmanship. She explains how there’s so much value in seeing these  unique materials and designs in person

It Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

Wearstler explained to Jay Shetty that making small, intentional changes can transform a space without spending big. For example, you can paint a single wall with a unique color, incorporate a standout piece of furniture, invest in good lighting fixtures, and add a table. She encourages the listeners to let these elements showcase their style and suggests living in a more minimalistic environment for a while to appreciate the beauty in simplicity.

Wearstler also shares insights into her design process; she emphasizes the beauty of imperfection and how she seeks out unique, imperfect specimens in nurseries to transform interiors. Less is often more when it comes to incorporating plants into a space, and the strategic placement of plants can create a storytelling element in a room.

Work-Life Balance

Wearstler opens up to Jay Shetty about her journey into motherhood and how it has impacted her life and career. She initially had a strong focus on her career and didn't plan on being a mom. However, she met her husband, Brad, who wanted to have a family, which led her to reconsider. She found motherhood a transformational experience; her family has become everything to her.

Wearstler explained to Jay Shetty that she balances her ambition and career with being a present and loving mother. It can be challenging sometimes, but being present in both aspects of life is essential. She fully engages with her team and studio when she's at work. When she's with her kids, she prioritizes quality time with them. Wearstler admits that she has missed out on some things due to work-related travel but finds fulfillment in pursuing her passion as a designer.

Creativity and Burnout

Jay Shetty explores the topic of burnout, particularly among creators who experience rapid success and feel the pressure to keep up with their achievements. Wearstler acknowledges the importance of saying no to projects, even if they seem appealing, to avoid overextending herself and her team. Timing is crucial, and you should trust that suitable projects will come when right.

Wearstler shares with Jay Shetty her experience of taking on too much work at one point and the stress it caused. This led her to learn the value of pacing herself and not sacrificing the quality of her work and her team's well-being for quantity. She turns off and unwinds when she sleeps, even though she sometimes dreams about design ideas.

Fair Pricing

Wearstler shares with Jay Shetty that for her first project, she wanted the job and didn't have a clear pricing structure in mind. So, she asked the client what they felt comfortable paying her for the project. After their response, she proposed a rate she found fair.

The designer emphasizes the importance of considering various factors when determining how to charge for a project. This includes assessing if the project is for a friend, whether it represents a significant career opportunity, or if it will require a substantial time investment from both the designer and their team.

Kelly Wearstler emphasizes the importance of communication in pricing negotiations. She also highlights the value of mutual respect and understanding between both parties when determining fair compensation and finding creative solutions to make projects feasible for emerging artists.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Kelly Wearstler ON Why Changing Your Environment Will Change Your Mood and How to Access Curiosity to Pursue Your Passion” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.

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