Women in Business: Mackenzie Green, Director of Business Development at iHomeRegistry

We’re keeping things close to home this week for our Women in Business, featuring the newest member of the iHomeRegistry team: Mackenzie Green!

Mackenzie is the Director of Business Development at iHomeRegistry, spearheading sales initiatives in the Midwest. She fell in love with the home building process after working for a local homebuilder in Indiana and has brought great energy to our company! Originally from San Diego, California, she currently resides in Indiana with her husband and two daughters.

Read a little more about who she is in our Q&A with her below! 

Mackenzie Greene
Mackenzie Greene
  1. What attracted you to iHomeRegistry?

What immediately attracted me to iHomeRegistry was the content of the Instagram page! I was so drawn to it, and then after seeing what the software can do I was so impressed. Being able to render, design, and organize all in one was genius and I knew from there I wanted to be apart of it!

  1. How did you get to where you are today?

A lot of passion, love and encouragement from my family! They are always pushing me to follow what I love and pursue my dreams. Being able to be a mom, wife, and do something that makes me happy is a dream come true! I always want to stay true to myself, be a good person, work hard and go after what you want in life!

  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

I think the best piece of advice I have received would be never stop being curious, always ask questions, explore the unknown and try new things. Life is all about new discoveries, and never giving up on your dreams. It doesn’t help to be stuck, always search for something bigger and better. Life is what you make of it, so put a smile on and go after your life!

  1. Who did you look up to as a young woman and why?

My mom! She has always been my inspiration in life. She exceeded every expectation growing up, as a mom, wife, friend, and being an incredibly strong woman. She has taught me to try new things, and chase after your life. If there is something you want in life, it’s up to you to go after it! She has shown me it is possible to put your family first but also still do what you love.

  1. What is your favorite room in your home and why?

My kitchen and coffee bar! The kitchen is the heart of our home, we spend a lot of time cooking and at the end of the day gathering around the table to have dinner together. I also have a very favorite spot in my kitchen where my coffee bar is. In our kitchen my husband and I DIY’d a pallet wall and turned it into my coffee bar. I have a table set up with all my favorite mugs and coffee essentials, because who doesn’t need a good cup of coffee to get your day started!

  1. Fun/interesting fact about yourself?

I’m a California girl who ended up in the Midwest trading sandy beaches for the lake life!

Women in Business: Farah Merhi, Founder of Inspire Me! Home Decor

This week we’re bringing you a very special woman in business: Farah Merhi. Farah is someone that continually inspires us in the home design industry and someone who has achieved an incredible amount of success. She is the Founder and President of Inspire Me! Home Decor, a home decor lifestyle brand which brings classic, elegant, and glamorous design into homes around the world. Founded in 2012, Inspire Me! began as an Instagram page and has since become the most followed home decor page on the platform with over 3.9M followers!

From day one, Farah established a personal and honest connection with Inspire Me! fans, a connection she continues to foster through expanding the platform as well as continuing to host a one-on-one dialogue with her audience.

Get inspired by reading her story below!

