Jessica Waks

Enhancing Her Future

Portrait of Jessica Waks.

Jessica Waks runs a growing decorating company. But she wasn’t the type of teenager who grew up re-arranging the furniture in her room.

I think that’s the way a lot of people start their decorating bios – that was not me, says Jessica. But I was a very spirited child and I always had an opinion on something.

It wasn’t until after graduating from university with a bachelor’s degree in media, information and technoculture and moving back home – to her childhood bedroom in serious need of a makeover – that she realized she had a knack for design.

What turned into a hobby of oh, let’s go shopping for this turned into oh, I really like this. I started a design blog and realized it was a fun way to chronicle my decorating adventures.

Her communications degree and blog’s growing following caught the eye of design firm Taylor Hannah Architect Inc., where Jessica was hired as a publicist. She also enrolled in our Interior Decorating Program.

I’ve never been one to shy away from having the founding education principles, says Jessica. George Brown College was perfect because the Casa Loma Campus was right within steps of Designers Walk. I would work on Davenport in the office during the day and then walk to school.

She says the certificate gave her clout in the decorating industry.

It’s not as heavily regulated as the interior design profession, which implies a much more structured background. Being a decorator, you don’t want to be one of those people who aren’t taken seriously – having an accredited certificate gives you weight and a sense of professionalism you just can’t get otherwise.

As her career progressed, Jessica continued to balance her courses with a shift from handling her firm’s media relations to taking on her own decorating clients.

Right before I completed the certificate, I had just been hired to be the design editor at Style at Home magazine, explains Jessica. Especially with decorating, you’re rarely consulting with one client at a time so juggling a continuing education program while working in the real world, it completely gives you those skills to learn how to multi-task.

Since graduating in 2011, Jessica has continued her busy streak.

She makes appearances on CityLine and the Marilyn Denis Show as a decorating expert and held her post at Style at Home until taking maternity leave. She has made decorating her full-time focus and now runs her own decorating business, Jessica Claire Interiors.

“I completely see the real-world applications, and I think that George Brown College does a great job of combining the theory with also meeting people in the real world and getting some insight into real-world experiences.”

I actually work with two of my teachers – every time I go to source fabric I get to see my Business of Interior Decorating teacher, says Jessica, crediting her teacher’s lessons with helping launch her own business.

She was amazing. She worked in a trade-only showroom at the time, and gave great guidance on how to launch your own business and things to keep in mind when you’re figuring out your hourly rate, how to create a business plan and what type of overhead expenses are involved. So when it came time to leave the magazine and start my own business, I opened that binder right up and reviewed all the notes. It was a really great guide for me.

Jessica frequently finds herself referring to lessons she learned through our Interior Decorating Certificate. She says there’s no doubt the education she received helped her prepare for her entrepreneurial journey.

Even though it’s a lot of theory at the beginning, I completely see the real- world applications, and I think that George Brown College does a great job of combining the theory with also meeting people in the real world and getting some insight into real-world experiences.