Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Boudreaux.
Jessica, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always had creative tendencies and been involved in the arts. I have two bachelor’s degrees (FSU): Fine Arts (focus on graphics and photography, including alternative print methods) & Interior design. Work ethic was important to my mother and due to this, I’ve been working since the age of 15 and full time since I was 19.
In addition to creativity and work ethic, I have drive…perhaps because of my affinity for foreign travel and other luxuries. I’d love to say that starting my business was well planned. But, in early 2008 when the market was tanking, I, along with many other creative professionals found myself laid off. I began interviewing for jobs, but none of them were offering salaries with livable wages and all of them expected more than full time hours. I did not have the heart to continue a job search that kept resulting in dead ends. Instead of moping, I allowed myself a week to relax, and I sat by the pool reading books, listening to music, and daydreaming until I had my first inspired idea!
I decided to seek out established interior designers with small practices who were not tech savvy. I began outsourcing myself as a “ghost designer” of sorts executing AutoCAD drawings, renderings, presentations and other tasks behind the scenes for those designers. I began to notice how much time was being spent acquiring other designers as clients and negotiating my fees.
Eventually, it occurred to me that my time could be spent more efficiently were I to obtain my own clients. The first few rounds of clients were people I knew and (ready to laugh?) craigslist leads! My first big client was one of those leads. He hired me and told me his budget was about what my previous salary had been. He actually ended up spending about 3 times what he said was his original budget. I was over the moon!
This was the height of the recession and my little fledgling company worked with over 50 local contractors and vendors that year. I realized that not only did I excel at my chosen profession, but I also managed others well. Additionally, I recognized that my trade was beneficial in supporting other small businesses in my community. And I was beyond happy to be free of being chained to an office all day. I’ve still never written a business plan, but Boudreaux Design Studio has now been open for almost ten years!
I really can’t believe it. It’s been an amazing experience, I have learned so much. The theme of the last year has been all about upping my marketing game, networking and growth. I was a featured designer at the Fort Lauderdale Home Show, one of my projects was featured on SoFlo Home Project (a local interior design television show), and I currently have several projects outside of Miami, including two in New York City!
Has it been a smooth road?
I’m truly grateful in that many aspects of my business have unfolded organically. It was not effortless, but there have been many serendipitous moments. That said, it has not always been a smooth road. When you’re the boss, there is no handbook that tells you it’s time to hire someone or how to say no to a client or when it’s time to raise your fees. Some of these lessons have been learned with hard knocks.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Boudreaux Design Studio – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Boudreaux Design Studio is a full service interior design firm. Our primary specialty is high end interior design and remodeling…kitchens, bathrooms and custom furniture. We recently designed a custom wall to wall built-in unit which comprises a storage closet, drawers and an entertainment center wherein a remote controlled murphy bed is hidden behind a TV! I’m quite proud of the kitchens I’ve designed. I’d happily cook in any of them!
I think one thing that sets me apart from other designers is how closely I work with the contractors to ensure that the work being performed is as expected by client and as defined by the design. Clients often have very high expectations of very small details and it’s important that these details not be overlooked. I also try to keep a sense of humor while I’m working. I have known several designers that are very serious or pompous. The nature of what we do for a living requires obsessing and can be very stressful so I like to get in a giggle as often as possible.
What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I am working on refining the backend of my business to prepare for growth. While I often end up working in a modern style for clients, my personal tastes tend to have a bit more of a bohemian lean and I would love the opportunity to work with a client interested in incorporating boho elements. I’d also be very excited about an opportunity to work on an international project. In my spare time I day dream about becoming a micro developer, designing and building eco-friendly dwellings with self-sustaining elements.
- Website: www.boudreauxdesignstudio.com
- Phone: 786-360-5050
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @jessicaboudreaux
- Facebook: @BoudreauxDesignStudio
- Twitter: @jessiboudreaux