Episode 73: The Juggling Act of Wife-ing, Mom-ing and Running Your Own Business with Justine Lafond


  Show Notes


My next guest is Justine Lafond. She is an Army wife, mom, and interior designer to homes on the beautiful beaches of the Emerald Coast of Florida. In this episode, Justine shares her unique challenges as a mom, wife, and business owner. Fun fact, she is also a graduate of The Interior Design Business Bakery. Listen in to hear Justine’s advice for people who feel like their circumstances are preventing them from chasing their dreams.

Follow Justine on Instagram @jauntyjinteriors and visit her website www.jauntyjinteriors.com.

The 3rd Annual Interior Design Business Success Summit will be October 12-14, 2022. Visit www.designedforthecreativemind.com/summit for more details and to reserve your ticket.



About Michelle

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

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Have ideas or suggestions or want to be considered as a guest on the show? Email me!

Podcast edited and managed by Haili Murch LLC.

If you are interested in starting a podcast or you are currently a podcaster needing help managing or relaunching your podcast, you may email Haili Murch at [email protected] or you can click here to book a call: https://calendly.com/hailimurch/podcast-discovery-call 



Michelle Lynne: Welcome to Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs to run their business with purpose, efficiency, and passion. Because, while every design is different, the process should remain the same. Prepare yourself for some good conversations with amazing guests, a dash of Jesus and a touch of the woowoo, and probably a swear word or two. If you're ready to stop trading your time for money and enjoy your interior design business, you are in the right place. I'm your host, Michelle Lynne.


Michelle Lynne: Well, hello, everybody. Welcome back. This is Designed for the Creative Mind podcast, which is all about the business of interior design. I'm excited to introduce somebody that I've known for a little while. We'll get into that in a bit. But Justine Lafond is our guest today. She's an army wife, mom, and a Florida interior designer to homes on the beautiful beaches of the Emerald Coast. So Justine, so fun. And we're actually here in my studio, chit-chatting, looking at each other, even though you can't see us. So it's so much fun.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, I love it. I'm so glad to be here.


Michelle Lynne: I can't remember, so the last time I saw you in person, had to have been when you were a rep here in Dallas for a high-end furniture line.


Justine Lafond: Kanju. And it was right before I moved to North Carolina.


Michelle Lynne: Right before you got married.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, well, no, I was married. But we weren't living together yet. Because he is in the army. So he was still training. So it was like four and a half years ago.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that's so crazy. And since then, you've had a baby, moved to Florida. I don't know in which order. All the things.


Justine Lafond: Yes, I did everything. Bought houses, babies, moved, and started a business.


Michelle Lynne: Yes, all the things. So I'm super excited. One, personally, I get to get caught up with you in a little bit more detail. But also, I think one of the reasons why having you on as a guest on this podcast is going to be so interesting for the audience is because you have, it's all the things. Like how in the hell do you balance it?


Justine Lafond: Not well most of the time. I try. It feels like not well.


Michelle Lynne: But I think that that's the case is like there's so many people that would look at your Instagram and they'd say, Oh, she's got all of her shizizzle together. And you know what? Some days we do some days we don't.


Justine Lafond: Right.


Michelle Lynne: But it's just like, let's kind of dig in, like, what was the motivation to even start your business?


Justine Lafond: So I've always been in the industry. I started with Luxe Interiors and Design Magazine years ago.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I think that's when we originally met.


Justine Lafond: We very, very first met through Shannon. And I've always been in the industry. But in Dallas, you know, it's so competitive. Obviously, you're a designer here, you know that.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Justine Lafond: And I just had great jobs with great companies that were always different parts of the industry. So I felt really comfortable. At the time after I got married and moved to Florida, it was like, you know what, I had been kind of touched all these parts, so maybe I should put it all together. And I've always loved design. My degree is kind of a collaborative degree in design and business. So I just went for it. I was like, you know what, now's the time and there's a bunch of really weird design interiors happening on the water. And you'd think with all these people spending this much money, they would have a better taste and do a better job. I don't know. So I said maybe I can go help.


Michelle Lynne: Money does not buy good taste.


Justine Lafond: So I just gave it a go and started bothering a local spec builder that also did custom homes, but he was doing more spec stuff.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, fun.


Justine Lafond: And I just kind of pestered him.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, let me help you.


Justine Lafond: They became my first client. They were actually building their personal home. They both are from the area, local.


Michelle Lynne: So they've watched it. What is the Emerald, did you say the Emerald Coast?


Justine Lafond: So it's kind of like between like that Pensacola, 30A, Rosemary Beach like that whole area.


Michelle Lynne: I didn't know that was called the Emerald Coast. I heard it was called the


Justine Lafond: It's the whole panhandle pretty much for the most part.


Michelle Lynne: They call it the Redneck Riviera.


Justine Lafond: Yes, yes, it is absolutely one thousand percent the Redneck Riviera. It's beautiful.


