Posted:December 18, 2020
In 2013, Marco Rebollar was looking for something new in his life and career, when a friend pushed him to take the placement test at Century College. He hadn't been to college before, and had been working at a car dealership, unsure of his next direction. After completing the placement test, he soon signed up for classes.
Interior Design: A Natural Fit
Ever since he was a child, Marco has enjoyed transformations involving interior spaces--painting rooms and re-arranging furniture, so his choice of Interior Design as a major was a natural fit. He loved seeing the creative possibilities in room design, and found his passion for changing spaces was a never-ending project. "I love creating ways to move things around, and using multiple-purpose items, such as tables or cabinets with handy storage, or shelves that move," Marco notes.
"At Century College, I dove into my classes," Marco remembers. "The Century College faculty were great and helped us make the transition from students to professionals. I took drafting with faculty (and department chair) Sarah Rodriguez, who encouraged us to become active with the student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), And my involvement with ASID over the years also helped change my career direction."
Additionally, with his experience at the car dealership, his sales skills came naturally. Marco found that taking sales classes at Century College served as a good refresher for the skills and knowledge that he already had.
Opportunities Outside the Classroom
"When Sarah took us to International Market Square in Minneapolis on a field trip. I was like a kid in a candy store, and knew that I wanted to work there one day." Marco remembers. "And, in 2018, she also took twelve of us out to New York City, where she once lived and worked, and introduced us to interior designers, such as Vincente Wolfe. It was fantastic. There's a core group of us who have remained friends after graduation, and we took another trip to New Orleans together."
Transitioning to His New Career
The power of the connections he made through ASID helped him as he was starting his new career. Marco met his current boss, Jackie, through volunteering at a sample sale in 2013. Four years later, she asked him if he knew of anyone who might be interested in an internship. He worked for her three days a week, while working at the dealership for the other four. He gradually transitioned to full-time work at Tapis Decor in International Market Square in 2019, following graduation from Century College. He works directly with interior designers, specializing in custom-made rugs and carpeting.
"Our showroom has everything—we can do an entire home. Our clients come to us with an empty slate, and it's incredible what we can do--we can make any carpet or rug," Marco says. “I love seeing how we can customize projects. Customizing is the coolest aspect of the job."
Marco loves seeing the clients being “wowed” by the work that they do in the showroom. "At Century College, we took a color class, and I learned the wheel, the sequences, color mixing, everything—but the work has been amplified here," Marco observes. "My professional development from the beginning at Century College to my work here is amazing.”
A Bright Future
Despite the pandemic, this year has been busy for Tapis Decor. With so many people working from home, they appreciate their home spaces more, and they are willing to consider changes to make those spaces more comfortable and efficient, Marco observes.
In the future, Marco may one day may own a showroom, but he is happy where he is right now. "It’s fun to learn everything about the business," Marco says, "And my boss, Jackie, has been a great mentor."
Advice for New Students
Marco offers this advice for anyone considering a career in Interior Design. "Be active, present, enthusiastic—You must be in front of people showing your designs. Be sure to show your passion and enthusiasm. Shine bright. Go for it."
Additionally, Marco gives back to students who are also transitioning to the interior design field through his work with the Emerging Professionals Committee of ASID. “It’s been great helping others getting into the field. We push them, encourage them to come to events.”
He's grateful for his Century College experience, and looks forward to a bright future. "I wouldn't be where I am today without the help and support of the faculty at Century College."
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