Coffee with Maxine Brady: How to become an interior stylist

How to become an interior stylist

I'm really excited to share with you an exclusive interview with my newest girl crush, Maxine Brady. 

I met Maxine over a coffee at the beautiful Flour Pot bakery in Brighton a little while ago, and we must have talked long over my lunch hour around all things home, life, decoration and styling. 

Maxine's cute little pooch Teddy joined us for the coffee too and he well and truly stole my heart as I asked questions galore about how Maxine has become one of the the most sought after interior stylists down here in the sunny south. 

Listen up all you budding stylists out there (including me), below Maxine has shared her best tips and advice for anyone looking for a career in the sector. 

Maxine Brady: How to become an interior stylist

Maxine Brady, Interior Stylist + Blogger at We Love Home

Tell my readers a little bit about you, your blog and your interior styling experience?

I'm an Interiors Stylist for magazines and TV and so I have packed my blog full of insider tips, tricks and home-related know-how from restoring sash windows, to finding the right accessories on a budget. 

I'm in the middle of doing up my first house in Hanover, Brighton so I like to talk about these makeover projects too. All my family are from Brighton, and although I lived in London for many years (and go back for work) I wanted to settle down in my home town. I share my home with my photographer boyfriend, Jonathan, my dog Teddy and Buster, a grumpy cat. 

How to become an interior stylist

How did you first fall into interior styling? 

I started out as a junior on a magazine back in the 1990s after I finished my journalism studies. I assisted freelance stylists as part of my job and I loved it - all the fabrics and props. This was way before the days of the internet, so everything we did was by phone or fax. 

Then one day I cornered the style editor on Elle magazine in the office lift and begged her to give me a chance - and she gave me my first break (thank you Susan Ward-Davies) to look after the the interior shopping pages for her. 

After 3 years, I was asked to join House Beautiful - my fav interior title ever - working in their Style team. 

After five very happy years, I took the leap to go freelance - and I've not looked back - shooting in Cape Town, Sydney and New York. It's all been very random and chaotic as a career path. I've written more about my journey from magazine stylist to freelance blogger on my blog if you want to

have a read

How to become an interior stylist

What sort of clients have you styled for? 

House of Fraser, Debenhams, The White Company, B&Q, Harveys, Furniture Village, Tesco, Multi-York, Grand Designs, Ideal Home, Style at Home, Country Homes & Interiors, House Beautiful...as well as for TV shows like This Morning. 

For budding interior stylists, what advice would you give for them to land their first paid shoot?

If you want to become an interior stylist, expect to do a lot of unpaid work and lots of assisting first. 

Working your way up from assistant to stylist is a long career path - and usually involves work experience on a magazine or with another stylist. There are numerous skills you need to pick up from art direction, lighting, production to pr contacts - all these you will learn on your way up. 

The best thing to do, is start doing your own test shoots and then upload them to facebook, twitter and blog - you'll learn as you go and will make mistakes as you go along and clients can see what you are capable of. 

How to become an interior stylist

Do you think interior stylists need any specific education requirements to have a successful career in the sector? 

I did english and politics degree followed by a masters in journalism. I think this has helped my writing skills and I have a nose for a good story. But I did get in a lot of debt with all that study. Most of what I have learnt is from chatting to people in the world of interiors - and reading lots of magazines and books. 

At the end of the day, you have to have a creative, with an artistic eye, killer organisational skills, loads of journalism, a flexible style and a thick skin - you don't always get these things at uni. So, the short answer is no ;-) 

What's the most fun part of your job? 

When I'm on set, working with a great photographer, and producing beautiful images which make me so happy. 

You know, when you have really nailed a shoot - and produced beautiful shots from literary a couple of boxes of props and a bunch of flowers. 

And the not so fun? 

Packing up at the end of a shoot, late into the night and driving home in thick traffic. I've also had to hoover up glitter and pine needles off a driveway before at a location while people stepped over me - that wasn't so fun. 

How can my readers support you/follow your work? 

Well there is

the blog

- which has more advice on how to be an interior stylist as well as tips on how to style your home, makeovers and shopping trends - there is also links to my portfolio work on there too. 

My

facebook page

is where I post up all my latest shoots so you can see what work I have produced.

Instagram

for snaps when I am on a shoot. And then

Pinterest

if you want to see what I'm working on and finally

twitter

if you fancy a natter.

Thanks to the wonderful Maxine <3

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