Having a small child and still changing your life with 180 degrees? Yes, it is also possible! Hajnalka Kónya started her interior design business this way. Of course, all this was preceded by several courses, preparation, goal setting. As the word ‘impossible’ is not present in Hajni’s vocabulary, she is continuously building her own dream – and in the meantime designs and creates the dream homes for other people. In the below interview you can get to know Hajni and her success story.
What was that time in your life when you felt that you need to have a big change in your career?
I was working for a multinational company for 10 years, when my position was terminated. At this point I started to wonder whether to apply for something else within the company or to start my own business from scratch. In such cases, someone who has been an employee all her life so far, starts to think whether to dare to start a business with an absolutely unpredictable income. Deep inside, I had already been preparing for the change, as 2 year before that I attended an interior designer course.
Why interior design?
I have always been interested in the beautiful buildings, when I walk on the streets, I often stop to observe a nice door or a nice detail and I take photo of them. I also love the beautiful home interiors; I have always loved reading the interior design magazines. I just started to feel that if one day I could do something else, it would be this that I would love to try, I really enjoy being creative.
What was the first step you made towards the new direction?
When my daughter became 1 year old and I was still at home with her, I applied for an interior designer course, followed by a decorator course some years later and another advanced interior designer course. After this advanced course I felt that I was a lot more confident in everything that I had learned. During these last two courses I was having a 6-hour main job, in which I had to work a lot more. So every day in those two years was a challenge to keep up with the courses, besides having my small child as well.
In retrospect, I have to say that I am very proud of myself for not giving up due to the lack of sleeping and now I can do what I always wanted.
How do you want to stand out from other interior designers on the market? What is your mission?
I love to inspire others with my ideas and work, it is important for me to give more than what is expected. Some time ago I was also writing a blog in Hungarian and English about design ideas, for which in the past time I unfortunately had no spare time, but I would like to continue it soon. I would like to raise the trust level of people towards interior designers, this is an important mission for me. My Facebook page is continuously updated, I share a lot of ideas, inspirations, videos with my followers. I believe that I stand out by wanting to give value through the various contents. It is persistence as well, that moves me forward, as there have been many situations when I could have quitted. But I always stand up and start it again, even from zero. It is the same about this Covid situation, when all of us get a lot more challenges – it is the same for me.
But we must never give up, we need to keep our goals in focus and the solution will come.
How is it different for you to manage your own business, compared to being an employee at a company?
In my own business I am the managing director, the sales person, the interior designer, the marketing specialist, the HR person and a lot more, all at once. I cannot be an expert in all these areas. I have an accountant and a marketing specialist, as I realised that I don’t have as deep knowledge in these areas as it is needed. So, I was not afraid to ask for help. I need to search for opportunities, build relationships, look for courses and pay for them. It is very important for me to improve myself continuously, not only professionally but from the self-awareness point of view as well. I go every year to Milan, Italy to the Salone del Mobile design exhibition the get inspirations, which can be noticed in my work as well. Unfortunately, this year due to the Covid the event was cancelled, but I hope that our life will get back to normal soon.
What has been the biggest challenge so far in this change?
Starting a business from scratch. Before, I had no idea how many things you need to take into consideration when you are having your own business. You need to consider what are the negatives and what are the positives in order to realize your desires. The negative is that you have no paid vacation, sick leave, bonus payment, sometimes you are even working while being on vacation, more than daily 8 hours and on weekends as well. The positive however, is that you can do what you love and you do not consider this as a job. Working hours are flexible, you have no boss, you choose who you work with.
What has been your biggest success so far?
I participated in various interior design competitions, where my plans were successful. Besides these, I could create a stand in maximalist style on the 2019 S/ALON Budapest exhibition, which was a big success and there was also a report made with me by the program called “Szépítők” (“Beautifiers”) on the TV channel of TV2 in Hungary. One of the latest successes that I am proud of is that in the September 2020 edition of the “A Mi Otthonunk” (“Our Home”) Magazine one of my designs is being presented on 8 pages.
Besides the professional successes, the happiness of my clients makes me happy as well, as I do what I do in order to have them happy in their own homes.
One of the most memorable situations was when a 5-year-old girl, when she saw her room for the first time, jumped around my neck in joy and hugged me 🙂
If you could start the career change all over again, what would you do differently?
I would start improving my self-awareness sooner, I mean the coaching by this.
How do you see your interior designer career in the coming years?
I have a lot of plans, having concrete goals is the most important, therefore I am continuously reviewing them. Having this in mind, I would like to reach out to those clients, who are open to ask for the help of an interior designer in order to plan their dream home, who are open to have a beautiful, practical home tailor-made to their lifestyle. One of my big dreams is to design a coffee shop or bar besides the private homes.