Michelle Lynne: So many people from Texas and the Deep South that come there for the summer.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, Alabama.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I've spent a couple summers there, or weeks.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, it's really beautiful. But it's yeah, it's so funny. It's definitely not like being in Cape Cod.


Michelle Lynne: Or the actual French Riviera.


Justine Lafond: Correct.


Michelle Lynne: That is fun. So basically, you were just kind of like, okay, I'm gonna give this a try. And you just went for it.


Justine Lafond: Huzzah. Yeah, I just did it. I just jumped in and I found your course around the same time.


Michelle Lynne: That's right. So there's a gratuitous plug for the Interior Design Business Bakery.


Justine Lafond: Well, you had told me loosely about it before I moved that you were, kind of big picture, had like something in the works.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Justine Lafond: And so then you had launched it. And I went to my husband, and I said his favorite words, hey, I have an idea. He was like, Oh God, how much is it gonna cost?


Michelle Lynne: A lot.


Justine Lafond: And what's gonna happen here? And I just kind of, you know, went over all of it. And he was like, fully on board because he knew that, you know, postpartum I was really like, I have gotta be working. I have got to do something. I have got to really put roots down here and go for it.


Michelle Lynne: And also have an identity.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, yes, absolutely.


Michelle Lynne: Especially after just getting married, and then relocating, and then you had already had Aubrey by then, right?


Justine Lafond: Yes, I had had Aubrey by the time I did your course. I was pregnant the year prior when I like first LLC'd myself. And I knew I wanted to do it. But I was, I hadn't done it yet. Because I was like, well, you're about to have a baby in a couple months. Maybe don't add that to the list. Also, we kind of built our home. It wasn't a custom home, but the builder liked me. The realtor liked me. So I bargained with them. I was like, listen, I know how construction projects go. What if I just like, supply my own tile?


Michelle Lynne: There you go.


Justine Lafond: What if I don't do barn doors, and I do a glass shower? So I kind of made swaps. And so I was planning everything.


Michelle Lynne: You were busy.


Justine Lafond: I did everything for the house at a lot pregnant. Seven hundred weeks pregnant.


Michelle Lynne: That is so funny. And so Aubrey, we're recording this in what is this? August of 2022. How old is she now?


Justine Lafond: She is, she'll be two and a half.


Michelle Lynne: She'll be two and a half. Okay, I thought she was a little closer to Genevieve.


Justine Lafond: No.


Michelle Lynne: She's about half Gen's age.


Justine Lafond: Yep.


Michelle Lynne: Okay, gotcha. I'm gonna have some clothes to send home with you.


Justine Lafond: Oh my gosh, I would take some of them 'cause that girl is growing like a weed.


Michelle Lynne: So crazy. So how is it going with, are you home full-time with her? Do you have a nanny? Do you send her to pre-K? Like, how are you juggling things now?


Justine Lafond: So I have a really awesome sitter. And I've had a couple other girls that plug in too, but I've had one main sitter, since she was about one. And she's lovely. And she's been in nursing school. So I've kind of been able to work around her schedule and set my important non-negotiable meetings around what she's got going on for the week. So she's there with me anywhere between 12 and sometimes 20 hours if it's a heavy week. And so that's been really nice to have her, but other than that I'm home. I mean, I work from, my office is the front bedroom and got to lock the door, you know, for calls and client meetings.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that's the truth.


Justine Lafond: But she's been great. It's been awesome to have her, and Aubrey just loves her so much.


Michelle Lynne: That's such a blessing.


Justine Lafond: But childcare is an issue in the area down there. So it's been hard. She's been on a waitlist for a little Montessori since October of last year.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, wow. So yeah, it is hard to juggle all the things but especially when you're in a bit of a remote area, because I think you were telling me earlier, it's 20 minutes to a coffee shop? So you're not in the middle of say Rosemary Beach?


Justine Lafond: There are local coffee shops, but like the closest Starbucks. And I feel like if Starbucks hasn't infiltrated your town, you're still kind of small.


Michelle Lynne: That makes sense.


Justine Lafond: So yeah, we've got local places to go. But we're still like quite a hike from Target.


Michelle Lynne: All the things. That makes sense, which is a blessing and a curse.


Justine Lafond: Exactly.


Michelle Lynne: So how would you suggest if somebody is going to start a business that has smaller children, is it like, is it possible? Because I think that that's some things that, I'm talking to people all the time, and they're like, I would love to do this, but my children are still young. Like, I would love to do this, but I want to get pregnant or something along that line. What would you say to a mom or potential mom?


