Episode 104: Bloom Where You're Planted with Yates Desygn


Show Notes: 

Hey, y’all, welcome back to the podcast. I am excited to have the fabulous design duo Bryan and Mike Yates on the show today. They share the story of when and where they first met, why they decided to move from New York to Texas, and how they balance working together as a married couple.

We also talk about the importance of relationship building, not only with potential clients but with builders, vendors, and even other design firms.



Yates Desygn is a full-service lifestyle design firm that extracts clients' design language while guiding them to create a unique and liveable environment through interior architecture and design. Brought together by their passion for style and design, Mike and Bryan Yates married their talents to create Yates Desygn in 2015 and established their Dallas-based headquarters in 2016.


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yatesdesygn/ 

Website: https://www.yatesdesygn.com/ 

Check out the Ever Atelier + Yates wallpaper collection: https://www.everatelier.com/yates-collection 


Get more info about our year-long mentorship and coaching program: https://www.designedforthecreativemind.com/business-bakery 


Text UPDATES to 214-380-1969 for all our DFCM updates.


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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: Welcome back to the podcast everybody. I'm so excited that you're here. I have Yates Desygn in studio. They are a full-service lifestyle design firm that extracts client's design language, while guiding them to create a unique and livable environment through interior architecture and design. Brought together by their passion for style and design, Mike and Bryan Yates married their talents to create Yates Desygn in 2015 and establish their Dallas-based headquarter in 2016. Bryan and Mike, thanks so much for being here.


Bryan Yates: Thanks for having us.


Mike Yates: Thanks for having us.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, I'm so excited. This is so much fun. So y'all, tell us a little bit, now you guys not only have you married your talents to create Yates Desygn, but you guys are also married?


Mike Yates: Yes, yes, we are. Almost eight years.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's so exciting. That is so exciting. So what are your career backgrounds? Separately. Bryan?


Bryan Yates: So I actually started off in landscape architecture. I have an undergrad in that and then practiced in, started off in Austin and then same company moved from Austin to San Antonio to start that, open that company, or they opened up an office there. And then I got transferred to the Houston office. And then from there decided that I wanted to go and get an interior architecture degree at Pratt. And so from there, getting my masters in that then started working at a company called Yabu Pushelberg in New York.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, fun. So you have always been in design?


Bryan Yates: I have. Yep.


Michelle Lynne: One form or another. And Mike, what's your career background?


Mike Yates: So my career background follows dance production. I moved to New York, probably in 2010. Yeah, 2010, 2011. And started, was in charge of taking companies around the world to perform dance. I was lighting supervisor, company manager, and production manager for Paul Taylor, was my last job that I had before leaving New York in 2016.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, wow. So yeah, you've got a lot of logistics going on there.


Mike Yates: Yeah, we'd like to keep it church and state. Bryan is very much the design side and I'm very much like invoicing, paying Uncle Sam, and keeping things going.


Michelle Lynne: All the fun stuff, right?


Bryan Yates: The stuff I'm not good at.


Mike Yates: I don't mind it. I like numbers.


Michelle Lynne: That works well. So here's just a random question. How is it, like, because I get some, I don't get very many people on the podcast that are married. I've had a few couples. But how is it, do you, when you guys go home, do you still talk about business or is that cut off when you're done with the day?


Bryan Yates: I would say we try to cut that off, but it's not very good sometimes. I think that it always is just organic. It's something that's on the top of your head, it's, you know, it's no different than if you didn't work with your significant other and you go home and you kind of talk about your day. You know, for us, we do kind of have separate, you know, departments as you can say for what we do. And so, you know, even though we're always in the same office, it's not always like we're corresponding at the same time, you know?


Mike Yates: Yeah, we still have our production meetings on Mondays, you know, I still have to catch up. I am letting clients know and update them either weekly or bi-weekly, depending on where we're at.


Bryan Yates: I still bug him for questions or things that need to be done.


Mike Yates: And I still bug him to like finish his hours.


Michelle Lynne: That makes sense. That makes sense. And that seems to be similar to some of the other individuals that I've spoken to about similar. You can never leave it completely at home or at work.


Bryan Yates: The people that say they do I just don't believe them.


Mike Yates: Yeah. I think also when you're so passionate about something and what you do, well, I love what we do and what I do. So it's kind of hard to just let it go all the time. They always said you know, if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. And somedays


Bryan Yates: That's kind of how we feel, though. I mean, some days we feel it, but I would say 99% of the time we don't, and we have fun doing it. And we enjoy, you know, working together. And I always say I couldn't do it without you.


