WBOC Leading Woman
CARRIE LUTERAN Inspiring design By Lorna Oppedisano Location courtesy of Ethan Allen
here’s a delicate balance between logic and passion. At her job, interior designer and professional organizer Carrie Luteran gets to walk that line every day. “What I do combines the art and the function,” she explained. Carrie founded Pretty Neat in July 2014. She works with clients to help organize and stylize their lives. She’s always been interested in design, but it wasn’t until later in life that she decided to pursue it as a career. “It didn’t occur to me to do this for a job when I was at that point in college when you decide what it is you’ll do,” she said. Carrie’s first jaunt down the career path landed her in Syracuse University’s Department of Psychology doing research. At SU, she had the opportunity to take some design classes for free. The instruction made her realize that interior design was her passion and she needed to make space for it in her life. Shortly after, Carrie’s research job was pared down and eliminated. As daunting as it was to go back to school full time with a slew of people half her age and follow that passion for design, she did it. After graduating, Carrie then worked at Ethan Allen, getting experience doing full design plans. Carrie eventually decided to take a chance and start her own business, an idea that had been in the back of her mind for a while. In getting Pretty Neat off the ground, she had to overcome some preconceived notions about careers and the business world.
Photography courtesy of Steven J. Pallone
Being a new business owner, Carrie assumed she’d have to be the typical “business person,” she explained. She soon realized a reassuring fact: people hired her because they like her and appreciate her skill set. No one is the perfect fit for all potential clients; it all comes down to that personal connection. Working out the financial end of things has been a bit of a learning curve, Carrie said, pointing out that she went back to school for design, not for business. The WBOC has been valuable in that regard. “I’ve been able to meet and talk to women who have gone through the process themselves,” she said. “Everyone I’ve met there has been so generous in sharing information and really being open about what’s worked or not worked for them.” Along with learning the ins and outs of running a business, Carrie has also gained some technological knowledge. She’s been much more involved in social media, and designed her own website. “The way people find you as a business has changed a lot,” she explained. “Most people, if they need a service, they’re going to go to their computer and type it in.” That’s how two of Carrie’s current clients, Dawn and Ryan D’Amico, found Pretty Neat. The couple hired her to help with interior design at their new home. Carrie combined the two homeowners’ styles with that of the house to create a masterpiece, they said. “We love working with her. She’s wonderful,” Dawn said. “It feels like she’s part of the family already.” SWM Women Business Opportunities Connections (WBOC) is a non-profit organization that has been supporting the Syracuse and CNY area for more than 20 years. To become a member, visit wboconnection.org or follow the organization on Twitter at @WBOConnection. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a signature sponsor of the WBOC. For more information about Pretty Neat, visit prettyneatsolutions.com.
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