The Alimond Show

Natalie & Alyssa of LYS+NAT Design

February 29, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Natalie & Alyssa of LYS+NAT Design
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if you could turn a shared passion into a flourishing business? Let's meet two college buddies who did just that by creating their own interior design outfit. With no prior industry experience, they turned their shared love for organic, cozy designs into a thriving venture. They'll share their journey and how they've adapted to challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and changing design trends. We'll also hear about their interesting pivot towards architectural finishes and the relationships they've built within the industry. 

This episode also explores the future of design through the eyes of two veteran interior designers. They'll offer us a glimpse into their creative processes, sharing how they tune into client needs and balance it with their unique aesthetic. We also discuss the potential impact of AI on the design industry and what it could mean for the human touch in design. Furthermore, we chat with entrepreneurs about how critical a supportive network of friends can be in building successful businesses. Their inspirational story stresses the power of friendship, mutual support, and shared dreams. Join us for these enlightening discussions!

Speaker 1:

So it's all started in a car ride. Neither of us have a background in interior design. We've done a lot of our own bills and renovations. I come from the advertising, client management, account management background and then she's always been like, always had an eye for design and has always done it and finally made a career out of it. Now, how does it meet?

Speaker 2:

College, College. Ok, so college BFFs, College BFFs University of Tennessee.

Speaker 1:

Well, our husbands, our best friends from high school from here.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so funny. So that's how we.

Speaker 3:

And then they were at Tennessee also.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, rush all together, yeah, yeah and now we're stuck together. How many years has it been Since we've been in business?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Four, four, yeah, so you got to hit that five year mark I know, and we're getting there.

Speaker 3:

Well, we started, and then it like then COVID happened.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and we're like, oh, it's funny.

Speaker 3:

Perfect time to start a business with design and be in people's homes yeah, homes. But then it was because everyone was sitting in their house and it's like, yeah, all those rooms that everyone's like, oh, one day I'll do this, one day I'll do this. Then they were stuck in those spaces, so they're like let's do it, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So it kind of kind A lot of a design to start, yeah, and just like jumped us, though Like we initially started going Someone had been reaching out was like you really should do this for a living. You should do this for a living and they were a realtor. So like we always need stages and so maybe we'll start on staging. It's a good way to like get in the door and get the business going and then, when everyone was actually renovating and COVID we have never done staging.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, not one time. And we just started writing into like working with builders and doing more of the architectural finishes and tile and flooring and all of those things. How would you describe your style? I would say kind of, what is trending and popular right now is where we've always naturally been, which is because we both live in 1700s original stone form houses from Virginia, so we love the like warm thing, cozy and bringing like the outside in all the wood textures and the stone textures and natural materials. Yeah, but we've had when we were starting, everything was very like black and light and, yeah, that's what Chip and JoJo yeah.

Speaker 3:

And people were seeing it on Pinterest and so which we like? We like a very plain canvas, but with texture on it. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, very organic, yeah, and our thing is like we create the canvas and then people can bring like their own styles into it in little pieces, whether it be like art or you know knickknacks and things like that. But yeah, love good rug.

Speaker 2:

So tell me, how are you currently getting your clients?

Speaker 1:

We work with a lot of builders. We get some here and there that come to us directly, but a lot of the work we do since we do focus so much on architectural finishes and that's kind of like our bread and butter come from just relationships with contractors and just like different trades and things like that. We've built a lot of good relationships that way and then we'll get the one offs from the Instagram or word of mouth or something like that.

Speaker 2:

Where do you guys see yourself in like three to five years? Like, how are you? Are you going to keep doing what you're doing? Do you have like expansion plans?

Speaker 1:

I mean I would say so were moms. Moms first is like our big thing. I have three kids just two so and they're like crazy busy in sports. They're just at that age, so I don't think we ever really want to lose, that we want to grow, I think as far as like our client base goes, but as far as like we want to be able to make our own schedule and not like drive ourselves into the ground and have like that even balance and be on the ball field every day when we need to be.

