Bee-Spoke Podcast | Learning From Experience with Barb Ivey

Bee-Spoke with Anthony Hellman Podcast Episode 4: 

Learning From Experience with Barb Ivey


For those of you not in the podcast world, We wanted to share a more in-depth look into our amazing episode interviews thus far!


In this exciting installment of 'Bee-Spoke with Experts,' Anthony is delighted to introduce special guest, Barb Ivey, a seasoned Residential Designer hailing from the vibrant city of Toronto. With over three decades of experience in the design industry, Barb brings a unique perspective to her work, characterized by boundless creativity, purpose, and a generous dash of humour. Join us as we delve into Barb's inspiring journey through the world of interior design, her experiences as an assistant, the joys of collaboration with her clients, and the enchantment of Italy. We'll also touch on her favourite and challenging projects!


A Design Journey Inspired by Imagination and Life

Barb Ivey, the force behind Barb Ivey Designs, is a designer who has been a constant source of inspiration for Anthony. Her design style is truly unique and captivating. When asked about what inspires her, Barb responded with a resounding, "Everything around me!" Fashion, flowers, colours, and even her clients serve as wellsprings of creativity for her. But what sets Barb apart is her collaborative approach, which Anthony was keen to explore.

Barb explained her collaborative process, emphasizing the importance of getting to know her clients. "We have a conversation," she said, "to get to know you and understand your vision." This process is not just about design; it's about building a relationship and turning the client's dreams into reality. Getting to know someone and understanding their vision is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Barb's work.


The Roots of a Passion: A Journey into Interior Design

When asked about what inspired her to get into interior design, Barb delved into her personal history. She revealed that she had always wanted to be an interior designer. Growing up in a colourful house and traveling extensively with her parents fuelled her love for design. Barb's educational journey took her to London, England, where she honed her skills even further.

Upon her return, Barb worked as an assistant for John Manual, a colourful character himself, whose mentorship proved to be a joy. Barb chose the path of residential design over commercial because "working under someone taught me much more than I ever learned in school."

Barb's advice to aspiring designers: "Go and work with a designer who is very experienced, it's the best thing you can do for your career. Be humble, as it's a process, and you need to live the life, face the challenges head-on."


Navigating the Ups and Downs of Design

Design projects often come with their share of challenges, and Barb is no stranger to them. When asked about the kind of problems she encounters on the job, she explained that she deals with them as they arise. Issues like product delays and managing client expectations are par for the course, but there is the importance of learning how to tackle them. Working with seasoned designers and being an apprentice, is invaluable to one's career. "Be humble, it's a process, and it's essential to face the challenges."


Favourite Projects and Overcoming Challenges

Reflecting on her career, Barb shared some of her favourite projects. One standout memory involved driving out of Toronto to a project in the middle of winter. Opening up the space and transforming it into something amazing was a rewarding experience. Barb acknowledged the importance of working with great tradespeople and how they are instrumental in bringing her designs to life.

However, not every project is smooth sailing. Barb recounted instances when clients didn't trust her vision, leading her to learn how to articulate every detail clearly and handle difficult clients. She emphasized that every job teaches something new and shared her insights on staying composed when facing challenges.


The Power of Branding and Long-Term Relationships

Barb discussed the importance of branding in her career. She is in the process of revamping her website and shared how a designer asked her about the type of clients she wants to attract. This led to a refined focus on her branding, incorporating testimonials, and a call to visit her website,

She also highlighted the value of working with clients over an extended period, spanning multiple projects, as a means of truly understanding their needs and preferences.


Inspired by Italy and Future Projects

Intriguingly, Barb spoke about her trip to Italy, where she found immense inspiration in the heart of this beautiful country. The experiences and sights she encountered there have influenced her work in remarkable ways.

As for her future endeavours, Barb mentioned a magazine feature in the works and a fascinating project by with, Studio 321B, involving the transformation of pop bottles into sisal area rugs, PET. This innovative project perfectly aligns with her passion for sustainability and creative design.


And there you have it - a captivating conversation with Barb Ivey, a design visionary with a rich history and a promising future. If you'd like to listen to the episode, head over to Bee-Spoke with Anthony Hellman on all podcast listening platforms! Or click on the audio box to play it from this page!

To learn more about Barb, you can find her at her Website or Instagram!