Episode 90: Invest In Yourself, It Will Take You Places with Kristen Reyes
My next guest is another graduate of our Interior Design Business Bakery. She is also a familiar voice in our Interior Designers Business Launchpad Facebook community, sharing her knowledge and experience with others in the group.
In this episode, Kristen Reyes shares how the Bakery has changed her business processes even though she already had years of interior design experience under her belt. She truly believes in community over competition and how investing in yourself may be scary at first, but intentionally spending money will help make you money in your business.
Kristen Reyes knew she would be an interior designer by age 11. Coming from a long line of contractors and artists, she pursued a prestigious degree in interior design at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Post-grad, she was recruited by top international design firms completing projects for Southwest Airlines HDQ to luxury high-rise developments that dot the Dallas skyline. Today, she brings this high-level expertise in construction, design, and project management to her busy, professional clients looking to design forever-family homes. Most recently, she has been featured in Forbes, Realtor.com, Homes & Gardens, and Apartment Therapy.
Learn more about Kristen at her website www.seyinteriors.com and connect with Kristen on Instagram @sey_interiors and Facebook @sey_interiors. You will also see her commenting in our Facebook group as Kristen Lynn Reyes.
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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.
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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: Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creatives. We're here today talking to Kristen Reyes. She knew that she would be an interior designer by age 11. I'm sure a lot of you guys can relate to that. She came from a long line of contractors and artists and pursued a prestigious degree in interior design at the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Following graduation, she was recruited by top international design firms completing projects for Southwest Airlines headquarters to luxury high-rise developments that dot the Dallas skyline. Today she brings this high-level expertise of construction, design, and project management to her busy professional clients looking to design forever family homes. Most recently, Kristen has been featured in Forbes, realtor.com, Homes and Gardens, and Apartment Therapy. Wow, Kristen, you've been busy. Thanks for being here.
Kristen Reyes: Thanks so much for having me, Michelle.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, I don't think I knew all about that in your background.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, it's been a journey.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, so much fun. So much fun. So for those of you listening in, I know Kristen, because she has come through our Interior Design Business Bakery, which is our year-long paid program and was just killing it. And I really think it's important that we have guests on the podcast that are relatable, in addition to all of the educational guests that we have here. So Kristen agreed to be here. And I'm so glad to talk to you. Can you tell the audience, Kristen, how did you decided to start your interior design business? Let's just kind of go back to the basics. I mean, obviously at age 11, you were dreaming about it.
Kristen Reyes: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: I honestly don't even know if I knew what interior design was at that age. But you were surrounded by people.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, so my dad is a commercial contractor. He doesn't necessarily do like pretty interior design, he more of does like a lot of like, he did like school additions, and like kind of like mechanic shops. So he was a lot more on the lines of like commercial development. But my aunt is a residential interior designer and still practices, so I got to see a lot of that. We moved a lot when I was a kid because my dad always just like wanted, we would like get done with the house, we would always joke that like once the house got blinds, we knew that we probably had like less than a year left in the house. And so we moved I think like six times before I turned 16. And my dad built or remodeled all of those homes. So I was always along for the process. I was also homeschooled so was literally physically like going to like wallpaper showrooms and paint shops when I was a little kid and my parents like let me have a big role in like letting me decorate and seeing kind of how the process went. So I did get a really early introduction. And so I think that that, obviously, it made it a really obvious choice of what to do. But granted, not all of my siblings do what I do. So I think it was a natural inclination as well as just having the exposure to it.
Michelle Lynne: Right. So you decided to go to school and pursue it.
Kristen Reyes: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: From a traditional standpoint.
Kristen Reyes: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: When did you decide that you didn't want to work with those international design firms that you were working for, and like start on your own?
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, so I was working in the corporate world for a while and just like always felt like I was a square peg trying to fit myself into a round hole. Like it's just like, it was a little too structured for me. And a little too, like, it wasn't as personal honestly, as what I wanted to experience. Just like not having the relationship as much with the end user, there was a lot of tears in between me and who was actually communicating with the client. And I find that what has really motivated me in the residential side is just knowing who is going to be using the space at the end of the day.
