KLC GRADUATION ADDRESS 2022 – SARA COSGROVE
- Design Career
- Design Trends
- Future of Design
Last month I was honoured to be asked to be a guest speaker at this year’s KLC graduation in Londons Chelsea Harbour. It marked a milestone for KLC, 40 years in operation, and the retirements of two incredible ladies who have given more to the world of interior design than we can fathom, Jenny Gibbs OBE and Diana McKnight.
Please see the transcript of my speech below which might be of use to anyone thinking of taking the leap into the world of interiors…
When I started studying Interior design at KLC in 2004 people almost didn’t consider the role of interior designer a job, never mind a profession. This has most definitely changed. Over the past 18 years, I have seen our sector grow and flourish. I can safely say you are about to begin a professional career that will bring you on a journey, and for those of you willing to do the work and open yourself to new experiences, one of profound satisfaction. Very few careers offer one the chance to bring their ideas to 3d fruition like interior design, interior architecture, and garden design. Where else can a chance encounter with a piece of art in a gallery inspire a scheme for a room, home, or hotel? Our hours of work and preparation manifests itself into something tangible to be enjoyed, and often treasured, by those who get to inhabit the end result.
My time spent at KLC studying for the diploma in interior design was an invaluable foundation to a career that has led to awards, top 100 and top 50 lists- even to appearing on Television in a show championing design and architecture. By starting here, in Chelsea harbour, an international hub for design you are hot-wired into the industry. By knowing the brands, and most importantly creating relationships, you get to the crux of what being a designer is. You are given a springboard into an industry where friendships last a lifetime and careers are born and nurtured. During my studies at KLC, I managed to secure a work experience post in Allegra Hicks, my lead designer there thought I would be a good fit for Helen Green Design and after I graduated on a Friday I started there on the Monday, at Helens my old KLC classmate who was a Candy and Candy suggested I apply there when I was looking to take my next step. At Candy and Candy I got head hunted by Harrods for the Head of Interior Design role where my number 2 and most trusted colleague was my KLC technical drawing partner, from Harrods I joined Starwood Capital/Principal Hayley as Design Director to form a new hotel brand and then onto founding my own Companies – Sara Cosgrove Studio and Grove & Co Multiunit Fit-out. Whilst I hope I haven’t bored you with my CV I feel it exemplifies that whilst you graduate today your connection to KLC can lead to so many exciting opportunities in the future.
Before we get to the main point of this evening – which is you! I want to emphasise a few final things that could help you flourish in our unique and creative world.
1 – Start with the best foundation and training possible in interiors –
congratulations you have achieved this already!
2 – those classmates that you are graduating with today may end up
being your best resource within the industry – nurture those friendships
and stay in touch – by looking out for each other you will always have a
support network who will have your back.
3 – When starting out – make the tea, do the photocopying – expose
yourself to all areas of a business that you can, and start to build your
network of contacts. Positivity and diligence are a great combination
when you don’t yet have experience!
4 – Work for those doing the best work and ideally the most diverse – the
The more strings to your bow the better. It will give you the flexibility of choice as
your career develops
5 – Know that will never know everything but by following points 2 & 3
you will have the right people to call in a fix!
6 – Enjoy the journey, 95% of this job is project and people management –
5% is the finished interior and the photoshoot
And with that, I wish you the graduating class of 2022 the very best in
your endeavors ahead. Your journey of discovery and creativity awaits…
An additional thought since then, as with so many careers it is often the people we meet along the way who influence our destiny most. I am blessed that all those years ago I was lucky to be mentored by Jenny and Diana. They have supported me (and so many others) consistently throughout my career. I feel privileged to have known, trained, and continue to be part of an organisation of such a standard.