Speaker 2:

Even though I can't see you guys having kids older than three years old.

Speaker 1:

Ten, Ten seven and three.

Speaker 3:

So we both had two boys first and they're all in the same grade, so we have fourth grade and so you guys plan that, of course, I mean just god sent Three doors down to each other. It all worked out.

Speaker 1:

So I think, to answer your question, I think we'll be I wouldn't say, in the same spot. I think we'll be able to be more like picky and client base wise. We'll get exactly who we want and stuff and not take on everything that comes our way. But balance will still be yeah, and the kids are going to get older and more self-sufficient than they already are, so yeah we'll have it that one more time.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think more of a quality.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, over, quantity Over quantity.

Speaker 2:

What are you guys seeing in terms of like I know you, obviously yours are doing the more of the trendy looks right now, but what are you seeing in terms of what people are looking for, wanting? That's going to last over.

Speaker 3:

I mean it's funny because even like in close, I think it all comes around, it all comes back. So it's like a lot of things that we were tearing out of houses five years ago or 1700s. Put them back in. Put them back in. It's like this the square tiles and color colors coming back, which is fun, and it's more like the earthy tones, kind of like how you guys are dressed right now.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, just the brand Exactly. And then I mean someone asked us today actually, if they're like a ship out, I'm like ship up, I'll never go out. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, and I think it's all also like there's always trends and there's always things that people see that they should and shouldn't have. But like, if it feels right to you and it makes your house feel like a home, then it's right for you. You know so. And like, with us, with our old houses, we are literally recreating them to like keep that, that old look, and whether we're just updating or we're literally just refinishing, like that is and those, it's better quality anyways, to be honest, yeah.

Speaker 2:

What are a few stars like pop quiz now, because, like I'm excited what are like three tips that you could share with listeners in terms of as they're looking around their houses and they didn't get around to it during the COVID times of getting things refreshed or laid out. They want the way they want to, but what are I three or four tips that you have for people that are wanting to just like Turn an eyesore into like something, something Visually?

Speaker 3:

appealing? Yeah, I think one I mean one big one that people are always trying to figure out is Like they have the big wall, big wall with nothing on it, and committing to art is big or to put what to put on it. But I always think if you put a shiplap or a texture of some sort, you don't really need something on it, like you can just it's still a blank white wall that you can put on it or paint it, but it it kind of takes away that just empty fill like you just some texture line wash reading a lot of line wash right now, which is just kind of a movement in a paint, but it makes it feel cozier.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'm not so stark. Yeah, I'm just like sterile, empty, which I think is a lot of people's big Problems in their houses.

Speaker 2:

Got through those walls, so thank you for that I.

Speaker 1:

Would say one and it's one that we always harp on to especially meet new clients is finishing a space. You walk around your house constantly, especially if you're living in somewhere. Like you just want to like just start adding things everywhere, but like just finish a space, then that way you can walk into that room and you'll feel so good and you're not stretching your budget Like they want to do a couple things here and there and it's like let's just focus on one, do it right and then move on to the next. And a Lot of people I don't think like gather that until we talk them through it, and that's just like it makes such a difference.

Speaker 2:

Yeah so that's true. I did that to one of my rooms, yeah.

Speaker 3:

I mean, I'm worried about it. My husband this week said one space finish the space?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and then we've got.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, then my house is the way I know here You're a worst client. It's my and we're always like, oh, this is new, this is new, yeah, so it's so bad. It's a really fun industry, but, yeah, husbands don't always love it. Hey, yeah, it's true.

Speaker 1:

I think another one adding on to your texture of the law. Just paint like paint makes such a difference, like you have to do one thing. We either say paint or like new floors because they just it's such a large canvas and it will just make such difference and change the feel of the house.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and I mean paints. You can change it, it's easy, yeah, and I think we all affordable went through that, yeah, white, white, white phase, which I mean, don't we love a good white wall? But now I think if you are in your space, you're not feeling as comfortable as you think you should be. A lot of times it's just like a warm, the color that you can Do on the walls.

