interview

Ep. 9: Working with Your Spouse

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You guys. It’s episode 9! WHAT! This season is flying by and episode 9 is a special one! Kristen interviews her husband, Vince, and they get real about what it’s really like to work with your spouse. Business moguls and creatives alike, there’s lots of good info in this one, so listen up!

THE SHOW NOTES

You heard this in episode 1, but Kristen and Vince originally met working together 9-10 years ago! She was the creative (obviously), and he was in charge of logistics. Before Vince made the switch and was hired on as CEO of The LifeStyled COMPANY, he worked in the corporate food and beverage industry. In this interview, Vince recalls that his job consisted of doing sales and managing people and processes - selling booze and selling home decor and women’s clothing is (of course) very different, but the foundational principles are the same. Already having some business and management experience under his belt it made the transition easier, but there were some challenges that came about.

This episode is a gold mine of good advice that can be applicable to anyone in business! For those of you listening on the go, we listened for ya! Here are the most key things to note and remember from this episode:

  • One of the most important things to keep in mind when working with your spouse is to define your roles early on, and outsource the work that doesn’t fit into either one of your skillsets. In other words, stay in your lane. This practice is huge, and something people might gloss over when transitioning into a new job role. In any situation, it’s so important to have open and honest communication, but especially when working with your partner/spouse. By identifying your roles at the beginning, you will be avoiding the whole “Who’s doing what?” “I thought that was my job” “You should be doing it like this” conflicts that are bound to arise.

  • In the same way that you should be defining your individual roles with your spouse, you should be doing the same to define your roles with your team once they make the switch. It’s important to keep your employees in the loop, and especially in small businesses where people seem to have their hands in everything.

  • Someone wrote in and asked, “How do you convince your spouse to quit their job and come work with you?” This is such a good question for many reasons, but the main response boils down to if you have to convince them to quit their current job to work with you, it’s probably not a good fit. If your spouse/partner is hesitant because of financial reasons, there are ways to navigate that, but they should feel willing and excited about the switch. Kristen and Vince suggest making a pro and con list separately, and then reviewing your lists together to spark and open and honest conversation.

  • The transition was hard at times for Vince and Kristen and it became apparent in their own experience that our society doesn’t do that great of a job supporting the emotional side of our men. Society says that men are “supposed” to be the unemotional, stone faced ones, but they experience emotions with change, too. Are we asking if they’re okay? Are we giving our guys any grace in having unexpected feelings and how that will feel for them emotionally? We need to affirm them that it’s okay to be bummed about whatever, to lean into those feelings and process them.

  • “One of the biggest challenges when you work with your spouse is the first 15 minutes after we get home when all you want to do is just download on your day,” says Kristen. This is common amongst most working people, but when you work with your spouse, they’re with you during your day! So as to not bring work home with you, different boundaries needed to be created and implemented.

THE LINKS

Ep. 5: Working for a Design Firm, Interview with Lead Designers Kylie Ray + Rachel McCloskey

Episode 5 is here! Kristen sat down with Kylie (Blanche) and Rachel to interview them on what it’s like working for a design firm, specifically LCo. The girls both say (and frequently we might add!) that they’re working their dream job! But, as we all know, “dream jobs” don’t usually just fall into your lap without hard work, trial and error, good timing and a little bit of luck. If you haven’t listened, be sure to do so because this is one episode you don’t want to miss! Keep reading for some amazing advice and takeaways that you can apply to your own life!

THE SHOW NOTES

If you don’t know, Kylie and Rachel have very different backgrounds, both of which have served them well along their journey to their career at LCo.

Kylie has a degree in Nonprofit and Special Events Management from Arizona State University. She was working four jobs prior to her full-time role as a designer, including retail at a big box furniture store, real estate agent and spin instructor (fun fact! She met Kristen because she used to take her classes - shout out to The Madison!).

