Meet Amanda Foster
Article Published by Canvas Rebel
We recently connected with Amanda Foster and have shared our conversation below.
Amanda, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today let’s start with the story of your mission. What should we know?
I'm on a MISSION to keep growing and learning, so I can coach my fellow Interior eDesign community with the help and expertise they need to nail their unique authentic story as well as their badass signature design style. I'm SO amped about creating new possibilities for my fabulous peers by sharing my knowledge AND… soon-to-be mentoring groups (stay tuned guys). I also feel super passionate about connecting with more edgy creative geeks,👽like myself, who LOVE to buy weird + original treasures to express themselves boldly! With my upcoming eDesign Decor packages and merch, it's gonna be EPIC.🤘
I've also gone through an experience that changed me. But with that - I've been able to learn more about myself and be there for clients who have overcome difficult experiences as well. I'm so thrilled to now be able to relate and resonate on a deeper level with my peers. So with that, I'm also on a mission to transform my negative experiences of the past into SUPERPOWERS to help me and others not just survive - but thrive. I now embrace change (Bring. It. On!) 💪and know I can help others do the same. It's time to unapologetically showcase my true and inner weirdness so I can inspire others and show them it IS possible to get paid to be your authentic true badass.🍕
With everything I've learned and the challenges overcome, I'm driven to build an even more thriving business. It's time to take it to the next LEVEL by stepping more publicly into leading my peers to level up their own online presence. But I guess a bit of backstory will help to see how I got here...
I graduated magna cum laude from Sacramento State University with a BA in Interior Architecture, a minor in Graphic Design, and AA in Fine Arts from Napa Valley.🎓 I was first in my class and voted most likely to succeed. I followed that up with landing the BEST internships with the right firms that specialized in both interiors and graphics where I learned more about marketing and web design. 💻
Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling the follow-up jobs I got in the government industry in Sacramento. It was more technical and I just wasn’t expressing my unique creative voice at all. Feeling unfulfilled in a sea of cubicle workers - or as we were referred to CAD monkeys (CAD short for AutoCAD; the software we used to draft very dry construction documents at a large architecture firm) - I longed for my creative days when I designed CD cover art or logos for friends. This turned into designing posters, business cards, and even apps for websites on the side. My freelance career actually started back in high school playing around with Photoshop and I loved it. But now clocking in and out in the morning rat race had me feeling depressed.👎 There had to be more. So when my fiancé got offered a game commenter position traveling to big video game events all around the world, I thought screw it! And gave my 2 weeks!! 😝
Right before we left I learned about eDesign through a LinkedIn post. And so began my remote freelancer journey (literally on a road trip adventure!)🚗 I was now a Virtual Online Interior Designer. So with my laptop in hand, we backpacked through Europe. At that time (2014) eDesign was SUPER new. I thought WOW, now this is what I was MADE to do! I quickly climbed the ranks at Havenly (the leading eDesign company and went from newbie to waitlisted pro! I was in demand in the over 1000 designer directory. I was also a part-time Ghost eDesigner and paid to correct my peers' lackluster 1-star projects and flip to 5 stars! 200 plus projects later, I was approached to manage the San Francisco Havenly Pop-up showroom. It was a dream job, in the SF Design District! It was the best of both worlds combining in-person consultations in the fabulous showroom AND follow-up eDesign projects and sourcing.👾
The super SUCCESSFUL pop-up then went on hiatus for winter but unfortunately, Covid hit and we were shut down (like many things). Buuuut eDesign became bigger than ever! I had a ton of experience in the field and began figuring out my next move. I got more involved with social media (as many did). I started connecting with more women interior eDesigners online which resulted in me starting our very own group of 8 women, all at different levels of design, coming together to learn, share and grow. Enter the eDesign Sisters #edesignsisters.👭
I started organizing weekly themed eDesign challenges as we navigated social media together. These started trending and caught the attention of the interior design community! I would regularly get asked for others to guest participate - it was so fun and creative! Soon, our 8 turned into 10, 15, then 20, and for my birthday and final challenge, we had 77 eDesigners participate, with 3 grand prizes! It was sooooo fun and it definitely lifted our spirits during Covid. 😄So many people came across my website or Instagram account, amazed by my renders or inspired by my designs, and asked “OMG Amanda how do you render like that” or “How did you do that on your IG account?” or “How can my website be cooler like yours?” My peers were just organically asking for help and I was flattered! I began answering questions, which then turned into auditing my peers’ work, helping with social media, and eventually evolving to consulting. What a ride!😅 I went from drab corporate gigs to KILLING it online helping my peers! I was finally able to put all my industry knowledge into helping others succeed.