Mike Yates: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: That is such a blessing. Yeah. And such a blessing that you guys can can navigate that. I joke because my husband and I, Lord knows, we would never work together. I think that there's too many cooks in the kitchen.


Mike Yates: Yeah, well, you definitely have to have the boundaries, right? I mean, the moment I try to step into the design side of things, it's like, slap, get out of there.


Bryan Yates: But I think that brings up a really good point is, you know, it's defining your role, it's defining, you know, our company and our expectations. And that has to lead with the two of us running a company together, right? And so we really have to respect each other's boundaries. And sometimes we cross over those, but at the most part, for the most part, we don't and, you know, it just becomes a nice environment to work in. And we also have our own kind of activities outside of work that, you know, give us a little bit of separation. But for the most part, we absolutely love working together. I mean, it's just kind of fun.


Michelle Lynne: Well, and that makes sense. Because your roles are so opposite, right?


Bryan Yates: Defined.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, defined and opposite. So there's not a lot of crossover. Now, what made you guys decide to make Dallas your home base? Did you guys meet in New York and then come here, or how did that evolve?


Bryan Yates: So we kind of have a little bit of fun story, Mike and I met the night they passed gay marriage in New York. So it was, that was the exact night that we met. But, you know, for us, it always has been an end goal for us to start our own company. I've always had a dream of having my own design firm. And so, you know, Mike traveled 35 weeks out of the year. And so there was just one time where, you know, we were getting ready to get married. And he was like, what is the goal? Like, what are our goals for, you know, the future? And it was kind of two options, we were starting to look at buying an apartment in New York, which is a huge expense. And then Mike looked at me and said, well, why don't we just take all the money that we were going to invest in the down payment and put it towards us starting a company together, it's always been your goal. And so, you know, I'm from Texas, originally. But you know, we did about a year worth of research, and everything kept pointing to Dallas. And this was, you know, we moved here in 2016, which is crazy to think June 1st is going to be our seven-year marker.


Michelle Lynne: Wow.


Mike Yates: Yeah.


Bryan Yates: But, you know, we really spent the time to research it and kind of just figure out, okay, what's important to us? Where do we want to be? How do we want to do it? You know, Dallas is a hub, you can get anywhere in the US in four hours or less. And I just, you know, we've had nothing but blessings for coming here. Our business has grown in a, you know, I think, a good pace. Some people think fast. But, you know, it just, you know, I think everything just aligned for us. And it was where we were supposed to be.


Mike Yates: Agreed. Yeah, for sure. Everything just pointed there.


Michelle Lynne: I think that that is often the case when, you know, like with relationships or with business or just life in general, if the path unfolds in front of you, it's your choice to walk that path, and really appreciate and recognize that that is where you're supposed to be. Or turn and run and wonder what would have been.


Bryan Yates: Yeah, I mean, for us, Mike and I are really goal-oriented. And you know, we establish our goals the first of the year, and then put them away and don't even look at them, but kind of are reminded that that's kind of where we're wanting to be and kind of trusting that if we put it into the universe that the universe is going to deliver. And so that's kind of how we live our life. And it's, you know, always worked for us that way. And both of us are kind of jumpers anyway, you know, we're always kind of adventurous. And, you know, were happy to take the risk, because at the end of the day, we could have moved back to New York in a heartbeat. We left our jobs on a great note. You know, to this day, my last firm that I worked at is still like, you know, I'm always in awe of them and I'm so thankful that I got to work there. And, you know, I left with them saying, you're welcome back anytime. And so we had nothing to fail. We had nothing to lose. And my parents have always kind of brought me up in that regards as well.


Michelle Lynne: You seem very intentional about your decisions.


Mike Yates: Yeah, it's uh, my mom always taught me is like, you know, plan for the worst, hope for the best.


Michelle Lynne: That's a good combination. That's a really good combination, especially, you know, as a couple as well, because oftentimes, there's one that's adventurous and one that's not. So that's a nice blend, personally, as well as professionally, it seems.


Bryan Yates: Always. Opposites attract. And I think, you know, we always joke that I'm the jumper and Mike's with the rope, like trying to pull me back.


Mike Yates: Or at least a parachute.


Michelle Lynne: Well, you were in charge of logistics. So technically, it's kind of a similar vein. Oh, that's very fun.


Mike Yates: He's like, let's move to Texas. And I'm like, okay, how do we do this, there's, there's beds and moving and trucks, and then we have to set up all the taxes and, you know, all the filing.


Michelle Lynne: All the details.