Michelle Lynne: That makes sense and being able to really impact their lives and understand how to do so. So when did you decide? Were you like halfway through your first year?
Kristen Reyes: Oh, gosh, it took me a while. So I worked for commercial interior designers for a few years and then I was kind of like at the end of my rope like this, I was at my third firm in six years. And I was like, this is not working. Like there's something, I'm the common denominator here. And even though I'm trying to make this work, it's not working. So I had, one of my bosses that I used to work with in the commercial world, she had started her own residential firm and kind of heard through the grapevine that I was wanting to try something different. And she reached out to me, and was like, hey, do you want to work in residential? And that wasn't necessarily what I ever like, when you go to interior design school, a lot of what they train you to do is commercial work, because that is what, you know, that is more steady and more stable. And so I think they're trying to set students up for like, they're salaried careers that you can have, and it's less focusing on the entrepreneurial bit. So I thought I always would want to have my own company, but through the years, I was like, that's not for me, like, I got all this formal training and I need to use it in this very specific way, in order to be successful. And so I kind of was like, I'll just take a little time and figure out what I'm doing and work for this residential designer part-time. And then I discovered that I really loved it. And I loved working with the people. I was really good at it. And it kind of took a lot of what I had learned, and I was able to flip that on its head and come at the residential design world from a different angle as well with my commercial background. So having a little bit more of the structure that I already knew, and I was able to implement that into the residential world. And I still do some commercial projects, it just kind of depends on what the project is. And if it seems exciting.
Michelle Lynne: Now you can say yes and no, and you don't just have to take what they hand you. That makes a difference. That makes a difference. Although that's good for me to know, because we don't do a lot of commercial with my team.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: And since you're local here in Dallas with me, I can send referrals over to you.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Yay, that works.
Kristen Reyes: And so when I worked for her, it was kind of like, I was like, this is happy, I'm great. Like, I'm just gonna stay here like, this is perfect. And then 2020 happened. And everybody was kind of like, you know, everybody was doing some sort of introspection about like, what do I want my life to look like, if this is what it looks like, then am I actually happy and I was happy with what I was doing. But I did want a little bit more of that creative control. I had worked for her for almost four years and was like, you know, maybe I could do this. And then right after I was kind of thinking about that, my grandfather passed away. And he was the original kind of like entrepreneur in the family. He was the one that started a construction business. And I think it kind of clicked with me, like, I can be an entrepreneur because it literally runs through my blood. And I'm just gonna, like, try to go out on my own and see if this works. So that was October 2020. And then I officially launched February 2021.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, wow. Wow, wow, wow. So yes, you definitely had that time of introspection. And it sounds like relationships have been a benefit to you in building your business. You know, whether it's your family, obviously, coming from that background, but also your old boss who said, hey, you did such a great job for me here, why don't you come and make the leap over there?
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, like I wouldn't be where I am without having the opportunity to kind of build that relationship. And I think it really speaks to like, even if you're working on a job that you don't necessarily love, like, building those relationships, and never burning bridges, I think is so important.
Michelle Lynne: I agree. It's just maintaining that level of professionalism. Even if it's with a client that just sucks. Because we all get them every once in a while. But the only thing we have as business owners is our reputation and our word.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, for sure.
Michelle Lynne: So yeah. If you are stuck in a job that you're not happy with, don't be a bitch.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, totally. We try not to be. We try not to be.
Michelle Lynne: Just nod your head and smile and go to your car and yell. So what are the relationships do you feel like you've benefited from as you've kind of grown in your career and into this entrepreneurial journey?
Kristen Reyes: So I have really come to rely on just relationships with other peers in the field. I think that, and I know you've talked about this a lot, just like the kind of like, vibe in the interior design world was kind of like hush-hush, like, you just keep your stuff to yourself. And I definitely like I mean, I started working as an interior designer professionally in 2012. And so I have seen kind of the waves of how that has changed. But I think just like building relationships with other interior designers is so important. The whole community over competition kind of concept, how beneficial that is just for other people for sure. But also, for me to be able to like learn and grow from what other people are doing. And not necessarily, like it does take some, like humbling yourself and being like, you know, I can learn from other people. Because I think like, coming from the commercial world where like we know it all, we know how to do this job
Michelle Lynne: Right. On a much larger scale.