Amanda, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
HAAAYYY guys! Amandork here. For those who don't know, I am the go-to eDesign industry pro, known for my whimsical, fun and supportive nature with a background in Interior Architecture and Digital Art. Yup, I’m that super-quirky, bold ‘n edgy Designer who also happens to be a qualified Interior Architect.🎸
I’ve always been a creative, and from a very young age my brother and I attended a bunch of artist camps growing up in Napa Valley. It’s a region where art and creativity are everywhere, and it just coursed through our veins! Quite naturally. A bit like the wine actually (even though neither of us fancy a glass)!🎨
I’ve learned all the eDesign tricks of the trade and sharing gems with my peers brings me pure JOY. I took my rendering skills to the next level when working with big eDesign companies. But after years in our industry, I now own and run Foster Decor Consulting - helping my eDesign peers find their signature design style to attract their dream clients (just like I have by niche-ing down)! 💜
Being a SEASONED interior design veteran with 10 + years in the design industry, I'm a unique fusion of all three of my passions. I bring my superpowers of flipping with creativity in design and deliver a 3 in 1 package: interiors, graphics, and web (stylist+wix partner). This allows me to be a one-stop shop for my clients!⚡
I love all things Pop Art, Tokyo, Nostalgic Kitsch, Maximalist and Video Games! When managing a pop-up shop in the showroom at Havenly, I got the nickname "Amandork," which stuck. 👓 I am all about being bold, and courageous, having fun, and definitely living more in the moment!💣
I believe in being honest with who you are, AND what you like. PLUS, encouraging my peers to lose the "safe" façade they’re hiding behind, I believe, is key to embracing an authentic self and lifestyle that can actually ooze into your interiors, branding and business. Truth bomb: fearing change will keep you STUCK. So, let’s ditch that vanilla and take a leap! 🙌
My design philosophy is based on creating a unique space that is BOLD, EDGY, and PLAYFUL. I love interesting designs that are surprisingly different. I find small inspirations and then project them to make a BIG statement, flipping the norm in a clever, dynamic way that people don’t expect.🔥
Following my escape from my dull cubicle life, to the pop-up dream job and my big remote- freelance-
adventure around the world, I settled into creating a business around my core talents based on my background in interior, graphic, and web design. I help my clients to embrace change and offer my expertise and guidance through courses or 1:1 services. I know what it's like to start a business from scratch AND how to embrace change and pivot when required. I’ve transformed through some tough life challenges that cultivated true grit.
I am currently merging Foster Decor Consulting, which offers creative business, brand & marketing design & strategy with my OG Foster Decor to offer eDesign for Edgy Interiors (virtual interior design). It’s essentially an eDesign Decor & Creative Consulting firm that helps interior designers and eDesigners nail their signature design style, niche, and audience online. I offer coaching and mentoring packages, plus training courses as solutions for interior design businesses. I deliver personalized and quality experiences that my clients love when working together.💸
Right now, I’m SO excited about a makeover of my own! Given that for the last few years, I’ve been helping my peers with theirs… Now it’s my turn for a BIG refresh & refurb. Stay tuned for more but you can bet it’ll be louder, bolder and packed to the max with edgy decor design!✨
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
A story that illustrates resilience? This is the perfect question that answers much of why and how Foster Decor Consulting came to be. The story itself is a bit hectic but the result has been me stepping even more fully into my passion & purpose. 😎
During Covid, right before my birthday, I started getting cyberbullied and harassed anonymously. Of course, I know it's not uncommon to be bullied, or threatened online. But…Can you imagine being relentlessly harassed without having any knowledge of who is behind it, or what the motive for their vicious attack is?
