Sorry about the website problem y’day, I hope it is now fixed…thanks for all the emails…oh and yep the fridge is a working, second fridge…so that means it has champagne in it mostly…oh and of course, cold beer..
Now, BCer’s have I got a treat for you today…I have a little inside scoop on the very very hard-working lady behind furniture store Russell & Mackenna…the kinda grass roots success story I just lurve to hear…
Oh and best thing is there’s a $400 Giveaway from Russell & Mackenna attached to this post, as ever all ya gotta do is comment to enter…
So here’s my chat with Lauren…and a behind-the-scenes peek at her gorgeous beachy home…
I just love to hear a success story of a good family company built on hard work, craftmanship and all that comes with that…can you describe what it was like in the early days of Russell & Mackenna creating your goods in a one car garage? It reminds me of my garage full of vintage furniture..was it all a bit of a crazy?
It was crazy in the beginning, but fun crazy. We were only three months old when Coastal Living magazine featured our Wave Hall Table. I remember the editor asked if I was sure I wanted them to print my home phone number as contact information. (We didn’t have a toll free number at that point.) When that magazine hit the newsstand the rollercoaster took off. We took dozens of orders for that table, and back then there were just three of us and Kevin was the only one who could actually build furniture! That was a wild month. We had Wave Hall Tables all over our house. Kevin was building from dusk to dawn day after day. We recruited everyone we could to help us paint them. It was a blast, we were giddy the entire time and just so excited that people liked what we were making.
So to answer your question, yes, it was a bit crazy!
Goodness, how wonderful and manic….maybe I should be selling my treasures ;-)
How did it move on from that operation to the success that it is today and do you find that has been an amazing ride?
Russell & Mackenna is 6 years old now. We outgrew my one car garage quickly and then outgrew the next space we rented and then the next space. I don’t know that there was one magical ingredient you could say propelled our growth. But I would say the most important thing we have going for us is our team. Get three people together who believe with all there heart that they can do what seems impossible and watch out. I’m just an artist with an undergraduate degree, Russell & Mackenna has taught me how to take a passion for art and turn it into a viable business. We have really grown up into a real company that has Shareholders, a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee. I have a saying that the harder you work the luckier you get…it’s actually printed on the spine of our catalog. So yes, it has been am amazing ride and an emotional one too. I am currently working on our business plan for the next 5 years, so right now I am looking ahead and feel like the ride is just beginning.
Hey I love that saying…working hard makes you luckier…as Mr BC says there ain’t no such thing as luck huh?
As a busy mum of three, how do you keep everything ticking smoothly…that same old question about balance…there’s a joke ’round here that kiddos with busy mummy’s get tied to trees…
Kiddos tied to trees, hmmm, that’s not a bad idea! I am on what seems like an eternal quest for life balance. Finally, in my thirties, I have become pretty good at delegating and asking for help. Early on I tried to do it all myself because I felt like I needed to be Super Woman. The family nearly had to send me to the funny farm because of it.
wow! you nearly went to the same farm as me…unbelievable…;-)
Kevin and I also realized that we couldn’t both be trail blazers at Russell & Mackenna full time if we wanted the balance of a happy family! After trying a few different solutions, we landed on Kevin stepping out of the day-to-day business and being a full time dad. My girls obviously adore their Daddy and were thrilled with that decision.
goodness, kudos to you guys to have found a solution that works, ummmm with Mr BC recently starting his own business and being very busy working crazy crazy hours and the BC Store and book around the corner, oh and keeping up with it all…we are still tieing kids to trees...
Another thing I learned in the last few years…the importance of excercise and a healthy lifestyle. In the early days at I developed horrible eating habits to cope with the stressers of being such a busy mom and I put myself dead last on the priority list. After packing on a lot of weight..and I’m talking a whole lot..I woke up one day and knew I needed a serious change. My dear friend Lee Kriel (who also happens to be our photographer and is the gorgeous woman sitting on the back of the Hinkley Picnic Boat) knew I needed help in this area and encouraged me to do early morning bootcamp with her. Thank you Lee! I’ve been going that now for three years now. Simply encorporating the discipline of an excercise routine has changed my life. I have so much more energy to better handle the stress that comes along with being a working mom – not to mention all the weight I have lost. Putting my own well being higher on the priority list has made a big difference.
Holding my hands up to ya, good for you…dunno if you’ve heard about the BC walks and 350′s…certainly my therapy and boy do we all know when Mrs BC aint been a-walkin…..what an amazing story, I love how you say exercise has changed your life…all jokin’ aside I feel the same…just sooooo important for us women to get movin’…
So I hear you are the creative one at your place…where’d you get your inspiration and how do you translate that to your wares?