Kristen Reyes: Yes. And moving into the residential world, I could have come into that with like, I know what I'm doing. And like, I'm just going to keep on building this, building this thing, but getting other perspectives from other people and seeing how they do things. And being able to kind of apply that to my business has been very helpful. And just being able to learn from other people and humbling myself and realizing that like, hey, I don't know, at all. And I'm allowed to ask for help if I don't know the answer.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. And I know you well enough that you also give help to others when they have questions.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: You've been really, actually you're very active over on the Launchpad in the Facebook group.
Kristen Reyes: Yes, I try to be because I do see that, like, there are a lot of younger designers and having the experience that I do, I am able to kind of speak into some of those places. And I see myself in a lot of those places too and so I am able to be like, oh, yeah, I remember, you know, when I was doing this, and here's a way that I can encourage you or, you know, maybe that's not the best way to approach this and kind of using that experience to build others up.
Michelle Lynne: I think that's so important. And I know I appreciate it in the group. But it's just so important that, I say it often, there's enough ugly houses for all of us.
Kristen Reyes: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: Why are we so hush-hush and why are we so adamant about not sharing support? So I think that that's fantastic. And just leading the way and showing others that there's plenty of room for all of us.
Kristen Reyes: There really is. And I mean, we're in a huge market, right? Like Dallas is like not slowing down anytime soon. So it's, there are a lot of interior designers in Dallas, but there's still plenty of work. So it's important to share and give referrals and just, you know, kind of build others up.
Michelle Lynne: And it elevates.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: I mean, a rising tide lifts all boats. So if we can just continue to elevate other interior designers across the city, across the country, across heck the globe, it helps all of us to be perceived as professionals.
Kristen Reyes: Yes. Like, this isn't just a hobby like, this is actually a career and we're doing it.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly.
Kristen Reyes: I can't tell you how many people have been like, oh, you can get a degree for that? Oh, like, you know, and it's just like, I want to help the industry as a whole. Because we're not just like a bunch of people that are sitting around picking out paint colors and pillows, like we are solving actual problems. And it's valuable, the work that we do.
Michelle Lynne: It really is. It changes people's lives when they can start and end their day in their own sanctuary.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, for sure.
Michelle Lynne: Because we go out to battle the rest of the day. So what did you maybe not learn in design school that you had to learn as an entrepreneur? Because as I interact with so many other designers, oftentimes, myself included, sometimes we feel that not going to interior design school is a detriment, right? Like we are not enough if we didn't get that diploma. And I know it has a huge benefit, but it's not a must. But coming out of design school and into entrepreneurial life now, what was some of the disconnect?
Kristen Reyes: I think a lot of the disconnect was just we weren't ever, I think yeah, the kind of like what I said, we weren't really ever planned for starting our own businesses, like when you were in school, so I had to take one business course. I took accounting. Which is hilarious, because I married an accountant. Thank God, because that was the only class in college that I almost failed.
Michelle Lynne: I feel your pain there. That one and statistics nearly did me in.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah. I was like, this isn't for me. But it's ironic that that is the one business class that I took.
Michelle Lynne: And you married him.
Kristen Reyes: And I married him, and I was like, the first thing I do if I ever own a business is hiring an accountant. And so I just decided to go a step further and marry one.
Michelle Lynne: There you go.
Kristen Reyes: It's been very helpful. But we just weren't really encouraged or like, told to, hey, invest in kind of getting sales skills, getting a marketing education or like understanding if you, and of course, the world has changed so much since I started college in 2008. Like we weren't thinking about like social media, and how do you market yourself and things like that, but just we didn't have that business acumen kind of taught to us and so, as far as like being an entrepreneur, I've had to learn a lot. And again, I've had to humble myself and realize that just because I have an education in interior design does not mean that I'm fully equipped, right out the gate to start a business.
Michelle Lynne: No, that makes sense. Because I don't know if you're ever fully equipped to just start a business. Lord knows if I would have known how difficult it was, I don't know if I would have had the courage to do it. Especially in this industry, I thought it was gonna be fluffing pillows and picking out paint colors.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, it's sometimes, I mean, we're putting out fires all the time. This is probably the most stressful, but like, should be least stressful job that exists in the world.