Mike Yates: Yeah. He makes a decision, and we just figure out how to do it.


Michelle Lynne: That's fun. That's very fun.


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Michelle Lynne: So you guys have been here for just like days less than seven years when we're recording this. What do you attribute to your firm's growth? Because first of all, your work is freaking beautiful.


Bryan Yates: Thank you so much.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, absolutely. But beautiful work does not necessarily attest to a successful business. What do you believe is the common theme for your growth?


Mike Yates: I think it's relationships honestly. From the moment we started, it was about building relationships. It was about building connections with people. That goes from other design firms to vendors that we like to work with now, builders across the seven years that we've worked with, including our clients, those relationships as well. When I first started in Dallas, one of the easiest things was for me to jump into real estate. It was kind of like get in quickly, and then I got lucky enough to join Julie Provenzano's group in 2016. And her team at that time was selling $90 million in a year. And so when I joined the team, we kind of worked with her and started staging her properties. That's when Bryan would go in, take the client's furniture and for pretty much next to nothing and pennies compared to what they're selling their homes for, rearranged furniture. I'd be, you know, helping him move sofas from one room to the next, rugs, all the above. And people would come back to their home and they're like, this is our home. This is amazing. And it would sell that weekend usually, you know, for the most part. I think at that time, the market was hot too. But then after that it was just continuing those relationships. And then a year or two later when they were about to build their home or bought a new place and needed a designer, they reached back out to us. And so it's not about kind of the instant gratification moment. It's about planting the seeds of relationships and then like watering them, nurturing them, and letting them grow into business. And it's more about the why rather before the reason, right? You know, why are we doing it is to create relationships. We always say, we want to work with great people and do great work.


Michelle Lynne: I love that. That's yeah, definitely, like I said earlier, very intentional and strategic approach.


Bryan Yates: Well, you know, we moved here not knowing a single person. So we started from scratch. We really did everything that we needed to do, because, you know, we didn't move to Texas already having a client. We moved here and then tried to figure out, which I don't know if I'd recommend, but I think it worked for us. And I think that, you know, we were just hungry. And we had that New York mentality that, you know, we were able to run and knew how to run and not have no for an answer. But, you know, the reason that we decided that Mike should get into real estate, and that I could start helping to style, you know, these properties was really because we would try to get clients, but we would show them everything that I've done before. And people just thought we were unobtainable because of the level of projects that I'm accustomed to working on. And so what we did was we scrapped that and said, hey, this isn't working, let's figure out what works, and that kind of is what started us off. And it was really about, you know, not necessarily always talking about work, and what you're good at and what you can do, right? People want to work with people they like.


Mike Yates: True.


Michelle Lynne: Yes.


Mike Yates: And especially here, people hear about us, you know, and that's why it did take a little bit of time to get started. It was like one person eventually told two people that eventually told four people, then we finally got that client that was like, oh, yes, you know, here we go. And then it was like after that


Bryan Yates: And then we got the builder, like, we got to work with a builder that, you know, Alair Homes, and they saw how great our construction documents were, and the level of concierge service we brought to the table, and design ability. And, you know, they introduced us to another person and, you know, so that's kind of how we got started, that was really slow. I mean, it took probably about two-and-a-half years for us to really, you know, gain momentum where, you know, now our clients are calling us instead of the builders are calling us, right? And so things have kind of shifted, but, you know, I think it all happens kind of organically, and it's happened, like I said the way it should. For us.


Michelle Lynne: Yes, I love that. And the fact that it was truly organic. And I think that a lot of people look and think that, you know, firms like yours are an overnight success. Whereas really, you know, it's just like climbing and clawing and trying to make sure that your reputation stays intact, and that you're connecting with the right people and so forth, and then working your ass off to make the designs effective.


Bryan Yates: I don't think any business would say that that's not the case, you know? I feel like you could still be a seasoned company, you can still be a young company and have the same emotions and feelings that you're having as a young company, it's just different as you get a little bit more seasoned too, right? But we all kind of go in the same boat. And I think that that's what's really great about, you know, collaboration and getting to know other design firms, because at the end of the day, we're all going through similar situations.


Michelle Lynne: I can't say that often enough, is that, you know, there's community over competition, and there's enough ugly houses for all of us.


Bryan Yates: Yeah. Well, and I always say, you know, I like this analogy. I always think it's funny, but I think design is kind of like ice cream, right? The ingredients are always the same, right? The base of the ingredients are always the same, but you're adding your own formula, you're adding your own flavor to what that is, right? And, you know, Mike and I believe, we're such an open book, but we believe that, hey, I can tell you exactly how we do something, and you're gonna go do it. But you're going to do it your own way. And the way that we do it is never going to be the way that you do it. Even if you have a script that is exactly what we do. Right?