Inspire Me Home Decor
Farah Merhi

1. How do you juggle your work and home life?

It has been a struggle for me to find a balance that makes everyone happy.  I guess that goes with the territory of being a working mom and wife. Mommy guilt kicks in when I am working, and the guilt of not working kicks in when I am away from my office. I take it one day at a time and as long as I know I am trying my best and giving my all, that’s all that matters! My family has been very supportive, it’s definitely been a team effort!
2. What is your favorite part of your job/position?
As founder of Inspire Me! Home Decor, my favorite part about what I do is knowing that I am inspiring home owners worldwide daily. Its a humbling feeling knowing that I am able to offer home owners tools to help them on their design journey. Inspire Me! Has turned into a platform where home owners can learn about trends, home decor products, see designs by interior designers, builders and interior design enthusiasts.  When you create a platform that turns into the “go-to” platform for home owners and designers, you get a sense of responsibility towards them, finding innovative ways to continue to help them every way you can.
3. Who did you look up to as a young woman and why?
My mom. She inspired me to be who I am today by being a strong woman who did what she loved doing, which is Interior Design. She taught me to always be compassionate and help others when I can. She showed me that a well designed home makes you happy and content. She taught me to prioritize my family no matter what. She sacrificed a lot for her children, putting herself last and making sure we always had what we needed and wanted.
Farah Merhi
Photo credit: Farah Merhi
4. Have you ever experienced sexism in your industry and if so, how did you handle it?
I am lucky enough to say that I have not yet experienced sexism personally but it does not mean that I am not aware of its existence. I know of female friends who have experienced it and it has really discouraged them in many ways. At some point, if I were to experience it, my personality is such that I would actively respond to it and call the individual out on. I do realize however that some individuals are unable to respond to it which is why I am a strong advocate for women’s rights.
5. What words of advice would you say to a younger version of yourself?
The younger version of me struggled for years trying to figure out a way to do something that truly made her happy. As a political science major, planning on law school, it was clear to me that I was going through the motions, career wise. I struggled for years trying to find the right path and doing something that made me happy. So I would say to her, keep looking, keep trying and you will eventually discover your passion and you will be living the dream of doing what makes your heart jump with happiness. The path you are going through at the moment is preparing you for whats to come!
6. How did you get to where you are today?
A lot of hard work, passion, love, dedication, perseverance. A lot of help from my family and understanding from my kids. Hard work ethic and staying humble. Understanding what my limits are. I would say most importantly, defining what my goals are for Inspire Me! Home decor and working hard towards these goals. My journey was not free of bumps and hiccups, but I embrace them as they were a learning experience for me and what made me who I am today and what IMHD is at this point.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
That is a very good question! I have big dreams and big goals for myself and for IMHD. I am working towards them day in and day out. I can’t say where I see myself in 5 years but the long term goal is for my brand to continue to help home owners world wide as best as I can and to continue to find innovative ways to do so. I would love for IMHD to become a household name in more ways then one.

Women in Business: Becky McKinney, Independent Health and Fitness Coach

iHomeRegistry is so proud to feature Becky McKinney as part of our Women in Business series this week.

Becky is a 27-year-old full time Beachbody Coach. She grew up in a small town in New York working for her father in his bakery and restaurant. She always knew she had a passion for the food and hospitably industries but wanted to try something different after graduating from the University of Delaware in 2012. Becky began a career in marketing but was missing the constant face-to-face interaction that the restaurant world allowed her. She found the Beachbody opportunity through an old friend on social media and started as a customer. It wasn’t long before she realized that she could combine her skills in marketing and her love of food into one career: Coaching.

As a coach, Becky helps men and women from all over the country find home fitness programs suited towards their goals and lifestyle, but she also works directly with them to formulate a meal plan that combines indulgence with “fit friendly” to help them reach their goals without sacrificing the things they love. 

Read more in our Q&A with her below!

Beachbody coach
Becky McKinney

1. How do you juggle your work and home life?

My fiance and I both work from home full time so this can actually be really challenging at times since it’s hard to “turn off” work mode without physically leaving an office. Our work and home life is so intertwined. Because of this, it’s really important for me to set up boundaries and work hours and really stick to them. I have a specific work space set up at home and try to keep all things business in that one area. Once my work day is complete based on the hours I have set, I shut down my computer, turn off my cell phone notifications, and I’m officially in “home” mode.
2. What’s your favorite part of your job/position? 
I absolutely LOVE connecting with women from all over the country and learning about their lives and their goals. The amazing thing about Beachbody coaching is that you are helping people make healthy, positive life changes and the transformations are much more than just weight loss. To play even a small role in helping people live happier and healthier is a feeling I cannot even put into words. You build strong, genuine relationships and work together to reach milestones. For some people, that may be 5-10 pounds and building a more positive mindset, for others it could mean losing 100 pounds and improving their health so they can live longer to care for and be there for their family. Some of my closest friends are people that I have met through this job.
3. Who did you look up to as a young woman and why?
This may be a cliche answer but, I’ve always looked up to both of my parents. My father built a very successful restaurant and bakery from the ground up and my mother worked her way from secretary to a VP position in corporate America before joining my dad in his restaurant venture (thought it’s always been a team effort). I was raised by entrepreneurial spirits and surrounded by hard work yet never felt like family was on the back burner at any point. We’ve always been close and they’ve always shown me what is most important. My goal is to provide for my future family the way that they provided for me.
4. Have you ever experienced sexism in your industry and if so how did you handle it?
It’s interesting because a lot of people think that the home fitness industry is more geared towards women when in reality, it has the same benefits for men. I think a lot of people just assume that workout videos are for women and gyms with heavy weights are for men. I have no idea why that is the thought process but I see it all the time. I hear a lot from men, “I’m not interested in Beachbody – that’s for women.” The best way, in my opinion, to handle that is to just ask why they feel that way and go from there. The best thing I can do is find out what their personal fitness goal is, and offer them a solution and a way to achieve it.
5. What words of advice would you say to a younger version of yourself?
I would tell myself that it’s okay to have a different vision for my life than the one that others may have. Network marketing, while gaining popularity and momentum, is still a really different career path than most think they should take. It’s a hard industry to succeed in because it takes a long time to see the kind of income and success (however you define success) that most people want. I was so scared to tell people what I was doing and why and if I had pushed that fear aside, I would have found the happiness and joy in what I am doing now a lot sooner.
6. How did you get to where you are today?
Multiple jobs at once (at one point I was working two full-time jobs and two part-time jobs), a lot of sacrifice, and a ton of hard work and rejection. Coaching is an amazing job and it’s so fulfilling but it is anything but EASY. It’s not a get rich quick scheme or a short term commitment. I knew that I loved working with people and helping them achieve goals that could change their lives forever so I was willing to make the sacrifices and put in the extra hours. I’m so glad that I did too.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as a self-employed mother doing exactly what I’m doing now with coaching but on a larger scale. Helping more people change their life in multiple ways. As a Beachbody Coach, I have the answer to fitness & nutrition struggles in one hand and the answer to financial growth in the other. I see myself coaching more people toward their health goals and mentoring more women on building their home business.

