If there is any truth to the notion that we are encoded genetically to be predisposed for certain lines of work, there was no way Carly Ahlman wasn’t going to be a designer. With both parents and a grandparent in the field, Ahlman says the work is in her blood.
“My father, Carson Ahlman, has been an industrial designer for over 30 years and has designed for Crown Royal, Dewars, Pantone, Verizon, and many more. My grandfather was a notable graphic designer who helped design the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup logo that is still in use today. My mother, Susan Harmonay, has been a magazine art director, self-taught interior decorator, and most recently launched her own photography company,” Ahlman said. “Their love and passion for their careers is what inspired me to follow my passion for Interior Design.”
But this third generation designer is taking the family business into the modern age with a web-based business known as Good Style Design. Good Style Design is a website-based service that provides customized floor plan layouts and interior design inspiration boards for a fraction of the cost of standard interior design fees. And being housed online allows Ahlman to reach more clients.
“Anyone from anywhere can become a client. The design plans are very affordable and projects can be done one room at a time which makes the entire process much less intense,” Ahlman said. “You can opt to have a single room designed, an entire house, or anything in between.”
As for starting up her own business as opposed to joining an established firm? That was something in her blood too.
“My dad has had his own business for about 25 years now, so I've had an inside look at the pros and cons of entrepreneurship,” Ahlman said. “I have always said that I would like to start my own company so that I can have the freedom of being my own boss. My mind runs a mile a minute, so I keep a little notebook with me at all times so that I can make lists of all my new ideas. I'm a big list-writer. I finally settled on the idea of creating a company that provides affordable, professional interior design services, because I feel that quality interior design should be more accessible.”
But Ahlman’s current career path didn’t always seem so inevitable.
“At the time that I was applying to colleges, I didn't quite know what direction I wanted to go in yet. I have always been creative, but didn't think much of it because of my intensely creative family. After one semester at a small liberal arts college I quickly realized that it wasn't where I was supposed to be. I woke up one day and told my dad that I was going to be an interior designer, and promptly transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan,” Ahlman said. “I spent five years at FIT and received degrees in Interior Design and Communications. While in school, I spent nearly every semester and school break interning or working part-time in the design world. It seemed silly to be in Manhattan and not take advantage of every opportunity.”
Beyond the work itself, Ahlman said working with clients is something she never tires of.
“I love learning about client's likes and dislikes and interpreting them into a space that really feels like home. I am so passionate about design, and enjoy sharing my skill set with others,” Ahlman said. “At the end of a project it's really nice to see clients so pleased with the finished product.”
A recent move to Short Hills hasn’t cut Ahlman’s ties with her hometown, a place she credits for much of her inspiration.
“I grew up in Morristown, spent my college years between Morristown and Manhattan, Ahlman said. “Being that some of my family and friends are still in Morristown, I spend a lot of time there. My longtime boyfriend and I have visited many other towns in hopes of finding a place to settle, but I have yet to visit a town that I don't compare to Morristown. I love the diversity that Morristown offers, and the unique set-up of ‘the green.’ At this point it looks like we may return to Morristown for the long haul, because no other town has met the mark.”
For more information visit the website www.goodstyledesign.comor e-mail Ahlman at email@example.com.