Sayre Victoria Ziskin '03: SVZ Interior Design

"It's normal to fail a couple of times, but it teaches you valuable lessons on what not to do."

Sayre Ziskin ’03 has found entrepreneurial success with her full-service interior design boutique firm, SVZ Interior Design. Founded in 2010, the company oversees their projects “from the initial project plans to the final decorative accessories” for both commercial and residential projects throughout the U.S.
Ziskin knows first-hand the challenges that come with a passion for entrepreneurism, especially during the early days of an endeavor when you have an idea and a dream, but maybe not the capital to dive head first into the project. Her advice? “If you want to start a business and you don't have backup from your family and you're doing it on your own, it’s smart to keep your paying job and work on the side to make your vision a reality,” says Ziskin. “You might not sleep much, but that is what it takes.”

Perseverance paid off when Ziskin was finally able to fully commit her time and energy to her business, but that certainly wouldn’t be the last challenge she faced as an entrepreneur. “It's normal to fail a couple of times, but it teaches you valuable lessons on what not to do. Remember those lessons and apply them to your next try.”

Applying that same flexibility to her interactions with clients, she emphasizes the importance of being able to quickly adjust your communication style based on the needs of the myriad personalities that she works for. “I've had to change the way I ask questions or alter the way I work with someone based on the client’s specific personality. She recommends paying close attention to the ways a client reacts and being flexible with how you work with them.

In addition to persistence and adaptability, Ziskin sites confidence as an important trait for an entrepreneur to possess, and credits Marlborough for helping to instill that in her. “Marlborough was a safe zone where I could really be free to be myself and be confident. This self-assuredness has served me well, because when you are starting your own business - especially if it involves sales or getting clients to hire you - you have to be confident, strong and show them that you can do it and you won't let them down.”

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