Michelle Lynne: Right. And it's also interesting, because I think so many of us, it's so close to our hearts, and it's so close to us. And we want to take care of our clients that we all take it that much more seriously. Whereas in reality, we're not curing cancer, nobody's gonna die on the operating table. But we all treat our jobs, we all treat our businesses seriously.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, it is like our babies, I know that you're never really ready to be a parent, and you're never really ready to run a business. Sometimes you have to jump in. Part of the reason that I think I joined The Bakery was because of those entrepreneurial skills I that I knew I didn't have, because I obviously knew that I had the design chops. I was educated in that, I had been doing it for a decade, so like I knew what I was doing. But just not knowing kind of where to take those skills and how to build up the skills that I knew that I didn't have, because I just wasn't educated.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, and I think that it's the education, but it's also all the other moving parts of owning a business. Because we get into this because we're good at what we do. But I understand that, and I know, if anybody's been listening to this podcast for any length of time, and yourself included, just having the background that we have together, I started this business and asked for help. And there was nobody out there, what I thought at the time was willing to share their experience. Now I really believe that there's so many designers that put on a face that they know what they're doing, but they really don't, that I promised that when I figured this shit out, I was gonna share it with as many people as possible because we all need the business side of it. Because like you said, you can design in your sleep. But knowing who your ideal client profile is, and how to get the word out, and how to charge for it, and so forth, it's completely different. And this industry is not like any other.
Kristen Reyes: Nope, it's definitely not like any other.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. So how did, so curiously, how did The Bakery change the processes that you had? And when did you join you? Did you join right when you launched your business in February of 2021?
Kristen Reyes: No, I was June of 2021.
Michelle Lynne: Okay, so six months later, five months later.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah. It's interesting, because I was following a lot of the things that I had done at my previous employer, like I was kind of following her processes, but finding that they didn't really work for me. So I kind of had a lot of things in my head of what I knew that the design process looked like, but I didn't have it all written down. And I didn't have it all like, I'm gonna copy, kind of copy the same metric the same way every time. Like I needed some guidance as to like, yeah, how to price. How to know who I'm reaching out to. Because it was just kind of like I was taking, you know, when you're new in business, you kind of just take every project as it comes to you. And you're like, this is a project. But also, knowing that I needed to get some things in order because if I was going to start taking on more work, I needed to be able to replicate what I was doing. And I had no idea, I was just kind of like a fish out of water, just like floundering on the beach, being like I know I'm supposed to like, have some sort of order, but I need somebody, and I'm the type of person that's like, once I've given a framework, I can take that, and I can just like run with it.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, you did.
Kristen Reyes: And so I was like, I did a lot of research into different programs. And yours is the one that just made the most sense to me. But I know there's others out there. But being able to take a process and kind of like mold it and shape it into what I needed. I just needed the framework because like you say it's a recipe and so I was able to kind of take that recipe and change it how I needed to.
Michelle Lynne: Customize it.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, like okay, I want to use honey instead of, you know, sugar or whatever.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, exactly. Or applesauce instead of oil.
Kristen Reyes: Yes, exactly. Like, I can kind of change it to like my tastes and how it works best for my business and how it works best for my brain.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. And I think that that is so important, because you mentioned there, y'all, as you're listening, there are so many programs out there, and it's so important to find what works for you and your brain. Because everybody learns a little bit differently. Everybody has different needs and different ways of absorbing the information. But yes, it is, The Bakery is a recipe, it's not a franchise. So take it a little bit this way. Take it a little bit that way.
Michelle Lynne: Imagine trying to bake a cake without a recipe. You kind of know what the ingredients are, but you don't know how to put it all together. After lots of hard work and trying different combinations, all you are left with is a sticky situation and a stomachache. Babe, running an interior design business can feel exactly that same way. That is why I created The Interior Design Business Bakery. This is a program that teaches you how to bake your interior design business cake and eat it too. If you don't want to figure out the hard way, and you want guidance to follow, a recipe that has already been vetted, someone that has already been there and done it and will help you do it too, then check out the year-long mentorship and coaching program, The Interior Design Business Bakery. If your interior design business revenue is below $300,000, or if you're struggling to make a profit and keep your sanity, this is the only program for you. You can find that information at designedforthecreativemind.com/business-bakery. Check it out. You won't regret it.