Speaker 2:

I feel like I have to do it right though. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Because I mean we have it. Yeah, there's 700 different whites. It could just be like you're like to start go a little warmer.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's true. Okay, warm white.

Speaker 3:

You always mean a little more warm, yeah. Colors in general, then the cooler tones. Sometimes we get the clients I love the cool Go there too.

Speaker 2:

Okay, what would be like? What is the process to work with you? What does that look like? Oh boy Um, do you mean, do you like as a Pinterest client, not a, not a construction company, like if you were coming to us?

Speaker 1:

Well, pinterest is one of our points of it. However, I'll get to that. But so we'll meet with you, we'll have the initial consultation, we'll go through, like your needs, we'll try to focus in on what you're really looking for. Then we'll kind of step away. Obviously, do you like all the proposal non-fun contract, sure will work, whatever.

Speaker 1:

And then we ask for inspo stuff and we ask for, you know, images you've liked or rooms you've seen, or Pinterest boards and things like that, just to get an overall feel of kind of your style. Because although there's so many trending things, people have their own style. And then we'll take that and then we kind of pinpoint what you're really seeing. So somebody might see a whole room and be like I love it. We're like, what do you like? Do you like the feeling it gives you? Do you like the color of the wall? So, really trying to narrow down on you know what they're really liking in things. And then, once we're all on the same page, then we kind of step away, do our thing, come back and we do like a full design presentation and then it just goes into revisions and production and all that good stuff.

Speaker 3:

And I think at the beginning too, when we're trying to get your style, it's also really getting to know, like the family, how you live in each space, because some spaces I mean, we are moms, we have a lot of kids and animals in our houses and so we're like you want them to be functional and practical. But then if you're like you just want this room, it's a part of our house, we don't really know what to do with it. Let's have fun in it, sure, like it's yeah, no, and then tying the whole spaces together with everyone's vision and yeah, functions huge.

Speaker 1:

For us, it's like, yeah, we love pretty things and we want to make your space beautiful, but is it going to last? You Is it like you know whether it's the stone we use or the plumbing fixture we choose? We want it to look beautiful, but we want it to last for your family.

Speaker 2:

So what does it look like in terms of price wise? I know I'm sure there's a wide range depending on what people want. But do you guys go in and just do the like designing aspects and then you give them links to like get the installation themselves, or do you guys go in and do like the full design installation?

Speaker 1:

All of the above. We've done it all. I mean, considering we started in COVID, it was a lot of e-design and it was like here's your design, here's your links, go ahead and, you know, do it in your own time. Obviously, we would love to start something and finish it all the way through. So we work with the client on what works best for them.

Speaker 3:

a lot, but say for the most part now that we usually are start to finish jobs, and I think that's more of the clients that are coming to us now. Yeah, that's where we want to be. Full service, yeah, which we love to see the end of a project, yeah, when we want to be there for that, or we're just me knocking on your door.

Speaker 2:

And then, do you guys feel any type of shift with AI and all these design services that a robot is like? Not a robot, but I guess a robot is like creating for people, like what are your thoughts and feelings around?

Speaker 1:

I mean I play with it a lot, I love it, I love that world. I think it's like never going to take over, like our industry and what we do. I think, if anything, it just helps like conceptually, because clients a lot of times they need to see it. They can't just see like a paint color and a tile and like they're like oh yeah, that's gonna come together great, Like so if we're able to give them like a true, not quite a rendering word is like here's your space, but like a true conceptual vision of what we're going for, I think it's super helpful and it like I like we play with it a lot and it keeps our like creative juices going to. I think them like just how you can use different shapes and colors and whatever it may be.

