If you’ve been reading and following on IG for a while, you’ll know I gravitate to classic design with a twist. Rebecca Gibbs caught my eye with a green tiled kitchen. The unexpected touch with beautiful results made me follow her immediately. I am so pleased she agreed to do a Q&A with me and share some photos of her recent work. Below you’ll find her insights into how she got her start, how she sets goals and stays productive. Stay tuned for a second post on Rebecca’s top 3 Styling Tips!
Professional Background: As an eight-year-old I remember my dad telling me that one day I could make a job out of creating beautiful homes for people, but that I needed to stop reorganizing and rearranging my sisters’ things! So I knew that was what I wanted to do one day! In 2008, after going to school for a four-year degree in interior design, I applied for the only full-service design studio in the small Texas town where I live. I worked as a designer and basically as a general contractor on small remodels for four years. I learned so much about the ins-and-outs of what it takes to execute a successful design and all the logistics during that time. In 2012, my husband decided to get a masters in sustainable building practices which took us to Nashville for a year. I was fortunate to work with the talented Beth Haley and her design team while I was in Nashville. Although we loved Nashville, we knew we wanted to be back in Abilene, Texas to have a family and start our own businesses. We moved back, and I started my own design firm out of our house.
What spurred me to start my own business: I really just never considered anything else. My husband and I are both pretty frugal and haven’t ever felt like money was the drive behind our work, which has been both good and bad. There was a point in which you definitely could have called us starving artists (haha)— but it really didn’t matter because I was so passionate about it. I started out designing a nursery for a friend, and then off of a recommendation did finish and fixture selections and drew cabinet elevations for a large remodel. Little by little, word of mouth helped me grow! I got pregnant with my first of four sons during my first month of business and I’ve been pregnant most of the time since starting my business. I hired someone to help keep my little ones as I could afford it…I designed 2 days a week for several years and am now designing 3 days a week.
Anyone looking to follow in my footsteps:
I would say don’t let anything make you feel like you are unqualified. You are the most qualified person to express your own design perspective.
Do your research and be aware of the fact that a whole lot more goes into successful design than just a good eye. School could be your path, or hiring the right people (ie a draftsperson) to ensure that you are designing comprehensively.
Also, be brave!...make yourself available for hire to style someone’s shelves or rearrange their random assortment of furniture. There are always people wanting a fresh eye on their spaces. Even if their items aren’t your first choice, I think you truly grow when you have budget limitations and have to use your knowledge of the basic principles of design. Regardless of what style or pieces your client has, those elements of design are always present and waiting for your special eye to give the space a new life.
Setting Goals: I am always very cautious and realistic when it comes to setting goals or expectations for myself. I want to know I can achieve them before I pour too much energy and love into an idea. Not sure that’s a very fabulous or inspiring perspective, but everything about my business has grown very organically and slowly. Currently the goal is a downtown space for my studio and a small furniture showroom/shop. We purchased the land/building a few years ago and it has served as my husband’s carpentry shop. The plans are well in the works, but we have so much wonderful client work going on and want to take the right amount of time to make sure we think through everything thoroughly.
Reflecting on Success: Sometimes I think, “Am I making any progress in this business running thing?” Then, I reflect on what has changed and I appreciate where I am. Two years ago, I was still doing all the ordering and invoicing. I hired someone full time, and I haven’t had to look at a dollar sign in almost two years. I know everyone is different, but this has been the biggest weight lifted for me. I always made it work, but now I have peace of mind and can prioritize other aspects of the business.
Daily Rituals that make me Successful: Hmmmm…I am not a very intentional person, honestly, so this question forces me to stop and think.
1. I keep my mom life and client design life very separate. I don’t do any client work or answer emails/work texts when I have a toddler or baby at home. Not to say that it doesn’t blend sometimes. We do take our boys to jobsites with us and to the tile showroom occasionally, etc., but something about being on a computer when there is a little one with me just doesn’t work for me.
2. I lean on my spiritual life for perspective… valuing people, not allowing minor things to upset my psyche. Design is a busy business full of beauty and relationships, but also materialism and comparison. At the end of the day, I want to be proud of what I do and be able to see my intrinsic value regardless of the day’s happenings.
3. Allowing myself to not have it all together. Now, roughly looking like I have it all together is pretty important to me, but my kids clothes are not always cute, I forget to reply to texts, I lose track of time often, I am not the most efficient when it comes to door and window schedules—haha. I used to be hard on myself and think I needed to be better at “being perfect,” which is hilarious. I’ve relaxed into my non-perfect state of doing things and have more grace for others as a result, too.
Productivity Hack: Group things. That is the answer for everything…if you are tidying up, if you are selecting finishes/fixtures, if you are drawing plans. Keeping your mind focused on getting like tasks completed and then onto the next thing. That may take more explaining and be more complex to master than I am making it out to be, but there are organizers and business books that I am sure delve into that more maybe?
Who or What influenced my style/career:
· Career: My dad has four sisters and growing up I remember going to each of their houses and always being in awe of how they decorated their homes and the creative things they did to make their homes feel so welcoming. Small lamps on counters and in cozy corners, thoughtful collections and displays of family treasures, a remodeled kitchen or wallpapered bathroom here and there. I was obsessed. Looking back, I wish I could have given my childhood self a House Beautiful or Veranda magazine—I would have died over them.
· Style: I have always felt most inspired by nature—the landscape, sky and colors around me that never get old. I think I’d fall into a more traditional category, but I am honestly very inspired by super modern and minimal design. I think maybe because it feels elusive to me? I just love a floral fabric and cozy spaces too much to fully achieve that look.
Having been in this industry for a while, I have seen the public view of our industry shift drastically. I think people currently see interior design as a glamorous and photo centric career. I would say this naturally shifted over the past ten years due to Instagram and Pinterest. People are going to think what they are going to think, but to those looking to enter this industry, I would want to remind them that interior design is a part of the service industry. Our jobs should be focused on creating healthy, durable, beautiful and enjoyable environments for clients to dwell in. I would say that it’s mostly not glamorous with a smidge of camera glamour at the end.
To see more of Rebecca’s work head to her website