Ky started part time as a junior project manager at LCo, which lasted basically two weeks before Kristen changed lanes and brought her on full-time as a design associate. While she didn’t have any formal training, she has a natural eye and passion for interiors. A pivotal moment in Kylie’s professional life was when Kristen asked her, “Is the future of Kylie a spin instructor? Or is the future of Kylie an Interior Designer?” Ever since then, it’s been guns blazing and she’s grown into her role as Lead Designer.

Rachel has a degree in Graphic Design from Michigan State University. Rach got into interiors because of her graphic design internship experiences at design firms in LA where she was doing mostly brand and branding deliverables. She used her internships to her advantage to refine her skills and also make great connections in the industry.

After college, Rach ended up moving to LA for work, bouncing around as a junior designer or associate at firms through her network. Perhaps one of the most pivotal experiences of her early career was her role at Croft House in LA. It was in this role that she expanded her knowledge in SketchUp and the details and specific roles that furniture has in an overall design - she loves this experience and says that it helped lead her to the place she’s at today.

THE INTERVIEW

Kristen started firing off questions to the girls and we documented some of the highlights below, and while we of course want you to read them, you really gotta just listen because they’re a wealth of knowledge and HILARIOUSLY entertaining.

You’ve both said on multiple occasions that you’re working in your “dream job” - why?

Rach: The quote “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” has always really resonated with me. If you have to work too hard for something and it isn’t necessarily a good fit, it can really not be fun, and your dream job should be something that you wake up excited to go and do. When I’m away from work I miss it, it just makes me so happy. There are also so many different niches within LCo (fashion, custom furniture, we do it all). Once you reach your dream job, I think you also realize all the hard work that went into getting there.

Kylie: I totally agree with Rachel, but for me, I worked multiple jobs before LCo. I love working and never felt like one job was enough. But after getting hired by Kristen, I finally feel like I’m at a place where one job is enough and I feel totally fulfilled in all aspects of my career. There are good sides and bad sides, but even the bad is amazing.

What’s your best advice to those who want to break into the interior design industry?

Rach: If you’re in a time of transition and you’re doing it on the side, just do it and develop yourself because any experience will help when applying for jobs. For me, I was in graphic design and wanted to get into interiors, so I got graphic design jobs at interior design firms. The same goes for marketing or sales, use your strengths and background to your advantage to get your foot into the door and things can totally evolve from there. Another thing you need to ask yourself is, are you willing to put in the work? Or start out at the bottom as an intern or assistant?

Kylie: Don’t be afraid even if you don’t have experience and think you need to go back to school for design. While it gives you a leg up, it’s not a make or break deal. If you love something, find a friend that will let you do something for you, do your own spaces and take photos! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, especially on social media! Before I started out I was super active on social and made connections with the designers in our area.

What is it like working on a team of all women?

Kylie: Our office is tiny, we sit shoulder to shoulder and sit on top of each other, but there is zero drama. Similar personalities. We’re all in tune with ourselves and stay in our own lane.

Barb: I take so long to hire because it needs to feel right. It’s all about timing. I’m constantly gut checking and when it isn’t working, you gotta pivot and figure out what you’re going to do. As women in general, we can get along. It doesn’t have to be nasty. Another thing that makes it easy is that we all have a personal connection. Anyone who says business is personal, I’ve never been able to resonate with that because it’s 100% personal. It’s money, time and family, and in our business, it people’s homes. There really isn’t much that’s more personal than giving your house to someone to design.

What makes you proud of your team?

Barb: OUR team. We have each other’s backs. We call each other out, we joke and have fun, and work really really hard. We’re also very honest with each other.

What’s something about Rach that people don’t know?

Her dance moves. - Ky

She is really deeply hilarious and has amazing comedic timing. She also pronounces Arizona words very, very wrong. - KF

About Barb?

She doesn’t let more than 10 seconds of silence pass before bringing something up - Ky

She hates white stuff, mostly all white sauces (crema, sour cream, mayo), and constantly ask us how to spell words. - Rach

About Ky?

She eats an avocado a day - no joke. She has also never been capable of cutting her own toenails! - KF

She’s so hard working. She’s very pretty and put together on IG and people might not think that about her, but she has such an amazing work ethic. - Rach

LINKS