Prior to the cancelation of the 2020 Wesleyan Artist Market due to COVID-19, Janie Harper Anderson ’13 was prepared to share her design expertise with the Wesleyan community this year. Even though she was not able to showcase her talent in Yancey Gymnasium, we are excited to share her accomplishments here. We asked Janie a few questions about her design company and what role Wesleyan played in the development of her career.
Tell us about starting your interior design company. I started Janie Harper Design in 2018 after living and working in Charleston, South Carolina, after college. The opportunity to start my own business just fell into my lap when I moved back home to Atlanta. I’m incredibly thankful to get to do what I do, and it’s very clear that God’s hand was in it. In 2017, Janie Harper Design would have been a small thought in the very back of my mind, but it all came to fruition in his perfect timing. With a lot of help from family, friends, my then-boyfriend/now-husband, and other members of the Wesleyan community, I was able to successfully launch Janie Harper Design. The rest is history!
What led you to want to share your talents at the artist market? Contributing to the Artist Market felt like the perfect way for me to give back to Wesleyan for all that the school has given to me. There is such a strong connection between interiors and fine art, and between fine art and the Wesleyan Artist Market, so it made perfect sense.
Did any classes you took at Wesleyan help shape the career you chose to pursue? Absolutely! Wesleyan’s art program was the first step in getting me to where I am now. It fostered my creative tendencies that eventually led me to interior design. Mrs. Pitney from lower school, Mrs. Mays in middle school, and Mrs. Onorato and Mrs. Brooker from high school were especially influential in helping me grow as a creative. I still use things I learned in Mrs. Brooker’s photography class daily!
What is your process for how you approach a new interior design project? Getting to know the client and their family is always my first priority. It is important that I understand the way my clients live and use their spaces so that the outcome of my design is practical for them and enhances their existing lifestyle. My design process starts with practicality, and once that foundation is strong, I introduce the creative elements. Interior design is powerful and can heavily impact our emotions and the way we live. My starting point begins with the personal details that shape a client’s environment.
How do you get to know your clients’ style and how are you able to figure out what they like and integrate that with a comprehensive design strategy? I find that many clients have difficulty articulating their style. I use inspirational images to help clients determine what would work well for them, as well as what they do not want in their homes. From there, communication is key to a successful project. I am in constant contact with the client as the design process moves forward. This helps me gauge my client’s reactions and responses to each element of the design.
What do you love about the work you do? I love the relational aspect of my job. Because trust and communication are so important to the success of the project, I often finish a project feeling like I’ve gained a friend. The jobs in which the client and I communicate well always lead to the most functional and beautiful spaces. It is such a joy to hear from clients about how they’ve used and enjoyed their spaces after installation. Being able to help people create homes for themselves and their families is such an honor. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be of assistance.