Women in Business: Jasmine Abel, Student Support Officer and Social Media Manager of Interior Design Institute, Australia

This week’s woman in business comes from halfway around the world in Australia…Jasmine Abel! After completing her Diploma in Business, Interior Design and Decoration in 2012, Jasmine began working at the Interior Design Institute in Australia, where she has spearheaded IDI’s social media presence, been the creative director of the course modules and involved in the design of IDI websites and student experiences.

Read on to find out her favorite aspect of her job, who she looks up to and her piece of advice for a younger version of herself!

Interior Design Institute Australia
Jasmine Abel
  1. How do you juggle your work and home life?

As we operate 24/7, it can be hard to juggle work and home life, but I believe that it is crucial to find a balance and learn what works best for you. It is also important to learn that when you’re at home, you need to remember to switch off and allow yourself to have some “me” time. This is why I wake up each morning and practice yoga and meditation or go for a walk, as I find that this helps clear my mind, and have a healthy balance.

  1. What’s your favorite part of your job/position? 

Being able to create inspiring content and hearing how our course has helped change so many students’ lives.

  1. Who did you look up to as a young woman and why?

Lisa Messenger, as she is a huge inspiration to me, and she continues to break boundaries whilst inspiring and motivating others.

  1. Have you ever experienced sexism in your industry and if so how did you handle it? 

I am lucky that sexism does not exist in our workplace but that is not to say that I haven’t experienced it. From my experience, I’ve learned to not take anything personally, and to just focus on what is important.

Photo credit: Jasmine Abel/Interior Design Institute
Photo credit: Jasmine Abel/Interior Design Institute
  1. What words of advice would you say to a younger version of yourself?

To never doubt yourself, and to always stay positive no matter how tough a situation may get.

  1. How did you get to where you are today? 

After I graduated from college, I landed a job at The Interior Design Institute where I initially started out as a student support officer. Now my role sees me as the institutes social media manager and content creator. I have also co-authored an Advanced Module in Business, Branding, Marketing and Social Media for Interior Designers.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I see myself growing and evolving with The Interior Design Institute. I believe in the term Kaizen, which means continuous improvement, and I strive to improve what I am doing each day, and also strive to improve our student experience and hope to see our students leading successful careers in the design industry.

Women in Business: Lauren Jarman, Nurse Practitioner and Rare Autoimmune Disease Fighter

This week, we are so very proud to feature Lauren Jarman, a woman of strength and determination, as part of our Women in Business series. Lauren has a particularly moving story, having been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease a month before her wedding in 2011. Learn all about how she keeps her mental strength, the advice she has for other women battling diseases, and her journey to becoming an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner at Lowcountry Infectious Diseases.

Lauren Jarman

 

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with Lowcountry Infectious Diseases in Charleston, SC. In 2010, I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and immediately moved to Mount Pleasant, SC where I accepted a position with the Neuro Spine floor.

