- Carmeon Hamilton, an interior designer, landed on HGTV’s “Reno My Rental” after quitting her job.
- Hamilton told Insider that taking care of your mental health is important for success.
- This article is part of “Me, First,” a series about successful women who prioritize their passions and well-being.
Carmeon Hamilton was at a crossroads in early 2020.
An interior designer, Hamilton was working at a retail furniture company as a lead buyer and lead designer. As someone passionate about creating spaces that make people feel at ease, she was a natural fit for the role.
While working for the company, Hamilton cultivated her social-media presence as an interior designer and started taking on her own clients. It seemed like the ideal setup: She could build her own brand with the benefits of a steady income.
But things changed when her boss asked her to stop posting on social media.
“He felt like I should be devoting more of that time to my job,” she said. But she didn’t think that was fair. She said that the company didn’t compensate her for the time she spent working late hours and that she felt like she was being underpaid.
So Hamilton quit and turned her part-time personal project, Nubi Interiors, into her full-time job.
“It was terrifying. It was one of the things that my husband tried to convince me of for years,” Hamilton said, speaking of her late husband, Marcus, who died in 2021 after being hit by an intoxicated driver. “He knew how much I loved my job but how undervalued I was at that job.”
Hamilton launched her business full time on March 1, 2020. She was an immediate success, in large part because of the social-media community she had spent years building.
You have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, because if you’re successful at that, you can be successful at anything else.
Hamilton said she thinks she found a niche in the market because, unlike many other designers, she was already working with clients remotely when the pandemic hit.
“I had thousands of people that wanted to work with me,” she said. “I tripled my corporate salary in the first six months of being an entrepreneur.” She said that in addition to taking on work designing people’s homes, she was able to say yes to brand collaborations that would have been a conflict of interest when she had her corporate job.
Hamilton is committed to putting her mental health and family first
Hamilton said that working for herself gave her the opportunity to create a job that centered on her personal life, not the other way around. She said that she set up her workflow so she had no meetings on Mondays and Fridays and that she was always done with work by the time Marcus and their son, Davin, arrived home at the end of the day.
“I care more about living than succeeding,” Hamilton told Insider. “I want to live and cherish the moments that I have rather than chase down success. If success comes, that’s amazing, but I’m not a hustler. I’m going to do what I have to do in the moment when it’s time to work, but I’m going to live when it’s time for me to live.”
Hamilton’s successes led to an HGTV producer recruiting her in the spring of 2021 to participate in “Design Star: Next Gen,” a competition show that pits eight designers against one another in a series of challenges. She was floored when she won.
Hamilton said that after Marcus’ death she became even more appreciative of the flexible career she’d carved out for herself.
“In my husband’s tragedy, I was able to just stop and live,” she said. “I wasn’t pulled in multiple directions trying to be a mom and also grieve as a wife and be a businessperson. I was able to just be for as long as I needed to.”
As she moves forward in her career — starring in an HGTV show called “Reno My Rental,” taking on speaking engagements, and continuing to design one-of-a-kind spaces for clients — Hamilton wants to remain open about the importance of putting life before work, she said.
“It is very difficult to be a boss or a hustler,” she said. “If the foundation that you’re trying to work from isn’t solid, you can’t move and be all things to all people for everything to your business if you don’t have a healthy sense of self.”
Hamilton said that no matter how successful she gets, her mental health and her family will always be her top priorities.
“You have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, because if you’re successful at that, you can be successful at anything else,” Hamilton said.