Bradley Wampler is the creator of Bradley Interiors, a Columbus, Ohio-based interior design firm. When Brad was 6 months old, he emigrated from Russia to the United States with his parents. For the last three decades, he has worked in the field of interior design.
His uncle, a designer as a teenager, has always been his greatest inspiration. His uncle was the one who first introduced Bradley to the world of designs and interiors. During his summer breaks, he began working as a receptionist at his uncle’s studio before eventually becoming an apprentice with him when he was in high school.
Bradley’s uncle gave him a great foundation in design, covering topics like color theory and color psychology. From an early age, Bradley knew he wanted to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and build a career in this field. Bradley made the most of a dual enrollment program during his senior year by taking college courses to start his career early.
Bradly was a sophomore when his classmates were freshmen the year after. Bradley completed his bachelor’s degree in Interior Architecture & Design at an incredible pace at Columbus College of Art & Design.
Immediately after graduation, he landed a job as an assistant for an architectural design company owner. He picked up tons of experience with color schemes, furniture arrangements, and window treatment ideas throughout his time there.
Given his creative aptitude and dedication, it’s no surprise that Bradley Wampler rapidly developed a group of loyal followers. He started Bradley Interiors in Jan 2001 and has worked with hundreds of residential and commercial clients over the last two decades – always delivering beyond expectations.
Bradley Wampler is thrilled to have turned his passion into a profession. He loves engaging with customers and seeing their faces light up when their decorating dreams come true. In addition to designing and beautifying his clients’ properties, Bradley is a loving father of 3 and big support for his wife, Jenny. She runs a successful fashion studio where she sells her textile designs. They love traveling the world and exploring new cuisines together.
How did you get started in your industry?
While still in high school, I assisted my uncle at his Design Studio in Columbus. I enjoyed it so much that I knew this is what I wanted to do and pursue interior designing as my career. To learn everything professionally I enrolled myself in an Interior Architecture & Design course at Columbus College of Art & Design. Self-study also played a great role in my becoming an interior designer and a business owner. I also did some short courses in business management so that my entrepreneurial skills get polished before I start my design studio. Doing a job was never my ultimate goal, I always wanted to work for myself, just like my uncle did. After completing my studies, I spent several years working for others so that I could gain an in-depth working knowledge of the industry and tips and tricks to develop a loyal clientele. In 2001, I founded Bradley Interiors and since then there is no looking back.
How do you make money in your field?
I charge an hourly rate for my design services. I create beautiful, colorful designs for my clients with the expertise I have acquired over time. I also provide consultation to clients on how they can make their properties, either commercial or residential, more efficient and maximize their space for storage and functionality while keeping aesthetics in mind.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took several years for Bradley Interiors to become profitable. But during those early years, I had the financial benefit of working for other design firms as a consultant regularly. So, even though I started my own practice in 2001 and kept working remotely, after a couple of years of gaining expertise, I acquired a studio place in Columbus near my residence at an amazing price to put up a board at Bradley Interiors. All that hard work finally paid off!
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Design and creativity is a tricky business, you always have doubts at first whether the clients would like your designs or ideas or not. But my doubts were soon replaced with confidence as my clients started to love my work, and they referred their friends and families to me. So, I overcame the doubt by persevering.
Do you remember how you got your first client?
Word of mouth became my primary source of the first client for Bradley Interiors. I still remember my first private client was a newlywed couple setting up their first home. They came to know about me and my work through a colleague, who was my client while working with an architectural and design firm years ago.
What is one marketing strategy that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
It is important to stay active in your community and on social media. I have hired a marketing team to manage Bradley Interiors’ social media and online presence. I also volunteer as a board member for several local not-for-profit organizations because it helps build a strong network. I have been privileged to meet people that eventually become my clients because they see me serving the community and offering my services. I genuinely enjoy my work, creating positive energy that attracts clients.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in your professional life?
Making a huge investment and purchasing my design studio was a big decision I made in my professional life. Bradley Interiors was doing great without a physical studio, and taking this leap and expanding the business was something I was not sure about until I came across an opportunity to own a studio at such a fantastic price.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I am a team player, and that’s my biggest strength. Being the CEO of Bradley Interiors, I have realized without a fantastic support system in place I can’t achieve what I dream of no matter how good I am so being a good team player is the key to success. This is when I started surrounding myself with a great support system that includes my wife and family, as well as employees and clients.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
It was so satisfying when I got my first big job of redesigning an old mansion. Knowing that someone trusts me so much that they want me to redesign their most precious possession is so motivating.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
As an entrepreneur, I am excited about almost every opportunity I see as a result of taking Bradley Interiors to the next level. Being at the studio has allowed me to meet and accommodate incredible clients from different areas of Ohio and beyond. I am always thinking of ways to grow, but I am also a cautious planner so that I do not get in over my head too soon.
What business books have inspired you?
The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz, the cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs. The book offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on the author’s popular Ben’s Blog.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Forget what other people think, just do your best and have faith in yourself.
Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how should someone contact you?
Of course, I am happy to help anyone keen to learn about the industry and how to start a design studio. Just contact me through my social media handles.