Justine Lafond: So I had Aubrey, like, quote unquote, what people would say later, I was 33. And for me, my career had become such a defining point of my life, already at that point. And so I was not at a place where I wanted to give that up. And I knew it was gonna have to go on pause, especially with my husband being in the military and gone and, you know, I knew it was gonna look funky. But I just wasn't willing to let that go at that point. So I think you have to, somebody told me one time, you're juggling all these balls as a mom, a career person, a wife, you know, whatever, volunteer, whatever you might do, and you've got plastic ones and glass ones, and you have to delegate which are which. And the ones that are glass, you don't have the option of letting drop. So for me, my career and being a mom and being a wife are, those are my glass ones that I have to keep going and the other things have to fall by the wayside. So that for me meant my workouts had to take a backseat, yoga had to take a backseat, you know, just the consistency of those. But working was a non-negotiable for me.


Michelle Lynne: Because that filled your cup.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, and I just I made it work. And sometimes it looks like my husband has a four day and he takes Aubrey Friday and Monday and watches her so that I get full workdays in and some days it means that I stick her in front of the TV, if I'm being perfectly honest. And everybody I've talked to is like, listen, you do what you got to do sometimes.


Michelle Lynne: We were going to be the parents that had no screen time, now it's like, you want the iPad?


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: Now granted, it's only on the weekends, but she does get TV during the week. It's reality.


Justine Lafond: Some days I just have to get stuff done and my hands are tied. And so, you know, and she's pretty good about playing alone. So luckily, she'll, you know, it'll be on kind of in the background, we have kind of an open floor plan area. So it'll be on in the background and she'll play and then we'll switch it to music and sing and dance but some days that's just what she gets until naptime. It is what it is.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, wait until she stops napping. Gen stopped napping, literally it was probably her third birthday. It just went away. And she was the greatest sleeper up until then.


Justine Lafond: I was going to say, Aubrey is a great napper. She loves her nap time. But I can also see her power through because she's got major FOMO.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah. It's just a thing at that age. Like, what am I missing out on?


Justine Lafond: Hopefully she's in school by then.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that would be helpful. Okay. So your husband is deployed, training, like all the things on a regular basis?


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: Thank you both for his service.


Justine Lafond: Oh, thank you for your support.


Michelle Lynne: That's so amazing. Absolutely. And then you've got the business that you run, and you've got your daughter, who's two and a half. And then you've got yourself somewhere in there as well. What would you say have been some of the biggest challenges overall, you know, like running the business, being a wife, being a mom, being, you know, sane, like, or clean, maybe taking a shower sometimes can be a challenge, especially when your husband's gone.


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: What would you say has been your biggest challenge?


Justine Lafond: Oh, gosh, I think, for me, my biggest challenge has been setting expectations that are attainable, and that are not so lofty, both in my marriage and in my parenting and in my career, that I feel like I set myself up for failure. And my husband and I, you know, we got married and then


Michelle Lynne: Popped a kid out.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, and then moved. And it was all like, all these things. And some of the schools he's done have been schools where we don't have any contact. So like, no texting, no phone calls for months on end. And he's done two of those. And he did them in about a 15-month span.


Michelle Lynne: Wow.


Justine Lafond: So when you just don't have straight up like five month's communication with your spouse, and then they come home, and they're back in your life, and they're back in the baby's life, and they want to have a say in things and they want to, you know, and he's so great. He's helpful. He does, like stuff around the house and all that but it's like, you set these expectations of what it's supposed to be. And then you end up letting yourself down. Whenever your spouse or your kid or your job.


Michelle Lynne: So it's not like the movies? You don't run into his arms, kiss passionately, the music rises?


Justine Lafond: The first 24 yes. And then after that, it's like, he'll go, oh, I'm gonna go mow and I'm like, well are you gonna ask me what I had planned? Like, mowing is helpful, thank you. But like, what if I just was like peace. And I just like left? It's like, well, I'm grocery shopping. And I didn't say like, hey, FYI, you got the kid. You know? It's just stuff like that.


Michelle Lynne: And especially since you'd had a routine. And then all of a sudden, he just pops in.


Justine Lafond: Yeah. and stuff I feel is important that he has been in other places of the world that are not as important is a little more apathetic towards some of those things that feel like


Michelle Lynne: I'll bet you that a lot of our audience, even if their spouse is not military, but maybe their spouse travels for work. They're salespeople or something. They find that they come home, and you've got everything running fairly smoothly. And it's just like a cog in the wheel.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, they're like, you're throwing my schedule off, man.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Love ya.


Justine Lafond: I'm just so glad you're here, but


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, we need to rework this.


Justine Lafond: Yes. It was it was difficult. And it was really tricky in the beginning, and he was so laser-focused and he's so good at what he does.


Michelle Lynne: You have to be.


Justine Lafond: You know, he wants to be the best of the best of everything, at work, at home, best dad, best husband, you know, he wants to knock it all out of the park. And so I think for him, it's been helpful for us to have those expectation conversations because I'm like, you can't crush everything all the time. And so it's kind of gone in seasons, you know? For him, it was heavy, his career when we first got there, and it was heavy motherhood for me. And we were at a major disconnect in our marriage and you know, then it's the marriage is like, you're like, oh, gosh, we're sinking, we have to figure this out. We have to communicate better.