This person began IMPERSONATING me, signing me up for personal ads, dating apps, pornography sites, liposuction consultations, severe acne consults, breast enhancement appointments - you name it! They used personal information about me to try and wreak havoc. I received anonymous DM’s with the private details of my life, constantly trolling me from newly made empty accounts (ones that would be blocked the same day and a new one created the next). It felt like living a Groundhog Day loop. On top of that, they were stalking and sabotaging me and my business. It was wild and totally came from left field, leaving me blindsided.🚫
My super supportive “eDesign sisters” group knew what was going on and eventually,
we figured out who the person was. With the help of a private investigator, I built a solid case and eventually won the court battle, seeing this person receive a 3-year restraining order.👏
I could so easily just have given up because I was just so broken some days with how bad the harassment and bullying truly were, on top of feeling isolated during Covid. I was sleep-deprived while on an emotional rollercoaster, oscillating between overeating and not eating at all. On the worst of days, I felt completely powerless. My mental health was pretty bad. So it was time for a change...
One thing I learned, is that you can either stay bitter about the situation or choose to be better for it. So I chose to be better. I had to. Instead of wallowing in the dense heaviness of it all, I relocated for peace of mind and started seeking outside help. Yes, at the time it crushed me in more ways than one, but I saw my growing resilience to overcome it. I absolutely realized that I could handle the worst of life’s lemons. Sure, I did feel damaged, scared, and terrified but I think my drive to not be defeated comes from my pro-athlete background. I just would not quit. So instead, I motivated myself to keep going and keep moving which helped shape me to be more proactive, productive, and organized, even in the worst of times. These are two things I am usually not. I had to change my approach to business because I couldn't do anything publicly (out of my safety) which made being an online service provider even harder. But I found ways and it didn’t STOP ME!💪
As a silver lining though, all the small efforts, moments, and actions really added up. I was planting loads of seeds behind the scenes for my fledgling business; networking and making meaningful connections, and working one-on-one with different people and eventually…it FLOURISHED. I, for real, became a better business owner because of it. I guess my positivity always shines through, I also discovered more of my gifts that have since filled me with passion and purpose.🎊
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
This is an easy one, so, while working in the big e-design companies like Havenly or Decorist, we were taught to be chameleon designers. 🦎AKA change your style according to the client. So one day, I’d be Farmhouse in neutral and then the next day, I’d be Modern and Eclectic, and then the next day…Shabby Chic and Traditional or Vintage French. On the up, it was actually an interesting way for me to test my creativity, expand my portfolio, try out different design styles and aesthetics, and work with different types of people.
This is something I cover in my e-Design Bootcamp online course, and explain how this isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you’re first starting out. It’s naturally possible that you might not even know what type of designer you are yet, so it can be super beneficial to explore beyond your design horizons. You may think Modern is your vibe but then once you’re actually designing and working with clients to build your portfolio, you discover “Oh wow, I didn’t even know that there was this whole other design style called Eclectic!” And you fall in love and want to be doing projects like that forever. It also happens to be great learning to take and deliver on creative briefs and to PRACTICE working with clients, particularly those who may have very strong design choices and ideas themselves.💥
So, while I definitely see value in the experience, it is also key to develop your OWN point of view, design philosophy, and signature style. The most talented interior designers have a signature design style, and often it’s the colors, shapes, patterns, textures, and even furniture design choices from size to placement that define their work. In my experience, being on your own, as a small business or studio, you 100% don’t have to be a chameleon, constantly changing to match your client of the day. In fact, it will serve you best to unlearn this lesson, to be able to draw in your dream clients and projects, because they resonate with your actual authentic design language.🦄
From a marketing perspective, this can also be a valuable lesson unlearned, as most people believe that having a wide net means that they’re going to catch a ton of fish. However, the opposite is actually true, if you don’t have clear messaging around who you are, who you serve, and what you do and specialize in, that vague sense of nowhere-land isn’t going to resonate with anyone. 🙅♀️
The competitor with clear messaging around their focus and specialization, and who understands and nails their niche, very likely attracts triple the clients with a small net versus a wide net. There’s a reason why it’s called “riches in the niches” 💰and that’s what I help my peers discover through our intensive brand clarity sessions. We create the bespoke blueprint for their brand identity and business so that they can have a flourishing and profitable e-design biz versus a just-winging-it hobby on Instagram.💲
Are you an interior designer / eDesigner struggling to land clients + projects?
Do you need to refresh your branding so that it works FOR you and attracts the clients you LOVE working with?
Do you feel stuck in your business + need an eDesign EXPERT to help TRANSFORM ‘hobby’ into a thriving eDesigning biz you love?