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Bryan Yates: It's always going to be individual. And so for that, like, why should we be closed off on that? You know, why can't we take our industry, and all come together and kind of rise and be better and kind of creating more of industry standard than necessarily just being hidden and closed off, right?


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Mike Yates: Yeah. It's a kind of the perspective of abundance rather than scarcity, you know, live in abundance and live in love. And you kind of are there already.


Michelle Lynne: And that goes back to what Bryan said earlier. It's like you put this out to the universe and it comes back to you as well. The universe conspires to help us succeed. We just have to let it.


Mike Yates: Yeah, the universe gives you exactly what you're thinking about. So start thinking about the good things and the positivity and the gratitude.


Michelle Lynne: And the ice cream.


Mike Yates: And the ice cream.


Bryan Yates: And the ice cream. But you know, if you think about it, right, you're at a restaurant, you order food, and you say, I want this, right? You know it's going to come. And I think that that's kind of like how we believe things. And it's not easy. I'm not saying it's easy.


Mike Yates: No, not at all.


Michelle Lynne: But it's simple.


Bryan Yates: But it can be simple. You just have to know it. Know that it's what you want and know that what you want needs to be the right way moving forward.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, no, I think that that's, being an entrepreneur, especially in this industry, is not for the faint of heart. So having that mindset and just knowing like you said, if you're going to order something off the menu, make sure it's what you want, because it's most likely going to show up. You just have to believe in it.


Mike Yates: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: So now you guys have also spun off and have taken your talents and your brand and have branched off into kind of a new line of business. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Because it's super exciting.


Bryan Yates: Yeah, we're very excited. So we partnered up with Ever Atelier, a local company that specializes in wallpaper, really custom product. And, you know, we started a conversation with them when we got invited to do Kips Bay showhouse in 2001.


Mike Yates: 2021.


Bryan Yates: Sorry, 2021. See, I'm not the numbers person. But I knew that I wanted to create a really dynamic wall covering in two of our spaces. And, you know, we just got introduced to Sarah and Ashley, who own Ever Atelier, and it was just kind of this kind of serendipitous moment where I just knew that they were the right people to connect with to develop something that was kind of in our brain to create this space. And then from there, we also had the opportunity to work with Dallas Love List and do their Airbnb called Stay Love List. And then in that project, we did six custom wallpapers that exuded their brand. And we just had so much fun working with them. And so at the end of the day, you know, they said, hey, we're wanting to establish this collaboration part of our company, and would love to create some paper with you guys. And so we did, and we had such a blast doing it.


Mike Yates: Yeah, it was for us, they had come into our office, and you just have that feeling and that energy that you just connect with instantly.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


Mike Yates: And right after that, we got the call to like, go do Kips Bay. And so we immediately called them and said, don't tell anybody, you can't know this, but this is what's happening. And we want you to be a part of it. So with that the idea of creating relationships, working as a collaboration, and also enhancing the other people and like lifting them up in that process, like giving them the opportunity to shine. We worked with a lot of people in that project. And I think we did an amazing space, but like that relationship in that moment was about promoting them and helping each other. And it was, what two years later is when we really, you know, towards the end of those is what we said, you know, it'd be really fun to do this and actually create a line. That was like two years ago, and then now it kind of became in fruition. So again, it's not about, hey, we're gonna work together with you right now because in two years we want to do a wallpaper. It was, we want to work with you right now because you're amazing people and awesome at what you do. And we can combine some stuff and create some really cool spaces. And then afterwards, we're like, we really love working together. How about we try to do this? You know that kind of mentality.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, it's keeping that positive, that good energy surrounding you.


Bryan Yates: Life's too short not to have fun.


Michelle Lynne: Amen Right? Taking yourself so seriously is just gonna kill you early. Have some fun with it.


Mike Yates: I always say they never pay me enough to not have fun.


Michelle Lynne: We joke that we take our jobs seriously, but we don't take ourselves seriously. Right? Take the business seriously. You guys are, you sound like, tell me. I want to know more about how you like, you're talking about these relationships, which is something that's just so natural for you guys to develop. But like, y'all, I'm an introvert. Right? And like I can talk to people to a certain extent. But how do you develop relationships when you would rather be at home on the couch with your dog?


