Episode 065: A Conversation with Gail M. Davis…About it ALL
My next guest is the fabulous Gail M. Davis. She’s my newest friend, and we had such a strong connection when I was a guest on her podcast I just had to bring her on here to chat about her incredible background and experience. Gail studied at the New York School of Interior Design and interned at Bunny Williams Inc. and David Kleinberg Design Associates. She also worked at Saks Fifth Avenue and has her own real-life Devil Wears Prada story she shares with us.
In this episode, we talk about all the things, including being authentic to ourselves and acknowledging the difference between masculine and feminine energy. As women, we feel like we need to do it all. Sometimes we need to take a break, stop doing, and just BE.
Connect with Gail
Learn more about Gail Davis Designs at https://www.gaildavisdesignsllc.com/ and follow Gail on Instagram @gaildavisdesigns. Don’t forget to check out her podcast, Design Perspectives with Gail M. Davis wherever you listen to podcasts.
Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award-winning, full-service interior design firm, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.
In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now engages in private coaching and leads an in-depth, 12-month group coaching program, both options focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.
Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.
Connect with Michelle
You can follow Michelle on Instagram or join her Free Facebook Community! You can learn more about Michelle's program, Designed for the Creative Mind right here. You can also learn more about Michelle's Interior Design Firm here.
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Michelle Lynne: Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I'm super excited to introduce you to today's guest. She is one of my newest friends. So fun to say hello, this is Gail M. Davis. Gail Davis Designs is renowned for crafting elegant interiors that feel soulful, livable, and personal. Gail is passionate about crafting interiors that are comfortable, that are functional living spaces, because each client is different, and each space must consider the reality of their lives and not just serve as a beautiful room. So the pragmatic side comes out with the creative side. But it works because her projects have been published in House Beautiful, Elle Decor, AD Pro, Domino, and more. So Gail, hello, my sweetest new friend.
Gail M. Davis: Michelle, my love how are you?
Michelle Lynne: I'm fantastic. Fantastic. So a little background, y'all. I listened to one, no, actually, Nicole, one of my colleagues, she's my Director of Operations, listened to your podcast about like, just resting and she listened and she's like, Michelle, you've got to go listen to Gail like, you're gonna love her. So I listened. And I was like, oh, hell yeah. So then Nicole pinged you and said, hey, can we be on your podcast? And that's when we met like a week or two ago. I don't know when this is going to air but it was just like a couple of weeks ago. And y'all in the audience, if you've ever met somebody, and you're just like, oh, I think this is my sister from another mister, you know, you just meet somebody, and you're like a kindred spirit. And that's how I just felt about Gail. And I was just like, you have to come on. Let's continue this conversation and see what else we can do. So thank you for being here.
Gail M. Davis: No, thank you for having me. Let's do it. I mean, you know, we could talk offline all day long, like, oh wait, we're doing a podcast.
Michelle Lynne: Let's go ahead and just hit record. So yeah, there's not a particular direction to take this conversation. But I do want to start because you and I really connected a lot about just, you know, being authentic to ourselves, and just so much easier to be ourselves than it is to try to be somebody else and the fact that there's a ton of business out there, that abundance is just everywhere, but I didn't, and I want to go into that, but let's start, I don't know what your background is Gail. Like, what did you do before, and I think you went to the New York School of Interior Design, and then had some really badass internships with Bunny freaking Williams and David Kleinberg. That's amazing.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, like I had no idea who they were. Yeah. You know, a friend of mine was like, I work at Bunny Williams. You want an internship? And I was like, okay, fine. And then I finally got the, well, I got the internship because I was shopping around for the longest for one. And then people were like, oh, where'd you get your internship? I was like, Bunny Williams. And then like my teachers, everybody was like, oh my God, and I go what?
Michelle Lynne: Did you have to go Google her?
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, I was just like um, I don't know. And to meet her in person and work for her, it's just absolutely amazing. And I learned so much. I literally was like a sponge soaking it all up. But I was a quiet sponge. And I only spoke really when spoken to, I know that sounds horrible. But it's because I went in with intention of I knew I would eventually have my own firm one day. And I was, you need to just be quiet and listen, and learn as much as you can, you know?
Michelle Lynne: Makes sense.
Gail M. Davis: Right.
Michelle Lynne: We have two ears, one mouth, use them appropriately.
Gail M. Davis: Right. But a lot of people don't do that. They in fact, the woman who introduced me to her, or you know, to the firm, she was always trying to interject herself in everything. And like, anytime the designer spoke, she's like, well, I would do it this way. And I was like, girl be quiet. They are senior designers who have been here for forever. Like, let's learn. So my background is fashion. I was a garmental girl, as they call it in New York, where I worked in the garment industry, schlepping racks of clothing, just like bottom feeder. Nothing amazing. You know, if you watch, I think I lived The Devil Wears Prada for like a good 10 years.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. And then from there, I had met this older gentleman, because I was always dating like old men, like literally, old men, because I was a young girl in the city, why not? You know, get a free meal, right?