Speaker 3:

I think it helps people feel like we do our presentations and we lay it all out, which we get it and we love it and we walk through each space that they're going in and all the rooms. But sometimes I think it's hard for clients to feel the vibe like and that's not like we'll do renderings and so they can actually see in their space and that's one kind of like a space and service. But it's just, it is kind of easy to be like all right, create the space robot, yeah. And then you're like and you, we just keep tweaking it and we're like yes, this is the feeling we're feeling for this, and then be able to put it in front of the client and then get that too.

Speaker 1:

I think it's more like for us it's fun to play with and I, like the house too, have question that.

Speaker 3:

I was like is this going to take me over? Who's going to do it for you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like here's your paint color, here's like what the wall texture is. It's just kind of get you going. You can bring us the AI design and we'll get you there.

Speaker 2:

But I have played with it and it comes up with some weird if you don't have a project right I?

Speaker 1:

know we're still playing with that.

Speaker 3:

She's better. I'm like I need, I want to fill this. Can you make it happen?

Speaker 2:

because, I'm like typing words in.

Speaker 3:

I'm like this is not what I was going for.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, some crazy things have popped up like that's not what I want that room to look like at all.

Speaker 1:

It is weird. I want to play with the video portion of it more, but I haven't gotten there yet, oh, yeah, I haven't even heard of the video portion, so I mean it's. I mean what I've seen. It's not a lot, but it's like movement in the background or like the snowing outside.

Speaker 2:

Oh, cool, I know, you know we're headshot photographers here we do headshots and you know, with the AI it's like people will take photos and make them look like a professional.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I haven't done any of that yet I've only done the internet stuff. It's I mean, it is my husband's done it with my kids. He's like takes a picture and then it's like make him a, make him like messy or something and it's like creepy, like that actually does look like you, but also it really looks like messy. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I don't know. Now put the story on. Yeah exactly it's funny.

Speaker 3:

Well, that world gets my head.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I know well, it is kind of scary for the implications of what it could look like for just what's real, what's not. Have you seen now videos of like people talking yeah, I can still tell when it's like yeah, yeah, ai. But once they start moving and adding in the hand movements, that's going to be hard. Yeah, it is To see if someone's you can tell when somebody is like talking like this yeah, and even if the mouth looks natural, the fact that they're not moving, yeah, it's like nobody's.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, nobody's that proper now. Yeah, Maybe that's.

Speaker 3:

I know I when AI first, when I started first seeing them pop up on like Instagram and stuff, I was like, ooh, cool space. And now, as soon as I see them like, that's AI.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it is. I mean, it gets a little annoying in that aspect, as long as people, I think, contribute their work to AI, yeah, and don't make it seem like that is a safe way. I mean, I guess they're creating it technically. You're talking about designers that are doing this yeah, specifically, but I don't know. It is like, wow, that's really cool. And then you're like that would cost you a bajillion dollars. Yeah, but it was free. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Looking into. I know you said you guys are going to keep it for the most part sustainable for you guys right now until the kids get older. Then kind of reevaluate. But in terms of overall for the industry, where do you see the industry heading in the next five, 10 years? Oh, good question.

Speaker 3:

As far as like style or in as like use is.

Speaker 2:

More, not necessarily style, but like industry wise, do you still see this as something?

Speaker 3:

I, I've got. I mean I think design in general has always been it's not a necessity. People don't. I mean we like to think people need us, but I don't think.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's more of a luxury.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's more of a luxury service. I don't really think that will go away. I mean, there's more and more. There's so much space in the design world, I think, in like all design for everyone to kind of fit in, and I think it's cool that it's fun to get a room of designers together, because we all do things so differently, like from process to style, to where we find products and it's. I don't really see that changing.

Speaker 1:

I would say the only thing is the DIYers are kind of really diluting that space, which I mean heck. If I could do DIY, I would do it.

Speaker 1:

But if I think it's like almost like Pinterest, where it's like you know, they keep looking and looking clients like keep looking, keep looking at Pinterest. You know trends change, algorithms change all that stuff. Same with DIYers. It's like, well, I want this and they did it. They said for $500. It's like, well, yeah, you can go do that for $500, sure, but let us get you the right people, let us take the stress off of you. So I think that's making it a little difficult, but it's totally different.

