My Secrets about the Current State of DSI!

I literally cannot believe we are here…the end of 2017, our 4th year of business and I have  not written a blog post since August.  Frankly the only reason I am capable of writing this one is because I am sitting in a hotel room in Chicago (unplanned).  On our way home from Christmas in New York, my dad got sick on the flight, so we all decided to park it here for the night to make sure he was OK.  Bright side….he’s fine & I’ve been super productive!  Me & the hubs actually worked on a few business things that we’ve needed to check off our list, while sitting at the hotel bar.  

Side Note:  It’s now 10 days later and I am on a plane to Orlando for KBIS and getting back to writing what I started 10 days ago…LOL  So it’s officially 8 days into 2018.

So speaking of the start of year 5 for Design Shop….where do I even begin?  

Well…if you follow us on social media…you know that we are hiring…again.  So we can start there.  How did I come to this conclusion when 3 weeks ago I would have told you ‘nope, not hiring anyone anytime soon’….and I actually did say that very thing to several people who asked!  Come to think about it, I’ve pretty much said that just before every new hire I’ve ever made.  So this blog post, my end of year blog post and first blog post in 4 months, is all about where we have been these last 4 months and how we plan to connect more with you in the New Year!

First up…..Growth…

…all of the growth that we have experienced has been organic and not forced.   When we have experienced a new need, I followed my gut instinct (even though sometimes it was accompanied by paralyzing fear) and made the decision.  From hiring Whitney then Ashlee then Donna then Nicole then Angie then Liz….. to moving our studio from my backyard to Sutter Street and now Natoma Street…it has all happened at the right time and for the right reasons.  Things just seem to fall into place.  

Backyard Studio

Backyard Studio, Design Shop Interiors

Sutter Street

Natoma Street

Design Shop Interiors Studio at 300 Natoma Street, Folsom, CAWhat hasn’t fallen into place though, is my ability to manage it all with some sense of balance.  I’m wearing too many hats:  designer, project manager, scheduler, business owner, office manager, social media manager, blogger, customer relations manager, accountant, manager of 6 people who all need my attention and guidance (except Whitney…she never wants my guidance…LOL)…you get the idea.  I am spreading myself so thin, that no one is getting the best of me anymore and I’m not operating at my highest and best use.  If you too are a small business owner, trust me, you’re not alone!

Second…Highest and Best Use….

…that is our motto for 2018.  What does it mean?  It means, in order for DSI to be successful and for all of us to be able to give the best creative parts of ourselves to our clients….we need to be happy, healthy, not stressed and doing the parts of this job that speak to who we are as individuals.  Thankfully we are one big group of happy, healthy people (though I could stand to lose a few LB’s and that’s a whole other blog post).  So, a few of us are redefining our roles and we are looking to add a few people to this crazy train we call DSI.  

So what are some of these changes?

Design Shop Interiors Team, Leyla Jaworski, Nicole Wallace, Angie Edwards


Nicole was hired a year ago as my assistant in our construction division, she has been amazing.  

If you don’t know this about Nicole, her REAL skillset is photography.  She made a change a year ago to leave her wedding photography biz and give design a try.  Little did we all know, her taking photos of our work on a whim would change everything for us and her.  Not only did she up our Instagram game significantly, it reignited her passion for photography and now she’s back on freelance projects that really speak to her along with her work at DSI….and that work is changing.  

Nicole is going to lead our marketing efforts under the direction of my husband (side note:  he has his own ‘real job’ and that ‘real job’ is him being a social media / marketing bad ass but he likes to fly under the radar).  She is going to take over Facebook, the website, blogging, Pinterest, Houzz, portfolio management…and so many things that have started to overwhelm me.  One thing that will stay mine is Instagram.  I’m not ready to give it up and she will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands ☺  

So anyway, now that Angie and I don’t have Nicole to help us in construction, we need help!


Meet the new ‘Senior Designer’ in our renovation/construction division. (I would really like to make an age joke about Angie being senior, but we are the same age…so…)  

Angie will be heading up everything construction and renovation related. So our new person (or people) will report directly to her and basically do whatever she tells them…. they will be working under one mind boggling, talented designer.  My hope is that we grow this division to work as streamlined as Whitney, Ashlee & Liz work together over in ‘decorating’ (side note: Whitney will kill me for referring to what she does as ‘decorating’) …and then we can basically rule the world!


I have officially changed my title to ‘Creative Director’ (mostly because it sounds super fancy…and I am nothing if not super fancy ☺ ) that means I am changing my day-to-day role and what I do here.  

Without getting into specifics, because the list of what I do is really long and boring, I can tell you what my goals are (not in priority order – that’s also on my list ☺:  

  • Drive the business instead of letting the business drive me
  • Follow our growth path without fear
  • Be more available to this team
  • Be more available to our clients, by being a constant presence in our jobs
  • Get our new showroom up and running (stay tuned for that blog post)
  • Be a present leader of this magical group of talented souls and truly get to enjoy the ride

So….in order to accomplish all of this, we need some new systems, some new direction and some new faces!!

New Faces…


Before I dive into that, let me first say that I am floored/humbled/honored and wow’d by the responses I’ve seen…people saying that working here would be there dream job.  The emails and messages I’ve received from people offering to intern and work for free just to have a chance to work with this team… seriously, I don’t even know what to say…I will say more on that, but it has to be a different blog post.  

So now that I am a fancy ‘Creative Director’ and Nicole is a fancy ‘Marketing Coordinator’, we’ve basically abandoned Angie in construction and as much of a bad ass that she is (and I mean BAD ASS), she can’t do it all alone.  

Our waiting list is growing, jobs are getting bigger and more complicated, we are starting to work in the Bay Area and Tahoe, its too much for one person and we need help.  We also need people who bring skills to the table that we don’t have…like AutoCad. Angie and I eventually plan to learn it, but our current workload doesn’t allow us the time so we need someone who can jump in and hit the ground running.  

So, there you have it…or at least some of it…at least all that I can manage to put in one blog post.  

There will be more to the story and more to share.  

Oh speaking of ‘sharing’…I like to consider myself a pretty open book and lately, sometimes even daily, people want to know our story.  How did this all happen in 4 years?  How did a girl with no formal design education or training build this business and make all of this happen?  

I want to share the story, I want to inspire anyone I can to live their dream and find their path…but I can’t do that in one email, phone call or coffee date.  I hope people understand, but there aren’t enough hours in the day for me most days….(you know, I also try to be a wife, a mom and a well rounded human)…so….I will be writing a multi-part blog series telling the whole story of DSI.  

We may also do an “Ask me Anything (AMA)” series to answer all of your questions – include them in our comments (below) so I know what has you thinking and I can cover it in my series.  Once you get me talking, it’s hard to shut me up! ☺

I am so excited to take you on this journey and document it all here on the blog!

If you are interested in joining the DSI team then check out our job listing here, and if you’re interested in seeing one of our favorite designs of the year follow this link here!

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