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely.
Gail M. Davis: And that's all they would get. So he said, hey, why are you working here? You know, why are you doing all of this when you could be at Saks? Because I was talking about Saks Fifth Avenue. And I would go there on my lunch break just to walk around, just to feel like elevated, the ambiance.
Michelle Lynne: Yes.
Gail M. Davis: You know, because it was, the Saks today is not the Saks it was when I was there.
Michelle Lynne: Especially in the city.
Gail M. Davis: Oh my god. Yeah. Like it very much caters to the affluent. It very much was, you know, they had the fifth, they have the Fifth Avenue Club, I don't know if they have it anymore, where you shop one on one. And it's like a personal shopper. You go into the room, there's lunch, dinner, whatever is served, and they're dressing you and just like walk me through, very old school. And so I gave him my resume. He gave it to his daughter whose friend worked in HR. A couple of days later, I got the interview. And then like a month later, I ended up working there. I went to corporate, not the stores. I went to corporate, and I worked for my former boss, who was the Senior Vice President, Director of Stores. So she had the Midwest. And she had about 10 stores. And then she got promoted to the southeast and had 15 stores. And then from there, she got promoted to being the President of OFF 5TH, the outlet. But when she went to the outlet, she told me I wasn't strong enough to be an assistant there because she's running a whole organization, you know, and she, it's so funny. She was just very much a Devil Wears Prada type of person.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh.
Gail M. Davis: Like, I don't hide this. And when I say like that, like just even so into herself. I came in one day because I was gonna, you know, I had to do the paperwork for her medical, and I go, oh, my God, your birthday is May 10. And she's like, yeah, I'm like, oh mine is May 11. I was like, oh my god, we're May babies. And she just looked at me and was like, uh huh. And I was like, oh, and she could never remember my birthday. I worked for her for eight years. She could never remember my birthday.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, my gosh, that's, that's so stereotypical. Yeah, so stereotypical, just so self-centered, and yeah, all about themselves.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: So then you stayed there for how long?
Gail M. Davis: I was at Saks for eight years.
Michelle Lynne: And what were you doing for Saks?
Gail M. Davis: The Devil Wears Prada. I was her personal, I was her assistant.
Michelle Lynne: All the things.
Gail M. Davis: Right, so not only did I run what was going on in the office, but if she was having holiday parties at her house, or her family was flying in, or we were moving her mother into a senior facility, like that was all me do all the things.
Michelle Lynne: Wow.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. And God forbid, like, I'll never forget, this is crazy. She was having a holiday party and she was I believe in Chicago. And she had shrubbery planted, trees planted, because she was having this amazing holiday party in her backyard, like in her house, but the trees lined up and all. And somehow there was a storm and the trees fell over. And her neighbor called her to tell her, and she called me she's like, they need to be planted and sitting up straight, erect, when I get home. And I was like, okay, she's like, they need to do it today. And I literally was on the phone because she was calling, is it done yet?
Michelle Lynne: Ah, wow. Wow, wow, wow. So now you know how not to treat people.
Gail M. Davis: One thousand percent.
Michelle Lynne: That's crazy. So did you go out of that position and then into your design education?
Gail M. Davis: So what happened was, we had just moved to New Jersey, bought a house. And you know, I always had fear. But there was this plaque that she was given and said, what would you do if you knew you could not fail? And when I read it, like, failure just went away. And I was like, I go to school for design, because I was also working with the visual team there. And just so like, you know, just so in awe at like, how they created stuff, and oh, can I help? And you know, I was learning so much. So I went to her and I said, listen, I need to leave at five o'clock on Tuesdays, because there's this class I would like to take. And she was, she just looked at me and she's like, well, you know, if you want to go to school, you should have did that when you were younger, you don't have time for it now, you're in a career. So I went home that night, and I told my husband, I'm quitting. I was like, because if I have to do this for the next, until I like leave, or she resigned like,
Michelle Lynne: Right, somebody's gonna get hurt.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. Like, it's just not cool. Like, I was like, there's more to life because I was very miserable. Very, like I was waking up in tears. So then, I came in and I gave her my notice. And her first question was, well, how are you going to pay for the house? Because we had just bought it. And so me being who I am I go, we paid cash so we're good.
Michelle Lynne: With a straight face, just like that?
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, because, you know, my husband's in finance. So it's not too hard of a stretch to believe that people do pay cash for their houses, and they do.