Michelle Lynne: And marriage isn't easy. Like, people don't tell you that shit. Neither is business, and the other is motherhood.


Justine Lafond: No, it's all just hard. I know. I'm like, why do we all keep signing up for this over and over? It's so worth it. But it's so like,


Michelle Lynne: But I think that it's important that we talk about it is like, you know what? Because of social media, everybody looks at others as if we've got our shit together.


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: When in reality, that's the highlight reel. And we all have moments where we break down, whether it's marriage, that's like, you're just crying about, whether it's your kids, you're like, I'm ruining them forever. Your business is like, I suck. Where's the next, where's the next phone call coming in? When? So I think that it's just, that's life. And it's not always perfect. But having those challenges, I think acknowledging it, and realizing that something you said, you know, acknowledging the expectations, and then discussing them so that you guys are on the same page is key. But that also travels over to our clients.


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: So I really believed that because I was good at business for a long time and could communicate well that I would be a good wife and a good mother and so forth. But we have to look at it without the emotion. And in our business, that's hard because it is our business.


Justine Lafond: Right.


Michelle Lynne: It's not somebody else's company that we're running. It's like, we also have to separate that identity, so we have multiple identities, even though we're one person. Kinda like the Holy Spirit, right?


Justine Lafond: Yes. I am all of these things, all in this one container of a person.


Michelle Lynne: So it's like mother, wife, business owner/operator, all the things. What has brought you the greatest joy from your business?


Justine Lafond: Oh, that's a good question. Um, so honestly, when I first started doing your program, the very beginning talked so much about understanding like who you are as a designer and what you bring to the table, and then really nailing down your ideal client profile and making sure that you are having an enjoyable process with the people you work with. Not just doing the things you like to do, but also, you're spending 12 to 24 months with these people, and you really want to enjoy them. And so I think for me, it's been so much fun. I really, like I have to say, all of my clients are just my exact ICP.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's awesome.


Justine Lafond: They're so chill, they would walk into a room, they're wearing fishing, like one of my clients actually are fishermen. Like they charter, they do tournaments. My other client is a builder. I mean they're just chill. One of them owns a pizza company, like franchise, and they're just really cool people.


Michelle Lynne: So you like the people as your joy?


Justine Lafond: Yeah, yeah, I love all of them. My other client, she's a doctor and her husband has a finance accounting background. And they always laugh. Their testimonial said, like you're our designer and our marriage counselor. They'll call me randomly and say, you know, hey, I thought you said this, but my husband thought you said this, and we need you to clear this little snafu up for us and it's just so much fun. I love my clients.


Michelle Lynne: That's awesome. I can totally see that for you too. And that's the funny thing is that my business, ML Interiors Group, I was getting so tired of those relationships and just the energy that it took and the skillset that continued to elevate. But that's when I just really enjoyed having the processes and the procedures in place enough that Debbie and Megan could deal with it. Yeah, I don't mind the first couple of months.


Justine Lafond: Anyway, Godspeed. Have fun. Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: So I love hearing that because I know that that's brought a lot of joy to Debbie and Megan as well. Because they do. You develop a friendship. And you are, you're stuck with them for 12 months or more.


Justine Lafond: And the whole area is so chill anyways, you know, like people show up to meetings in workout clothes and flip flops.


Michelle Lynne: But it's also, that's the way you present that you're comfortable.


Justine Lafond: Yes. It is very much my vibe too because I'm just like, I am who I am and I'm so sorry but my two-and-a-half-year-old is going to be on your job site today because my nanny has COVID. And they're all like, have their own kids. They get it. Like one thousand percent.


Michelle Lynne: You wouldn't have any pushback if you personally did that here in Dallas, because that's who you are, and your ideal client wouldn't change, and you wouldn't change.


Justine Lafond: Yeah. Well, I hope not.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah. No, I firmly believe that wherever you are, who you are at that moment in time


Justine Lafond: is what you attract


Michelle Lynne: is what you're going to, yes, exactly. Because you've heard the story that I started ML Interiors Group, and I wanted to focus on glamorously functional interiors for the busy professional. But then it's like, you see me now, it's like I'm barefoot, and I'm in a little, you know, this is not glamorous, and this is who I am. You know, I put makeup on today because I was on camera for a couple other things. But besides that, that's not who resonates. And I didn't want to have to show up that way. And I didn't want to have to deal with those people. So it's just interesting how you find your own space, but you have to go looking for it.


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: And you can't be all things to all people.


Justine Lafond: No.


Michelle Lynne: So yeah, thank you. Please drive through.