A month before my wedding in 2011, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. A rare autoimmune disease that when translated means ‘grave muscle weakness’. Essentially my mind sends a signal to my muscles to function, and there is a blockade preventing my muscles to receive that signal. It primarily affects ocular, chewing, swallowing and breathing. Without a definitive treatment that ‘cures all’, I began several forms of treatment but most just delayed the inevitable where I would end up in the ICU for several weeks.

Despite my diagnosis and being ventilated 7 times, I was determined to go back to school and switch my career from the Neuro Spine floor at Roper Hospital to a Nurse Practitioner role that is less physically demanding. As I was being treated I applied to Georgetown University and was accepted. For the next two years I continued to battle balancing work, school and my health. Not to mention, I was also pregnant during my last year before graduating.

After contracting RSV in late December 2014, I was rushed to the hospital in January 2015 where I was intubated immediately to save me and our baby girl. A short week later, Charleigh Grace was born 8 weeks early. After several scares we were all healthy and ready to go home 45 days later. I graduated that Spring and accepted a role with Lowcountry Infectious Diseases. More importantly, we have a healthy child and I am in remission.

  1. How has life changed since your diagnosis? How have you overcome it? Where do you get or how do you keep your mental strength?

My life changed drastically after being diagnosed. For nearly 2 years I was unable to walk up and down stairs or get myself off the couch. I became very dependent on others which was a new concept for me. Through bouts of exacerbation I found strength in school, my 2 amazing dogs (pet therapy is extraordinary), and my closest friends and family.

Since my diagnosis I have tried to cherish the little things in life. After 5 years I truly feel like I have gotten my life back. I enjoy a night out with my friends, traveling, and now love those calm days sitting on the couch with my husband Dave, my daughter Charleigh Grace, and 2 fur babies Riley Ann and Saidey.

Now that I am in remission I have turned my focus on raising awareness and funding for Myasthenia Gravis. I’m beyond grateful to have my life back but it wasn’t without difficulty. I want other people battling all different diseases to know that there is hope and don’t give up!

Lauren Jarman

  1. What are some of the biggest challenges of living with a disease? 

Understanding my limitations. As a young 23 year old I still wanted to live that “college lifestyle” And now in the present day, being a working mom, I have to remind myself to take a break. That is a very difficult task for me to understand.

  1. How has living with your disease affected your career?

My career initially took a back seat. I was unable to perform any task a nurse should be able to do. Simply walking was a task for me. Life became very difficult as I spent countless days on the couch often feeling sorry for myself. I decided I needed to find a focus and a purpose again. I applied to Georgetown University’s Masters in Nursing Program not really thinking I would even be accepted. But guess what, I was! After a long discussion with my partner in crime, my amazing husband… I started the long road to receiving my masters.

In the middle of my first year I had yet another setback and spent over 2 weeks in the ICU again. I still managed to keep up with my classes. School was a wonderful distraction to the life I was living. Much of 2013 was spent in and out of hospitals but I still had my Hoya family, my incredible friends and supportive family all cheering me on.

In 2015 we welcomed our beautiful daughter Charleigh Grace into the world. But let me tell you it wasn’t without a struggle. She surprised us 2 months early when I yet again experienced another crisis and a very complicated childbirth. I was due to complete my Masters that very month. Scheduled to fly to Georgetown in fact. School for the first time in 2 years was put on hold. I did eventually complete the program that June.

Fate played another roll in my career as one of the ICU nurses who had cared for me during one of my hospital stays also knew me professionally and recommended me for a job. In January 2016 I accepted a full-time position with Low Country Infectious Diseases as a Nurse Practitioner.

So in conclusion MG didn’t hinder my career. It, in fact, furthered my career. My ultimate goal was to always go back to school and get my Masters but because of everything I went through it allowed me pursue and further my career.

  1. What advice do you have for young women battling diseases? Or advice for entering the workforce?

Believe in yourself. Find strength in the people you surround yourself with. Try and find the positive in your situation and adapt. And most of all, pick a career that you love and can grow with.

lauren jarman

  1. What words of wisdom would you give to your younger self?

Life could be a lot worse so cherish the little things in life. Giving an extra kiss to your spouse or call your parents up just to say I love you.

  1. Who is your role model and why?

My beautiful and strong mother, Lisa. She followed her dream to create a private school from the ground up. Whenever I thought about giving up I thought about all the amazing children she taught and how I’m sure there were days she wanted to give up but she never did.

  1. How would you define success?

Success for me is always providing a great quality of life for my family. Also, helping and healing my patients while always maximizing my potential. I’ve always wanted to put myself in a position where I could focus on giving more than I could ever expect to receive in return. I am honored and privileged to help others in need.

