Zisi Naimark has worked at several high-end design companies, including Fox Nahem and Marcia Tucker Interiors. Currently, she maintains a few small design projects, writes about design (Binah columnist), and teaches design at TTI’s Career School. Teaching Interior Decorating and Design is very rewarding, and definitely more fun than expected!
Zisi’s first taste of the field began with her looking through her mother’s Architectural Digest magazines as a child. Her mother occasionally read some of the articles to her. Zisi saw how many frum women see their homes as an extension of themselves, and how to make the home beautiful, makes them feel so happy. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to join this field. After seminary, she entered The New York School of Interior Design’s Bachelor program and began interning for John Bardsley before completing the program. She’s been working ever since.
What type of training did you receive to prepare you for this field?
I went to a 4-year college and received a BFA in Interior Design. My alma mater had a very strong program that balanced design theory, design history, and cutting edge practical technology.
How would you describe what this field entails?
Taste, organization and reliability, spatial understanding, technical skills with design programs, knowledge of the home goods field, and the ability to learn continuously.
People who run their own businesses need networking skills and people-smarts.
What are some things you notice about those entering the field now- that you wish you could tell them?
The idea that interior design is a glamorous, easy, and fun job isn’t new and it’s even more inaccurate today than it was 20 years ago. Interior design is a skilled profession that requires multiple capabilities. As the home goods and design fields grow more advanced and complex, people need more knowledge to keep up and deliver good work to their clients.
It’s possible to join the field as an amateur and learn through experience. But this would mean starting far behind others. Designers who study first go through far less trial and error- and design errors are very expensive. Additionally, there are some skills, like drafting and rendering, that can’t just be “picked up.” The designers who know how to do these things have a definite advantage.
What do you see the value of TTI’s Career school course being in our community?
TTI delivers all the same technical skills as a design college- and more than some. (I recently tutored a student at FIT who was not getting as high-quality education on space planning and architectural drafting.) The program delivers all the most important skills that cannot be picked up through experience, like AutoCAD drafting, SketchUp rendering, and building codes.
These skills are taught in a warm, kosher environment. The program is condensed to one year, with time off for yom tov– taking time off was a major issue for me when I was in college.
Do you recommend TTI’s career school program to those looking to enter the field? Who do you think this course is best for?
This course is great for people looking to work as designers within the frum community. Several people have joined the program after already working as decorators, and they were glad they made the investment. There have also been many women who join the program after having a first career in other fields. These women tend to do very well.
Do you find TTI’s career school program to be intense? Complete?
The program is intense in that it fits a lot of new knowledge into a relatively short amount of time. There are several hours of homework per week, and the homework must be done. However, when people ask if the program is “hard,” the answer in no. If a student puts in the time and does the work, then she will gain the skills.
Where have you seen students move onto from the program?
Many graduates are working on design projects on their own. Several are in partnership with contractors and building firms. A few work in kitchen and bath showrooms. A handful of graduates are working for established designers and architects within the frum community. It makes me feel so happy when I hear from students working and finding success after completing the program.
To join TTI’s Career School and learn from Zisi’s expertise, contact 877 RING TTI, or email email@example.com. Classes begin this fall!