Michelle Lynne: So Kristen, when this airs, it's going to be about two years since your business
Kristen Reyes: Wow!
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, since you went with your business when, because this, heck, as we record it, we're going into February of 2023. And this should come out in February or March. So you're going to be at your two-year anniversary. How have things changed for you in the last two years? You're sitting in your own office.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah. I'm sitting in my own office. So that has been crazy. Just making actual money and being able to afford things. Because I think when I initially joined the bakery, it was like, I mean, it's a big investment, right? Like, you are like, you know, I have like three projects, and I'm trying to figure out what to do. And like, should I invest this money? Like, I don't really know. But let me tell you, you should invest the money. Because I think we are so, we as interior designers, we want to bootstrap everything. And we want to say like I did this on my own. And I think that is an entrepreneurial thing as well, like wanting to do it all yourself.
Michelle Lynne: It's like we wear that as a badge of honor. But yeah, at the end of the day, we're freaking exhausted.
Kristen Reyes: Yes. And so I was really exhausted. And again, my husband is, you know, on the business side of things, and he was like, you know, sometimes you just have to invest money into your business in order to see that return on investment and not being a business-minded person, that seemed hella scary. Like I was like, I don't even know if I'm making, I don't even know if I'm making enough to do this. But I talked to you, and you're like, you'll make this money back. And I did, immediately. Because just having, I think a lot of what was gained from The Bakery was just confidence and my own self and knowing, okay, I can charge this amount of money. And it's like, my services are worth that much. So it wasn't even as much the processes as it was like working on myself and investing in myself. And knowing that, as I'm growing this business, not knowing, you know, what we're going to grow to yet, but starting with me, and knowing, okay, this is what I'm trying to build, gave me a lot of confidence in moving forward. So since then, you know, I know, last year had a six-figure year. So that was incredible. Like, I don't think I would have been anywhere close to that without having The Bakery and the processes in place. And just speaking to clients with a very clear set of, this is what your deliverables are, doing the scope of work at the beginning of every project, and just clients have really responded well to that because they know what they're getting. And so I think a lot of times interior designers will just be like, yeah, like we innately know what we're providing. But without ever having that written down, it doesn't give clients a lot of confidence in what we're saying. Because they're just kind of like, this is a little loosey goosey. And I don't really know, like, kind of our artsy side will take over and we'll be like, yeah, it's just gonna be awesome.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly. It's because we know we can get it done, but we don't necessarily know how until we're doing it, therefore, we can't explain it to the client, and they're just wondering what the heck's gonna happen.
Kristen Reyes: Yes. And I do think it's hard to force yourself to sit down and be like, these are the steps. Because there's thousands of steps that we do in order to bring a project to fruition and not that we're getting into those one thousand steps with the client because that would be overwhelming.
Michelle Lynne: But it's enough to scare them.
Kristen Reyes: It is enough to scare them to be like, hey, you know, we're picking out you know, you need to know that we're picking out a light fixture, we're picking out this, we're picking out that. So that they're not having that conversation with us, you know, midway through and being like, oh my gosh, like, wait, what are you picking? What are you doing? Should I be paying for that? They know exactly what they're getting. And so that I can walk into a room confidently knowing what I'm providing them. And then they're confidently moving forward because they know what I'm providing them.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. And they don't want to do it themselves because they're busy. And they can’t' do it as well.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah. And they're just like, oh, yeah, you know the formula. And so going into a project and knowing, them knowing what you're providing, they release control. And I think that that's a problem with a lot of projects. And a lot of things that I see in interior design forums, is people wanting to take back the control from the interior designer. And a lot of times that's because they're scared, and maybe we are communicating with them, but it's not as clear as they need. Because I have the tendency to be like, oh, I communicated that, you know, but maybe it was like, too fast for them, or, you know, like this is our expertise. And so being able to communicate that to the client, in a way that makes sense to them, that's organized gives them a lot of confidence in us. And then we can ask for the money that it actually costs to make all those things happen.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. And in valuing our own value, have you continued to increase your rates since?