  1. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women today?

Motherhood vs career. In this day in age I feel woman are judged for being stay at home moms or being judged for being a working Mother. Neither one is easy but both are often necessary.

  1. Favorite quote?

“If the bad days weren’t so bad, then the good days wouldn’t be so good.”

  1. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this past year? 

Time management. Having a 2 year old and working over 40 hours a week. A schedule is must.

  1. What’s one of the toughest decisions you’ve had to make?

Deciding to make the commitment to go back to school. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, especially in my state of health at that time. In the end it was the best decision.

lauren jarman

Women in Business: Meg James of the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association

Our business superstar this week is Meg James, Executive Officer at Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association. Meg’s areas of expertise range from community outreach and partnership development to event management, fundraising and public relations. Learn about the workplace obstacles she’s overcome, what advice she’d give to her younger self, and how she does it all, in our Q&A below!

Meg and her husband, Will

1. How do you juggle your work and home life?

This is something I am still working to perfect. I think some would find that surprising considering that my husband, William (who is an elementary Art Teacher at Mossy Oaks Elementary in Beaufort, SC) and I don’t have any children yet. I find myself buried in work into all hours of the night only to arrive home very late to an eerily quiet home having missed out on the Super Bowl, World Series, Tricker Treating or random drop in of a friend or neighbor. I am fortunate to have a passionately supportive husband and family. They don’t give me a hard time about it because they know I’m struggling to create balance and that I beat myself up about it! I admire women who make it all happen but I hope I can at least resonate with the ones who are still working on it.

2. Given the industry that you work in, how do you handle the sexism that you’ve been faced with?

I’ve always just been one of the boys and, to be honest, I prefer it that way. I was a tomboy growing up, closest in age to my brother Nicholas, so we were always beating the living crap out of each other and always extremely competitive in sports like volleyball, basketball, and soccer. With the exception of my career as Sales Director for two hotel properties, I have been blessed to be surrounded by extremely supportive and influential male characters. Starting with my father who is a very devout Christian man, the hardest worker I know (other than my mother of course) the stubborn mule with the sweetest smile hidden under his now graying red mustache and continuing with my brothers and husband who are all conscious, caring souls always ready and willing to help a stranger.

Further still in my daily capacity of Executive Officer, manning the daily operations of 501-C6 Trade Association, I am grateful for the sound male figures that have my back. The Building Industry can easily be labeled as a male dominated profession. I feel like the men of our Association are more inclined to build up and be proud to work side by side with their female counterparts than perhaps other places in the world. Don’t get me wrong, the lady in heals walking onto the jobsite to meet with the other subcontractors about the landscape and hardscape design is still treated inferior, as if there’s no possible way she knows the ins and outs of plumbing and mechanicals. And to those men that do that, I say, “GET OUT OF THE WAY!”

Again, my experience is slightly different from the norm that I am aware exists, but I am beyond blessed to have had the pleasure of being surrounded by insanely gracious individuals of a most wildly colorful spectrum throughout my 33-year existence!

Credit: Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association
Credit: Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association

3. What words of advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

Keep up the hard work ethic! It does pay off! And it makes you a woman who can get sh*t done! And done well! Don’t give up and when you feel like giving up just focus on one thing at a time…keep writing out to-do lists and tackling the hardest tasks first! Oh and when in doubt make a phone call instead of sending an email. Call first, leave a voicemail, and follow up with an email. Times have changed and technology is King but the way we communicate emotionally still requires our basic senses: see, touch, hear, feel and taste! So, never not stop to take the time to cultivate emotional relationships with people both personally and professionally!

4. How did you get to where you are today?

Well, I was born and raised on Hilton Head Island, SC the year the Hilton Head Hospital opened its Maternity Ward. I tell my youngest brother, Bo, that I’m kind of famous and listed on the baby alumni plaque featured in the hospital (I cannot confirm or deny the truth of this). I mention this, because I pride myself on being a true native to this beautiful Lowcountry I continue to call home.

My parents, Ron and Patricia Strimpfel who own Reclamation By Design, Ltd. Master Builders by trade and inspired by the craftsman of the bygone eras, their company specializes in the sourcing and use of reclaimed building materials. They moved from Norwalk and Collins, Ohio where they attended high school together. My dad, the eldest of 10, and my mother, the daughter of a farmer, at the youthful age of 22 years old packed up and moved South to be able to take advantage of the warm weather to build in year round. They answered my older sister Molly McDonough’s (a Brilliant stylist at Salon1050e in Bluffton, SC next to Target) prayers when she was 10 years old when my Mom gave birth to ME!

