Interior design major Ashley Chisholm always marveled at the technique and skill that Candice Olson displayed while designing creative spaces on HGTV’s Divine Design TV series. Olson’s designs stayed with Chisholm and inspired her to begin her studies at HPU to become a topnotch designer herself someday.
When she landed a job working with Olson at the High Point Market, which began on Oct. 13, she knew it was not only a dream come true, but also the professional opportunity of a lifetime.
“I thought I would be campaigning for her new line, but it’s just really exciting to meet her and learn from her,” Chisholm said.
Chisholm had the opportunity to meet Olson in the IHFC Interhall. Olson’s line will also be displayed at Highland House, and Chisholm will be responsible for managing showroom traffic and clients while sharing the details for every piece of furniture.
“I think that anyone that you work with can give you helpful advice for the future, especially someone as successful as Candice,” says Chisholm. “You can learn from their mistakes, the things they offer and the things they’ve become well known for. Candice has done so much that she’s perfected her skill, and I’m learning from her how she did that. It’s exciting to get to work with a designer who is at her level.”
Chisholm is one of many HPU students who are using their fall break to gain experience at the High Point Market. Located just a few miles away from the university, it has served as an experiential learning opportunity for students for many years, and some have landed their career starts thanks to connections made there.
“Students in the interior design and home furnishings programs at High Point University benefit from long-standing relationships we’ve built over the years with both the High Point Market and local manufacturers,” says Dr. Jane Nichols, chair of the department of home furnishings and interior design. “These companies provide participation opportunities through internships and employment to students throughout the course of their degree programs. By the time HPU students graduate, they already have one to four years of real-world industry experience, giving them a significant marketplace edge over their peers.”
Students are also working in other high traffic showrooms such as Miles Talbot and J. Douglas Smith – all making connections that will impact their lives.