Kristen Reyes: I have.
Michelle Lynne: Good. Good, good, good.
Kristen Reyes: I've continued to increase rates. The more projects I've gotten, I kind of bump them up a little bit every single time. And I'm starting to get larger projects as well, which generally does come with time. But I think some of my experience has helped with that. I'm able to kind of speak the speak.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Talk the talk and walk the walk.
Kristen Reyes: Yes, exactly. So that has been helpful. But what I really want people to hear out of all of this is just being intentional with how you're investing in yourself and investing in your business is really, it's really going to set you up moving forward. Like there's no, there's no real way around it except for like making a thousand mistakes, but those will cost you a lot of time and a lot of money. So whether it's through a coaching program, or just sitting down and really focusing on it, and having that framework, take the time to do it. Because you won't be as, I mean, we're still a little bit always building the plane as we fly it, but hopefully you at least have the structure to know what parts go where.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly. The wings, the tail, the propellers or the jet engines. Yes, I think that that's so true. And Kristen, I think you're right on point, is that investing in ourselves always feels a little awkward until it becomes part of your process. Because I think investing in yourself, like you, you've got your foundation, like what's next? Where are you going to take your business, where you going to take yourself next. And it could be a business program. It could also be health coaching, or it could be, you know, like, there's so many different ways that we can go about investing in ourselves as business owners, we have to maintain all things as optimally as possible. It ebbs and flows.
Kristen Reyes: It for sure does. And I don't know how many people listening are Enneagram people, but I'm an Enneagram two. And so what that means is their tagline is the helper. And so I am very much the type of person that will be like I need to do 50,000 things for other people. And I will not do a single thing for myself because there's just no time. And I think there's actually not, not time to invest in yourself. Because if you just run yourself ragged, then like, you're not going to be a help to anybody. My counselor said, she was like, if you were walking with a friend, and it was the coldest day, what would you do? Would you take them inside to get warm next to a fire or would you set yourself on fire so that they could keep warm? And I was like, ah, she was like, there's only two options. What are you gonna do? I'm like, yeah, you should take them inside so that both of you are warm, you shouldn't just set yourself on fire. She's like that's an extreme example. But I was definitely the type of person that was like, I will just like burn myself into the ground so that I can help other people and just realizing like, well, that's not going to work, because then I am a pile of dust.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Oh my gosh, that is such a great analogy. I know a lot of the audience can totally relate to that.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: That is just, rings a lot of bells.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, I think a lot of us go into this, not just for the pretty stuff, but because we are helping people and it's a good balance of art and service to people. And so if you have a creative inclination, this is a good path for you to take and so we tend to just go all in and dive headfirst into helping other people and burn ourselves into the ground and I just don't think that we should do that.
Michelle Lynne: No, I totally agree.
Kristen Reyes: It seems rather obvious, but I know a lot of us don't take obvious when we're building the plane. We just are going.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. And it's so close to us, it's hard to see through the forest, because it's just, it's just so close to us. That okay, so last question. And then we're gonna get into some fun little Q&A sesh segment. Do you, and I think this might have come up in The Bakery at one point early on, is guilt and profitability. Money and success. Women and Enneagram twos. Like, how have you reconciled that coming into the success that you have found?
Kristen Reyes: It's still honestly pretty hard. I still have a lot of money stories on my own, obviously, all of us do.
Michelle Lynne: We all do, yeah.
