We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Thornton Plymale and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what do you attribute your success to?
When I was working as an interior designer, I had a very client-centric brand. My mission was to create spaces that my clients were proud of and excited to come home to. I also differentiated my brand by designing spaces in an affordable way, to ensure a beautiful home could be accessible to everyone. Because I grew up homeless, creating accessible and affordable design is especially important to me!
When I purchased Heritage School of Interior Design, I incorporated these same values into the rebranding of the school. The vision of Heritage School of Interior Design is to empower the creativity of aspiring designers with an affordable, quality, hands-on education to achieve personal growth and professional success in the interior design industry. It was essential for me to provide an education that is accessible to anyone interested in design, in a realistic timeframe.
In addition to an education in design, students have the opportunity to build and establish relationships in the design community through our weekly field visits. These relationships are key in helping students find their place in the industry and ultimately lead to job placement.
At Heritage, we promote our students by featuring their design work both during their time in school and post-graduation as they flourish in the industry. We truly value every student who walks through the door and care about their success in the industry.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Heritage is a vocational career college that provides hands-on education in an efficient timeframe and at an affordable cost. With our small class sizes, students receive a personalized education and form relationships with their instructors, colleagues, and design community, which helps to launch them into the industry.
I’m unbelievably proud of the community of designers that we have built over the last six years and I love seeing how they work so harmoniously together. When I purchased Heritage, one of my goals was to help students achieve their dream careers, and I’m seeing that happen every day.
Nothing worth doing is easy, and I am always excited about a challenge. The first challenge I faced when I purchased Heritage was to rebrand and improve the reputation of the school throughout the community. People’s perception of Heritage was that it was old and outdated. The curriculum hadn’t been updated in years, so I built a team of experts to start from scratch and filled the gaps by adding technical courses. The interior design industry is constantly evolving, and as a visionary I’m always thinking about what we can do to provide students with the best education.
I’ve learned that I make every mistake humanly possible, once, and that’s how I learn. One of my values is having the courage to change course. If something isn’t working, then I change directions. At the end of the day you have to be humble and realize your own shortcomings and be vulnerable to that. Having a supportive team to help implement my vision for Heritage has been key to our success.
My advice for the world: Don’t let your past dictate your future. You can overcome and achieve your dreams.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without my amazing team and all of the support from the design community throughout Denver, Portland and Seattle. And of course my husband, Jim, who has been there for me every step of the way.
Instagram: @heritageschoolofinteriordesign and @stepaniethorntonplymale