Michelle Lynne: That's awesome.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. I took one course, I took off the summer, I took one or maybe I took two courses. And I have to tell you, it was very interesting. Because out of a dozen of us, there were only two that lasted the first semester, because a lot of people thought design was fun.
Michelle Lynne: Right, right, right.
Gail M. Davis: They're like, I'm not here for this technical stuff. And why do I have to take the colors class, and this painting is annoying, and oh, my god, drafting, who does that? That's the architect. I just want to buy the pretty things. And I'm like, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Really? Wow. Wow, wow, wow. That's interesting. But yeah, there's so much more that goes into design than just fluffing pillows and picking paint colors.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. People don't think that when they're taking the course. In fact, one of my girlfriends who did graduate with me, she is not even a designer. She is a work room. Period.
Michelle Lynne: Really?
Gail M. Davis: Her daddy has a work room, that's it. She wants nothing to do with design. She's like, it's too much of a headache. I'd rather measure windows, doors, and everything else, and do drapery as opposed to, and pillows than to deal with a client. Which is funny.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I can understand that sometimes, though. Yeah, it's pretty overwhelming. So what do you wish you knew before starting your business?
Gail M. Davis: What are the three important hires you need to have immediately.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, and what would you say those are?
Gail M. Davis: An accountant. First and foremost, right? An assistant that can be an assistant but then also, like, you need someone to bounce ideas off of when you design. Right?
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Gail M. Davis: So someone with a good understanding of how you design. So the two of you can do that. And then a procurement person.
Michelle Lynne: Amen to that.
Gail M. Davis: Because I used to love to do that. Now I'm like, who can do this for me?
Michelle Lynne: Yes. Well that, and you don't make money. Like you make money designing, you don't make money, I mean, procuring. But you know what I mean. Your time is better spent.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, and so now I'm grateful. So I have my accountant. And I have my procurement team, who actually is a part of my accountant's team, because she has the whole kit and caboodle.
Michelle Lynne: That makes perfect sense, though. It all ties together.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. And it's just easier. So I know how much I'm getting billed an hour, then I double that. So I make sure I'm covered. So that person gets paid, and I'm not worried about it.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, basically the client's paying for it. I was talking to somebody, it was at High Point, and she was busy. And I said, why don't you just outsource your procurement? She's like, I can't afford to. I'm like, girl you can't afford not to. Because one, the client pays for it. And two, you make money designing not procuring.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, and you want to be free from that.
Michelle Lynne: Especially today.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, it's just oh my God, and I need someone to keep tracking, especially today with everything that's going on. Just before I got on this call with you, this lamp that I ordered back in, I want to say October, they're now telling me, they, first they said January then they said March then they said June. Now they're telling me August 31.
Michelle Lynne: Holy moly.
Gail M. Davis: What piece are you missing for this lamp? That it's like, I don't understand.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Go take apart another lamp and please put it on mine.
Gail M. Davis: Right? Here's the deal. Do I go in reshop? Okay, so if I do that, one prolongs it and two, it's the same thing that happens down the road. And I'm like, we're just gonna stick with this. Whenever it gets in that's when I'll deliver it, period.
Michelle Lynne: And that's the beautiful thing is like, you can just have the procurement person chasing it, giving you updates so that you can manage it, and you're not having to call and ask and determine the details and blah, blah, blah. So yeah, that's a great piece of advice. Three people.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. Because you don't realize going in and here's the deal, if you do good design, really good design, or you have a great clientele, it's all going to be word of mouth. Right? They're all going to let people know. And so you need to, very interesting, I had a conversation with Dwayne Bergmann, he's an interior designer in Florida. I want to say in Boca probably more like Palm Beach. I can't remember right now. And he has, I thought he only had 13 people on his team like 14, he's like, no, I have 23.
Michelle Lynne: Wow.
Gail M. Davis: Yes. And he has a full cabinetry line. Because he was going to do the cabinetry for my kitchen, but that's a whole different story. And if he sees a project and then they approach him with a project, and it's something he can do, then he hires the people for that project. And that's how he builds his team, instead of doing it the other way where you bring people on, and then you're chasing business, the business is coming in, and then you bring the people on.
Michelle Lynne: So he's just got him in the pipeline.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Interesting. Very interesting. And he's got 23 people, holy cow.
Gail M. Davis: I know. I know. I only want to get as big as six, if anything. And I'm really probably like, four. Because I still want to be able to touch everything. And I still want to be able to have a conversation and I want it to feel more like family, which I'm pretty sure you can feel like a family with 23 people. But I just rather it smaller. That's just me.
