Oh man, this is one of those posts that's hard to write. I get sooo shy sometimes and especially when I talk on the internet about things I'm doing with my life. Like real things. Big things. When it comes to sharing big news, I'd prefer to just slip it under the radar. But this isn't the kind of news you let leak out there without a proper blog happy dance. So here it is....deep breath. I own an interior styling business!
I'm getting better at saying that with a straight face, but internally I'm freaking out and saying it more like, "I OWN AN INTERIOR STYLING BUSINESS!!!!" followed by an over-long string of the dancing girl emoji and several of that monkey with its hands over its eyes.
As much as I hate to use an already overused phrase, I can't stop thinking of how perfectly the words "dream come true" apply here. All the way back in my freshman year of college, when I thought I'd major in history, I took one of those what-should-I-be-when-I-grow-up quizzes they pass out at career counseling, and the unequivocal answer was Interior Designer. I didn't exactly heed the wisdom and instead got a fashion merchandising degree, but the dream was firmly planted. I went on to intern for an interior design firm, work in the commercial interiors industry, and ended up doing styling and merchandising for an interiors retail store. It always felt like I was dancing around the dream job (or maybe working toward it), but then babies came along and I hit the career pause button.
You may remember when I featured the gorgeous home of my long-time friend Laura Peacock last June. She and I met through our mutual friend, Adrienne, who brought her to a mom's playdate group we were starting, way back when our oldest kids were mere toddlers. I still remember setting up the pack n' play for that first group at my house, knowing a girl named Laura would be joining us and bringing her baby. That group turned into a bible study that stayed together for years. That girl became a dear friend.
I suppose it was my writing about her house that made Laura and I connect over our enthusiasm for interiors; I honestly don't remember ever talking much with her about the subject before that! At a barbecue a couple months later, probably as she and I were standing in my kitchen discussing tile or something, her husband randomly said, "You guys should go into business together." Heh. Sure, Justin. Whatever.
Even though that seemed like a total impossibility, I think we both felt a spark at those words. About 5 minutes after he said it, I already knew I'd do it in a heartbeat if I got the chance.
In October, Laura's church asked her if she would help redesign their new offices. Like me, she was on career pause to stay home with her kids, but her brother-in-law, the pastor, knew she'd have fun brushing off her interior design degree for a quick project.
She asked me if I wanted to help, and since my single goal in life at the time was to have pretty projects on my blog, I was all in! We did the job in just a few weeks on a shoe-string budget, DIY-ing and thrifting our little hearts out, and had an absolute blast. Bringing the staff in to reveal the space and watching them totally freak out with excitement was SO indescribably fun. And we worked well together. Like, really well.
I remember sitting over coffee and talking with her after that about what it would be like to do it for a living. "Someday."
In January we got an email from a couple in her church named Dan & Grace. I think I'll always love Dan & Grace. They sent us an adorable impassioned plea for help decorating their home, and there was truly no way we could resist. They had a darling place and had already done a ton of work to it, and really just needed help pulling together that final layer. Laura and I hastily brainstormed about what kind of services we could offer and all of a sudden found ourselves making crazy grown up stuff like proposals and invoices and logos. It was bizarre but wonderful! Just like that, we had our first clients.
We ended up doing what we now call a Custom Design Package, where we gave them the floor plan and shopping list for them to put together as their time and budget allowed. They've been kicking butt on the project and have made unbelievably fast progress considering we basically did plans for their whole house. We've been getting sneak peeks from them and I jump up and down every time I see more of it come together. The whole process was a total joy.
So what now? We considered just taking jobs as they came, if they came, and keeping it on the side as a fun hobby. But more people called than we expected. And it became apparent we needed to figure out what to tell them. And a website would be easier than explaining it over and over again. And if you have a website, and a name, you want to make sure you can actually use the name before you put it out there too much. And how would people pay you without a business bank account? It just became obvious that an LLC was a necessary step. We weren't ready (and we might never be ready), but to quote my brother, "Man up, this is happening!"
So today, I'm excited to introduce you to Laura Design Company. (It had to be named that since we're both Laura right? I mean seriously, what are the odds?!) And I'm excited for you to get to know my sweet partner and friend! I have so much admiration for her- her grace, her style, her love for the Lord. She's a true class act and I'm grateful to be on this adventure with her.
Photo by Ellen Swalley
And that's my news! There are some moments I think it'll all just fizzle into a forgotten dream, and some moments when I think I could look back on this post years from now and be in awe of all that's come to pass. Either way, it feels like I've been given a precious gift. We'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where the path takes us.
Thank you ALL so much for your incredible support in this exciting (terrifying! thrilling!) new adventure. We will be working on our website over the coming weeks and plan on having an official launch once it's all pretty and presentable. But for now, I just had to give a sneak peek to my sweet friends and blog readers. I can't say how grateful I am that you're here with me.
Please come visit us at Laura Design Company and follow us on Pinterest- I can't wait to see you there.
Here's to new beginnings!