Archive | November, 2016

Gettin’ Down to Bidness

a-holly-mathis-office

Saturday I drove to Brenham for Holly Mathis Interiors’ Creative Business class.  I spent the day in Brenham at her studio and then at her home for some serious inspiration and education from Holly herself.  I met a ton of other women at all different stages of doing this decorating/styling thing and the whole thing was EXACTLY what I needed.  It was like encouragement, inspiration, and a kick in the pants all wrapped in one.

First of all, walking into her studio space is inspiration in itself.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures of everything.  She’s dabbling in retail as well (her words) so it doubles as a cute little boutique: designer pillows, candles, local art, etc.

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And now I’m kicking myself- why oh why did I not come home with one of those designer pillows??

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We sat down at chippy farmhouse tables with perfectly imperfect mismatched chairs to scones & pastries on blue & white china with mimosas and coffee.  We each (there were about 15 of us) had our own spot with a hand written name card that was actually the envelope for a letter from Holly and then our notebooks chock full of info and space for note taking.

a-holly-mathis-table

After introductions and a first session, we carpooled up and headed to Holly’s house for lunch.  We got to tour her house and also it was a great time to chat and find out how others in the business are doing things.  What program do they use for moodboards, how do they address pricing, how do they access “to the trade” sources, etc.  My big question was “What is the Dec Center and how do I get in??” Some of you may be laughing at me and some of you may also have no idea what this is.  It was just great because I could totally be myself and open about what I do and do not know about this business.

I’ll show you a few pictures of her house.  Of course it was adorable in every way.  It was recently photographed for a magazine due to come out in the spring I think.

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Here we are in the kitchen, spilling out into the foyer as Holly prayed before lunch.

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I loved how open she was about her faith.  If you’ve ever read her blog, you know this about her- that its a big part of her business. It was just great to hear her encouragement- to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and to pray, pray, pray.  She was also incredibly authentic and down to earth.  I loved that so much.

After lunch we headed back to the studio eager to learn more and ask a million questions.  For me, the best part was the information about making myself a “real” business.  I’ve struggled with fear and intimidation about a lot of that and have just sort of taken things as they’ve come rather than going about this in a proactive, intentional way.  I’ve got some goals for The House of Figs.  And that doesn’t necessarily mean growing and being busier… for now at least.  It just means getting some things organized and made official, not being intimidated by the whole “to the trade” thing, and starting to see myself as a real business owner.

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So in the words of Holly’s brother (did you know he’s Jimmy Don from Fixer Upper?  He makes all of Joanna’s metal signs!) It’s time to “git down to bidness!”

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

xoxo Bethany

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The Holly Mathis Creative Class

This Saturday I’m continuing my journey in learning more about business that I discussed in my last post.  I’m taking a class.  I’ve taken classes before- online.  In fact building this blog was part of a class I took through Jones Design Company.  But this class will be in the flesh and I will get to meet and learn from someone who’s work I’ve admired for a long time… and all in the atmosphere of this beautiful studio space.

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Holly Mathis is an interior decorator who has her own shop in Brenham, TX.  I’ve followed her blog for a long time and can’t tell you how many of her images I’ve pinned over the years.  She has a way with fabric, pattern, rugs, and just knows how to create a beautiful classic Southern aesthetic.

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And Saturday I get to spend all day with her!!!  Well, me and like 10 other people.  I’ll be learning from her in her studio and then we will have lunch at her house.

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Amidst taking down notes like a crazy person I will for sure be snapping away photos as well.  I’ll also try to do some insta-stories so you can catch my real-time excitement, though I’ll do my best to reign in the star-struckness and play it cool.  If I can, haha.  But in all seriousness, I’m excited to meet others on this journey, to learn and be encouraged about how to do this small business thing well and intentionally.  And hopefully get some questions answered about how the decorating/design business world actually works.

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Follow along with me on instagram if you’re not already.  And I’ll be sure to blog about it afterward as well.  Here’s to learning and growing and meeting others on this journey as well!

xoxo Bethany

 

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Fear vs. Ambition vs. All or Nothing Thinking

Aka the world’s longest blog post title.

I get asked a lot how my business is going.  I so appreciate friends being interested in my work!  And my answer varies.  In fact, sometimes I’m not really sure how to answer.  I do still take clients and I do still work.  My littlest guy is in school two days a week now so that has opened up some time to work.  Its also shown me that I don’t enjoy working the entire time he’s at school and that for my own sanity I enjoy taking some of that time to do other things like grocery shop and clean my house, listen to podcasts & music, or just watch tv.  I know that all of this is a complete luxury and for that I’m very grateful.  Not all women have the option of choosing when and how much to work and I’m aware of that.  So I say all of this out of that knowledge and with a grateful heart of the situation I’m in.

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A gallery wall layout I’ve been working on with a client.


Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t pursued my business more, why I haven’t taken it “to the next level.”  Why don’t I feel a drive to grow my client base, make things more “official,” etc?  Some of it, I think for sure, is a little bit of fear.  I don’t actually know much of anything about business.  I know what I’ve taught myself about design, I know what I love to do, and that’s about it.  I struggle with pricing myself and how much my service should be worth.  I struggle at times with “selling” my ideas and my view of design because I truly believe it is SO subjective.

I admire my favorite designers like Lauren Liess, Shea McGee, Emily Henderson.  They all work so hard and have such a defined style and client base.  I wonder about what it must take to get to that point.  What kind of ambition, sacrifices, hours of hard work, constant learning from mistakes, networking, etc has it taken?

I told myself at the beginning of this year when my littlest started preschool I was going to take the year to decide if I was really going to “go for it” in that sense.  That I would pray, work, use the year to educate myself in the business world some and then decide: will I go for it or will I just stop? I’ve spent so long just sort of awkwardly wavering in between.  Always on the edge of fear and ambition.

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A playroom/homeschool moodboard currently in process.

And so I have done exactly that over the past few months.

I’ve prayed, I’ve read, I’ve taken on some new projects, I even signed up for a design business class with Holly Mathis (another designer who’s work I truly admire!!) that will happen later this month.  More on that later, for sure.

And now I find myself in a little different mindset: does it really have to be all or nothing?

I read Present over Perfect recently (more on that later, too) and I resonated with so much of it.  If you’ve read it you know it speaks a lot to the workaholic (which I am not).  But it also speaks to remembering to be present in the moments when you’d rather distract or numb.  I can often find myself being lazy and/or afraid, desiring to numb rather than face whatever’s really going on.  And that distracts from my goal of doing this work thing intentionally.  That’s the word that’s coming to me in this season.  That’s how I desire this to be whether its small or big or nothing at all.  Whatever it is, I want it to be thoughtful and intentional.  Not haphazard and certainly not motivated by fear.

guestroom-design

A simple neutral guest room also in process right now.

So for now I work in a small way.  And I’m discovering thats okay.  It doesn’t mean I’m afraid.  I can work in confidence and take on what I feel capable taking on.  I want to take on what is good for our family and then say no.   I’m still learning how that looks for now, but anyway, that’s the long answer to “how’s your work going?” in case you ever wondered. 🙂

If you’ve read this far, you get a trophy now.  Thanks, friends, I’ll be back soon.

xoxo Bethany

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