While most interior designers thrive on their creative instincts, Jeanine Naviaux (’90, finance) will tell you that this is not enough: to be successful, a designer – especially the owner of a design firm – must also understand how business works and know the lingo. “When I interview with business owners or corporate executives about decorating their homes, I speak their language of budget and deadlines,” she said. “I find out quickly who writes the checks and who makes the final decisions.”
A Chip off the Old Block
Naviaux inherited both her understanding of business and her flair for design from her parents. “I was very fortunate in that my parents were great role models,” said the Tustin, Calif native. “My mother graduated second in her aeronautical engineering class, but she should have worked at Disneyland. She held very creative theme parties on an annual basis and we would rent props from the Hollywood prop houses. We’d use them to design our middle-class home on Sunday and send all the props back on Monday.”
I was very fortunate in that my parents were great role models.
“I was influenced to become a finance major by my father,” she continued. “When I was a teenager, we’d read the Wall Street Journal together and we would have discussions about what we read.”
After high school, she enrolled as a student in the College of Business Administration where she joined the national business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, and served as a member of the Associated Students board with now-San Diego major, Kevin Faulkner. Former SDSU faculty member, state senator Marty Block, was their faculty advisor.
It was also during her time at SDSU that Naviaux chose to broaden her horizons by studying aboard. She studied international business and art history in London twice and she visited Germany for two summers to study the German language.
When an imported gift company she started with another SDSU business student became a victim of the recession of the early 90’s, she went abroad again, this time to Spain to become fluent in the language. After she successfully achieved fluency in Spanish, she returned to the U.S. to work in her family business for a number of years. When her husband was transferred to Florida, Naviaux was able to fulfill a promise she had made to herself when she was 14 which was to complete her MBA (University of West Florida, class of 1998).
As an interior designer, traveling to different countries and cultures allows me to seek out and discover cutting edge ideas and design schemes that I could never imagine by sitting behind a desk
Designing Her Own Business
After completing her MBA, Naviaux become active as an interior designer. She went into business for herself in 2004 when she established On the Inside Design in La Jolla, Calif. Having her own company allowed her “the freedom to make choices” and blended her love for art and design with her affinity for business.
Even with the commitment to her company, Naviaux still makes time to indulge her passion for travel where she finds many new ideas that she can incorporate into her business. “As an interior designer, traveling to different countries and cultures allows me to seek out and discover cutting edge ideas and design schemes that I could never imagine by sitting behind a desk,” she said. “Successful design is about satisfying your client’s wants and desires and, by providing them with innovative and beautiful surroundings, puts a smile on their face that makes it all worthwhile.”