Bryan Yates: Well, I think I'm 50/50. I think I lean more towards being an introvert than an extrovert. But I feel like sometimes you kind of have to turn it on, especially with introverts, I think. I think sometimes you have to think about a performance, right? Not being not authentic, but I think sometimes you just have to like, be present and


Mike Yates: Show up.


Bryan Yates: You know, like, party hard and then go home and sleep. You know what I mean?


Michelle Lynne: Climb into your bed in the fetal position. Yeah.


Bryan Yates: I mean, I think it's, you know, I struggle with that too a lot of times because, you know, if I'm doing any kind of event or like, you know, we have a luncheon or a podcast, you know, like, I have to only have one of those a day because it does exude a lot of energy for me, because I am pretty introverted. But I also have just owned being myself. And, you know, just, it is what it is, and just have fun and not care too much what people think, which is really hard to say.


Michelle Lynne: I totally, you know, what, and at the risk of sounding condescending, but I've got probably a good couple decades on you. Good for you for figuring that out early enough. Because I didn't figure that out until I was like pushing 50. And it's just, it gives you so much freedom to be yourself, and just be, you know, a cool dude, or just a good person in general, and people are attracted to it. Because I've only met you guys a few times and I love going up and giving you a hug because you're just so genuine and kind.


Bryan Yates: Aww, thank you.


Michelle Lynne: There's not enough of that.


Mike Yates: No, there isn't. And I think it also helps that I'm more of the gregarious type, I feed off of people's energy. So I can go to a lot of events and not get tired out, I actually get excited about it. It's like, let's go to this event and let's go to this event, and he's like, Oh, my God, there's so much. I mean, when we first started, you know, we're writing our contract at the Starbucks like back in the day. But, you know, the first thing we were doing was going to every single thing, you know? If it was on the design calendar, we were there. And people were noticing, they're like, man, you guys are everywhere. And it's like, well, I mean, we love what we do, and we want to meet people, and we want to be genuine about it. I remember Brian's bosses, we asked them before we left, you know. What is the one thing you would tell us to do that helps you succeed? They said, Go to everything and don't talk about work. So with that it was about getting to know people and getting to know them genuinely. Like what do you do, your dog, your kids and like, do you like to go outdoors? Are you more of a city person? Do you watch movies? Just trying to like, talk to people. And then after that, it all falls into place. You know?


Michelle Lynne: That actually makes sense. Because you talk to the people and you kind of drift towards the ones that you enjoy spending time with. And then you can find out how you can potentially work together, collaborate, or whatever the case may be. So it's natural.


Bryan Yates: I was just gonna say that, isn't that how we work? Like everyone wants to work with people that they really like, you know? When it comes to our reps, when it comes to our builders, when it comes to, you know, our receivers, like it's all about relationship.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah. And it's so interesting, because in this industry, there's so many people that try to pose as who they're not, and it's easy to see through, but then there's the individuals that are just genuine to themselves at their core, and then very kind. And that just, it serves you well. And I think it's funny that something so simple can serve you so well. It's just like, just be nice, people. Just be nice.


Mike Yates: Exactly. I mean, part of that is just we were doing our thing, and Bryan was part of this class, this construction class where he would go and teach drawings for contractors and how to read them and how to, you know how to talk to a designer with the drawings. Thankfully, the builders we would like to work with read our drawings.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Amen.


Mike Yates: But in that process in the passing, the teacher there knew of another designer that came in and taught a different class. And in that process, her name is Jenifer Wiley, and she like, tapped Bryan on the shoulder at an event and said, hey, we should get lunch soon. And this was January of 2020.


Michelle Lynne: Right before the world shut down.


Mike Yates: Exactly. That's right. Right before the world shut down. And right when the world shut down, we all know things went chaotic for about, you know, in the other direction for about a month or two. And we had just needed an opportunity that month to move into an office, and we needed a new office space within 30 days.


Bryan Yates: Well once the pandemic hit our building like basically sold. So like the owner decided, you know, I'm gonna sell it and not have to worry about it. So we had to get out of our office space within 30 days. And it just happened to be that I just had lunch with Jenifer, and she was like, hey, you know, if you ever need a space, this was 30 days before, if you ever need a space, like I have an extra space in my office that you guys can, you know, rent out.


Michelle Lynne: Wow.


Bryan Yates: And so it just was funny, because we ended up doing that, you know, which we actually love having, you know, we have three designers in our office space. It's very separate but, you know, sometimes we need to vent or ask questions or say, hey, have you ever been in this situation? And you know, we kind of have that ability.


