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Bethany Hubbard [with PODCAST]
Influencers 15 years ago No Comments

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Why are we profiling self-proclaimed Photoshop Diva, Inappropriate Laugher, and Actress Extraordinaire Bethany Hubbard” Because she sent PLiNTH & CHiNTZ an email that piqued our interest and – bhubbardweb.jpgmore importantly – made us laugh. Oh, and she also happens to work for the very well respected international hospitality design firm Duncan & Miller Design. After a few über entertaining email exchanges, we invited Bethany to join us for lunch to record a light-hearted, information-dense podcast interview about how this theatrical interior design graduate evolved into a primetime graphic design guru.


Click on the audio player below to eavesdrop on our conversation. *For you non-podcast rebels, we’ve included some of the interview highlights, as well as myriad links and a few fun bonus questions not included in the podcast, in the old-fashioned written form below. Enjoy.


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What’s your educational background”

An AAS in Acting/Technical Theatre from Northlake College and a BFA in Interior Design from the University of North Texas.


What was the first job you ever had”

Since I still act, I like to consider my first job to be my first acting gig. I was a star in the Christmas pageant at Good Shepherd Lutheran School when I was five. I learned what it takes to upstage anyone else that’s talking – lifting up your dress is very effective. But I guess my first “real” job was for a veterinary clinic. I learned that I was NOT going to be a veterinarian! No stomach for it whatsoever. Though dogs are easier to deal with than clients.


What was your first real job in the design industry”

I worked in sales at the Dallas Market Center for a contemporary furniture showroom. I’d contacted that showroom because it was the only one at the DMC that sold furniture I was even remotely interested in. My toughest challenge was to stop cracking up my customers and actually sell something! That’s an imperative part of the “sales” industry, apparently. Selling. Who’d have thought” The job was what I expected; hence, my not being there anymore.

Please give us a rundown of your complete work history, both industry and non-industry related:

  • • “Star” in the Christmas Pageant, of course
  • Veterinary assistant (briefly, ew)
  • Checker at Eckerd’s in high school (also ew)
  • Theatre techie in college (I can use power tools like nobody’s business!)
  • Temp DBA [database analyst] for The Clorox Company (lots of free bleach!)
  • Voice-over actor / On-camera talent
  • “Hander-outer” of commemorative guitar picks for the opening of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame
  • Professional Christmas caroler (seriously…hoop skirts and everything!)
  • Internship at Scott+Cooner showroom (fabulous furniture!)
  • Sales at Contempo Designs
  • Current position at Duncan & Miller Design
  • (Man, I’ve done a lot of random stuff!)

 

What was biggest work-related mistake that you have made and how did you deal with it”

This will sound totally lame, but I was always in trouble for selling stuff off the floor at the showroom. Ask my old manager. I was forever selling floor samples and getting in trouble for it. Boo hoo. It was a SALE, right” But, really, I like to delude myself into the belief that I don’t make any mistakes. That’s working out pretty well.


What’s the most satisfying project you worked on and why”

I created an animated slideshow for Hotel ZaZa Houston. It was a multimedia extravaganza! When I went to the opening of the Metropolitan Club at ZaZa Dallas, my show was being projected on the side of the building at the entrance! That was a fantastic surprise.


You work now for Duncan & Miller. How long have you worked there and how did you end up working for them”

I’ve worked for DMD three years in March. I’d seen their website and sent in a resume while I was still in sales. Like, a year later, Kimberley Miller called me for an interview, thinking I’d been working for another design firm, instead of a showroom and she loved my portfolio website. She and I got along so well and had such a fun interview that she asked me to start out as her assistant.


What kinds of tasks / projects do you work on now and what’s a typical day like for you”

My typical day is so random because I get to do a bit of everything in the office. I create birthday cards for everybody in the firm (you know, cheesy Photoshopped pix of the person with a goofy hat on), design marketing portfolios, design shampoo bottles, plan parties (that falls under my “Cruise Director” duties), render floor plans and elevations, and do installations. Oh, and I’m also the on-site geek, assisting everybody with their desktop wallpaper and printers that eat their specifications (I sort of fell into that job).

