Name: Caitlin Wilson / Age: 31 / Company: Caitlin Wilson Design / Title: Owner & Creative Director / Years in Business: 5 / Education: Brigham Young University & Parsons School of Design
What was your first job after college? I worked 2 jobs – one as an associate designer at a small interior design firm and the other as a buyer and display designer at a boutique & flower shop.
How did you get from your degree to the creation of Caitlin Wilson Designs?! I attended Parsons Design School after graduating, then worked for two years before taking the leap to start my own company. At the time, I was sharing my own apartment on my blog when I got an email from someone wanting to hire me! I started taking on design projects on the weekends and at night and quickly realized that I had enough work to employ myself! Years later while living abroad, I realized I wanted to create my own fabrics to use in my clients’ homes so I gave it a shot! We’ve come a long way since then and I’ll be forever grateful that I took the leap of self-employment early in my career.
What inspired you to create the company? I kept using and seeing other designers use the same pillows over and over again. I felt that there was a void in the market for fresh, colorful pillows and especially those that were available online. I wanted to make it easy and accessible for people to get a cohesive, designer look in their homes.
What is some advice you can give to other aspiring entrepreneurs on how to attract attention and building a following? My business all started from my blog, so the best way to build a following is just by sharing what you feel you have to offer. Be authentic and original and an audience will come with time! Also, be friendly! Being kind, supportive and happy for other people’s successes goes a long way. Comment on other people’s posts and create friendships through social media. Being kind has taken me a lot of places. I truly believe what goes around comes around.
If a reader hasn’t heard of Caitlin Wilson Design, how would you explain it to them and what your mission is? My mission is to create beautiful, unique home decor products that transform spaces and homes. Many of my designs are colorful and make an impact in the rooms and homes of my clients. I believe that home should be a haven – where families and friends can feel comfortable and confident. Where memories can be made and cherished. Ultimately, I want the home to be beautiful and a happy place to be!
How do you balance work and play, being an entrepreneur? It was very hard in the early stages not to bring it home with me, or leave work at all since it was in a spare bedroom for the first few years. It’s easy to feel like you should and could always be doing more but you have to take it one step at a time. If you bite off more than you can chew you’ll end up exhausted and overwhelmed. I feel lucky that I started this venture before having kids and that I’m at a point now where I can work less and enjoy more of motherhood.
What is the hardest part and best part of working for yourself? The hardest part is that I am usually the one at fault because I have so many balls I’m juggling and I often drop one or a few. I’m my own worst critic. The best part is that I can create the life I want. I believe that we can all create the life we want to have once we realize how powerful we are. I have such a great set-up with my wonderful team, office, and family life now that we are more established.
What are your goals or dreams for yourself and Caitlin Wilson Design? My current goal is to continue to add new product lines and partnerships to our current assortment so we sell nearly everything we put in our styled photo shoots. A dream of mine is to write a book!
We know you have a shop opening in San Francisco this summer – do you want to expand even more? Yes! Our San Francisco design shop is the Guinea pig but the plan is that we’ll expand to 5 more cities over time.
Currently craving: All things stripes or periwinkle blue. The combo is even better!
Currently shopping for: Lights for my San Francisco store, they make such a statement in a space so I’m holding out for the perfect piece!