Mike Yates: Bounce ideas off of it. I mean, so that's what we talk about when we're working in collaboration with people. Theoretically, Jenifer Wiley, with J. Wiley Designs, she is technically our quote, unquote, competition, right?


Michelle Lynne: Right.


Mike Yates: And we've actually had a couple of clients that we've both bid on, and some have gone our way, some have gone her way. But we share the same office together to the point where people kind of look at us sometimes, like, you're sharing an office with another design firm? And we're like, of course, like, it doesn't matter. Because honestly, whenever a client goes her way, or goes our way, we both have conversations, and it's like, oh, they were perfect for you, like I'm so glad you got to work with them. And, like he said, there's a lot of ugly houses, and there's a lot of beautiful houses. But there's a lot of design firms, and each person has their own style, and people are going to gravitate towards that. They gravitate towards style, and they gravitate towards personality. You know, we had a lot of our clients that, you know, they would look at our website, and they see our dog is our HR, Lady Bird. And they're like, Oh, we loved it so much, we gave you a call and then we just liked you. And you know, we got to work together. So it's kind of creating that personality, creating those friendships and creating those relationships.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah.


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: Well, it's like you guys have a little guardian angel following you around as well, just you know how things continue to fall into place for you. And, you know, just having observed from afar and had the opportunity to meet you guys a couple different times. And you were gracious enough to come and speak on a panel at my summit last year. But I can't imagine anybody else who deserves anything, you know, less than the amazing success that you guys have seen just because of who you are. So congratulations, I'm tickled pink to get even more insight to who you are. And just you know, admire you even more from this conversation. So thank you for your time.


Mike Yates: Yeah, no, thank you for your time, Michelle. We appreciate it.


Michelle Lynne: Absolutely excited. Okay, so, y'all, I love to talk all things business and you know, interior design and whatnot. But I also like to have a little bit of fun. So the second little segment of the podcast is just a quick Q&A sesh to get to know you a little bit better. And nothing's off the table.


Mike Yates: Okay, rapid fire questions.


Michelle Lynne: Rapid fire. Yes. Are you ready?


Bryan Yates: Let's do it.


Michelle Lynne: And you guys answer since there's two of you, just whoever answers first, we'll just roll with it. Okay. Since you mentioned this earlier. What's your favorite ice cream?


Mike Yates: Chocolate chip cookie dough.


Bryan Yates: I don't really eat ice cream.


Michelle Lynne: You don't really eat ice cream.


Mike Yates: His is cookies and cream though, because we always get the two step from what is it? Blue Bell? Yeah, Blue Bell two step because it's cookie dough and cookies and cream together.


Michelle Lynne: There you go.


Mike Yates: I usually eat the whole thing. And he has like one scoop.


Michelle Lynne: I'm with you, Mike. So not fair. Okay, so where do y'all find inspiration?


Bryan Yates: Everywhere. Everywhere. And I know that's a generic answer, but it really is, you know, absorbing during travel, absorbing during a walk on the Katy Trail, you know, just absorbing life in general. There's so much beauty that we look at all the time. And then also, we love Instagram, we love Pinterest, you know, those can be senses of inspiration as well.


Mike Yates: I think also being present.


Bryan Yates: Fashion.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, both of those for sure. Okay, one piece of advice you would give your 20-year-old self.


Bryan Yates: Don't do this.


Mike Yates: No, confidence. Do it. Don't look back. Don't question yourself.


Bryan Yates: I'm totally joking.


Michelle Lynne: Yes, I was going to say that's backwards from the jumper.


Mike Yates: Yeah, well, I think, you know, whenever I think most businesses out there, you know, tell themselves like if I were to do this again, I probably wouldn't. Right? You know, but when you're in it, you're in the moment, you're really just going to make it work. I mean, Bryan and I, we had a savings. And that was it. And every month, almost every day, it was like and click, and I ate a $5 burger. And I had to pay electrical bill. And then I had to do this. And so like every day was like, I need to do this, I need to do this. And we just kept pushing, kept pushing, and kept believing. And when those things happened, it just like fell into place.


Bryan Yates: I don't, I was totally joking, by the way, but I don't think I regret anything. I think everything happened the way that it needed to be. And that has gotten me to where I'm at. But my biggest like recommendation is, you know, do the research, you know, find the firm that you want to work for, and go that direction, because that's how you're going to absorb and learn and grow and take risks, but also


Mike Yates: Find what you love to do early, and then just work at it.


Michelle Lynne: And do it often. Yeah. Well, this is technically my third career. So I would have had a lot of words for my 20-year-old self. When was the last time you guys laughed so hard you peed yourself?


