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Featured Member: Aline Duerr, vegan interior designer

What kind of work do you do/business do you run?

I run a vegan interior design business offering design services for commercial and residential projects worldwide.

The big purpose of my business however is to offer an educational platform teaching interior design students and established interior design businesses how to include a fast-growing conscious market into their customer base.

My goal is to operate as a social enterprise that educates, creates change, supports and empowers.

I offer online courses, one on one sessions, group presentations and public speaking engagements.

What do you love about it?

I love that it combines my passion for interior architecture and design with my bigger purpose in life which is to be a voice for the voiceless and open people’s eyes to a subject they may not really have come across during their studies or careers so far.

I love seeing the changes people make once they know how leather, wool, down, and so on is actually ‘produced’ and how their designs become healthier, more sustainable and cruelty-free.

What’s your ‘why’ in life?

My ‘why’ in life has changed over time I think but right now it is helping to shape a world I would like to see my daughter grow up in.

In different ways: Through my work, through my lifestyle, through ‘influencing’ others by educating them and leading by example.

Also working in animal rescue drives me, it gives me satisfaction and hope as well as a kick in the butt to do more and better to create change for those voiceless souls who cannot do it for themselves.

Why are you a member of the Vegan Women’s Leadership Network?

When I received information about it for the first time from Katrina, I joined without thinking twice because I love her work, her book and her workshops.

Now that I am a member, I really appreciate how great it is to be part of such a supportive and diverse group of female vegan leaders who run amazing businesses built on the same moral principles and driven for change as I am.

What’s been the biggest highlight or ‘wow’ moment of your career/business/professional life?

The first one was when I made the switch from a boring desk job in logistics to working in interior design. What a life changer!

The second one a little bit later was when I realised that I don’t always ‘have to get better’ and when I stopped thinking that ‘I am not as good as others at my job’.

I realised that I was actually already pretty good at it and did not have to compare myself to others.

Especially working in a creative job, you tend to look at and admire other people’s work and criticise your own too much but I realised that I was doing exactly what I was good at and that made work and life so much more enjoyable.

How do you handle failures, fear and disappointment?

I get frustrated for a minute and have one or two sleepless nights over it and then I move on.

All of it – failure, fear, disappointment – is part of the process and while it sounds like an old hat, it does always lead to something new or better for me.

Having dealt with plenty of the above in the past, I know that whatever tricky or bad situation I am in, it will pass and something good will come from it, in one way or another.

What would you tell your 16-year-old self?

Listen to your gut and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks or what you think they think.

Which women inspire you and why?

Women who stand up for what they believe despite social norms or what may be expected of them.

Women who manage to get their point across and influence others simply by being themselves and setting great examples.

To be honest, I cannot necessarily name one or two names and explain why them specifically. I am inspired by everyday women as much as famous ones whenever they do something brave and selfless for the greater good.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced and how has it helped mould who you are now?

I find that really hard to answer as I cannot think of one specific thing. I find that life throws so many obstacles your way all the time, sometimes small ones, sometimes massive ones you think you will not be able to overcome at the time and working through each of them forms you the way you are.

In a way I feel like I have been very lucky in life even though I work hard to achieve what I want to achieve and have not had this ‘one obstacle’ moment but rather many small ones.

What’s your super-power? What are you amazing at?

Listening to and reading people – I am pretty good at that and it helps me everywhere in life. I often know what my clients want before they even really know by just listening and observing.

What brings you joy?

My daughter, my family, my rescue animal friends, my work, traveling, being at the beach or in the Australian countryside – in that order. Nothing untypical or extravagant, I am easily happy.

How do you define success, and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?

For me success is doing what you love and being able to make a comfortable living of it.

Preferably while doing something good and bringing positive change to the world and the lives of others.

I personally know that or when I have achieved it when I can do my job and don’t have to chase clients.

What’s your vision for yourself and your business/career for the future?

I would like to step back a little from designing workplaces and homes and hand that part of my business over to my competent team in order to have more time to teach and develop the educational part of my business further as this is where the real opportunity for change lies.

 

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