Michelle Lynne: No, I understand that. I was having a, I'm on the board for the IDS DFW chapter. And one of the other women has a really large, large-scale business and like, I just don't think I want to get that big. Like, at one point, I thought I did. But it's just, there's so many moving parts. And like you said, I want to keep it personal. So but at the other hitch, you know, on the other hand it's like, just find somebody that can manage it, and I can just kind of oversee. So it's six in one half dozen in the other. I totally understand. Now another question that's come up in my head is, being published in House Beautiful, Elle Decor, AD Pro, Domino and such, how has that helped or hindered your business? Because I know that there's a lot of the audience that their goal is to be published.
Gail M. Davis: Okay, so just like a show house, just because you are published doesn't bring in the work. Right? You'll get inquiries, but the people may not be ready for you at that time. And then like two years down the road, they may call you, five years, like, it's just crazy, however people respond. It's funny, because it's more so my peers, recognizing the work and respecting it. And then it also puts your name out there in the industry, for people to know who you are and what you bring to the table and what you can do. And it does help, like, you know, even with Instagram, it's the same thing. You know, I came off of that for a little while, because it's just a hamster wheel to me.
Michelle Lynne: So much.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, and I'm like, Mama needs a break. It's all in if you, and I'm trying not to say this like I'm arrogant, but if you do really good design, and if you do really like if you do something that's thought provoking, and that pulls people into a room, and that just really resonates and there's real layers instead of like that basic beige, cream, you know, very white room, because we want to keep it light and happy, you get the business. You know, people pay attention. It just makes you feel good that you appeared somewhere.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that makes sense.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. And it makes your favorite person happy. So like, they can say like, I did my job, see? And I'm like, yes, I know. I know. Thank you.
Michelle Lynne: Well that and when I meet you in real life, I'll just have to get your autograph. I'll be walking around with a sharpie, where's Gail, where's Gail?
Gail M. Davis: It's just really funny because when you start out, you really think those are the important things. Right?
Michelle Lynne: Right.
Gail M. Davis: I have to have it, you got to do it. The, oh my god, I gotta get published. I gotta get this, I gotta, gotta, gotta gotta gotta. And then you get it, and it feels good. And then, you know, someone new is the next week out, someone else is there. So you have to, for me, I always try to make sure I live in the moment, and I really appreciate where I am. Because that's the other thing like we complain when we're overwhelmed, right? With work, and this is going on. And then we complain when we don't have enough in the pipeline. And so when we pray for all of that to happen, and for God to bless us with all these blessings, and you're like, all upset about it, I remind people, you need to be thankful and grateful for where you are because you prayed for this. You asked for this.
Michelle Lynne: Right. I love that. Yes. And it's easier to complain than it is to be grateful. I think having gratitude just turns everything around.
Gail M. Davis: It does it and it also makes you realize like, I came a far way.
Michelle Lynne: Right? But I I agree with you that you do have to stop and acknowledge it. I'm not good at that. I'm just like, okay, what's next, and on to the next thing. But stopping and taking that breath and celebrating your success, it's an important factor when I do actually take the time to do it I feel better. When I don't shame on me.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, but here's the other thing my friend does is she has a gratitude list. And every day she writes down three things that she's grateful for and even if it's just, you know, I walked my dog, or you know, for me, it's like I was in a reservation with my dogs, I hugged my husband, you know, I spoke to my mom. Whatever it is like you need to just be grateful. And especially because things can change in the blink of an eye.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, yes, yes, yes. And you have to be present in order to win.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, like, you know, right now, we can all be grateful that during COVID, we had a roof over our head. We had food in our belly.
Michelle Lynne: And toilet paper.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, there was no shortage of toilet paper or paper towels. Right? And then you can look at a documentary, a most recent documentary on, it's called bringing me home or Take Me Home. And it shows you the homeless population, just morphing. And it shows you people who lived in a house, or lived in an apartment, who was one paycheck away, and now they're living in the woods with other people just, you know, shuttling their stuff, whatever they can along living outside of their cars. And then you have to go back and go, thank you. Thank you, God for covering me. You know, thank you for the blessings. Thank you for a roof over my head. Because that could have been you. Right?
Michelle Lynne: At one point in my life, it could have very easily could have been. Paycheck to paycheck was reality.
Gail M. Davis: Right. And so we forget that. You know, like the people, I don't want to wear a mask, I'm over the mask. And I'm like, you know what? These people don't want to live out in the streets. I think that's a bigger issue than like, putting the mask on. Now I feel like all I want to do is wear the mask going into the city, being on the subway, or during the winter because I didn't catch a cold and I was so happy about that.
Michelle Lynne: Right? There were definitely some benefits.