Skip to 2013…my husband and I had been married almost 4 years, he was finishing his degree at the University of South Carolina and I was the Director of Sales for two hotel properties in Northeast Columbia, SC. With William in school and student teaching, it didn’t leave much time for him to work so I picked up a second job bartending and would leave the hotels to tend bar at least 5 nights a week. I started to feel like I was having the life sucked out of me. My hotel employers didn’t appreciate my hard work, it was one of those scenarios where I just couldn’t do anything good enough, they always wanted more and of course were never willing to compensate me for any of it. They gave me literally nothing to work with, let me put that into perspective for you, they wanted me to make as many outside sales calls as possible every single day with some hotel mints and my business cards. On special occasions I was allowed to have some hotel cookies or maybe some apples.

In 2010, William and I were living apart, I was working for my parents company, helping with marketing management initiatives and acting as office manager to take some of the load off my mom. I had met Ashley Feaster, the Executive Officer at the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association (my predecessor) while working for them because I would be attending HBA events, or turning in paper work for Parade of Homes and LightHouse Awards, etc. While in Columbia, whenever the HBA family would come up to rally at the State House or take in the Annual Bird Supper, I would accompany my mother who sat on the Board of Directors. So…on a Friday afternoon in April 2013 I emailed my mom my resume and said, I can’t take it anymore! Please forward this to Ashley Feaster at the HBA as she said she would pass it around for me to members of the Association as a reference. My mom immediately called me. In the same thread of emails she had in her inbox, just 2 or 3 apart from mine was one from Mrs. Feaster, “Is Meg still thinking about moving back here? If so, WHEN? I just found out that I’m about to lose my Member Relations Manager!” WOW! Talk about FATE! Ashley interviewed me over the phone that weekend and on Monday morning I turned in a generous three-week notice and on April 29, 2013 I started my journey at the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association.

5. What is your dream?

My husband and I used to play a game when we worked together at Truffles Café in Bluffton, SC (I trained him as a server). We would write questions on a napkin and then hand it to the other person to fill out! Well one of our colleagues posed the question: If you could have any job in the world, right now, what would it be? I about died when we handed over our cocktails napkins and William and I both said: A photographer for National Geographic, because you could travel all of the world and live out so many extraordinary experiences, photographing the most beautiful people, places and things in the world! So, when I think of a dream, I think of that moment.

6. Where did you go to school, what did you study?

Growing up on a 12-mile long Island, your class sizes are really small. I believe my graduating class was something like 36 people. My mother Homeschooled my younger brother Nicholas and me for nearly 7 years.

I started High school at Hilton Head Christian Academy my Freshman year and can remember feeling extremely anxious and out of my element. Perhaps because my first day, first class, first thing in the morning was the brilliant Mr. Schmucker’s Chemistry Class. I completed my Junior and Senior Years at Hilton Head Preparatory school where I was competitive in Volleyball, Basketball and Soccer.

Having given up my other hobby, Ballet, during the last two years of high-school so I could play sports, I was excited when a former Hilton Head Dance Company member convinced me to try out for the USC Ballet Company. I got in! I performed with the USC Ballet Company for 3 semesters, changed my minor to dance and loved every minute of it! I studied abroad through Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA) and lived in Barcelona Spain for 6 months in 2003. What a wonderful experience.

I’m fearless, my mother would say. I’m equally as blessed to have parents who were willing and able to make such an event happen for me. Financially it’s not something a lot of people can afford. I don’t take that for granted. My mother loves to remind us that they would have a lot more money if they hadn’t put their children in Private school! I try and convince her it was worth it…verdict is still out! I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in 2006. I received my Masters of Business Administration through Colorado Technical University in 2008 and I’m proud to say that I have been utilizing what I learned from all of my various places of study every, single, day!

Women in Business: Morgan Molitor of construction2style!

This week, our super business woman is Morgan Molitor, co-owner of construction2style, a husband and wife remodeling team based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota!

Read about the advice she’d give to a younger version of herself, how she balances work and home life, and much more!

When and how did you start your company?  

