April 9, 2014

Spotlight: Vivian Jost

Best La-Z-Boy Canadian Home Designer Award!

La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries: Richmond, is proud to announce that one of its interior designers, Vivian Jost, has received the Pinnacle Award for best La-Z-Boy in-home designer in Canada! It's great to see such talent in the Canadian Home Designer space. Mark Bacon, President of the La-Z-Boy Branded Business, says, “We applaud these individuals and are honoured to recognize them for the success they had throughout the year.”

“Vivian with her Pinnacle Award and her store owners, Tim (left) and Gerald (right) Miller”

This is her first time winning this award, edging just ahead of Danni Paskova (Langley), who was last year’s winner, for the top spot. It looks like the Lower Mainland has some talented designers!

Here’s a little more about Vivian, her award, and her story:

What does this award mean to you?

I feel very honoured and excited. It is recognition for what I have done for the company and what I have achieved with clients, and it is certainly a milestone. I hope there are many more to come. I’m also proud. I remember looking out at all the hundreds of people at the award ceremony in North Carolina and saying to my owner, “Tim, do you realize I’m one of the only Asians here?” He said, “Yeah, so be very proud!”

Tell me a little about yourself and your background.

I came to Canada in 2001 as an international student. Before that, I had exclusively studied arts in China from the age of 15 to the age of 18. My mother, concerned that I wouldn’t survive as an artist in China, said I should go to a different country, so I came to Canada, learned English, and enrolled at BCIT.

I couldn’t decide what to study though, and I asked my mom, “Should I study finance? Or maybe marketing?” My mom said “No, that’s not you. Why don’t you keep pursuing arts?”

When I saw a pamphlet advertising interior design, I thought, ok. I’ll try that. And I fell in love with it!

What do you love about interior design?

It’s a fun challenge because every house, family, and personal vision is so different. I have to create a space that will function properly and suit a client’s daily routine. There’s pressure and responsibility, because you are spending other people’s money, so you have to make sure you get it right! But the reward is when people come back and tell me it looks beautiful!

What’s your favourite part about going into somebody’s home and helping the owners plan a space?

I find that often people can’t choose what they want for their house because they get distracted. They like lots of things but can’t picture how they will go together, so I can come in and guide them through the process.

We plan a layout based on how and why they use a space, who uses it, and with what function. Once all that is answered, we can finally get to the point where we can pick furniture. And I always make sure they do a comfort test on their furniture! They come into the store; I give them a magazine and say, “Sit for a while. Otherwise you won’t know if it’s truly comfortable.” One of our slogans is “comfort is what we do,” and I like to follow that.

What’s your favourite piece right now?

I don’t put my style in front of my work. It’s about my clients and what suits them best, but personally I love the Collins line. It’s comfortable and relaxed, like me!

Why do you love La-Z-Boy?

Quality. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a piece of furniture is; if it doesn’t have quality behind it, you’ll have customers coming back and complaining. I can’t do that. I need a company that will support me and will back up the work I’m doing.

Buying furniture is not like buying clothes, where you can look at the inside of a garment to see the structure and stitching. You can’t cut a sofa open to see how it’s constructed! So instead, I know I can trust the quality behind La-Z-Boy.

I actually have a funny story about my first experience with La-Z-Boy. The first day I was in Canada, I met my homestay family and they brought me to their home in West Vancouver. It was a beautiful home with views of downtown and the mountains. They showed me around and adjacent to my bedroom was a family room, which had a sectional in it. The dad very proudly introduced me to the sectional, and he asked me, “Do you know what this is?” I said, “Sofa…”

He told me that it was more than a sofa. He sat me down, released the latch, and I was surprised to find it moved. He said, “It’s La-Z-Boy. You should enjoy it while you are here.”

Isn’t it interesting how sometimes life comes around full circle?

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