Gail M. Davis: I didn't really have to wear lipstick, makeup or anything. I could just do my eyes and make myself look eh.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. Although I really missed seeing people smile. I didn't realize how much that impacts me. Just like at the grocery store or something. I missed the smiles. You can still see a little twinkle in the eye, but it wasn't quite the same.
Gail M. Davis: And even the head nod, like the acknowledgement with the you know, slight smile. You're like, okay, okay. So yeah, so for me, it's always, you know, just being grateful. Like, I'm laughing. I'm doing a, I'm on a panel next week and it's with Celerie Kemble, like, are you kidding me?
Michelle Lynne: Wow.
Gail M. Davis: Like, who are these people on this panel, right? And I was like, oh, I'm doing a panel. I was like, oh, that's the panel they told me about and I forgot about. And then I looked at it, I was like, oh, no. So I called the woman I go, are you sure you really want to do this? I was like, this is a seasoned woman sitting next to like, crazy me. And she's like, no, it's gonna be fun. I was like, thank you. Thank you, universe. Thank you, God, whatever you believe in. Thank you.
Michelle Lynne: Yep, agreed. Absolutely agree. Well, that and I really believe that gratitude, in my humble non-medical opinion, I think it keeps you healthier.
Gail M. Davis: It does.
Michelle Lynne: I really, firmly believe that just having that cheesy bumper sticker attitude of gratitude, really does resonate at a cellular level. It keeps you healthier. It just keeps you happier, all the things.
Gail M. Davis: And here's the other thing I was telling my painter, who's in Massachusetts for my Massachusetts project, because we were talking about happiness and just being happy. And I said, I hate when people say, just be happy. You know, like, it really takes a lot to do that. Just like it takes a lot to be the other way. And I said, what I've done now is I've gone back to things that made me belly laugh as a child. Rollerskating, riding a bike, right? If you do things that made you happy in your youth, try tapping into that and just do it. Like literally I'm riding my bike and I'm like giggling because the wind is blowing you know, I'm just having a good time. I'm laughing because I was like, this was so much easier when I was younger. This bike ride is killing me but before I would ride like four towns away to go visit friends and ride four towns. Now just riding in my town, I'm like sweet Jesus, you know, take the wheel. But it makes me laugh and it just makes me smile. And then roller skating, like roller skating is something we did when we were young.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh, right?
Gail M. Davis: The lights, my laces light up, my wheels light up when they're moving.
Michelle Lynne: Did you have pompoms?
Gail M. Davis: Yes. It just makes me happy.
Michelle Lynne: Agreed. So you had taken some time off of Instagram. How did that affect your happiness and your mental health? And what led you to say I'm done?
Gail M. Davis: What led me to say I'm done is because the highlight reel, everybody makes you think that it's always
Michelle Lynne: They've got their shit together.
Gail M. Davis: Oh, my God. And especially when you know people personally and you know the tragedy that they're dealing with at that moment. But you know, it's like, you know, the girlfriends you see from high school who have been with Billy since 12 years old. And then you have lunch with them, or dinner and they drink and get drunk and like he's horrible. I can't wait to divorce him. And then you go to Facebook or Instagram and they're like, I love my husband, we've been together since I'm 12, I wouldn't do it any other way. It's stuff like that, where I was just like, you know what, I can't do what they're doing. They can't do what I'm doing. I just need to take a beat. Like, I just need to take a step back. Because creating content is not like, oh, picture, content, like you really have to think about it and put some really good energy into it and figure out how you want to word it, you know, then you're like, how many people can I pull in, then you got to be on there and you have to like respond to everybody. And then sometimes people aren't nice.
Michelle Lynne: It's like another job.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. And I'm just like, I literally cannot be looking at my phone or on my screen anymore. Okay, I have carved out this now I gotta carve out another hour, because now I gotta respond. Like yesterday, I put up it was my birthday, whatever. But I'm very conscious too that when people wish me things or say something that I immediately respond. So then I had to sit there and I had to go, okay, here's 20 minutes and the next thing I know, I look up, it's an hour gone. And I don't get that hour back.
Michelle Lynne: No, no, no, no. And it's just, yeah, it just sucks you down a bunny trail.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. And so I think what I'm going to do is normally I take off, like December, right? But I think I'm going to be like another one of my friends Stephanie Sabbe and take off the summer. She just checks out on her Instagram. She's like, see you in the fall. I'm a mom, I got three kids, you know, four kids. I gotta focus on them.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. No, I understand that completely. I'm working towards being able to take the whole month of June off of work. Like, let me just put everything away and not even think about it. And go lay on the beach.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, I have a friend Kevin, who does that. I think he takes July or maybe August off because him and his husband go spend the month in Italy at their home there.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that doesn't suck.
Gail M. Davis: Right? Like, we have to create boundaries for ourselves.