In 2012, Jamie bought his first home to flip. He started DIY’ing and I was blown away by his talents so started a blog, construction2style, to show off his work. With our blog, people starting coming to us to see if they could hire us to help remodel their homes. That was never the purpose or intent of our blog but with so many requests, we were flattered and thought why not? So Jamie pursued his contractors license. In 2015, we launched our home remodeling business with a design and build mentality.

Morgan (left) with her client.
Morgan (left) with her client.
What were some obstacles you faced and how did you overcome

Oh man, owning your own business you run into obstacles on a daily basis especially within the home improvement industry. You just never know what you’re going to find when you take out a wall. But we love a good challenge! That is after all what makes you grow in yourself and business.

 

However, the business and numbers side is the hardest. When we were getting our business setup someone told us to hire an accountant to manage all of our book work and we did. If we wouldn’t have, I already know that would have definitely been our biggest obstacle. I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Getting your taxes, insurance, and all the things that you need to have with the state and government when owning a business. Ufda! So I am so thankful for the person that told me that and that I actually listened to them.

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So I’d have to say currently our biggest obstacle is giving bids. Giving estimates is hard. It sounds easy, just time and materials- right? But you also have to think about the overhead like taxes, insurance, workers comp, subs, and situations that you “might” run into on the job that might make your 3 week project 3 months. Luckily for us we met our good friends, JKath Design + Build, within the industry and they have been freaking amazing! They have guided us, and mentored us on things they have had to face and overcome and lucky for us we have been able to lean on them for guidance when we need some. I would highly recommend reaching out to people within the industry. Buy them coffee or a bottle of wine and pick their brains. It took Jamie and I awhile to do that…instead just figuring it out as we went…and it’s something I wish we would have been more reluctant to do earlier on…probably would have saved us a lot of money and headaches.

Jamie and Morgan (left) on Twin Cities Live
Jamie and Morgan (left) on Twin Cities Live


How do you juggle your work and home life?

 Take one day at a time. Seriously. We are crazy planners. We sit down every Sunday night and go over jobs, meetings, events, dinner, who’s picking up Greyson (our son) from daycare, everything we’re doing in our life…even or highs and lows. We literally schedule everything in. So each day when we wake up, we know exactly what we need to get done that day. We don’t think about the following or next day, we think about today. That also helps keep our minds at ease and relieves a lot of anxiety. If I looked at my full week ahead and all we had to get done in work and play, I would probably just quit. haha! We also don’t schedule anything in the evenings more than 2 nights away from one another. If we have obligations locked in for 2 nights (that we can’t bring the 3 of us to), we will say no to anything else that pops up. Those other 5 nights are important to us to have family time and keep that time safe. We also try to remember that every-time we say “yes” to something work related we are saying “no” to our family. So we really, really weigh the pros and cons of what we’re committing to and always try to use our best yes.
Beautiful bathroom by Construction2Style
Beautiful bathroom by Construction2Style

Being the industry that you work in, how do you handle the sexism that you’ve been faced with?

haha, oh this is a good one! Sexism and ageism. To be honest, I don’t get sexism as much as ageism. It might be because all of our clients are referrals so they know who they are dealing with. However, I can’t count how many times we have been to professional events within the industry and we’ve had things said to us that implies we are so young and that we have no experience. It might be the backwards hat Jamie’s wearing or the neon dress I’m wearing…haha…but hey, that’s our vibe. So we can’t after all blame them! But how do we deal? I usually just laugh and it pushes me to kick some more ass! haha! Jamie on the other hand gets a little irritated and stares at them with a blank face and then those lines that get told to us usually become his go-to punching bag lines when we’re killing it at a job. And then we really laugh, haha!
Greyson and Mama
Greyson and Mama

What words of advice would you say to a younger version of yourself?

Get your ass moving! Stop over analyzing, over thinking, wondering what your family or friends are going to think and just do it. Because you know what? You’re going to kill it.

Women in Business Series: Cindy Strong of Waitress World, LLC.

iHomeRegistry features women from all different industries on our Women in Business Series to promote and support one another. We sat down with Cindy Strong, owner of Waitress World, LLC, and heard her inspiring story. Check it out below!

