Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Kellim and Erin Conklin.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lauren and Erin. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Our story begins with a nine-year-old (Me, Lauren) who poured over decorating magazines and sketched out floor plans. When asked in school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would state “An Interior Designer.” For some strange reason, my teachers always looked at me funny. Like, why did I not just say “a doctor or nurse?”
My entire life I have had a passion for Interior Design. For some strange reason, I was never really brave enough to follow that dream in my college years. I have always struggled with perfectionism, to the point that it gets in the way of what I want to accomplish.
I suppose too, I felt like I needed more life experience to really be a good designer and business owner. So, I floated through college, ended up with Liberal Arts Degree, traveled around Europe, and then went on to get a certification in Surgical Assisting.
I worked with a really talented Plastic Surgeon for just about a decade. I did like surgery, the precision, focus, and order that it requires was right up my ally. But, it was never really fulfilling. I wanted to run a business of my own, doing something I had a lifelong love and curiosity for.
And something that I was, for the most part, naturally good at. The surgeon I worked for always encouraged me to follow my heart in what it was I wanted to do. He would often say I should stay in medicine, but I think he saw it really did not fulfill me the way I needed.
So, as his career was coming to a close, and I was a new mother to a six-month-old little girl, I took the leap. I had some design classes under my belt by then and some work experience with a furniture designer. I had started writing a blog back in 2010, called Girl and the Abode. This was a way for me to connect and gain inspiration in the world of interiors while I was not working in the industry. It really taught me a lot.
It fueled my drive to start a second career as an interior designer and stylist. During this stretch of working in surgery, my sister, Erin Conklin was also working in medicine. She was feeling similar unfilling energy at work and really wanted a change. She was about to have a baby and wanted more flexibility in her hours to be able to stay at home with her daughter.
As Erin and I grew up together, we were always very close, doing projects at home, building forts and teepees in the backyard. Erin and I both shared a passion for home, what it meant and how nurturing it is, even as young kids. Erin has this brilliant talent at being able to organize anything! The girl could walk into an overstuffed garage and just envision order! I run in the other direction! She is one of the hardest workers I know. We have always been a good team. After months of discussing what our company would offer, we came to the firm agreement that we wanted people to see the value that a well-kept home can give you.
With her organization skills and my design skills and interest in business, we decide to keep the name of the blog I started at the beginning of this journey. Girl and the Abode were formed. The business has been very fulfilling and very nerve-racking. But it is ours, and we are very proud of the work we have been able to do for our clients.
About two years ago, we decided that opening an online shop as an extension of our service based studio made complete sense. We felt the need to support and be a platform for the livelihood of artists and craftspeople locally and globally. We wanted our clients and customers to really think about there purchasing. The shop has been such a joy to curate. We have built such wonderful friendships through it. We truly care about the people behind the products we carry.
Since opening the shop, refining our ways of working with clients and building a value-based company, we made the decision to rebrand Girl and the Abode. We had felt as though we grew out of what started as a little design blog. We felt bigger than that; we wanted to help people create peacefully and nurturing homes through a mostly holistic approach. A value driven approach.
Fast forward to November of 2018, we are now Humble & Grand. We feel this name resonates much clearer with what we do. Through all the ups and downs of growth we are pretty happy we are still here, helping clients and customers see the importance of taking care of home.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Anything worthwhile is going to be hard and a little messy at times. As new moms and new business owners, we have had our fair share of struggles. I feel that one of the biggest ones was splitting our time between our kids and families and our company. I know, personally, I am a pretty impatient person. So I wanted growth fast.
About two years into it, I looked back and felt anxiety over the time I missed with my little girl. She was two 1/2 at the time, and it just stopped me in my tracks. She was not a baby any longer. I was not going to put the business and its growth before her. Erin felt the exact same way. This business or the chance at it will always be here. But our girls will not always be two. That felt very liberating.
Since then, we have just kept on more of a “slow growth” to success mindset. Balancing being moms with running a household and trying to build a sustainable, profitable business is not for the faint of heart. Both Erin and I have had a lot of days filled with anxiety over the time spent on building this business with not a whole lot of financial return. We have had to really strive to keep our lives simple and our families first.
We have also had to prioritize self-care. If we fall, get sick or overly anxious, it all falls apart. That is a heavy load. So we put our lives first, then our business. The whole point in us wanting to do this as a career was to help others see the importance of slowing down, living with a little less, in mindful and nurturing spaces. We must live the same way. We can’t do this, without first living the lifestyle we promote. It would all be a lie and hold no authenticity if we didn’t.
More constant struggles… marketing, accounting, confidence in what we do, the days of having a lack of presence with our families, oh the list is endless when you are the boss. But, within our struggles, we can learn and grow. You honestly can’t learn some things without them.
Owning a business is such a humbling process. If you want to succeed, you must take those humbling moments and embrace them, Trust the process. Grand things, authentic things, come out of these struggles most of the time.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Humble & Grand – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Humble and Grand is an Interior Design Studio and Shop. We offer styling and organizational services for individuals and sell small-batch artisanal goods from our curated shop. Our focus is to help clients see the potential in their home through editing out the unnecessary and designing a space that feels authentic to them.
Our process with clients is thorough. We get to know them, their lifestyle, how they envision their home looking and feeling. We guide our clients to create a more simplified home. One that encourages slowing down. When we encourage specific furnishings, decor or storage to be introduced into a design, we always stay within our values of sustainability and simplicity. We take a completely holistic approach to our client work.
We question functionality, sustainability, simplicity and client values throughout the entire design process. We feel that being value driven and helping the client connect to their home in a way they may not have been able to before sets us apart. Thinking about how the design of our spaces can encourage growth and moments of stillness and rest are becoming essential to our human spirits.
We are proud to be a part of this movement in helping people simplify their homes and find within it more peace and clarity.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
What we love most about the business we own, is that the possibilities are endless.
Within the next year, we plan to put together some Design Workshops. It would be a platform for learning about Style, homemaking, design and slow living.
We are grateful to be a part of this creative community, and so feel the need to really do our best to be a worthwhile part of it. Offering help and guidance to people who really want it. An ultimate goal and longtime dream is to have a book published!
At the end of the day, we are so happy to have been given the chance to run this company and learn and grow with it! We have so much gratitude for that!
- Website: www.humbleandgrand.com
- Phone: 818-642-5903
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @humbleandgrand
Jamie Arriago, Katie Gibbs, Humble and Grand