Designing Dreams: From Home Pages to Homes with Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors
How Did a Female Founder Re-Decorate Her Career Path?
Lucie Ayres’ first job out of college was with Cushman & Wakefield, where she helped companies with space planning and design. Lucie is a graduate of Cornell’s Design and Environmental Analysis program, where she studied interior design, including ergonomics and product creation. By her own admission, she took a “detour” during the dot com boom and went to work for one of the largest interactive agencies in New York City. She managed a project management team of more than 20 people and rose up the ladder to a position handling her own clients. She then made a move to a company where she created some of the first websites for musical artists. “It was an amazing time!” she said.
Go West, Young Woman!
When the dot com bubble bursted, Lucie decided to move to Los Angeles and used her network to land a job as a marketing consultant. “I always loved the creative parts of the job,” she says. She took another job in the agency world but realized, “These are not my people!” while sitting in a huge team meeting with big brands discussing the “soul” of snack foods. She was in her early 30’s when she had this epiphany. The decision coincided with the birth of her first child, so Lucie decided to make a change.
Lucie Does Design.
When Lucie’s best friend asked her to help convert her garage into a playroom, Lucie jumped in — working for a small design fee. When the neighbors saw her work, they asked her to help them. To hone her skills, she signed-up for a four-day apprenticeship program, which enabled her to find new sources and refine her skills.
Her Marketing Background Helps Her Expand.
Using sites like Thumbtack, Yelp, and Houzz, Lucie started bidding on jobs. Thumbtack was in its early stages and was the main source of business because other designers hadn’t yet discovered it. But her talent, combined with her diligent approach to online marketing ensured that her business grew steadily. Her work was honored by Houzz and picked up by other sites. As she built her business, she built her credentials. She was finally ready to “come out the office closet” and announce to her contacts that she was in a real-deal interior design business — 22 Interiors. “I was born on the 22nd and it’s my lucky number,” she says. And, if I ever decide to expand the company, it works. Every other interior designer seems to use her/his name as her brand. I wanted to stand out.” The company’s gross revenue this year will be close to $1 million and 22 Interiors has grown every year since the launch.
Don’t Forget the Details!
Her love of color and warmth set her apart in LA and her clients are diverse. “I just want to do my thing and make spaces beautiful for the people who live there,” she asserts. She has no regrets about her career change and says that it took years of working for other people to prepare her for her life as an entrepreneur. “Staying on top of details and accounting is the most challenging part of the job,” she asserts. “Especially in my field, I have so many details to worry about. You can design a beautiful house, but if you forget one throw pillow, it totally sucks.”
Interested in seeing some of Lucie’s designs up close and personal? Take a peak at some of her favorite works!