Today we’d like to introduce you to Angela Satterlee.
Angela, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a hardworking family that had a variety of trade skills. My dad is a carpenter and owned a sawmill where I spent a lot of time working as a teen. My mom owned her own design business creating custom wood pieces which were sold on weekends at craft shows. I guess you could say I already had sawdust in my blood.
Between high school and college, I too developed a variety of design skills and later enrolled into the Graphic Design Program at Kendall College of Art and Design in my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI. While my path seemed clear, I focused many of my projects on branding and how to incorporate graphics into a physical space.
I had dreams of moving to a big city after graduation, but with the recession looming, jobs were limited and I was fortunate to land a seat as the Creative Director of a global financial company. They were in the process of building a multi-million-dollar headquarters and I was often pulled into many of the meetings with the interior designer making small, but trusted decisions on the space.
I later moved to a digital agency where I focused on User Experience. It was here that I gained a great deal of empathy for people and was obsessed with not only what I was designing, but who I was designing it for. Research, planning and strategy became a natural part of the process and it was through this variety of experiences that bridged the gap for my understanding of people, space and design.
During that time, my dad and I renovated my second home and decided to create a blog to share my experience. I like to call it “the little blog that could” as I never would have imagined it would exist beyond that. There is no better way to learn how a home is built than tearing it down to nothing and putting it back together. It leads to several years of picking up a few high-profile side projects for friends – and eventually friends of friends – who trusted me with their homes, to work directly with their builders, and basically build the knowledge and foundation for my own business along the way.
Shortly after, my husband and I made the decision to move out to Los Angeles. I quickly realized how much larger my world just became and was incredibly inspired by the dreamers and the do-ers in this magical city. I made the difficult decision to quit my agency job with no real plan and with the encouragement of friends, family and clients – Fairly Modern transitioned into a fully booming business.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I mean, owning a business will never be easy, but maybe that’s why I’m so in love with the process – it’s never boring! In all seriousness, quitting my full-time job was one of the hardest and scariest things I’ve ever done. I’ve always had a plan, played it safe, had health insurance and all of the luxuries of working for someone else. Once that was gone, I didn’t really have a choice other than to hit the ground running. I knew in that moment that I had already done the hardest part by taking the leap – I just had to be smart with every decision from there on out. It’s a constant hustle and it’s far from perfect, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Fairly Modern – what should we know?
On the interior design side, Fairly Modern specializes in residential interiors – including new construction and renovations. No project or budget is too small and I work closely with you to create a plan before getting started. With an extensive background in graphic design, it allows for the process to be very organized and extremely visual. We also take on select small commercial projects – especially those that need a full brand experience. Past experience includes office spaces, small eateries, and salons.
One thing that makes us unique is the ability to work remotely. Often times, clients either have a contractor and/or DIY skills, but simply do not have to eye to put it all together. Through video or onsite consultations, I have been very successful at helping clients with dream kitchens and more by creating a visual plan for them to execute it themselves. This saves an enormous amount of design cost as it removes the management of the project and has been a great option for many of my clients.
What am I most proud of? It’s hands down my studio located in Cypress Park. It’s truly a place of passion for me and I pinch myself everyday realizing just how far this little business has come. It’s only two blocks from my house, so I am the rare soul in Los Angeles with a short commute to work! What many may not know if that I also have a small candle and room spray line that is produced here as well. It started as a gift for clients and a creative outlet for me, but became so popular that it became a part of my business! I hope to grow this into a larger collection of home items down the road, but I’m happy where it is now. To stay focused on interiors, I am bringing on a production assistant to help with the candle side and will have pop-up shops on Fridays (10-5) and Saturdays in June (10-3), so be sure to stop in and see what we’re up to!
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My perception of success has certainly changed over the years. It’s no longer the top of the ladder, the money, the recognition – you know, the usual. I think success is when you can just stay in your own lane, go with your gut and be insanely passionate about whatever it is you’re doing. This has proven to be so much harder than scrapping my way to the top of a corporate ladder. I feel successful when I’m surrounded by insanely supportive people, when my clients are happy and I can wake up every day excited to go to work. My ideas of success are very simple these days.
- The candle studio will be open on Fridays (10-5) and Saturdays (10-3) starting in June and ranges in prices from $15-$32 for candles and room sprays.
- Address: 401 Cypress Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90065
- Website: fairlymodernhome.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @fairlymodernhome and @shopfairlymodern
- Facebook: facebook.com/fairlymodern
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/fairly-modern-los-angeles
- Other: www.houzz.com/pro/fairlymodernhome/fairly-modern