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Meet Tishelle Ogunfiditimi of Haute & Polished Designs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tishelle Ogunfiditimi.

Tishelle, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Interior Design has always been a passion of mine, but I opted to pursue a career in healthcare. Like many of my peers, I was encouraged to pursue a stable career. So design remained a creative outlet for me for many years. I’ve managed large scale renovations for family and friends that came out beautifully. However, the impetus for Haute & Polished Designs was born out of one of my own projects. When I purchased my first home, it was a condo that wasn’t in the best shape. However, I saw the potential from the very beginning. I gutted the condo and renovated it from top to bottom.

At times, it seemed overwhelming and I had bitten off more than I could handle. It came out beautifully and everyone that came to my home wanted help designing their spaces. I tried working for other designers but was unsuccessful because I lacked formal education in design. The requests for help kept coming, so I decided to launch Haute & Polished Designs. Three years later, Haute & Polished Designs is a full-service design firm that is growing and expanding our footprint across the Washington Metro area.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road and there are still new challenges to face every day. I struggled with imposter syndrome a lot in the beginning. What was a hobby became a business so the pressure was on. I was determined to deliver above and beyond; but I was still learning so much along the way. I soon learned running a design business is 20% design, the rest was actually running the business. As a solopreneur you are the CEO, Principle Designer, Social Media Manager, Marketing Director all at the same time! I found it very difficult to connect with other designers in the industry.

Specifically, people of color make up less than 2% of designers in the United States. I often felt very alone and didn’t have other designers to collaborate and exchange ideas with. Lastly, being a small owned business, just starting out, it’s incredibly difficult to compete with other well-established businesses. In the beginning, my focus was to get my work and name out there, profit margins took a backseat. In retrospect, I’m thankful for every challenge I met, because it has been the greatest teacher.

Please tell us about Haute & Polished Designs.
Haute & Polished Designs is a premier full-service design firm, specializing in various design-related needs. Our services include residential and commercial renovations, residential and commercial design/resign, and vacant staging for real estate investments. We serve proud homeowners, realtors, busy professionals and entrepreneurs; by helping them to create inspiring and productive spaces for themselves and their staff. We specialize in practical modern design that is founded on public health principles that promote productivity and wellness. We pride ourselves on making luxury and bespoke design attainable to our customers. We are masters of mixing high and lower end decor without sacrificing cohesiveness and impact. We are known for introducing unique color combinations and the mixing of patterns. We absolutely love what we do!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My TRIBE has always been my constant and greatest source of support. My family and friends were my first “employees”, helping me at every turn. While I’m a solopreneur, I am not alone, there is always a group of people behind me encouraging me, helping to strategize and execute. My tribe of cheerleaders now includes members of the Black Interior Designer’s Network (BIDN). I’ve learned so much as a member of this incredible network. The designers have been so genuinely supportive and have helped to truly level up my business in every way.

Recently, I’ve now been able to hire a business coach, Kae Whitaker and she’s been amazing. Tiffany Tolliver of The Emma Rose Agency is helping me to rebrand. I still don’t have an actual mentor yet, I believe it’s only a matter of time before that relationship will manifest. However, that hasn’t stopped me from establishing mentors in my head by studying their work and stories. I’m committed to learning as much as I can through reading, podcasts, attending conferences, MasterClass and YouTube University. HGTV Star Tiffany Brooks, LuAnn Nigara, Rebecca Roberson, Sara Blakely and Cheryl Eisen have all inspired me to keep going.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Picture of myself – E.Y.E Imagery; Portfolio pictures – M. Shonell Photography

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