Mike Yates: Oh, usually hanging out with my friends or just every day. Every time. I am part of a bowling team that travels, and we go all around. And we're called the Weave Queens and we like to get crazy, and we put like weaves on and makes nuts of ourselves. I don't try to dress it up too much, but I do, and we just laugh. I mean, if you don't laugh, like if you're not loving what you're doing and you're not laughing, why are you doing it? Change it. You have the opportunity. You're never stuck.


Michelle Lynne: So fun. And what is your favorite productivity hack?


Mike Yates: I mean, like time blocking probably for me. If that makes sense.


Bryan Yates: I don't know. Man, I don't know on that one.


Mike Yates: Yeah, I would say time blocking. If it's not on my calendar, it doesn't happen. So that's when I talk to people like, hey, we should get lunch and they're like, yeah, totally and start walking away. I'm like, no, no, no, come back. Let's put it on the calendar.


Michelle Lynne: Otherwise, it's not gonna happen.


Mike Yates: Yeah. And they're like, oh, no one we'll be in touch and then you kind of just know maybe they don't want to get lunch with you.


Michelle Lynne: It's like, yeah, yeah, I'll call you.


Mike Yates: Yeah. I'll have my people call your people.


Michelle Lynne: That's funny. Okay, if you could have one superpower, what would it be?


Mike Yates: Oh, language. I want to know every language in the universe.


Bryan Yates: Clone.


Michelle Lynne: What would it be? What was what was your Bryan?


Bryan Yates: If I had the superpower, I'd want it like to be the ability to clone myself and other people.


Michelle Lynne: Clone, oh there you go.


Mike Yates: Multiplicity.


Michelle Lynne: Be in all the places. Oh, fun. Okay, if you couldn't be in the profession you're in now, what would you be doing?


Mike Yates: Well, that's obvious for me is going back to dance. I love dance. And that's my passion. When we moved here, that's where I left. Paul Taylor like working at Lincoln Center. You know, creating some beautiful artwork with beautiful people. This position after like, almost seven years now, is giving us the opportunity to give back. Parisa Khobdeh is a dancer that I used to work with at Paul Taylor, moved back to Dallas and joined Chamberlain Ballet and we had the honor for her to ask us to join the board. So we are now the board members of the Chamberlin Ballet and they are a wonderful pre-company program. They have shows, one of their big ones is the Nutcracker, which is kind of the classic ballet holiday show. So they just do some great work. Tiler Peck is coming, she is a New York City Ballet premier ballerina and she's coming to perform in it. It's just these opportunities to give back and show the donors why art is important and be there for these upcoming stars.


Bryan Yates: And I don't think I could do anything else.


Michelle Lynne: That makes sense. I think that that's true of a lot of designers. It's just like, it's in your blood.


Bryan Yates: It is. It's something I love. It's something I've always loved. And I just don't think I could do anything else.


Mike Yates: He was moving furniture when he was three.


Bryan Yates: Probably. Or telling them how to do it.


Mike Yates: Yeah, well, either way.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah. Mom, put my bed over there instead. That's really cool that you've also been able to come full circle, Mike, just with moving and still having that dance and people in your lives that, it's just who you attract.


Mike Yates: Exactly.


Bryan Yates: I think that gives him the creative outlet too that isn't so, you know, business-focused for interiors, but also business-focused for dance, and it kind of marries the two that he absolutely loves.


Michelle Lynne: I was thinking something similar, Bryan, when Mike was talking about, it's like you still, while you still have the left brain working with the numbers and everything, it's still in a creative environment.


Mike Yates: Correct. That's how I got into it. I originally was an engineer, I got into like, mechanical and aerospace and electrical and all that. And then I took a math class. And I was like, well, this is way too much. So then I went to dance and actually became a dance choreographer. And then that was way too much right brain, and it was like, you can do whatever you want. And I was like, that's just too much. I need some structure. So that's when I took a production class. And it was basically physics mixed with art, right? I can take this light that will do all this exactly how it is. But I can shape it, I can form it, I can color it, I can put it in a direction, I can add 1000 more lights, and then I queue it and I create paint on stage with live people. And that's kind of where my like creativity was gone. But it's always with boundaries and with you know, kind of expectations.


Bryan Yates: That is one way that we do kind of crossover where he does join more of the interiors design aspect of it is to bring lighting and help us with lighting within that.


Mike Yates: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, that makes sense, a little bit across then you don't slap him back from that. Like you said earlier, don't cross those boundaries.


Bryan Yates: He comes into the lane, and then he leaves the lane.


