5 Under 40: Candice Wideman

Interior Designer
Youtopia Designs

Edited by Melissa Mauzy
Portrait Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


SLHL: Please share an experience that was a major influence on your career decision.
I first started college as a biology major, but after walking through the interior design department on my way to my classes, I fell in love with the idea of being a designer. After a semester of Biology, I decided to call my parents and tell them I was switching my major to interior design. While this was quite a shock to them, they supported my decision and helped me research the best schools for interior design. We came across Maryville University, which was the school that changed it all for me. I learned that interior design isn’t just about creating attractive spaces. It’s about tying together environmental psychology, architecture and conventional aspects of decorating while incorporating building codes.  

SLHL: What has been the biggest compliment you've received in your career?
No awards, magazine features or accolades can compare with seeing a client who is overcome with sincere appreciation after the project is completed. In TV shows, you see clients crying tears of absolute bliss when the project is completed and you think to yourself, “This is just for TV.” But over the past eight years I’ve had several of these emotional experiences with my clients. Knowing that you designed a client’s space substantially better than they could have envisioned is the most amazing feeling ever!

SLHL: Who has been the biggest influencer in your career?
If it wasn’t for my husband, Brian, pushing me to reach new goals I set for myself, I am not sure I would have ever started my own business. He saw how passionate I was about interior design at a young age, and he encouraged me go out on my own. He showed me the “ins and outs” of running a business. Thanks to him, I’ve been fortunate enough to help hundreds of clients. I couldn’t have done it without him.

SLHL: What was a project or experience that was a turning point in your career?
Two years ago I was hired by Bobcat of St. Louis to design their new headquarters off Interstate 44 in Valley Park. At 40,000 square feet, this was the biggest project I had ever taken on, by far. The clients’ vision and mine were aligned, which made for an exceptional end design. This project was a turning point in my career because it pushed me to new limits. I was forced out of my comfort zone, and often it’s times of discomfort that shape a young designer’s career. I am so thankful for the opportunity I was given at such a young age and I eagerly await the day when I get a larger project than this one that will push me like this one did.

SLHL: Tell us a story from your childhood where your creative design genius kicked in.
When I was a kid, I would talk my brother into switching rooms with me. It took some persuading, but once I talked him into it I would move my furniture into his room and his into mine. Not only did I move the furniture, but I’d completely change the layout. Then, I’d take it a step further. I’d hang pictures on the walls, paint the walls a different color, you name it. I’d pretty much do whatever my mom would let me get away with!  

SLHL: What does it take to achieve a high level of success before 40?
Passion and motivation. Everyone knows what it’s like to wake up and not feel like going into work. Now imagine you are your own boss. You don’t necessarily have to go in to the office on time or answer that late email in bed. But that’s what it takes. To be successful at a young age you have to rely on your passion to stay motivated every day. 

Get to know our other 5 Under 40 winners.