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Meet Tami Daks and Lauren Gwartz of Side by Side Design in Brentwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tami Daks and Lauren Gwartz.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Tami and Lauren. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Written by Tami:

After graduating with a degree in Interior Architecture from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Arizona State University in 2004, my twin sister Lauren began her career as an Interior Designer. Fast forward about ten years, Lauren was getting very close to the end of her pregnancy with her first daughter when she began to re-evaluate her work-life balance. She knew that being a mom was going to be hard work and wasn’t sure working for an Interior Designer out of a storefront each day was sustainable, so she decided it was the perfect time to go off on her own. All of the design expertise she learned along the way helped to make this decision very easy. The next step was to figure out how as an Interior Designer in a big city (LA) she could differentiate herself. That is when I shared my idea with her … WE could do events!

My path was a bit different … I also graduated from ASU but from the college of Education and worked as an elementary school teacher for ten years. I love working with kids, but I think I always knew there was something else out there I was supposed to put my creativity and extreme organizational skills into … Event planning! It’s hard to remember how exactly Lauren responded to my idea. Maybe surprised? Maybe she would have been skeptical, but I think we quickly came to the conclusion that Interior Design + Event Planning really do go hand in hand (or work perfectly “Side by Side”).

We got to work immediately on each “Side” of our business (Lauren running the Interior side and I am in charge of Events), but it took us a few years to really figure out how this whole thing would flow. As most new business owners do, we came from a place of “yes” and took almost everything that came our way. As Lauren had been working in high-end residential, this continued to be her path, but I was working mostly on weddings and Bar / Bat Mitzvahs. From day one of starting our business our dream was to continue on with our clients, designing their space, and then dressing their homes up for holidays and special events. We differentiate ourselves by being a company who does Interior Design and At-Home Events. We can finally say we are doing exactly what we want to be doing and love seeing Side by Side Design succeed. Each project comes with a new opportunity and challenge, and we can’t wait to see what is next!

Today, we have taken our business back to the original model and find that our clients love working with us each individually and together. We each bring something different to the table, and when working “Side by Side” we are a dynamic duo. Lauren now has three daughters, and I am about to have my second girl. Crazy! We know, but we love sharing with them what we do and teaching them what it means to be a mom and a boss!

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?
Pretty smooth, but as all businesses go there are always highs and lows, and it has taken some time for people to really understand what we do. Lucky that is behind us!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Side by Side Design story. Tell us more about your work.
We design high-end residential spaces and dress them up for holidays and special events. We work “Side by Side” to show how Interior Design + Event Planning works together.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We don’t like to think that opportunities come from luck. We believe that you work hard for what you get and have, however great timing, great referrals, and meeting the right people has definitely helped us along the way!

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