Yup, I am the creative one here…well let me rephrase that. I was the first creative one here and I lead the creative direction but now I have 2 designers who give lots of input too. At this point we design product (wooden furniture, accessories, upholstered furniture and fabrics) as well as catalogs and a website not to mention the interior spaces we create for our clients all over the country.
So the great thing about my job is working in so many mediums, both 2 and 3-dimensional to tell a cohesive coastal lifestyle story that is continually evolving but needs always to stay fresh and uplifting. Inspiration comes from all of the things I’m exposed to in my own life…the magazines and blogs I read, the people I meet, the homes visit and places I travel. My brain sucks it all up like a sponge.
And I have to tell you that your blog has been on my radar for quite awhile. I love the way you live and the simplicity of your style…that inspires me.
Really ! Oh!
Blushing here Lauren, thanks for saying you love my style….too kind!
Hmmm how funny that you’ve been reading my blog…fancy our tatty old beach cottage has inspired you..
oh yeah I’m pretty free for styling & a little trip Stateside in the next few months ;-) I am particularly good at sitting on the back of boats, with beer and rolled-up jeans and flags…and taking photographs…
Ok what about day-to-day…what’s a day in your life like?
Alarm goes off at 4:15. I have coffee a bannana and check my email and the Russell & Mackenna sales and web analytics for the previous day. Go to bootcamp at 5:30 where I endure verbal abuse from a trainer for one hour (love you BGood)… running, push-ups, squats and sit ups.
errrm, hold it right there! You get up at 4.15, you mean like a.m.?? Phew. This is one impressed BCer! Tho’ I am quite fancying the sound of endurance…sometimes one needs a bit o’ verbal to get one pumping…
Go back home, carrot juice for me and breakfast for my girls. I talk to them about what they have planned for their day. I like to give them all one thing to try and accomplish in a given day. Sometimes it is simply brush your teeth (I like to keep it very basic for my 3 year old) and other times it’s much more ambitious like make a scrapbook today. I do this for two reasons. I think kids need purpose and praise. So I set them off with a task I think they can successfully handle then when we regroup at the end of the day I can praise them if it was done. I want my girls to feel accomplished and proud. But now I am digressing…back to my day. After a chat with them then it is off to the shower and work. I carpool with my father every morning at 8:30. He lives just down the street and we use the 30 minute drive to talk about business stuff..mostly brainstorming. Then my days tend to be filled with various vendor, client and employee meetings all revolving around brand strategy and design work. Occasionally I’ll have a fantastical day that stands out from all the others…for instance if a celebrity calls to place an order, or we sign a big contract with a Hotel chain. I love days like that, although those are sadly few and far between. I usually get back home around 7 PM just in time for dinner with everyone (hubby does all the shopping and cooking) before we wind down and get ready for bed. About once a week I make a point to leave work at 5 so that I can get home early enough to walk down to our community beach with the girls, grill out or go shopping…generally just some sort of QT with family. Right now, my husband is training for a marathon, so he tends to run while we eat dinner. I sort of miss him lately but I’m so dang proud of him that I am being supportive.
Well you girlie have one busy old life heh? Sounds like fun for sure. Though not the carrot juice. Your hubby…do you rent him out?Gosh, now that I think about it, it probably sounds pretty boring. But really it’s not. The people I interact with every day (family included here) are so creative, colorful and fun that it makes the days fly by. The challenges we set for ourselves, the accomplishments we achieve and all the laughing along the way are what make my life and job so wonderful.
And when everything is done at the end of the day what do you do to kick back and relax?
It does’t take much. I really like wearing flip flops and sunglasses and just hanging out at our beach with hubby, a pitcher of Malibu and pinapple and a pound of steamed shrimp. I am all about keeping it ultra simple. I live in a small community of cottages north of Annapolis, Maryland just off the Chesapeke Bay. Our neighborhood beach has a great big grassy area where all the neighborhood kids play made up games. There is a beautifiul pier and sailboats everywhere. Like you, I am so fortunate to live near the water. I just love it. Attached a photo of my oldest singing a song at the talent show put on by our community’s co-opperative summer beach camp. So cute.
Oh yeah, digging the cute! Hey, do you need a house guest to share a Malibu and pineapple with you? I’m good at steaming shrimp…
And last, but not least, Lauren, how did we get all the way to the end of this girl-chat, talking about the beach, talking about furniture, talking about carrot juice and bootcamps and not mention….your big brother????…hmm…. ;-)
That’s all folks
…leave a comment to win…tell me how you kick back and relax, or keep it all together as a mummy or you could p’haps just comment on Lauren’s big brother…so very easy
hit that button people to enter for a
BEACH COTTAGE/ RUSSEL MACKENNA
FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR GIFTCARD
See you drunken sailors layta
*giveaway open til close of play 10/09/10, tweet/facebook to double up*