“How did you get started?” It’s a simple question, but the answer is a bit more complicated. How exactly did I go from a young adult pouring over episodes of Property Brothers, to becoming a full-time, professional designer?
My journey started long before I realized it. From a young age I found myself on job sites working with my father on commercial and residential properties. Whether I was running a piece of equipment, or trying out for a sports team, I wanted to be the best at what I did. Looking back, I recognize how these experiences shaped me and gave me the work ethic, determination, and practical know-how to best serve my clients in this profession.
During my late 20’s, my love for interior design began to grow as I absorbed concepts and ideas from shows on HGTV. While most people watch design shows for the big reveal at the end, I found myself enthralled by the planning process. Planning and preparation are where it is all at for me. It's one thing to watch a show on tv and daydream, but turning that dream into a flourishing business is a whole different beast.
In the beginning, I bought and studied design books from The Art Institute on my own time. Eventually, my family and friends were happy to let me put my newfound knowledge to use redecorating their homes. What did they have to lose? It’s not like they were paying me! It was only a matter of time before my confidence grew and I began offering services to clients. Back then I charged a whopping $14 an hour. Years later interior design has evolved into my full-time career and passion. Engineering a business out of thin air wasn’t easy and there is no template for what I have created. I didn’t go to school for business, and I had a lot to learn. Let me emphasize, A LOT.
It took a few tries before I found my niche. Early on I dabbled in everything from staging to furniture rental. With time and experience I found my calling in construction consulting, interior design planning, and styling - my personal favorite. My knowledge and expertise were further expanded when I designed and built two of my own homes (more on that to come in future posts). This unique blend of life experiences has taught me more than I could ever learn in a classroom or book. Not to mention, I’m comfortable being the only woman present on most job sites!
It was a natural progression for me to begin selling my own line of furniture as I started designing and building out spaces. I would often need an 84” sofa or a certain size chair and it just made sense to start sourcing my own pieces. I am now able to find the perfect piece quicker and faster. I’m incredibly proud of the products I sell and the journey it took to get to this point. As you can imagine, starting my own product line came with its own set of logistical challenges.
Hustle and grind became the mantra of my business and remain so to this day. I don’t hide in my office designing pretty spaces. I manage all aspects of freight, warehouse, shipping, delivery, installation, and assembly of my products. It is a LOT. Thankfully, I have a personality that welcomes and relishes in a good challenge. I believe that any experience can provide a plethora of knowledge and life lessons if you let it.
Today I have found a way to deliver a one-stop-shop to create your dream home. I will work with your contractor and be there down to the last nail in the wall. I hang and assemble everything I sell. Mirrors? Yes. Art? Absolutely. Gallery wall? Wouldn't miss it. This is possible largely
because I understand how a home is built from the ground up. People, sorry guys, are often perplexed by my ability to run a compound slider miter saw, table saw, hammer drill, and so forth. I am incredibly proud of what I can do and the level of service it allows me to provide my clients.
I can’t help but think back to a memory from this fall that illustrates what I’m describing to you. I was at a large home project refresh and I was delivering furniture that I had assembled. I had just delivered a sofa, chairs, side tables, and more. After the furniture was delivered and set into place, I went back into a room and started hanging wall art. The layout was quite complex and required a bit of forethought and planning. During this time, there was a landscaping company outside working. The owner of the company came into the house a few times to turn off/on water valves in the utility room. He saw the furniture I was delivering and the installation of wall art. He was flabbergasted that I knew how to work a drill, back up my trailer (full of MY lines of furniture), and also plan the design of the home - oh yeah, AND have it look cohesive and complete.
That business owner had so many questions for me about the inner workings of my business. He said he has never heard of nor seen any business like it in the area. And female run? He was pretty blown away to see a woman taking on tasks often “left for a man” to do. It was one of those moments in my career that I will never forget. Sometimes we get some needed affirmation from the most unlikely of sources. This was one of the hardest jobs I had ever done as it encompassed nearly every aspect of my business.
With that, I’ll leave you with a clear understanding of what I provide my clients today. I offer interior design services such as construction consulting, remodeling, project renders, and home refreshes. Within those disciplines, I also sell furniture, rugs, lighting, and more. During late 2020 I also added an exciting new service to my ever-evolving business, 3D renders. I am thrilled to be able to provide this high-end touch for my clients. I am even learning how to do 3D walkthroughs of my renders.
Additionally, I am often sought out as a color consultant and work regularly on commercial projects as a support consultant. I sell Cambria and Silestone and get to work with fantastic installers. At the end of the day, I am able to work with all sorts of contractors and subcontractors on virtually any job imaginable.
I look back over my shoulder at where I started and how I got here. It has been the most difficult, yet rewarding journey. My work continually gets better and better due to my confidence and ability to express my design. I am so happy with the journey, 2020 was my best year yet and 2021 looks to be even brighter.