Who the HELL is Mikel Welch anyway? (pt.1)

April and Mikel

Well it’s official, I’ve managed to get myself on HGTV Design Star. Now how that HELL did I just pull this one off????? Make sure to catch the show every Tuesday on HGTV airing May 29, 2012 @ 9pm EST.  After every episode I will be blogging about my experiences on Design Star and the TRUTH! Don’t forget to follow my live tweets during the show as well @mikelwelch. So how does a self taught designer with a BA degree in Marketing make it onto a design show?…..With a lot of hard work and determination! I know several Design Professionals are mortified that yet another self taught designer has once again managed to wiggle their way into the design world and make it on television without the “Proper Certifications.” Well guess what??? Get over it or change the f*ck%ng channel (sorry Mom).  With that being said, I will now get of my glittered soapbox and tell you my journey to Design Star.

 Circa summer 2008

Infomart call center

Fast forward ….no better yet rewind to 2008. With a keen eye for detail and a lot of free promotion on Craigslist, I was barely functioning in Atlanta as a residential “Design Consultant” (thats for all the snobbish credential holding designers “Haters”). Me and my best friend April were working full time at Infomart (call center) and designing client’s homes at night/on weekends. I loved ATL but wanted more. At the time, I had a vision of opening up offices in NYC, LA, and MIA. So, I posted and ad on Craigslist in each city broadcasting design services. Being a free spirited Sagittarius and little bit of a gypsy, I decided that I would visit the city that we got the greatest response in and test the market. Well within 3 days we had 7 hits in NYC. I instantly called my college friend Jen in Jersey City and ask if I could come crash on her sofa for a month while I try the NYC design market. As luck would have it, her roommate was moving out and she had a spare bedroom but was already looking for a new roommate. I sat at my desk, prayed about it for an hour then jumped up and ran to Western Union to send her $600 to hold the room.  I was moving to NYC in 1 month!!! Now the question was, “How the hell would I pay my ATL rent that would be due in a few days?”  Well I was no stranger to Craigslist, so I placed another ad looking for a subletter to take over my lease. SIDE NOTE** (I don’t think I had the right to sublet my apt being that I was renting..hope my old landlord isn’t reading) So, with that part taken care of, I now needed to find a job!!!! I knew if I could get to NYC everything else would somehow fall into place. Now, I’m free spirited but I’m not an idiot, so I knew I needed some form of income. I began applying for several retail positions in NYC so I could have a job when I got to the “Big City.” It was almost like a movie. I had moved out of my ATL apt, found a subletter and was crashing on a friend’s sofa (with my dog) waiting to hear back from one of the retail stores. It was a Friday afternoon and I was in the Kroger parking lot when I got a call from The Container Store. I had a great telephone interview and they ask me if I could be in NYC on Monday afternoon for a group interview. With $500 to my name I packed up my truck and my dog to get ready to live my real life “Sex and The City” dream. I would be the black gay Carrie Bradshaw or so I thought……..


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