With the help of MRU’s Interior Decorating Extension Certificate, Jocelyn Haroldson transitioned from stay-at-home-mom with a home-based consulting business to featured designer at Calgary’s Rochelle Cote Interior Design firm.
Jocelyn completed the MRU residential decorating program in 2012 and has been working in her current position for the past two years.
“We cover everything residential,” Jocelyn says. “That includes everything from private client homes to working with builders on their selections and decorating their show homes.”
Jocelyn has been working in the field for many years. She started a home furnishing retail store in Inglewood in 1996, shortly after arriving in Calgary from Saskatchewan.
“I would go down to Mexico, fill up a big container of folk art products and bring it back to sell in the store. It progressed to a point where we wanted to be able to add new lines without having to go down to Mexico for artisan buys,” she says.
“I found wholesale companies I wanted to work with. We implemented upholstery lines and furniture lines, but still worked with local artisans, so we would have a well-rounded offering for our clients,” she says. “With that came the need to hire interior designers to help our clients make selections. Sometimes choosing the perfect fabric for a sofa opened up a whole new avenue for what they’d like to do with their homes. And I didn’t have the skill set at the time to do that.”
“I didn’t get into the interior design side of things myself until I stepped in when the interior designer wasn’t there for a client meeting one day. The client was happy with what I put together. I started to do more and more of that,” Jocelyn says.
Once she started her family, Jocelyn sold her successful business to focus on raising her two children.
“I wanted to still work casually,” she says. “So I started to do interior decorating projects out of my home. Requests came in from family and friends and former clients.”
Wanting to take her interior decorating skills to the next level, Jocelyn began researching educational options. “I was figuring out how I was going to make this happen while raising my young family – balancing being able to go to school, go to work and be at home. The MRU program spoke [to that] and the flexibility of it worked really well for my family. I could work hard when I needed to and pull back when I needed to.”
“I think that the MRU program gave me some skills that I was lacking,” Jocelyn notes. “My favourite courses were Perspective Drawing and Interiors Past & Present. I could not sketch well and that was always something that bothered me. The Perspective Drawing classes gave me the confidence to be able to sketch something out for a client. I seem to have a natural knack for space planning and making things work well together, but I didn’t know why. The Interiors Past and Present course filled in the why – to know what eras and lines worked together.”
Jocelyn’s interior decorating career fits well with raising a family. “There are times that are busier than others. When you’re doing an install, that might be an incredibly long day. But not every day is an install day so you can pace yourself. We work with clients who are working full-time as well. It can be difficult to schedule in those meetings and get those selections done so occasionally you do need to work after regular business hours,” she says.
Her children are now 10 and 12. “I spend my out-of-work time now with them and their activities. Driving everywhere, non-stop,” she laughs. “We love Calgary. We’re happy to raise our family here. It’s home.”
See more of Jocelyn’s story.
— by Karen McCarthy
— photo by Michael Poon