Tina Irani

Founder of Irani Interiors

The founder of Irani Interiors, which has its headquarters in Texas, is Tina Irani. Tina’s parents, who had relatives in Austin, Texas, brought her with them at three years old when they moved from Seattle, Washington. Twenty years have elapsed since Tina began her career in the field of interior design. Her aunt, who owned a design studio, was the person who first introduced her to the world of design. Tina began working with her aunt while still in high school, first as a receptionist and then as an apprentice in their business. Her aunt laid the groundwork for a successful career in the design industry, teaching her everything from the fundamentals of color theory to more complex concepts such as the psychology of color and how it affects people. As a result of this experience, Tina fell in love with design and decided she wanted to follow in her aunt’s footsteps in the industry. Tina took advantage of a dual enrolment opportunity during her senior year of high school, allowing her to jumpstart her career. Thus, when her peers were freshmen, Tina was already in her second year as a sophomore, which was the following year. Tina completed her bachelor’s degree in business administration from a college in New Jersey in a remarkably short period of time. Tina’s first job was as an assistant to the owner of a design studio, which she started right after graduation. Tina was able to gain more hands-on experience with color selection, furniture placement, window treatment ideas, and a variety of other topics as a result of this. In no time at all, she had built up a large following of repeat customers. Irani Interiors is Tina’s own design company, which she established in July 2011. The time in Tina’s life had been extremely busy, but she had found fulfilment for the first time in bringing other people’s dreams to life through color and space as artistic mediums. Now, along with herself and her assistant designer, Tina’s business includes an office administrator and a part-time apprentice who is under Tina’s supervision. Irani Interiors has grown into a large company that serves a large geographic area around the state of Texas. Tina’s most significant current project is for a client in Austin, who has hired Tina to completely redesign six rooms in her home. 2 bedrooms with their own ensuite bathrooms, a family room, and the kitchen are all included in the redesign. Upon completion, Tina expects to have billed for the highest-grossing project she has worked on this year. The project is expected to take 18 weeks to complete. Tina Irani is overjoyed to have been able to turn her passion into a successful career. It gives her great pleasure to work with her clients and to see the joy on their faces when their decorating dreams come true.                                                                                                         

Where did the idea for Irani Interiors come from?

I assisted my aunt while still in high school and I enjoyed it so much that I knew that was what I wanted to pursue as a career so I started to learn as much as I could about it and then earned a degree in business so that I could one day own my own business. I wanted to work for myself, just as I saw my aunt doing. I worked for others for a while after college to grow my clientele and gain more experience while I saved money. Then when the director of the studio I was working for decided to retire, I had the opportunity to finally buy a studio at a great price, so I jumped and never looked back.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I’m in the studio by 7:30 am. I check my emails, return phone calls, make plans for the day with my staff, and review contracts. I try to take a break at about noon to eat lunch or exercise if it’s possible. My afternoons are usually spent with meetings or customer visits for current projects. I also do a lot of things over zoom or other video connections these days too. It saves time and is convenient for the client.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I start by listening to my clients and working with them to understand their needs and incorporate their wishes into a design. I believe color can totally change the mood of a space, so this is something that’s very important to me.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I love using texture as an element in decorating. It adds visual and tactile interest. I am seeing more people doing it themselves, so I want to encourage that.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m very organized. This helps me to keep track of all my projects and stay on top of deadlines.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to relax because this industry is very competitive, and it can be hard. I wouldn’t want to get frustrated if the first studio I bought didn’t do as well as I expected. It’s okay! Just keep working hard, increase your knowledge every day, and stay true to yourself.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I think everyone should learn how to do their own home repairs. It’s empowering and saves you a lot of money over time because you won’t have to pay someone else to fix your things for you.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep learning about design trends, color, and new products. I don’t think you’ll ever stop learning in this field.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I have always offered high-quality service at a good value for my clients. This has helped me establish myself as the best designer in my area.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My first few projects were not up to par because I was still learning the ropes. The clients stuck with me though, which gave me confidence that I could deliver the goods and attract more clients as a result.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would love to see outdoor businesses add more indoor plants and planters. I think this would give people a fresh new way to enjoy nature, while also making the indoors look more alive and inviting.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I spent $100 at the fabric store to get some new fabrics for a client’s living room. The results were stunning, and I was able to do it on a budget, so there was no need for her to spend any more than necessary.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I get a lot of my inspiration for new designs through Pinterest. It allows me to get ideas that I can then turn into reality, and I can keep it all in one easy place to refer back to.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Life’s a Pitch by Stephanie Palmer. It’s written in an entertaining way, so it doesn’t feel like a business book. It really gets you thinking and helps you develop your pitch and presentation skills.

What is your favorite quote?

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Key Learnings:

  • Keep track of your deadlines and clients so you don’t let anyone down.
  • Be willing to take a risk and embrace change
  • Try not to be shy! I never thought I would have the confidence to run my own business, but it’s been an amazing experience so far!