Photographed by Matthew Millman.
Jay Jeffers
Jeffers began working in the industry under mentor Richard Witzel while also working two other jobs to pay the bill. After going full-time and racking up clients on his own, Jeffers decided to start up his own firm."I have always watched the business side of my firm carefully and have had great people to consult me on how to make it through rough times," he says.

One unexpected part of the business? "It is really a non-competitive environment, which may surprise people. I love the community of creative people – other designers and well as painters, fabricators, etc.," says Jeffers.

For aspiring designers, he offers a few platitudes: "Leave your ego at the door. Do good work. Professionally photograph everything – don’t wait for a magazine to photograph it. Don’t ignore your finances."