Happy Women's History Month! This month was created to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of all women. We thought it would be a great opportunity to highlight some of the amazing women in the interior design, construction, and kitchen and bath industry in Atlanta. We've asked several leaders from the industry to share their inspiration, advice, and insight into the world of design.
Thriving & Inspiring
Jennifer Crosby is the CEO and owner of the Atlanta-based interior design firm, Crosby Design Group. Jennifer holds a degree in interior design from the Art Institute of Atlanta and has worked in the design industry for 20+ years. Crosby Design Group is known for developing inspired interior environments and space planning solutions in both Commercial & Residential design across the Southeast.
Can you describe a hurdle or obstacle that you've faced in the past and how you overcame it?
I started my first company at 29 years old after going through a divorce. I moved back in with my parents to save money to launch the company. After about a year, I was determined to move out of my parent's house to truly fly free. I moved to Atlanta by proposing a trade deal: in exchange for rent, I would design. I was so driven to work hard to become something, 21 years later here I am.
Now I have 2 companies, a full-service interior design firm and a furniture procurement company, 20 people contracted under me to facilitate Crosby Design Group Projects, and 2 studio locations, a commercial studio in Midtown and a residential studio in Roswell.
What advice would you give to young women who are interested in interior design or becoming an entrepreneur?
I absolutely love having my own companies and thrive under the entrepreneur dreaming platform. Go with your instinct and move purposefully without hesitation to fight for what you want in business. Always spend the time to research who you are meeting with and learn about their company and projects to be ready for a small chat before big meetings. I realized many years ago you are only as good as your last project, so I say always bring your best!
Bold & Colorful
"I am an interior designer: lover of color, cultivator of quirk, hunter-downer of that unique piece that will make a home your home." Gina Sims is an Atlanta-based interior designer and owner of Gina Sims Designs. Her unique, colorful, and inventive designs have been praised in national magazines and publications and grace beautiful spaces throughout the southeast. Gina talked with us about how she finds inspiration and advice she has for young women looking to become a designer.
Can you describe a little about your design style and how you get inspiration for new projects?
A California transplant to the South, you’ll find my designs at the crossroads of those styles. I blend the carefree, timeless cool of the West Coast with the romantic, tailored charm of the South. I find inspiration in what my clients love. Their tastes and passions are always where we start. From there we apply our signature bold and playful point of view!
What advice would you give to young women who are interested in interior design?
For young women wanting to become designers, intern! There is no substitute for on-the-job training and most designers need help with seemingly small tasks. It's a great opportunity to be around the industry, soaking in the language, the vendors, and processes. If you love what you see and hear, that's a good indication that you should move forward. You can pursue design school or look at working in project management or even eDesigns, to start. There are many ways to get into the industry but if it's a brand new move, offer what you can - your time!
Fuel for the Soul
Jenny Lyons is a lead designer at Dove Studio Kitchen and Bath. After graduating from the University of Tennesee with a degree in interior design and moving to Atlanta for an internship, Jenny discovered her love for transforming spaces into beautiful designs. Her work has been featured in show homes, home tours, published in national magazines, and has won COTY and OBIE awards throughout the years.
What inspired you to become a kitchen and bath designer?
I love space planning and the more architectural side of design and found that kitchens and baths were the right fit to bring all of my passions together. I did an internship at a design firm that had 25 interior designers and 3 kitchen and bath designers. I found myself drawn to those 3 and wanting to dive into the details of the projects they were working on which lead to my first real job working for a small remodeling company focusing on kitchens and baths. I quickly knew that this was exactly what I needed to do with my life. 19 years later it is still exactly what I know I was meant to do.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
My favorite part of the design process is the designing portion. There is so much paperwork that goes into each finished space that you see. 90% of our job is tedious paperwork but that 10% of creativity and inspiration is the part that keeps me going and loving what I do each day. Looking at a floorplan or existing kitchen and reimagining how the space could be something better or different and then seeing the homeowner's reaction to that solution is what fuels my soul.
We'd like to thank all of these inspiring women for talking with us and sharing insight into the wonderful world of interior design!