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Michelle Lynne: So you've had a lot of extenuating circumstances kind of leading into starting your business. What would you tell the person, the man, or the woman, but probably mostly the woman. What advice would you give them that feels like their circumstances are preventing them from chasing a dream? Whether it's opening up, you know, starting a business, maybe it's having a child, maybe it's buying, you know, property, like whatever. What would you tell them? Because you just kind of just did it all and made it look easy.


Justine Lafond: Gosh, my husband would be like yeah, so all the tears in between and the meltdowns?


Michelle Lynne: But that's me following you on social media.


Justine Lafond: That's not how it works. I just would say, keep going. If you have a lofty goal and you want to get there


Michelle Lynne: Or a jaunty goal.


Justine Lafond: Or a jaunty goal.


Michelle Lynne: Her company's name is Jaunty Interiors, y'all, that's cute.


Justine Lafond: Just keep biting little bits off. Growing up, my parents used to always tell us, just don't bite off more than you can chew. And you're not going to get somewhere overnight, starting here, and then, you know, tripling your speed and intensity to get further. And so it was just like, start with one thing that you can do and just, you know, make a list and check those things off your list. So for me, I started my, got my LLC paperwork and all that stuff in order when I was still pregnant. And then I kind of let life pop in


Michelle Lynne: Or out as the case may be.


Justine Lafond: There you go. Or out, as Aubrey chose, and then I just kind of continued to do little things. It was like, what can I do next? What can I do next? What can I do next? So that's what I would say, just keep doing those little things. And even in business, I've tried to say, I'm gonna do one big thing a year for my business, that's like my big, hairy goal. So my first year, it was knock your course out.


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Justine Lafond: My second year, it's been photography and my website and getting that really good and really locked up. Hopefully next year, it will be a little bit more marketing and kind of having my Instagram buttoned up.


Michelle Lynne: Love that.


Justine Lafond: And so I'm just kind of doing one big thing a year and then little pockets of what can I improve on internally?


Michelle Lynne: And that's life. Right? Yeah, I've told this before is, if I knew all the moving parts, and all of the details that goes into the business where I am today, which thankfully, we're seven figures. I've got people that work for me and so forth. I don't know if I would have had the balls to do it.


Justine Lafond: Right. It's very daunting.


Michelle Lynne: Right? But if you're just one step at a time, one step at a time, and then also remembering that if you take two steps forward and one step back, it's called the Cha-cha.


Justine Lafond: And that's so life. I mean, you do that everywhere. You know, people are like how's everything going? Oh, great. You're in a season where it's easy and it feels good and everything's good and then they ask you, you know, six months later, eight months later, and you're like, I know somebody pulled the rug out from under me somewhere. I don't know when or how but it's not great right now.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah. And I think that, for those in the audience who have had a family, they've had a marriage, or whatever the case may be, business isn't any different. It ebbs and it flows. It's good, and it's bad. And it's all at the same time. And it's hard some days, and it's easy some days, like, you're like, I'm on the top of the world, or like, I'm just gonna throw in the towel and walk away. It just is. But if that's where your heart truly wants to be, the good always outweighs the bad.


Justine Lafond: Oh, absolutely.


Michelle Lynne: Because you're committed to it. It's like marriage. You're like, there's no walking away in my marriage. We're gonna get through it. And it might be hard, and it might be ugly, but he's stuck with my happy ass.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, exactly.


Michelle Lynne: And it's the same thing with business. Like, there was never an option to not continue moving forward.


Justine Lafond: Right. A hundred percent. You said on a podcast the other day that I was listening to, don't compare your year one to their year five. And you can, you know, that sits true for your own self, but also looking at other people around you. My year one is going to look different than this fellow designer's year one.


Michelle Lynne: Absolutely.


Justine Lafond: And you can't do it in life, either. You know, I'd say to my husband, like, I'm not as strong as I was, I can't do 11 pull-ups anymore. And you know, and he's like, well, the last time you could do 11 pull-ups, you were six years younger, or five years younger, and you didn't have a baby and you were in the gym five, six times a week. And you know, that's different. Don't compare that Justine, 30-year-old Justine to 36-year-old Justine.


Michelle Lynne: There you go.


Justine Lafond: So I try to keep that in mind with all those things. And I'm not always good at it.


Michelle Lynne: No, but I understand that completely.


Justine Lafond: But I try to be realistic. Expectation. I try to keep those expectations in line with the moment.


Michelle Lynne: And that's one of the things when Brian and I, my husband and I, were going through, we call them speed bumps, right? Where we just need to go get a tune up. Have somebody do some translation for us. So we'd go see a counselor. Well, one of the things that we learned is that most of the time when you're having difficulty, it's because somebody's expectations are not being met.