What did you learn in school that you feel prepared you for a career in the architecture and design industry, and what skills and wisdom have you learned only through experience”

Wow. I’m always saying, “My interior design professors would be SO proud” as I crawl around on the floor, hooking someone’s speakers up. But, I think the most important thing I learned was to be flexible. Interior design throws all sorts of curve balls your way – you could be gluing down mood boards in your best suit or schlepping furniture on an installation. Next day, the principal could have you picking up their dry cleaning.* You just never know! As far as my skills and wisdom…hmmmm. Thinking of myself as wise, first of all, is a bit weird. I mean, I’m no Yoda, but I think that it takes on-the-job experience to realize that you’ll never know all there is about this business or what to expect. The hours can be long, and you’re dealing with a creative bunch of people trying to make a real business work, so it can be stressful at times. But, when you see the project complete and experience your design choices in person, there’s no better feeling. Especially if there are free cocktails at the opening party. That’s the BEST.

*FYI: I’ve never actually been asked to pick up anybody’s dry cleaning.


What’s the best advice that you could give a student emerging from school”

Go back and try your hand at accounting. I hear that’s quite lucrative. Just kidding. I think that it’s important for students to remember that this is a creative industry. We get so many run-of-the-mill resumes on Office Depot parchment… lots of “So-and-so told me about your firm and I’d like to be your blah-de-blah.” BOR-RING! Make yourself stand out. Make yourself seem more interesting than you really are. I mean, when it comes right down to it, we all gotta hang out with you around the water cooler, so be the best, most fun person around the water cooler that you can be! Obviously, you’ve still got to be professional (don’t show up in a St. Pauli Girl costume or anything), but your creativity should branch out into marketing yourself. We once got a chocolate foot from a design student we’d interviewed with a note that said, “Thanks for letting me get my foot in the door.” That was so cool and she got hired and works here to this day. Chocolate goes a long way.


What projects are you currently working on around your own home”

Right now, I’m thrifting for a funky carved cocktail table for my 1920’s French boho style apartment. I also do decoupage paintings with lots of old movie stars and black and white photos of Paris. And I make the occasional casserole.


Who is your favorite artist, designer or architect”

My favorite artist is Jacek Yerka, a painter from Poland. He does fantasy landscapes where Volkswagens have legs and trees are made of stone. Very trippy and cool. I also adore James Lileks, the journalist/cultural humorist who brought us my absolutely favorite interior design book, Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible ‘70s. He also has a website called The Institute of Official Cheer which is design hilarity on so many frightening levels. Cause you’ve got to have a big-time sense of humor in this industry or you’ll go nuts!


What’s the last book you read and would you recommend it”

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger (the author of The Devil Wears Prada). I’m into anything that deals with PR and making yourself famous. It deals with a journalist who goes to work for a top New York City party planning company and the insanity of the A-list world. It’s a good, fluffy read.


Are you an early bird or a night owl”

As many times as I accidentally wake up at 5:30 am, an hour before the stupid alarm goes off, I have to consider myself a night owl. But I do love my sleep and am often in bed before 10 pm. I think maybe I’m a day cat, rather than any sort of bird. I love my mid-afternoon / before-going-out naps and can pretty much sleep anywhere. Usually for about 18 hours. In a sunny spot on the carpet. Yes.


What the one thing that you wish you knew more about”

Something that could make me huge gobs of cash. Nuclear physics” Real estate mogulness” I’d love to be able to calculate a tip in my head. That’d be handy.

Is there any other information that you would like to mention that we haven’t covered here”

Istanbul was Constantinople.

List any web links that you would like readers to know about:

My MySpace page (I’m such a corporate tool.)
The Institute of Official Cheer
Interior Desecrations (A part of the Institute…the scary 1970’s interiors part)
Because the World is Round (My favorite blogger, Mike Fertig. He’s a HOOT!)
Tempest Productions


Do you mind if I list your email address so that readers can contact you”

Absolutely: bhubbard@duncanmillerdesign.com or bethanystar@gmail.com. I love fan mail.


Links referenced in the podcast (alphabetical order):

AutoCAD
Birmingham, Alabama
DOS
Dubai
gelato
Macao
Melrose Hotel – Dallas, Texas
mood board
Pier One
San Antonio, Texas
Shanghai
Skirvin Plaza Hotel – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma