We have learned so much about entrepreneurship, each other and ourselves over the last ten years. When we began in 2005 we had such passion for our craft and like all new business owners we thought if we were persistent, worked hard then there was no doubt we would be super successful. It's almost as naive as a child! We were persistent, worked extremely hard, were always pushing our creativity but it wasn't that simple. There are so many outside obstacles that come into play with running a viable business. In our instance the economy was the biggest hurdle and not fully understanding the type of projects that suit our style and talents best was a close second.
Our main focus of design when we began was model home merchandising for production builders. We worked on numerous projects with various companies and won many awards and accolades. We were always so proud of our work and loved the complete creative freedom that the model homes brought. It wasn't until this year that we realized this was not the most fulfilling design that we could do. The one thing that those projects were missing were the people; the connection, the relationship and the outward gratitude at the end of a project.
Seven years ago we decided to diversify with residential design when we noticed a downturn in the economy. This was another learning experience for us over the years. We began the division by hiring another designer to take residential projects while we continued with model homes. Over the years we went back and forth with hiring designers and us taking the lead on the projects. This was not exactly the best path but you have to try things before you know if it is appropriate for your business.
Another decision we made just two years ago was to open a retail store. It seemed like a natural progression to grow our business when we moved to our space in the Annapolis Design District. During the two years we added staff to assist with the design projects and retail portion of our business. We felt like everything was moving in the right direction for continued success only to realize that we were spread too thin and spending our efforts, time and money on the portions of our business that were the least fulfilling personally.