Justine Lafond: We went in the spring, and we hadn't been before. And my husband was a little hesitant. And I was like, let's just do this, you know, it's not going to get easier with your job, or kids, or another kid maybe later, like and moving, and let's just try it. And he was actually pleasantly surprised. And we left and we went, so the army offers like on base, you can go to a counselor. And so it was really great, because it's kind of through them. And so our counselor was coming from the perspective of kind of what my husband does. And he had a history with that. And so he was able to speak to it from the side that I don't fully understand.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's cool.


Justine Lafond: While also speaking to it from kind of a marriage perspective. And that was one of the things was expectation, and I'm like, I want to be involved in everything all the time. And he just was like, it's not always gonna work like that.


Michelle Lynne: Absolutely, you've got to pick and choose.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, if he says he doesn't want to talk about that. That's his final answer. And I'm like, forever? Yeah, he'll tell you when he's ready to talk about it. We'll ask and he'll share. And if he says, no, it still means no. And I'm like, shoot. So that is my expectation of I should be this involved. I should be this much in the know. I should be included in this way or that. And sometimes that's just not the case.


Michelle Lynne: No, but also having somebody, an outside party tell you


Justine Lafond: Yeah, call you out on it?


Michelle Lynne: Call you out on it, or just their expertise. It's like me as your business coach. It's like, oh, girl, don't worry about that. That'll take care of itself later. Let's get these things in place. It's just having that outside perspective that helps so freaking much.


Justine Lafond: Tremendously.


Michelle Lynne: And the counselor is not on anybody's side.


Justine Lafond: No. And he's like, kind of pointed things out both to us individually, that we've been able, I think, I hope, I think my husband would agree like it. And to say, oh, and it's just shaken out so nicely, and so easily. And it was like, man, that's all that took? At least to where we both are like, now this is our new baseline for communication. And we know if we drop past that we both have already acknowledged, this is where we can be and should be. So it just helps.


Michelle Lynne: And that's why we call it a tune up. Like, we know how well we run.


Justine Lafond: Yep.


Michelle Lynne: Now we need a tune up because we're not running as smoothly as before. You know, that can also translate to business because it's our job to set the expectations for our client.


Justine Lafond: Yes.


Michelle Lynne: So if we don't set expectations for our clients that, hey, this is going to take me 90 days to design.


Justine Lafond: Right.


Michelle Lynne: It's not HGTV, where 90 days from now it's going to be installed. It's going to be 90 days to design it. And then it's going to take however long it's going to take.


Justine Lafond: And you can start like feeling when that's off. Like, you start to get frazzled, or you start to like not be as focused, or your clients start in on tangents or, you know, majoring on the minors. And you're like, Okay, this is getting away from me. Like, what do I have to do here to reel this in and figure out like, kind of where I'm falling short or not communicating, or whatever it might be.


Michelle Lynne: That usually does fall on us, I believe, as the leader of the business, you know, and that goes, also, if you have employees. If things feel off, it's up to us to kind of get that conversation going to right the ship.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, call it out.


Michelle Lynne: So if you're listening to this and you have a client that gives you anxiety, it's most likely because you need to have a conversation with that client. And it might be a difficult conversation, like going to a counselor with your spouse.


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: Sometimes it's a difficult conversation. It just needs to be in a safe place. But at the same time, and I've said this quite a bit, is like, somebody told me once that the more difficult conversations you're willing to have, the better the quality of life you are going to lead.


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: And that goes for business, it goes for marriage, it goes for all the things.


Justine Lafond: Yeah, I believe that 100%.


Michelle Lynne: Business and marriage are very similar.


Justine Lafond: I think any kind of relationship dynamic is the same. I learned that actually, like in my mid-20s. I broke off an engagement and I was devastated. But I had a lot of relationship repairing to do. And I learned after that with some of the jobs that I had had that ended poorly, I was able to look back and reflect on that relationship and how sour it went and make comparisons. And I was like, oh, wait a minute, just like how it was not about me at that moment. Some of the things that I felt like I was being dealt, oh this isn't about you, it's the same way with business, core business relationships. It was like that's a you thing. Because I know my integrity. And I know my honesty. And so, you know what I mean? Like, you start to see those parallels, and you're like, oh wow. So interesting how life just all funnels together.


Michelle Lynne: It works similarly. Now, last question is, how do you feel about that, like taking things from the business, when it's your business? Like, is it hard for you to separate, this is Justine. This is Justine's business. Justine is not her business. Her business is not her. Does that make sense?


Justine Lafond: Yes.


Michelle Lynne: Because it's close. When it's, and especially, you know, if your name is on the business, or if you are the face of the business. It's different than if I was working for IBM or something.


Justine Lafond: Yeah. Oh, gosh.


Michelle Lynne: IBM. Did I just date myself?


Justine Lafond: That's so random. Not Apple, IBM. I don't know. Honestly, I feel like because I'm still so young and new in this, I haven't had to feel or deal with too too much of that crossover yet.


Michelle Lynne: How long have you been in business, total now?


Justine Lafond: Gosh, a year?


Michelle Lynne: Yeah. A little over a year?


