Shelly – how did you get where you are today?
I have lived in numerous places, growing up in a Forest Service family. From Alaska to California, Arizona and then Colorado for school. I moved from Flagstaff, AZ to Fort Collins, CO to attend CSU in 2003, thinking at the time that I wanted to pursue Equine Science as my career path. While attending CSU, with less than exciting grades coming out of my science classes and math classes, I finally hit a wall and realized that I was meant to pursue what I actually excelled at. But, loving horses and wanting to keep them in my life, I knew that becoming a starving artist was not an option! Once I found out about the Interior Design program, I never looked back.
After finishing school, I worked within the architectural design and restaurant interiors businesses. Being able to travel and gain perspective over projects that turned from concept to completion very quickly was extremely rewarding. The pressures and stresses of handling multiple projects and clients, working with great teams on designs and getting to see the process all the way through really set me up for where I am now. In 2008, after years with the same company, I fell victim to layoffs that were happening industry-wide. Living in Southern California at the time, I had to completely cash in my retirement and savings to survive the expenses of just living. After having to sell my dream horse (who I had won some championships on in California that year), due to survival and the cost of California living, I knew it was time to do something different. Heartbroken, but not defeated, I made plans to move – somewhere.
Fate stepped in and I was asked to design a ground up huntbox barn/residence in North Carolina. Bags packed and dog in tow, I moved across the country to start a new adventure.
Canter Lane Interiors is an award-winning interior and architectural design studio – what’s the most exciting part about starting a new project?
Seeing the vision for the space and what I know it can be, then getting to translate that to my clients.
How do you stay current and source interesting, new-to-market products and materials to incorporate in your designs? What trends, materials and/or colors are you particularly into right now?
While I love trends in design, I tend to only use them sparingly. My design style and the clients I attract love an eclectic space. I am super in love with the turn of the century looks that have been back in style for the last few years. The stark white walls and tile with minimal wall decor and antique, or reproduction accessories mixed with new furnishings. Love it!
Tell us about your marketplace…
The Marketplace at Canter Lane is something that is continuing to morph from my visions for an online decor shop that combines my own designed decor along with some curated pieces. In the past, most of my clients have wanted retail items in their designs. However, I am finally branching into to the trade items and more custom pieces. With new trade relationships, I will feature a few of my favorite pieces from my favorite brands for sale as well. While nothing replaces the nostalgic, tactile, experience of a brick and mortar shop, while I am still fledgling and growing, I will keep the Marketplace online.
Who are some of your favorite local Southern Pines and North Carolina vendors that you work with?
Freddie Bowling is a contractor that I absolutely love working with. His background in finish carpentry has made him an excellent overall contractor with great attention to detail that some contractors lack. I love living so close to High Point Market and all of the fabulous vendors and showrooms that are available. Surya will always be one of my favorites for accents. I love color, and they always infuse their pieces with great pops of color. And being so close to the big annual Furniture Market is pretty fantastic! Sherwin Williams is my go-to paint location for projects, and Aberdeen Glass does a wonderful job installing shower surrounds.
How does designing make you feel?
Of course I love it, but didn’t realize just how much it impacted me until a client noted that they loved how much I lit up and was excited about every detail of any project. They said that they loved how apparent it was that design is my passion and that they loved working with someone who was so excited about it. That really felt great to hear :-).
What’s your business mantra?
Design does more than look pretty, it provides comfort, calm, joy, soul, and life to spaces that affect us every day; so designing spaces that help people live a fuller, richer, life is always the goal.
How do you receive inquiries and leads for new business?
Word of mouth has been the best lead generator so far, especially when clients see an already designed space in person. I also use HOUZZ, Thumbtack, and Facebook to gain followers and potential clients.
From a marketing standpoint, how much time is spent posting on social media, writing newsletters, etc.?
Oh lordie, haha – I spend a lot of time on social media. I should probably track my time more closely :-).
You dabble in e-design as well with Laurel & Wolf. Why did you choose the Laurel & Wolf platform over other e-design platforms such as Decorist and Havenly?
It was more or less serendipitous that I became involved with Laurel and Wolf. They sent me an e-mail one day that I responded to and the rest is history. I love supplementing project load and income with L&W. Leura is a wonderful entrepreneur who was able to reach a market of clients that would likely not be introduced to fabulous design otherwise. I have heard of Decorist and Havenly, but haven’t had a chance to explore them yet.
How do you manage your accounting?
So, I basically wasn’t managing my accounting before IVY. My method as a new solo-preneur has been haphazard at best. Between Excel files, PDFs, and my online banking, I was drowning in trying to keep track of everything. When IVY came along, the timing could not have been more perfect.
What are the go-to resources, groups and forums that you refer to day-to-day?
Facebook private design groups, Pinterest, ASID online, magazines like Veranda, Town & Country, and Traditional Home.
When you start a new project, how do you get to know your client and the space?
When I meet with my new clients, I like to observe the existing spaces they live or work in on an average day so I can get a real sense of how the spaces are used. I actually prefer that my clients don’t go out of their way to clean up messes, laundry, etc. or do anything that they normally wouldn’t that may take away from viewing the needs that they actually have. If I can see the messes and clutter, I can help the client by designing a new space that eliminates these problems. I also like to meet family members, pets, and get to know what the client’s routine is like. I keep design meetings pretty warm and casual, so I think this helps clients feel at ease and allows them to express their needs better.
Why did you join Ivy?
After reviewing what IVY offered, it was a no brainer to at least try it out. The platform provided everything I needed to take my business to the next level.
How has Ivy helped streamline your workflow?
Wow, I cannot say enough about how great IVY has been so far. Being able to keep all of my projects and invoices tethered into one platform that keeps it all organized and at my fingertips has proved to be a massive timesaver already.
What’s an Ivy feature you can’t live without?
The invoicing feature and the P.O. create tools.
Photography courtesy of Shelly Gerritsma
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