My heart always warms to mothers and daughters who are working together. Below four mother-daughter design teams with whom I recently crossed paths share thoughts on this family work dynamic proving that it works. In some cases, I’ve tweaked their heartfelt stories and comments for brevity. Their original sentiment,however, is intact. Grab a tissue.
Stacey + Laurie Plumb
Stacey on Laurie:
"Working with my mom has been the most rewarding experience, albeit challenging at times. The most important lesson I have learned is how to find and keep a balance in our personal and professional relationship. With our business hours extending beyond the normal 9-5, defining our individual roles and responsibilities has been the key to keeping our relationship professional without having to sacrifice the personal. When we are both confident in our individual roles as business partners, we are able to enjoy both our work and play time even more. Lucky for us, work and play are often one and the same!"
Laurie on Stacey:
"Take a chance. Being a one woman show for more than 20 years, I was not overly enthusiastic about having a partner. To be honest, it wasn't an easy start, as I am not the teacher type, so teaching my career to my daughter and former teacher was at times challenging. Three years later I can say with confidence that the challenge was more than worth it. We now have an understanding of each other's strengths, which has made my job easier and back to being fun again. I am able to let go of all of the headaches that come with running a business and concentrate more on the creative side. Just when I thought I was about to retire, I seems like there is no end in sight!"
Sophia & Alexa Ellis on Kelli Ellis
Sophia (above left) works on content and the website:
"Growing up, my mom was different from the other moms. Instead of waiting for me to get out of school, she was picking me up and taking me to her meetings. Instead of typical "kid" things, we were painting and going with her to pick out fabrics for her next client as she grew her business from scratch. Today, I try to emulate her work ethic and passion as I build my own business and she supports me. I would not trade the time I've spent laughing, working, striving for the best next to the woman who truly created the best for herself and her children."
Alexa (right) works on all things design:
"I have a new respect for my mother and the work she put into her career early on. As a single mom, she'd take me to Kravet when I was in pre-school. I would sit with my pad and pencil 'ordering' samples while she worked. Fast forward and Kravet's still one of my favorite places to shop!
"Working with Mom has been incredible. I knew we had a similar aesthetic but I never knew she would allow me so much input. She really values my opinion and style, and as a new art graduate and new designer, it means so much to me. I never imagined working so well side-by-side with my mom. When you see your parent as a person outside of just your mother, it's eye-opening. I am lucky she sees me as an adult, as well. My sister and I both love working with Mom, in different capacities, but supporting her dream and becoming part of the Ellis Design legacy, has been nothing short of awesome."
Loren Taylor on her mommy Carolyn
"In 2004, I was working for a designer whose work was not in sync with my personal design aesthetic. I asked my mother, a retired educator, what would she think of us starting a design firm and she asked, ‘When are we doing it?’ My mother, Carolyn, has always exhibited a great sense of style and taste in the way that she carries herself, and articulates this style acumen in fashion, decorating, gardening, cooking, entertaining, sewing, and more. Mommy, as I call her, is a natural fit and complement to Loren Taylor Interior Design. She is the person that taught me etiquette and restraint in beauty― some of the many skills that no one can teach you in design school but are necessary when showing clients how to go beyond the design and live beautifully.
"One of my friends calls me “Carolyn, Jr.,” because my mother and I think and act alike. It is frightening the way we say the same words verbatim or give identical responses to the same question. Together, we have made Loren Taylor Interior Design a boutique interior design firm that reflects long-standing classical architectural principles through the employment of restraint and attention to detail in the context of our clients’ contemporary lifestyles."
Katie Heinz on her mom Amy Douglass
In Medina, OH, sisters Julie McNabb and Katie Heinz feel very fortunate to work with their mother Amy Douglass at The Interior Design Studio, a full-service design business that Amy took ownership of in 1999. “She took a leap of faith and invested in her passion of interior design,” says Katie who with her sister, has reaped the benefits of growing up with a designing mom. The girls always had a say in how their rooms were decorated plus, with wallpaper and fabric scraps aplenty, they had the best craft supplies for all the school projects.
Described as caring, bubbly, happy, outgoing and a dreamer, Julie and Katie have gleaned much from their mom’s unwavering positive attitude. “She is fantastically enthusiastic and has taught us to look for the good in all situations. We often joke and say she could sell ice to eskimos,” says Katie. Ten years ago Julie and Katie opened up JK Gift Shop inside of The Studio, and more recently they took a second space in Wooster, OH. "Thanks Mom for your never ending support, love and encouragement to always push forward with any dream I have to make into a reality," Katie says. "You never doubt that I can achieve it."
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!