Justine Lafond: Like yeah, I mean, I really got my first like, check at the end of last year. So I would say at the end of this year would be a full calendar year that I have been in business. So I don't know, I don't really know, I haven't had, I know that it spills over personally in my relationship with my husband, because I am so laser-focused on the business side, that I start to sometimes get resentful about him and being able to pursue all of his lofty career goals. So that part bleeds over for me because that starts to feel personal. And because the business is so much a part of me, and my career is so much a part of me, that definitely starts to bleed over to feel personal. And then I'm like, well, you're not supporting me. And he's like, no, that's not it. I'm just, you know, functionally, we have to figure out how this is going to look.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that makes sense.


Justine Lafond: That's been the part that's been the hardest, I think so far to separate,


Michelle Lynne: Interesting. It's complicated.


Justine Lafond: I know.


Michelle Lynne: All of the things. I wouldn't have it any other way. And then you throw a kid in it, right?


Justine Lafond: Yeah, I know.


Michelle Lynne: Always cracks me up.


Justine Lafond: Just to really showcase your insanity, here, let's add a child or multiple. Oh, gosh.


Michelle Lynne: I know it's so funny. But it's also like, I've had friends or acquaintances or whatever, that they have a child in order to quote unquote, save their marriage. And I'm like, that is so bass-ackwards.


Justine Lafond: Oof.


Michelle Lynne: That's a whole other podcast.


Justine Lafond: Yeah. No. don't do that.


Michelle Lynne: Well, Justine, I just feel like I told you earlier, we can have a glass of wine and have this conversation, but I actually have a workout, so I'm like, damnit, I didn't plan that very well.


Justine Lafond: No.


Michelle Lynne: And you know, I love to talk about all things business, and I love like how we took this into the personal, the family, and so forth. I really think that the audience is going to love that. But the next part of our little conversation is going to be rapid fire. So if you've listened to the podcast, you know.


Justine Lafond: I have. I know I'm like, hopefully I don't just brainfart. I know I've heard these enough times to have responses for some of them.


Michelle Lynne: I should have had some brand-new questions for you. Alright, we're gonna start easy. Innie belly button or outie?


Justine Lafond: Innie.


Michelle Lynne: And where do you find inspiration?


Justine Lafond: Oh, gosh, everywhere. Nature. I mean, I really love nature and food.


Michelle Lynne: And yeah, living on the beach wouldn't suck.


Justine Lafond: No, it does not. That part doesn't suck.


Michelle Lynne: What is your favorite color? And what do you think it says about you?


Justine Lafond: Green is my favorite color. I don't know. I think it just says like fresh and growth and new beginnings, new horizons, you know? Yeah. Outside. Vibrancy. Health, hopefully.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, and that's you.


Justine Lafond: I hope.


Michelle Lynne: What I know about you, it is. Okay. If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?


Justine Lafond: Anything?


Michelle Lynne: Anything, if you knew you could not fail.


Justine Lafond: I would love to be a motivational speaker. It's kind of actually always been like on my heart to speak and write. I would love to write a book someday.


Michelle Lynne: I can see that. So for those of y'all, the Interior Design Business Bakery, Justine came through it. I think you were in one of the first classes.


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: And now you have inspired so many people. She's one of our like, advisors. So we get a new class in and she's one of the individuals that will hold your hand and kind of answer your questions. And I think that that's because of the inspiration and the excitement that you share with others.


Justine Lafond: Thank you.


Michelle Lynne: So yeah, thank you for doing that.


Justine Lafond: I like to inspire people.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I think that you've talked the talk, you can walk the walk, and now you're leading others. So that's fun.


Justine Lafond: Thank you.


Michelle Lynne: What is your favorite book?


Justine Lafond: I love books. I love books like so. Oh my gosh, I wish I could just sit in a room and read and recluse for hours. Probably To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe not because it is the very, very best of all the books I've read. But it was the most impactful like literary impactful to me in high school.


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Justine Lafond: And it really is the one that set me on the trajectory to just fall in love with literature.


Michelle Lynne: Fun. What are you reading these days?


Justine Lafond: Oh, gosh, right now I'm reading the Silent Patient. It's like kind of a thriller mind book.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Justine Lafond: But it's interesting, but I just finished a fiction that's like was the smutty, romance like, you know, turn of the century kind of thing. And I'm also reading a finance book.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, fun.


Justine Lafond: Yeah. That's not the one I read before bed. It probably should be since I have sleep problems.


Michelle Lynne: Well, I was gonna say those thrillers keep you up.


Justine Lafond: Yes.


Michelle Lynne: I just finished The Terminal List, which is a thriller spy novel, but it's also on Netflix.


Justine Lafond: Did you watch the series?


Michelle Lynne: I started watching the series, and then I always fell asleep.


Justine Lafond: Oh my gosh, really?