Speaker 1:

Because they come with an expectation of like yeah, I think the expectation changes.

Speaker 3:

So they don't elevate HTV, though, too.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I mean, I think there's always a new space for us. I think the people that are coming and like actually trying to find an interior designer, like we said, it's kind of like more of a luxury service.

Speaker 1:

Not everybody needs it. People can do it on their own, just fine. Yeah, hopefully those are the right people that keep coming back around. I love that. You guys know your audience and your niche. You know what I mean.

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean, yeah, we're in the same boat where you can go get your five year old, grab your iPhone and take a nice picture of you. Yeah, like those are our clients, exactly your clients are the ones that are coming. Those are our clients. It will always be the right type. Our client will always be there as long as we understand.

Speaker 1:

Right and there's enough for everybody, like as far as designers like if we don't work for you, like we have a list of people that we can then give to you, to if you want to like price out or if stylistically it's not working, or however it may be, like there's room for everybody, which is really cool and we all share thoughts and ideas and it's pretty supportive industry. I'm saying I love your mindset. You guys have a good mindset. Yeah, we're friendly.

Speaker 2:

Before we wrap things up, is there any specific message or thoughts you want to share with the world? And this is the most vaguest, open-ended question I've ever asked. We're prepared.

Speaker 3:

I mean, I think, as far as starting a business, I think if you have an idea and you have support, don't be afraid to do it. Like we both kind of took, oh good one. But really we both kind of we did. We were driving home from a basketball game with our husbands and we were like, let's do this. And we're in the back seat and we have this whole. Both of our husbands are business owners too. So we were like spiring all these ideas. And then they were finally like all right, I mean we hear you, if you're serious, come to us with business plan how you see this working, what you're going to do, and lay it all out. And so then we did it. We did do it and we sat down and they're like, oh wow, you guys are serious. And then so I think just, and it's, I mean it's fun and we're doing what we love to do and we get to work with my best friend every day.

Speaker 2:

So it's not, I'm going to say I'm kind of jealous I can see you guys like at each other's houses, like sitting down, like feeding the kids, but then also like doing your marketing plans.

Speaker 1:

But also don't let it take over, because friendship's also way more important.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome, so that's a great message. So quick shout out to your husband what do they do? You say they have their own businesses.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, mine is. He's actually written down to KM Digital. It's like a brand development and it's probably going to help me for whatever I say.

Speaker 3:

He's like Chandler office.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that was advertising, that's what I did. No, but everyone's always like, oh yeah, you watch.

Speaker 3:

Friends. Yeah, we always say Chris is the Friends, the Chandler and the group where everyone's like, he's like a and like. No one in the group can really tell you what he does, yeah, brand development, they do websites.

Speaker 2:

They do a lot of video.

Speaker 1:

I started building. It's right there, yeah it was the old one that was taken from Kaseco helped, I think that's her husband.

Speaker 2:

No way, it's like that group we got Wait which one? Aaron McLeary. Okay, I know.

Speaker 3:

Are you from here? Do you know? I'm as A-Rod.

Speaker 2:

No, I don't know Aaron. The other one, sam Sam, that's who I know.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so those three were like best friends in high school. Yeah, they have a great team, that is so cool.

Speaker 2:

You guys are like yeah, I know I was going to say you guys have your own like Friends group.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we are. Yeah, it's really cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's nice that we're all well. I was never like an entrepreneur, that was pushed on me. But here we are and you did it. But we all are now and which is really cool because we all work together and we're all super supportive. Like we work with Kaseco, Chris does our brands and their brands, Like everybody kind of supports each other, which is nice.

Speaker 2:

I love it. Yeah, congratulations to both of you. Thank you so much for being on the show. Of course we're having it, thank you.

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