Mike Yates: The lighting lane.


Michelle Lynne: The light lane.


Bryan Yates: We love his opinion. And we ask for quite a bit too.


Michelle Lynne: That level of expertise. Well, you guys, I could sit here and talk to you for another 30, 40 minutes, I think our audience would probably be entertained. But I do want to honor your time as well. So thank you for being here. Can you share with the audience how they can connect with you? Social media, your wallpaper, like all the things.


Bryan Yates: You can follow us at Yates Desygn. And it's Y-A-T-E-S-D-E-S-Y-G-N on Instagram. And on our website, which is just yatesdesygn.com, has a link to all of our papers. So you can see all of the SKUs that we have there. And it will also link you to Ever Atelier as well, where you can then purchase. They do provide designer samples. If you aren't a designer, I think it's like a $5 sample that you can get. But it's a great product. It's made here locally. And so it's kind of support local as well, which we love.


Mike Yates: And different tiers and price points too.


Michelle Lynne: That and the designs are beautiful. I was looking at them earlier.


Bryan Yates: Thanks.


Michelle Lynne: Yeah, nicely done, y'all. And y'all need to go check them out, because there are some beautiful patterns that you're not going to find elsewhere. And colorways, so you guys did a kick ass job on that.


Bryan Yates: Thanks, Michelle.


Michelle Lynne: Inspired. Yeah.


Bryan Yates: Our concept was really a contemporary take on Southern aesthetics. And, you know, it's so present right now, but we wanted our own interpretation of kind of what that trend is at the moment.


Mike Yates: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: That's fun. Do you guys have plans for more? Is this going to be a thing?


Bryan Yates: Well, we just kind of launched in January, so I'm not 100% sure. We absolutely loved it and loved the process. And would do it again in a heartbeat.


Mike Yates: I'm very interested in designing lighting, sconces, chandeliers, I think what's out there is beautiful, and I just have visions. I got tickled from Kips Bay when I was able to work with our teams, and we designed a chandelier over our island. And I would love to do more of that. That's on our list.


Bryan Yates: Yeah, I think our next step and what we're kind of, you know, getting inspired by and trying to pursue is getting into furniture and lighting. You know, I think wallpaper was, you know, the stepping point for dipping our toes in product.


Mike Yates: Yeah, textiles too.


Bryan Yates: But we have some goals that we're kind of going after at the minute. So we'll see.


Michelle Lynne: So you wrote those down in January, tucked them away, and waiting for the universe to bring it to you.


Bryan Yates: You know it.


Michelle Lynne: I love it.


Mike Yates: I actually just pulled out our goals the other day from like 2017, and we had checked all those off. So that was kind of amazing.


Bryan Yates: Yeah.


Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's so fun.


Bryan Yates: But I will say we do the work. We do the work, and we work really hard. And, you know, it really has only been since recently, since we, you know, now take weekends, you know, we did not take a weekend for a very long time, because we wanted our business to kick off, right? And so now we're kind of stepping back a little bit and getting to absorb the fruits of our labor and figuring out, you know, where we want to go next. Right? But now it's really about


Mike Yates: Each other.


Bryan Yates: Yeah. Working with clients, not taking on too many, but working with the clients that, you know, really align with where we are with design and working with great people.


Michelle Lynne: Isn't that a beautiful feeling when you can actually pick and choose your clients? You know, you can say yes to this one. And you can gently decline another because it just isn't quite right.


Bryan Yates: We used to take on everyone. And now when we interview people, we say, hey, we're interviewing you as much as you're interviewing us. And we're making sure that this aligns with our goals and our vision and where we're wanting to take our business. And I feel like people really respect that because we're not coming from a place of hate, we're coming from just a place of, hey, this is where we're at. And this is what we're looking for at the moment. And kind of going from there.


Mike Yates: Again, it's putting out that positivity, and that gratitude, and that just comes back tenfold. So we have amazing clients that we work with, we love them.


Michelle Lynne: Well, they're lucky to have you. They're lucky to have you guys. Well, I will make sure that your social media handles and your website and everything are in the show notes for our audience to reference. And for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, you can join the growing community on Facebook's private group. And yeah, I know it's Facebook, y'all. But it's the still the best place to have a private group. And it's called the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. And if you are looking for some mentorship and long-term growth, you can also check out the Interior Design Business Bakery, which is my annual program, that we love to help designers move from the barely six figures and scale into the multiple six figures with passion and profit. So until next time, Yates, thanks y'all for being here.


Mike Yates: Thanks, Michelle.


Bryan Yates: 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.

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