Michelle Lynne: Well, and I think that we also learned with COVID that we don't have to be clocking in and out eight to five in front of our computer or whatever all the time. There's so much that can get done with less effort.
Gail M. Davis: Yes. One thousand percent. And we have to, and I'm speaking to women in general, we have to understand that no is a complete sentence.
Michelle Lynne: Mm hmm.
Gail M. Davis: And that it's okay if you want to work Monday through Thursday and have Friday, Saturday, Sunday to yourself. It's okay. If you want to work Tuesday through Friday, and have Monday, or it's okay to have a day during the week.
Michelle Lynne: Take Wednesday, go get your nails done. Yeah.
Gail M. Davis: Right. Stop feeling guilty about stuff. Perfect example. Today I was driving, I had to drop some stuff off to my contractor, some floor plans. And there's this woman, the husband and wife having breakfast. The husband is just sitting there with his phone scrolling. She has probably like a six-month-old and she's holding on to the toddler that could possibly be like two or three, probably three, ready to take off and where they're sitting is like on the corner where the road is. And I just laughed because I was like this is just a metaphor for women in their lives. Like here we are trying to balance everything. She's not able to eat her food while it's hot. But dad is, dad is able to that. And at no point do we ever, like we always want to be the strong ones. And we have to stop doing that to ourselves.
Michelle Lynne: Amen. Amen. And I can't remember, I guess it was yesterday, on Business of Home, I was talking about, we have to take care of ourselves first. Like, you have to put yourself first because you cannot pour from an empty glass at all. And I am so, so blessed because my husband is a full participant with raising our child. I can't even imagine trying to juggle all the shit without him. God bless all the single moms, or single parents. That is a job unto itself. But as women, you're right, you have to say no, you have to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
Gail M. Davis: No, my God. It's like, listen, a lot is on my plate. I need you to do this, and sometimes, for me, it's not even asking it's telling. This is what I need you to do for me today. And I need this done by this time. Can you do that? Yeah. Okay, good. Cuz I knew you could. Well, I really can't. I have to figure it out. You have to figure it out. Sorry, those are my dogs you're about to hear.
Michelle Lynne: It's all good.
Gail M. Davis: But you know, you just, we have to raise our hand and be like, hey, you know, timeout, I need a moment. And that's what it was for me too with Instagram, because I felt like when I got off of it, I was super sad. And especially because I had, you know, I was liking you know, some of my friends’ pictures and like, putting, you know, great messages or not great messages, but like empowering messages, because I like to lift people up. And nothing, no, like nothing response. And I was like, well, that's on me expecting something. But then I was like, you know what, let me call and check in on that person. Let me text them. And then I realized I'm texting and calling on someone who doesn't reciprocate. And that's my fault. Don't be mad at them. If they're busy, they don't want to, whatever, you have to realize, too, that you have to stop doing, and sometimes you just have to be, if that makes sense.
Michelle Lynne: That makes total sense. I'm a, so right now I am in the middle of like, my own personal struggle of, I'm operating in a masculine energy. And feeling like I have this mask on. That is the doing, that is the decision making, that is the doing. And then being is operating in your female energy. And I firmly believe that that's where we are the strongest, but society has us putting on a mask of masculinity and getting and doing.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Being, yes, you still have to do shit. I mean, we're business owners, it has to get done. But at the same time, if you can step back and own your own peaceful energy, your own strategic, your own feminine ways, it still gets done. And it sometimes it's not as hard. So I agree. Just stepping back and not being so busy and just having some white space in life is huge.
Gail M. Davis: It's a game changer.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Gail M. Davis: It's a game changer. I wanted to go out my backyard, hang out and hang out with my dogs and husband without thinking oh, Instagram. Okay, we're back here, let's take pictures. Let's do this. Babe, come take this picture. Okay, I'm gonna ride a bike. I need you to get the shot. I need you to
Michelle Lynne: And that's not a good picture. Take it over, I look like a fool.
Gail M. Davis: Yes, oh my God. That's not the angle I wanted, you know, you become this crazy person. And I'm just like, I can't do that blog, you know, check all my plethora of emails, the mail that's coming in. Go meet a client, go do this. Like you're just here, here. It's just like, women are always going from the time we wake up and our eyes open, it's not like we can get out of bed leisurely. It's like, your eyes open you're like, I gotta do this, I gotta do this. Okay, the dogs have to go out, husband's going here. Let me make sure I get this done before he goes, because I know he's gonna need the car. But let me make sure there's gas in it. Wait he'll get gas. I'll do this.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, inner dialogue.
