A Dallas Maven Perfects the Art of Design

Fresh, vibrant and relevant design is in high demand. The interior design field goes way beyond home in many cases — think bigger, hotels, spas, galleries, corporate offices,...

Fresh, vibrant and relevant design is in high demand. The interior design field goes way beyond home in many cases — think bigger, hotels, spas, galleries, corporate offices, you name it. An important factor in starting a business is selecting a market that interests you and specializing in that niche.

Emily Johnston did just that. Johnston’s clients undoubtedly agree, that she has a “great eye” for design {just checkout her portfolio}.This is likely why this 27 year-old entrepreneur is sought after in the Residential and Commercial markets. As a business owner in the design field competition is tough but through personalized client service, and a passion for design she has set her self apart.

Company: EJ Interiors

Founder/Age: Emily Johnston, 27 

Location: Dallas, TX

Startup Year: 2007

Startup Costs: The start up costs for EJ Interiors were very minimal; however, there were some tools that I had to invest in, in order to grow my business. Initially, I purchased a computer drafting program, AutoCAD and the accounting program Quickbooks. I also acquired a domain name and website, but soon realized that no design website is complete without portfolio photos! I then hired a photographer to take pictures of the rooms I designed. Another resource that was essential to my business were subscriptions to shelter magazines. I purchased ones to Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Domino- you name it! These magazines provide continual inspiration, act as guides to new design products and trends, and help me stay on top of everything within my profession.

How I Got Started:

In 2006, I was working at a home theater interior design firm and was very unhappy with my role within the company. I began to crave greater responsibility and a more challenging workload. This led me to leave the company in January 2007 and look for another job. While looking for other work, I decided to take on a few of my own clients that I found through Craigslist. I was hoping that these projects would keep me busy until I found the right design firm. One client led to another and pretty soon I was an established business. I have to say that starting my own business was never an immediate plan I had for myself (especially at such a young age); although now it’s hard to imagine myself doing anything else. I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit and I can surely say that after starting EJ Interiors, I never looked back.

Best Customer Interaction: 

For six months I worked very closely with one of my clients on her new house. Upon meeting, our personalities clicked instantly and we quickly figured out that we shared the same design aesthetic. We really enjoyed our time working together and they were so happy with the finished result in each room. Her husband even went so far as to say that “the house really felt like a home”. That warmed my heart.

#1 Tip for Newbies:

Start a design blog. Aside from building my EJ Interiors website, I created a design blog to go along with it. It was the best decision I ever made! Not only was it a great outlet for me to share my design finds with others, but it has also helped tremendously in growing my business. The Material Girls blog ended up being another portfolio in itself.



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