Kristen Reyes: But I think I went into the business kind of just being like, oh, I just want to, I just want to support myself, you know, kind of having low expectations for what the business would do. And so when I decided to, when I started having some success, I was like, okay, maybe, you know, I do want to charge more. Maybe I do want to invest in the business. There is a lot of guilt there because I know a lot of designers who start their own businesses are, you know, helping to support their families. Like this isn't something that we just do for fun. And so coming into a business and trying to build something, and being like, oh, I'm spending more money on this thing that I'm doing, can feel extremely selfish. And so I just want to encourage other people that it's not selfish, ultimately, because you're building something that will help other people. It's just not in the immediate, it is going to help you now, but it will help you later. And it will help other people better later. So taking that time to invest in the business and invest in yourself is super important. And then from like guilt of making money.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Kristen Reyes: I think it is kind of from the outside perspective, a lot of people think that interior design is just fluffing pillows and painting. And so it can feel like a uphill battle to say that this should cost you something. And just because that feels like an uphill battle doesn't mean that it's not true. And so kind of coming to your, having those difficult conversations with clients of like, hey, this is how much this costs and not apologizing for it, I think is a skill that you have to build.
Michelle Lynne: It's like a muscle.
Kristen Reyes: It is a muscle and just going in confidently. So gaining that confidence through knowing that you have a process that you know what you're doing, and having just a sense that like, this is just what it is.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Kristen Reyes: Like you say, pass the salt, like this is just what it is. I went from, you know, having conversations with clients being like, oh, you know, could you come down and kind of feeling like I needed to, like come down to the level that they expected to pay because they didn't value my service enough to being like, okay, yeah, I can cut my services, or, you know, I'll change my process just for this one person, because I felt guilty, to being like, no, this just is what it is. So you can either like buy it, or you can not buy it. But like that's not on me. And that's not a reason for me to feel guilty just because they don't value what the proposal. It's okay for them to not value the proposal, but it has no reflection, I shouldn't feel guilty for like trying to make a living.
Michelle Lynne: Good. Good, good, good. I know that yeah, that is such a powerful, once you like, your mind might believe it but once your heart starts to feel it, and those two are coordinated. It's like a big aha moment.
Kristen Reyes: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: And just that feeling of, that feeling of freedom. Oh, Kristen, you know, I could sit here and talk all day. And thank you so much for talking about your experience in The Bakery. I try not to do many commercials per se, like on the podcast. But I think that it's also very important that whether individuals are interested in the Interior Design Business Bakery, or like we talked about earlier, there's so many other programs, you have to invest in yourself.
Kristen Reyes: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: You have to have that ongoing education to continue elevating your services, your business, your profit margins, the joy that you have in life, because it's all kind of tied together.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, for sure. And just, yeah, I'm just gonna say it again, invest in yourself because it will take you places and don't be afraid to do that.
Michelle Lynne: No, I love that. It's so true. Well, then, I'm writing this down. Let's jump into the fun little Q&A rapid fire session. Just gives the audience a chance to get to know you a little bit better because I feel certain that people are out there listening and they're like, oh, I can relate to her. I get it. Been there. So let's hop in here. Ooh, we're gonna go with a good one.
Kristen Reyes: Okay.
Michelle Lynne: What is your biggest failure, Kristen, and what did you learn from that experience? No softballs here.
Kristen Reyes: I think not, well, yeah, like the cliche, it wasn't a failure, it just, you know, taught me something. But I think just trying to stick with something that wasn't working for me, and not changing like working in corporate for so long. Granted it taught me a lot about myself. But I spent a lot of time being unhappy because I thought that that was, I had this degree, and this was the way that I needed to use it. And I know a lot of people can relate to that, like, you know, coming from other professions, like, you know, I had this degree and I need to use it in this prescribed way. And I wish that I would have opened my eyes up a little sooner and walked into residential earlier, but I didn't. But I do think that that would have been like, kind of the one thing that I would do differently.
Michelle Lynne: Sounds like my dating life when I was younger. Walk away early.
Kristen Reyes: You can take people, it's funny, I only dated musicians before I met my husband. So it's really funny, because I was like, oh, they're not into music, we would have nothing in common, like, what a 22 year old thing to say. But then I started dating an accountant. And I was like, oh, yeah, you're the one for me.
Michelle Lynne: This works too. Yeah. That's so funny. Yeah, it's again, it's sometimes it's hard to see through the trees.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, for sure.
Michelle Lynne: You just have to take the leap. All right. So innie belly button or outie?
Kristen Reyes: Innie.
Michelle Lynne: What is your favorite book?
Kristen Reyes: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I love Donald Miller.
Kristen Reyes: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Have you read some of this other stuff?
