A KBIS panel at the DMM Talks Lounge — “Girl Power: Women in Design” — celebrated women in design and construction. By Beth Dotolo and Carolina Gentry
We were excited to be asked to speak about women in design on the KBIS panel “Girl Power: Women in Design” because it’s something we actually think about a lot. Interior design is one of the few professions where women outnumber men – 69% of designers are women, according to ASID. That’s not surprising, given that creative fields and the home have always been thought of as more appealing to women. But what changed over the years is that these smart women are also now amazing business owners and entrepreneurs in their own right.
Some challenges still exist, of course. The furniture manufacturing side of things is still much more heavily dominated by men. And there are the occasional male clients who think they can beat down our pricing structure or want to “win” in the decision process. The construction and commercial design fields are also more male than female, as we learned from our fellow panelists.
But for the most part, we’ve been lucky to have fantastic female role models in this profession. They’ve inspired us, mentored us and lifted us up. One thing we most love about the design field is how much we all support each other and share tips, ideas and solutions. We recently hosted a designer dinner to celebrate that sense of community.
We also try to give back individually and as a company, to pay forward the encouragement we’ve had from other women. We love to hire incredibly talented and smart young women to join our teams. And we empower them to find their voice within our company and creatively.
Expanding on that inclusiveness and sense of community is the best way that the design industry will be able to respond to new challenges and changes that we all face. We’re excited to harness that girl power to meet, and change, the future so that we are recognized by the power we harness and less by whether we are strong just because we are women.