Minneapolis Illustrator, Invitation Designer, + DIYer Blog

 

Art, Inspiration, and Life. Sharing all the inspires me to create.

 
Posts tagged Girl Boss
Monday Muse: Heather Fox
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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.

Monday Muse: Carin Skowronsky
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Are you a wine Lover? Always on the hunt for the next great wine experience? Or are you a newbie to wine and looking to learn more about it? This week’s Monday Muse is your gal! It’s Carin Skowronsky of Pairs Well With. She’s a food and wine pairing educator who’s taking her passion for travel and wine and making a career out of it. Carin is a bundle of positive energy and she brings all the passion and excitement to her events. If you’ve ever been to one of Carin’s events, you know what I’m talking about. She brings you along on an educational journey and shares in all your discoveries like they are her own. She’s knowledgeable but accessible, never lecturing or telling you what you should taste or like. She wants to share in your experience and make it enjoyable. So grab a cup of joe (or glass of wine, i mean it’s noon somewhere right?) and let’s get to know more about Carin.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Ummm....everything. First and foremost, I wanted to be a performer. Either a dancer, singer or actress. There was a brief stint where I wanted be to a magician too. I'm someone who still seeks out or creates magic in her everyday life.

What did you study in school?

I was a double major in Marketing and Merchandising. I'm fascinated by marketing and how an individual or company presents itself to the general consumer. I consider myself a creative business strategist, specifically with small and emerging brands and other entrepreneurs. My mind pretty much never shuts off. There are always ideas flowing. I find that to be a good thing.

You were a corporate girl - how did you get into wine?

My story of wine came about through travel. It all started when I took my sister on a birthday trip to Napa and Sonoma. That was my first wine trip and it was great. Then came Italy, France, Portugal....the list goes on and I've now been to over ten of the world's most notable wine regions and even some undiscovered ones, too. There's so much to learn, and I'm such a curious person. Each wine, vineyard, region and winemaker has a different story. You really feel lucky to be part of these works of art in a bottle. When did you know it was the right time to leave your job to start a new career? There was a point in my career where I was no longer inspired and, in fact, I was miserable. That's just not who I am. I needed to find passion again in my everyday life, so I walked into my job one day ( with no planning ahead), resigned, went and traveled the world for a year, did more wine study and really reengaged with The Universe in the biggest way possible. And now here I am, thriving everyday. Sometimes you really just need to trust yourself and take that leap.

Walk us through your day - I'm sure everyone is different - but what's the most common look like?

Each day starts with some sort of goodness: a short mediation, a feel good podcast or a walk to set intentions for the day. While most people think I'm in wine full time, I have a day job that I love as much as I do working in the wine world. I sell a fitness brand called SPENGA and am on sales calls during standard working hours talking to people with the most fascinating stories who are ready to move into business ownership. My evenings are usually filled with client wine meetings, blind taste study or wine dinners. There's usually some sort of wine work most nights, and sometimes it's a glass of the best bottle of whatever I've got in the house.

You get to travel a lot - what's been your favorite trip so far and why?

I've been to 34 countries now, 6 continents and quite a few states. I've seen a lot and have experienced a lot and I'm more than grateful for all of it. While it might sound lame, each piece of this travel fuels my soul in a different sort of way. I've gathered a lot of perspective from each step of my journey and let it shape me who I am today. I am ever evolving through my experiences and that, to me, is what it is all about. What advice would you give to someone looking to make a big career change? I would say if it's something you keep coming back to, keep thinking about, can't let go of, GO GET IT. You're always way more capable than you know, and when you pull the rug out from yourself, you're forced to think more creatively and even differently, putting you into a new space. I'm a big risk, big reward girl - in every aspect of my life. Lastly, you don't get a refund on the time you've spent waiting around contemplating. Seize that day, dream big and go get 'em!

What's the best advice you've gotten?

Easily stated, I'm a very driven person. My Dad always reminded me, "If you're always focused on getting to the top, you're not focused on enjoying where you are in the moment. You can't do both, and there's plenty of time to reach the top."

What would you tell your younger self?

Don't waste time and energy on people who don't want to invest in you as equally as you do them. You've got a life to be living, stop worrying about everyone else and do you.

Rapid Fire

  • Early riser or night owl: Early riser

  • Go to wine: Malbec

  • Planner or go with the flow kind of gal: Planner

  • Favorite wine region to visit: Mendoza (Argentina) or Maipo Valley (Chile)

  • Three words to describe you: Adventurous, creative and sensitive

  • If you could try ANY wine - what would it be? Gosh, anything I couldn't get my hands on day to day. Probably, something a few decades old or that's been in someone's cellar for years that I couldn't come close to affording. (Ha ha.)

Thanks Carin for sharing your journey with us! If you want to check out any of Carin’s events or have her host an event for you or your business, check her out on her website , instagram or facebook