Gail M. Davis: And my feet haven't even touched the floor.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, I feel it. I'm getting anxiety just thinking, yes. Now, how have you navigated? And then we're gonna go to our rapid-fire Q&A in a second. But I want to ask, how have you navigated getting back into Instagram and maintaining that peace? Or have you felt that you've got sucked back in?
Gail M. Davis: No, I don't feel like I've gotten, I'll say in the past week, I have been scrolling a little bit more. But I'm trying to be more consistent now with just Monday, Wednesday, Friday. And so whenever I think about it, I was like, you know what, just spend an hour or two a day and not a day, but like one day or you know, two hours, one day a week and go okay, let me get all my content. Let me create all that I need to, let me plug it into Planoly, let me write all that I need to. I already have my hashtag set up. And then I just plot it out so it automatically posts and I'm done.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, that's of the best inventions since bottled beer, pre-planning.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, girl. All right. So in the interest of time, because I know that you and I could probably just pull up a glass of wine and talk for another couple hours. Let's have a little bit more fun with some rapid-fire Q&A so the audience can get to know you a little bit better.
Gail M. Davis: Okay, let's go.
Michelle Lynne: Dun dun, dun. All right. Where do you find inspiration?
Gail M. Davis: Mother Nature.
Michelle Lynne: What's your favorite book?
Gail M. Davis: Oh, okay. That's really tough. Um, let me think of which one I'm on now. I don't know. Okay, so I'm gonna say because I'm always referencing it. Hood Feminism.
Michelle Lynne: Good feminism?
Gail M. Davis: Hood, H-O-O-D.
Michelle Lynne: Hood. Oh, I'm writing this down.
Gail M. Davis: And Black, was it, white tears? Oh, my God. I'll think of it in a minute. I'll tell you. But Hood Feminism. Really good.
Michelle Lynne: Awesome. Okay.
Gail M. Davis: And the other one is White Tears Black Scars.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I'm gonna get that one. Thank you, love that.
Gail M. Davis: White Tears Brown Scars. Sorry.
Michelle Lynne: All good. All good. I'll be Googling that on Amazon here in just a little bit. Innie belly button or an outie belly button?
Gail M. Davis: Inner.
Michelle Lynne: Any tattoos?
Gail M. Davis: No.
Michelle Lynne: What is your favorite productivity hack?
Gail M. Davis: Lists. I know, it's so old school, I need a to-do lists just so, I need to empty my thoughts on a piece of paper, see it in front of me, and then I could just cross it off. It's kinda boring but it helps me to remember, because even when I do this into my phone, it does not resonate the same way it does when I'm writing it out.
Michelle Lynne: There's something physiological about writing things. Like literally, it's like, if you want, like when you're doing your journaling, you've got your gratitude, if you have your mantra, any of that stuff, physiological is a difference.
Gail M. Davis: The writing is so much better.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. What scares the hell out of you?
Gail M. Davis: Losing my husband.
Michelle Lynne: Ouch. Yeah, there we go. Okay. I'm gonna move on from that.
Gail M. Davis: Sorry, really that is. Because I love him so much. I love him. And just like my mom too like, I love my family so much. So, because I'm like, what would I do without him? Like, you know?
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I understand that completely. All right.
Gail M. Davis: Sorry for bringing everybody down.
Michelle Lynne: No, it's all based in love. It's all based in love. What would you pick for your last meal?
Gail M. Davis: Steak, what else? I am a red meat eater. So it would be steak.
Michelle Lynne: Yum. Now I'm getting hungry. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
Gail M. Davis: Kindness and that I listened. And that I encouraged.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. And what was your favorite subject in school?
Gail M. Davis: English.
Michelle Lynne: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Gail M. Davis: Ah, unmanicured lawns.
Michelle Lynne: That's awesome. That is awesome. If you could have dinner with anybody, past or present, who would it be?
Gail M. Davis: My great grandmother because I never got a chance to meet her. And I would want to hear her experience as a black woman in this country, as opposed to what's going on now because I had my grandmother until she was 105. So I definitely got to hear the stories from her. And that is what fuels me to keep going. Even when I'm exhausted and so tired of the gaslighting.
Michelle Lynne: Interesting. That would be a whole other podcast. Well, that and do you know that my daughter's a little mixed chick?
Gail M. Davis: Oh.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. So like this really is close to my heart. Just wanting to make this world a better place for this generation that's going to be coming behind you. It's ridiculous that this is shit is still happening.