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I started Waitress World LLC on September 14, 2013!
I started my business due to the lack of resources. For over 25 years, Cocktail waitresses in most casinos wore these very shiny nylons that would hurt your toes and the thick elastic band would dig into your waist and it was very painful. Also, regardless of of your skin color, we all wore the same color nylon so if you were of an ethnic race they were definitely not going to match and if you were very pale, they wouldn’t match. So one day I went to purchase a pair and they were sold out, I called different stores, I had other cocktail waitresses check stores on there side of town, but still no luck. So I thought to myself why am I driving all over town for a product I don’t even like. So I said that’s it I’m going to make my own nylon it shouldn’t be that hard ( oy was I wrong) but that was the birth of Waitress World LLC. I designed comfortable nylons in a variety of shades, that even help with tiring legs due to walking required with being a waitress.
As far as obstacles… I didn’t even know where to begin, who do I call, how much money will I need, should I get investor? Well I received lots of “who are you, no we can’t help good luck.”  When I finally received a yes they wanted me to order so much product it wasn’t possible, not only that but they required cash because they didn’t want to take a gamble if went out of business. So I felted defeated, I cried,  lost weight and wanted to give up. But my husband was like, “You’re not a quitter…you can’t quit.” So I found another company, pitched my idea and they worked with me. It was a roller coaster of a process but I’m currently still in business with that company.
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Cindy Strong, Owner – Waitress World, LLC
I am married and we have now 13 year old daughter so it was quite difficult in the beginning. I went from working 3 to 5 days and usually taking very nice summer vacations , to working 7 days a week most of the time and going on vacation 4 hours away to the next town. She’s an only child so she is used to undivided attention. It was hard for us all. But in the end I believe it was something she needed it taught her independence, because she was depended on me for everything, which is not good all the time. But I will never forget when someone ask her what celebrity she admired most and she said, “my Mom.” When found out it wasn’t Beyoncé I knew I made the right decision!
Well, being a waitress in Las Vegas you are faced with sexism all day. But once I became a business owner, I experienced a whole avenue. Some people wouldn’t take me as serious after meeting with them, they would say, “you should come hang out and we can get some drinks or something.”   I would get so frustrated.  I’ve invested so much time and money in my business, I don’t have time become your hangout partner. So I decided to bring my husband to see if my results would be different and they were!  They looked at him for all the answers instead of me, and he would say, “Sir, ask her this is her business.” After a few meetings like that, I was much more respected.
My advice to a younger me:  Invest in yourself early! Always plan long term! 
If you would like to share your story with us, please email us at [email protected]

Women in Business Series: Traci B Design

Every week, iHomeRegistry will feature women from all different industries and backgrounds on our Women in Business series.

Women in Business is all about promoting and supporting one another. We invite any of our followers to email us at: [email protected] to be scheduled for the series!


This week, we have the sweet Traci Brann of Traci B Designs sharing her story. She is based out of St. George, UT and provides exceptional Interior Design services to her surround areas. Read Traci’s story in her own words below!

Traci Brann
Traci Brann

The seed of design was unintentionally planted in me at a young age. Both of my parents were teachers but there were always Architectural Digest magazines lying around, my parents were always drawing up floor plans for dream homes and they would drag me and my siblings to model homes for entertainment. Little did I know how this all would influence my choice in profession.

I went to college, got married and had 3 amazing sons. I did the best with what little we had to decorate our home. Soon I had friends, family members and neighbors hitting me up for help in their homes. Being a designer had never really crossed my mind up to this point. I was raising my kids.

Traci B Design
Traci B Design

As my boys got a little older I slowly ventured out.  I worked for a furniture company and got certified to do design.

Traci B Design
Traci B Design

I remember when I first started designing full time I came across a few other designers. I couldn’t believe it when they went on about how they were only able to handle it for a while because it was so life consuming. It didn’t take long until my head was spinning, I was losing sleep and I found myself working almost 24/7. After a couple mini melt downs and putting on the breaks to revamp my structure for a minute- I’m happy to announce I am still trying to get it completely figured out . Ha! I get better every year.

I am continually growing as a designer. I love a space challenge. I love creating a little of the unexpected. In each project I love to add something that gets the “I would have never thought to do that” reaction.

I want to do it all. I want the wild clients that will let me do brave and wonderful things and I also love a client who wants the beautiful, comfortable and cozy family home.

Traci B Design
Traci B Design

I genuinely can say the best part of my job has been making a connection with my clients. I love getting to know them on a personal level and being able to infuse their personal details into their space. I love transforming the client’s space into something they can be proud of and love being in.

I am incredibly grateful to get to do what I love. I also feel blessed to have met some pretty amazing people along the way. I can’t wait to see what new and exciting projects await me in the future.

 

To see more of Traci, check out her Instagram!