We had the good fortune of connecting with Wendy Cook and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wendy, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always had the entrepreneur spirit, even when I was younger. Tell me I can’t do something and I’m the one that will work hard to prove you wrong, lol. I came to a point in my life I knew I wanted more. I was a single mom, working at the hospital day in and day out, doing the same thing over and over again. I could see my girls, who were in high school at the time, would be leaving soon and I thought to myself, “is this really what I want to do?” I took a week off from work to renovate my fireplace, while my girls went away with my parents. This week was going to be a time for me to really reflect on what I wanted to do, while also tackling a home project. I had bought the book The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gains, which had been out for a while but I never took the time to read it. I love to read and learn lessons from others and this book did not disappoint. By the end of the week, I was completely in my element, taking something that looked old and outdated, and turning it into something beautiful and relaxing, my own little area that made me excited to come home each day. But something much more happened… the desire for me to go out on my own and start my own Interior Design business. I just knew I had to try. A quote from the book has always stuck with me, “Go and find what it is that inspires you, go and find what it is that you love, and go do that until it hurts.”
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Blooming Daisy Interior Design was born in July 2017, well that’s when I became an LLC, with the official business name. However, I was still taking courses in Interior Design, while working full-time at the hospital, so I really didn’t have my first paying client until November 2017. It was a Paint Color Consultation with a friend from church. I helped her pick out paint colors for a few rooms in their house and both her and her husband loved the color. Then in December 2017 I put my shingle out, launching my first website and business facebook page. So I basically had a side hustle while still working full time at the hospital.
There came a time where I knew I could not burn the candle at both ends and something had to give. My original plan was to leave the hospital in June 2018, but as life would have it I ended up getting really sick one full week in February, which took away all my PTO from work. I had planned a vacation with me and my girls in March, but now that my PTO was used up the hospital would not allow me to take the time off, even when I asked for it with no pay. I only had two days of PTO left. So, I took those two days and then when I returned I gave them my two weeks notice. For me, it was an easy decision… I didn’t want someone else dictating to me when I could take time off to spend time with my girls. Like my brother said, I’ve always had that drive to work for myself, so what’s a few months. April 5, 2018 was my last day working in the medical field, and my first day being a full-time business owner. To say that first year completely on my own wasn’t hard is an understatement. It was brutal! At times I was really scared I was not going to make it. My faith in God really got me through those tough times, because I knew this was what God called me to do. I just had to keep the faith and continue to work hard. I did have to take a job at a furniture store for a short time, just to make ends meet, and that was VERY difficult. I felt like I was going into that job with my tail tucked between my legs. I really felt defeated. But it was only for a few months as I started to get more clients and was able to leave… and I haven’t looked back. As far as Interior Design I knew what to do… but as far as the business goes, that was tough. We have a saying, when you own your own Interior Design business, it’s 80% business and only 20% design. That’s so true. One thing that really gave me a leg up was listening to Luann Nigar’s podcast “A Well-Designed Business”. When I was still working at the hospital I would listen to it on the way to work and on the way home. I used my car as a rolling University and I would read every book I could get a hold of. Like I said earlier, I love to learn and I really think that’s why I’ve been successful. The minute you think you know it all, you’re dead. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the last 3 years is processes. You HAVE to have a process for everything. And for someone who is a bit OCD, I love processes. The trick is finding out what process works for you. At first I was chasing every new shiny object that came around. I finally figured out what worked for me and I’ve been able to create systems that not only work for the business side of things, but for the project management side of things and my clients. Our clients are trusting us with their home and a lot of money, so it’s important we get that right. Blooming Daisy is going be around for a long time and I have big plans for this company, but that won’t happen if we don’t have processes and procedures that are duplicatable, and that includes writing it all down and having your entire process documented. That’s not to say it won’t change, it will. Each new project we are learning more and making the appropriate changes. That’s called growing and improving. As LuAnn would say on her podcast, “if you don’t have your process documented, you don’t have a business, you have a “you.” What I would like the world to know about Blooming Daisy is we are a design firm that really listens to your needs and your pain points with your home. Interior Design is more than making things look beautiful, it’s about creating a space that promotes health, function, and well being. Maybe you want to be more inspired and energized, or you want a serine, relaxed feel. Each is unique and it should reflect the people that live there. If someone walk into a space that I have designed and they know right right away who the designer was, then I didn’t do my job. I want our clients to say, “Wow, this is so me!” There’s just no better feeling in the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love hitting all the trails that are around the Phoenix area, or I would take them up to Sedona, or Flagstaff. Babbo Italian Eatery is becoming one of my favorite places to go, great food and atmosphere. And of course I would have to take them window shopping at my favorite design centers, lol. I would also take them to one of the many live bands that play around the city, at the many different restaurants. Hanging out with a glass of wine and listening to music at a fun outdoor bar or restaurant is probably one of my favorite things to do. I love meeting new people and learning about their lives. We all have an inspiring story to tell, just take time to listen. It’s amazing what you can learn or how your perspective on things can change.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh my… that could be a long list… but I will narrow it down. My family was 100% behind me… and to be honest I was looking for them to tell me I was crazy. After all, why would a single mom, raising two girls, leave her secure job with medical benefits and all, to start her own business? My mom, dad, sister, and brother all were behind me and they were not surprised one bit. My two girls were also a huge encouragement to me and as a matter of fact my oldest daughter is the one that came up with the business name, since daisies are my favorite flower and this was a new beginning for all of us. So w/o there help I would not have had the courage to take that step. Veronica Solomon, was the first person within the Interior Design Industry that believed in me. After finishing my online courses at the Interior Design Institute, I reached out to Veronica who has a facebook group called “What They Don’t Teach You In Design School.” I can’t even tell you how I found her to be honest, but she was so generous with her knowledge and expert advise in running your own design firm. I think the fact she too was a single mom made that connection that much stronger. Through that group there were many more people who inspired me in so many ways. I have yet to meet Veronica in person (she lives in Texas), but we’ve talked over the phone, Zoom calls, and I plan to be at High Point Market in the Fall of 2021, and really hope I have a chance to hug her for real.
I would also give a shout out to my dear friend Debbie Barry. We have known each other for over 25 years, met at college right after high school. She had started her own Interior Design firm a few years before mine. She lives in Oregon and we hadn’t really talked much over the years accept through facebook. I reached out to her and she encouraged me to first come up with a name and get my LLC. Since then we have been like best friends again, even went to Las Vegas Market together. She has always been so encouraging and it’s been great to grow our businesses together.
Feeney + Bryant and Early Morning Light Studio