Dear Preston: Are You Worried Being So Accessible Will Make You Less Mysterious?



Dear Preston:

I have been following you for nearly twenty years and have always found you to be one of the most innovative designers in the business. That said, your designs always felt otherworldly to me. There is an untouchable quality to them for those of us outside looking in, so to speak.  I guess this is why it’s so interesting (and exciting) for me that you have started inviting more people into your studios for events and now the classes you’re doing (which I saved up to attend in May!).  I was sharing my excitement with another planner who said that she was curious why you would choose now to start doing this as so many other designers stay hidden away. I thought this was a good question. Do you find it hard to maintain mystery while being so open on your blogs and inviting people in?

Excited Future Student


Dear Excited:

First of all, thank you so much for your kind and gracious letter. I am thrilled you will be joining us and humbled you have been following me for for so long.  To answer your question; no, I do not have any concerns about opening my doors or sharing my thoughts and mistakes on my blog. In fact, I believe that, after 35 years in this business, it is my duty to share as much knowledge as I have with those artists who may be able to avoid some of the terrible mistakes I have made on their own path to success. I  also want to share how to do some of our most popular designs that are relevant for different markets.

Excited, we work in a collaborative industry, and yet, so many people think they must keep everything from their designs and desires to their missteps to themselves. I believe this to be in direct opposition with true success, which I believe is not about money and fame, but about making a good living doing what you love for clients you care about and colleagues you respect.  As artists, we should celebrate one another and work in an industry that promotes one another instead of moving (or not moving) as a result of fear (of failure, not knowing, looking “dumb”, success or being copied).

I do not believe I have all of the answers, but the three decades I have worked in this industry has offered me some insight and I have hired a staff I believe have their own knowledge to offer and we want to share all of that with anyone who is interested in knowing.  As a designer, I hope that my designs please and delight my clients and transport them and their guests to an alternate reality they will cherish and remember for all of their lives.  As Preston, the designer, I want to give back to the industry that has given me so much, and this seems like a proactive and productive way to do it.

It’s as simple as that.

I look forward to seeing you in May and would like to ask all of you reading this to be honest: do you feel helping others will hurt your own business? Be candid with us and share why/why not.