Gail M. Davis: Yeah, you know, it's very interesting because I had a situation with a sales rep a couple of weeks ago and I spoke about it on my podcast, and she understood how I felt afterwards. She never picked, what bothered me too, she never picked up the phone to be like, Hey, can we talk, she just kept emailing me. Like, can we talk and then she wanted to explain, and I was like, no, because I'm not gonna let you explain and defend. You can apologize and stop. But you cannot apologize and then defend why you made the comment that you did. You know, I don't, I no longer give that opportunity to people. It's like it's either you're sorry, and we're done. And we move on. Or you really show me who you are. And especially, you know, I had someone say to me, well, you know, this individual is not racist because they have, you know, black people in their family. And I go, you know who else has black people in their family and are racist? And they're like, who? I was like the slave master, the slave owner. And then they're like, oh, I said, I want you to understand the nuance like, you get to close your door and go on and be who you are. I am still dealing with repercussions daily, as a woman of color.
Michelle Lynne: Right. Nobody understands it until they walk in your shoes. And me as a white woman, I've studied it so that I can help my daughter navigate it, but I've never felt it.
Gail M. Davis: Right. She'll feel the sting that you see her, and you see love, you see a good heart, you see an effervescent child, like you see all of that. And Father sees that too, right? Your husband sees that too. What the world sees is very different.
Michelle Lynne: It's totally different.
Gail M. Davis: And it just makes you crazy because you don't think that way.
Michelle Lynne: And I'll tell you, bringing her home, I had to look myself in the eye and see where I had some racist tendencies. And it was ugly because that's not who I am. But a lot of it is just indoctrinated. And until you are looking for it, or your awareness is just, you just navigate. And it’s holy shit, it's deeper than people recognize.
Gail M. Davis: Yes, you will love White Tears Brown Scars. You will love Hood Feminism. You'll be like, Oh, shit. And then you get to see and that's my thing. You know, I have a lot of white friends who say, Well, I'm not racist, and I go, but you are. And they're like, why would you say that? I said, But you are because it's instilled in you from birth. It's instilled from you when you come out and you're with your family. And then the stuff they say. Perfect example, this teacher was saying Beyonce had did Coachella. So she asked her students, how did they enjoy it, because apparently a lot of them went. And this one white guy was like, I didn't like it. I thought she was being racist. You know, yada, yada, yada. And this is a black teacher. And so she said, Well, let's really look at this. Was it that she was being racist? Or that she was sharing her culture with you? And it was black centered? So which meaning it wasn't white centered. And he's like, no, no, that's not it. And then he had to step back. And he thought about, he was like, Oh, my God, you're absolutely right. Because if you watch that on Netflix, and listen to it, she was like, this was my opportunity to show us and how we are and who we are. And that is huge. Because everywhere we go, it reminded me of living in my apartment when I was in Queens, and I have black art in my house. I'm a black woman. And my white landlord was in my house and was super uncomfortable. And he goes where the pictures of the white people. Why does it always have to be black? And I go, because I am. But he was really upset about it. And he was like, I need to give you a picture of me or something. He's like, this is just too much. It's just a lot of black art. And I go
Michelle Lynne: Well, you're not invited back, mister.
Gail M. Davis: Right. I was like, you get your rent on time. Right? That's all you need to be concerned about.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Wow. Yeah. All those little things. It's, um, yeah. Yeah. Just my heart. My heart. So all right, girl. Well, this was amazing. Absolutely amazing. And I will definitely want to continue this part of the conversation as well. Probably a little bit offline. And maybe we'll just do a whole hell of a podcast on it. I think it needs to be something that people talk about. Yeah, so Okay. We'll wrap this up and then stop recording. I got some stories. Okay. So, Gail, thank you, my sweet friend for being on the show. Like I have really, really enjoyed our time together and look forward to more. Will you tell our audience where they can find you? Like, where are you on Instagram? So we can come and mess with your mind.
Gail M. Davis: The Instagram that only do three times a week? It's @GailDavisDesigns, Instagram, my website, Facebook, all of the above. I very rarely go on Facebook. It's probably twice a year, it's too much for me. I don't know how people do it. So yeah, Gail Davis Designs.
Michelle Lynne: Gail Davis. We'll track you down. Come say hello. So for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, join the growing community on my Facebook private page called The Interior Designer's Business Launchpad. Don't be like Gail, come over to Facebook, come see me. And actually, I totally get it. Facebook is a pain in the ass. So if you need to just create a little ninja profile, hop into The Interior Designer's Business Launchpad, and then hop off. So until next time, thanks for joining us.
Gail M. Davis: Thank you.
Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all, if you love the show and find it useful, I would really appreciate it if you would share with your friends and followers. And if you like what you're hearing, want to put a face with the name, and get even more business advice, then join me in my Facebook group, The Interior Designer's Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feet. It's fine. I promise you'll enjoy it. And finally, I hear it's good for business to get ratings on your podcast. So please drop yours on whatever platform you use to listen to this. We're all about community over competition. So let's work on elevating our industry, one designer at a time. See you next time.