Monday Muse: Heather Fox
Do you ever see someone on IG or TV and think “we’d be friends in real life” ? That’s how I feel about Heather. This week’s Monday Muse. I don’t know Heather all that well (we met ever so briefly at an event and we follow each other on Instagram - so that immediately makes us friends right? ) but she’s a girl I want to have in my inner circle. She has this energy about her that pulls you in. She loves life and lives it to the fullest. She has killer style (can we talk about all the colored pom earrings she has!!!) in both fashion and home design. Her home away from home is in Palm Springs (also one of my favorite places ever!) and you can rent it out for your next stay there. She loves to DIY and renovate homes, which is how she and her husband started their company - Fox Homes. And to top it off, she’s got a new show- Stay or Sell - premiering tomorrow night (Tuesday, August 27 8pm CST) on HGTV! Yep. You read that right. Heather and her husband, Brad, are going to be on HGTV. So without further adieu- let’s get to know more about Heather!
Let's start at the beginning. What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you go to school for?
I grew up on a small hobby farm in NW MN and as a little girl, I could only imagine working with horses. As I got older, I realized I had other passions and went to school for business knowing I wanted to start my own business someday. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and hoped that I could follow in their footsteps, but I was lost on what my business would be.. something creative. I saw the hard work that went into owning a small business, but also the freedom that can come along with it and the feeling of building something that yours. My parents worked hard and had struggles, but also built everything they had!
Can you share your career journey?How did you get started in real estate? Did the renovating/designing part come naturally?
Real Estate fell into my lap about 15 years ago to be honest. It wasn't my expected career. I was offered a job as a sales person with a local builder and decided to give it a try. I fell in love with helping people build and design their dream homes. I'd always had an interest in home design, but that job gave me SO much knowledge and grew my passion for all things home! I found my perfect mix of helping people and being in a creative career!
My husband was intrigued and started in the real estate industry just a few months after I did. During that time we decided to flip our first home. We had no idea what we were doing and no money to do it, but we went for it and it worked! We literally pushed bills out to the last minute they had to be paid and lived on Mac and cheese to make it happen.
After we had our first son, I decided to join Brad in what is now "Fox Homes". It was a leap of faith to leave my well paying corporate job to be a fully self employed, small business owning couple, but I craved more time with my baby and was lucky enough to make it happen. I was able to work 3 days a week while my kids were small and I will forever be SO grateful for that time.
Over the past 10 years it's been an evolution from just Real Estate (helping buyers and sellers) to a design firm to a full scale construction company. We now have the most amazing team of agents, designers and contractors. It's been slow, hard process to get them all to thriving, but here we are! We now (along with our team) specialize in helping people find fixer upper homes and turn them into their dreams homes- we're a one stop shop.
Fox Homes is a large team! How did you know when to add to your team and did you have any growing pains as you got bigger?
This is always a tough one for me! I'm a "heart" thinker and decision maker. I do everything with heart and just hope I make the right decisions. Luckily, my better half uses spreadsheets and numbers to help ground me. We always joke that I'm writing in a glittery rainbow notebook with stickers while he's using excel and true data. Despite my head in the clouds, we're SO stinking lucky to have the best team ever. We have the greatest crew of creative people who are humble, smart, funny and just completely wonderful. We've said no to some people of course and had to let go of a few over the years, but overall, we've been SUPER lucky! We're like a little family. We hang out, travel together and celebrate each other daily.
You've got a new show on HGTV: Stay or Sell (CONGRATS!) - can you share what that's been like? how did it all come to be?
Thank you! It's been the wildest ride! It all started with a phone call 3 years ago that we thought was a joke. It turns out it wasn't a joke and here we are with a TV show about to air. We never took the prospect of it too seriously and were always waiting for a door to close. I'm so grateful for where we are and humbled by the process.
We never really thought of TV as a career path, so had NO idea how hard it would be. After our pilot that aired last summer got good enough reviews, they picked up a full season that we shot from November 2018-July 2019. It was so fun, but much harder than I thought it would be. Everything is real. We are doing 100% of the work- finding the houses, full design, full renovation... all while filming 40+ hours a week and trying to run 3 businesses and raise our family. Phew! Luckily, we've had a lot of fun and created some truly incredible homes for people. And one of my favorite things was incorporating so many incredible local artisans and artists! And of course, we got to show off MN!!
We were lucky enough to do this while we had a functioning business and people to help us run it. And we have an amazing nanny and both grandma's helping often. We could never have accomplished what we have without them. And I wouldn't have wanted to do any of it while my kids were babies/toddlers, so the timing was somehow perfect.
What's the easiest remodeling trick you can share that gives you the most bang for your buck?
Paint! Paint is the least expensive and most transformative trick ever! It takes work (or you can hire someone too!), but it will be worth it! Are you disliking a space? PAINT IT! I promise it will feel new and fresh. The hardest part is choosing the right color. We can help with that though!
What's the best advice you've ever received?
That is a great question! I can think of so many!! But... the one that stands out the most is something my mom always used to say (and still does!) "Kill them with kindness- whatever the situation". If I was 12 years old and fighting with a friend or 32 and not getting along with a client. It's not always easy, but I try my hardest to smile and choose kindness. Of course, I'm happy to speak my mind when needed, but in minor disagreements or rude people I encounter, I try my hardest to choose happy. I rarely leave a situation feeling regretful for what I've said or how I've acted. So, if someone is rude to you today instead of rolling your eyes, try telling them to have an amazing day.
What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now? And what would you tell your younger self?
I wish I would've understood that some people just won't like me and there is nothing I can do about it. Everyone can't like everyone else! Maybe the reason for not liking someone is that they smile too much, which could also be the reason that 100 other people love you. I'm still working on this one and might be forever, but I wish I would've spent less time caring about other people's opinions of me! It seems people think that because you're on TV that you're open to public criticism, so it's an ongoing and ever changing battle for me.
Rapid Fire Questions
Early bird or night owl- Is it possible to be both? I'm part insomniac
Control freak or go with flow- 100% go with the flow
Design Style- I'm organic modern with a good dose of color.
Beach or Mountain get away- Can I choose desert with a Mountain View? Pool is a must.
Favorite room to design/style- Kitchens!!
Go to paint color- Paper white by Benjamin Moore
Thank you Heather for sharing your journey with us! Tune in to watch their new show Stay or Sell on HGTV.