Kristen Reyes: Yes, I have. I read most of his books.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I listened to the Blue Like Jazz on Audible. And just the way he read it was so enthralling. So, okay. What would you pick for your last meal?
Kristen Reyes: This is controversial. But pepperoni and pineapple pizza is my favorite.
Michelle Lynne: Yum. I can't argue with that. What is your favorite productivity hack?
Kristen Reyes: I wish I had one. So if anybody has some productivity hacks they want to share with me. But I have just started using ClickUp, which I think has been, we're building out our templates and everything. I have my assistant kind of on that because she is much more organized. So I guess my productivity hack is to hire an assistant who's really organized.
Michelle Lynne: I totally agree with that. You can be the creative, she can deal with spreadsheets and stuff. Have you seen our Asana template?
Kristen Reyes: I have not.
Michelle Lynne: Okay. We'll talk about that when we're done here. What does your morning routine look like?
Kristen Reyes: I get up, I've decided that, I've had to change my routine because when I started my own business, I was like, I'm gonna leisurely like drinking my coffee, blah, blah, you know, and then I wouldn't get started till 11. So I've decided to, I need to shower, I need to shower in the morning and then have my cup of coffee because at least I'm clean. And then I can usually drink my coffee. And then, you know, I'll have my cup of coffee, read a little bit, and then get going for the day. I have a dog, so I usually feed her and spend some quality time giving her belly rubs.
Michelle Lynne: So what time does your workday start?
Kristen Reyes: Usually around 10. It's kind of flexible but yeah, that's usually when I get started and I'll work until four or five.
Michelle Lynne: There you go. So yeah, you can still kind of ease into it. But 20 bucks says your brain's going.
Kristen Reyes: Yes. I'm not a morning person.
Michelle Lynne: Any tattoos?
Kristen Reyes: Nope.
Michelle Lynne: Even though you were dating musicians all the time?
Kristen Reyes: I know. I'm too scared, too scared.
Michelle Lynne: And then, if you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Kristen Reyes: Definitely teleportation. One hundred percent.
Michelle Lynne: Avoid the traffic.
Kristen Reyes: Avoid the traffic. So right now, our house is currently under renovation. And so we are living with my in-laws. And they live north of Fort Worth and I'm driving into Richardson.
Michelle Lynne: Holy moly, yeah.
Kristen Reyes: Every other day. So for those who aren't in DFW that's like a solid 45 minutes to an hour every day. So I've never wanted to teleport more than I do right now.
Michelle Lynne: Amen to that. Well, Kristen, thank you so much for being on the show today. It's been such a pleasure to kind of circle back and catch up with you. And I know our audience has loved everything you've shared. Will you tell our listeners how or where they can connect with you?
Kristen Reyes: Yeah, so I'm most active on Instagram. My Instagram handle is S-E-Y underscore interiors with an S. And then same on Facebook. And then if you're an interior designer, and you're in any of these communities, you'll see me commenting as Kristen Lynn Reyes.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, yes. It's so fantastic that you're out there doing that. So how did, just tell me about the name of your company?
Kristen Reyes: Oh, yeah. So my maiden name is Seyferth. And so I took the first three letters of my maiden name because my dad has Seyferth Building Company and my grandfather had Seyferth Construction. Seyferth is very hard to say and to spell. So I just wanted to shorten it but pay homage to my history.
Michelle Lynne: I love that. I'm glad I finally got a chance to ask you that, because I've seen it all over the place. So is it say is it sea? I guess it's see interiors?
Kristen Reyes: Technically, it would be that but because nobody would ever get it right, my whole life people just called me Sayferth. So I just decided it would be Sey Interiors just to make it easier and not have to correct everyone.
Michelle Lynne: Just say it, just say it. Okay, well, I'll make sure that those details are in the show notes so our audience can reference that. And for those of you who can benefit from what we were talking about earlier, how to run the business of your interior design business, the Interior Design Business Bakery is our year-long paid program, coaching, mentorship, all the things. And as Kristen mentioned, invest in yourself. So until next time, thank you for being here, Kristen.
Kristen Reyes: Thank you so much.
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 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.