Michelle Lynne: How crazy is that? I think it's because by the time we get Genevieve down, sometimes I can stay up for an hour, sometimes I can't.


Justine Lafond: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: But I picked it up and I read it on a turnaround trip. I just went to Atlanta real fast. I picked it up at the airport on the way back and finished it like the next day.


Justine Lafond: I think my husband has read the books, but I had never read them. And then it came out on Netflix, and he was like you gotta watch this, I think you'll like it. I have like 5% say in what we watch when he's home. I'm like, come on watch Bridgerton with me. He's like no, Terminal List.


Michelle Lynne: I have to side with your husband.


Justine Lafond: So that's what we watch when he's home.


Michelle Lynne: All right, well, I already know the answer to this, but any tattoos and what are they?


Justine Lafond: I do. I have two on my arm. One is the God is greater than the highs and the lows symbol. And then the other one is a verse. Let not your heart be troubled for you believe in God believe also in me. I got that after my meltdown in my mid-20s. When I called my engagement off and had to fix a bunch of relationships. And it's just a good reminder. Reminder.


Michelle Lynne: I love that. Love, love, love it. Okay, last one is what is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?


Justine Lafond: Oh, I kind of feel like I'm an open book. I don't know that there's a whole lot that's surprising. Um, I'm 50% Italian, my grandmother came over after World War II. So we grew up in a very Italian-influenced household.


Michelle Lynne: Very fun.


Justine Lafond: Like, my dad is first generation. So that was always fun. Like my friends in New York would come hang out and you know, come to my grandparents’ house and they were like, oh, wow, this is not at all what my Anglo American, Protestant, whatever. You know, European, straight-up like English European family does for holidays or how loud they are or any of the aggression, like it's just it's a lot. It's a lot to be around.


Michelle Lynne: That makes sense. Because before we came on live, we were talking about you said how loud you spoke.


Justine Lafond: So loud.


Michelle Lynne: And your mom said, you are your father's daughter.


Justine Lafond: Yes.


Michelle Lynne: And that's got to be the Italian side.


Justine Lafond: Yes, whoever is the loudest gets the floor. So my little, my dad's aunts, so I guess my great aunts, they would stand on tables, quite literally stand up on the table to get the attention of my great uncles and bang pots and pans. And I mean, it was a whole thing.


Michelle Lynne: That is greatness.


Justine Lafond: Yes, it was a lot. Very, very fun. Great memories, but it was always a lot.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that would be exhausting after a while, but I like the idea of the pots and pans. And especially because you're such a little thing. Like, you would need to get up there and say,


Justine Lafond: Hey.


Michelle Lynne: Hello.


Justine Lafond: Yes. Beat my chest just a little.


Michelle Lynne: That's too funny. Well, Justine, thank you so much for being on the show.


Justine Lafond: Thank you for having me.


Michelle Lynne: It has been so much fun. And I know the audience has loved everything you've had to say. So how can they stay connected to you?


Justine Lafond: My website is www.jauntyjinteriors.com. And my Instagram is @jauntyjinteriors.


Michelle Lynne: Jaunty J, I always forget the J.


Justine Lafond: You know, I made that forever ago, I was doing a little bit of styling on the side, and I loved the word jaunty. Because it's, it means up to date in dress and manners but also lively and cheerful. There's like kind of, it's kind of like a two-part definition. You know? And I was like, that's so perfect because I want to be like, you know, up-to-date and kind of like forward, you know, trendy, like kind of forward thinking but also, I'm super cheerful, I feel like and lively and boisterous, so and then my name is Justine. So Jaunty J, just kind of felt like, plus, I love a good alliteration. So I just went for it.


Michelle Lynne: That is super fun. Well, I'll make sure that those details are all listed in the show notes. Because it's not just your website, but also your handle for Instagram, where some of the fun shows up as well.


Michelle Lynne: So for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, you can join our growing community on Facebook, it's a private group. And yes, I say this every time, I know it's Facebook, but that's the best place to actually run a group. So that's called the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. And then I believe this episode is going to be airing in September. And that still leaves you time to come to the Interior Design Business Success Summit. We're going to be in Dallas, Texas, we've got a private tour of Dallas Market Center. Did you know Dallas has a market? It's open every day of the week, I think like 50 weeks in the year compared to some of the other markets. It's badass. And we've got a design center and all the things. And we've got some really great speakers, and we're going to have some door prizes, and all sorts of fun. So you can find that information on my website designedforthecreativemind.com There's a little thing you can click that says Summit. That means it's still happening this year. If you miss it this year, we'll have it next year. And I'm planning some other fun stuff. So thanks for listening. If you like what you're hearing, also, please leave a review wherever you catch us. It is appreciated. So until next time, thanks, Justine.


Justine Lafond: Thank you. It was fun.


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 a name, and get even more business advice, than join me in my Facebook group, the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feed. It's fun. 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.

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