Eight years ago I took a leap of faith that I never imagined (or saw coming). In September of 2001, I moved from my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska and ventured halfway across the country to North Carolina for college. For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of decorating homes and spaces. It started off so simply. As a 10 yr old, I used to find joy in the little things around the house… like cleaning and trying to place my own stamp of creativity on our decor. As I would clean, I would rearrange picture frames, pillows, move end tables around, etc. My parents never once came back behind me to rearrange what I had done…. they always allowed my creative juices to flow and never pushed me away from the “arts”. They encouraged me to follow my dreams and never once doubted or questioned my hearts’ desires… which had nothing to do with English, algebra or physical education. 😉
After a short 24 hour drive away from home, I found myself ready to pursue my dream as an interior designer. I studied hard, worked as a manager at Pier 1 Imports and got involved with any school association that I could. Believe it or not, I was even the President of the Interior Design Association (dork!) at our school! I would like to point out, that on the first day of college I wore a collared shirt with a cardigan tied around my neck! Yup! I was fortunate enough to attain my first internship with a large commercial interior design firm here in Charlotte, and after graduation I began working there full time. I continued to work nights and weekends at Pier 1 Imports in an effort to pay off some of my student loans, and I spent my 21st birthday (Saturday) working on a deadline in the comfort of my own firm. A wild night that consisted of eating pizza, trapped behind a computer screen, and space planning in AutoCAD. I was focused, determined and motivated, but something was missing…
In the blink of an eye, it seems like several years passed. I just met my husband and I was still chasing this interior design dream of mine. Gensler, a global architecture and interior design firm with an office here in Charlotte, was on my short list of firms where I set a goal to work. I put together a resume, polished my portfolio and so timidly emailed the principle. A week after sending that email, I landed my dream job at one of the most respected global firms in the industry! I spent almost 5 years there cultivating relationships, working on endless deadlines, traveling for work and perfecting projects that were just unimaginable. My cup at the time was full (so full!) and it was there when I really began to carve my own path. It was at that firm, where I got the boost of confidence I needed, and that I never had before. I found myself in a unique situation, where very seasoned and influential partners I worked beside, were able to bring the best out of me and help me gain this sense of entrepreneurship (and confidence that I lacked). I learned about risks, and taking them head on, even with an uncertain outcome looming. Through this new found sense of self, I was able to afford myself the chance to chase yet another dream….working for myself.
In June of 2008, my boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed. A short year and half later in September of 2009, we got married. During that year (plus) of wedding planning, I fell in love with the wedding industry. It’s just happy. Joyful. At the time, the makeup and hair artists available in Charlotte were limited… and a September wedding in the Carolinas? You can believe they were all booked. I was fortunate to catch a break, and one artist became available the week of my wedding. In the back of my mind, this idea came into play… and I had a ‘what if’ moment. Maybe there was a need for more wedding beauty professionals in the Charlotte market.
I was always the girl that did my friends makeup and hair (even for weddings!)… but it never once crossed my mind that it could become a career. I was a designer. And for as long as I can remember, had dreams of being a designer. However, I always had this passion for ‘making over’ others. It was a hobby, and a way to continue my love for the arts (especially painting). Essentially people became my canvas. Helping others see their inner beauty is something that gives me tremendous joy. With a few brush strokes, there is no greater feeling than allowing that beauty to shine through for others to see. I find a special sense of accomplishment when I help someone else to feel that thing I struggled for so long to find myself….confidence. Giving back is a part of who I am.
We were now married and back from the honeymoon. I missed the wedding planning process, and honestly, had this sense of emptiness. I know that sounds very selfish, because I just married the man of my dreams. But I missed the excitement of the big day! On October 6th of 2009, I decided that the time was right to start down a new path. Without a bit of hesitation, I launched my own hair and make up business, and start Lindsey Regan Thorne, Be Pretty. What could I lose? I’ve never shyed away from working multiple jobs and I still had a lump of student loans to pay off, so it was honestly perfect timing. In an effort to get my name out in the Charlotte community, I also started my blog…I cringe at some of the stuff I used to post! I will say, it was a good strategy move, because those crazy posts, it pulled out this personality that lived deep inside of this shy-somewhat-socially-awkard-girl.
Monetizing my blog never crossed my mind, it was strictly a personal journal where I documented my questionable (yes, questionable) outfits, toots (aka: tutorials), personal life and my newfound path of beauty. My main reason for my blog was to fill this void, help promote myself, and serve as my creative outlet (as lame as it sounds) and to just help spread the word about my new makeup and hair business.
After I started my new venture with Be Pretty, I continued to work full-time at Gensler. The architecture and design world is non-stop and the days seem to never end. Its a lot of lonnnnngggg hours in the studio, traveling, and constantly bumping up against deadlines. My days were filled with client meetings and on site visits, and I often worked late into the evening getting my ‘busy work’ finished. For a year and a half, it was a balancing act between my old career-turned-job and my new passion. I juggled my interior design obligations with opening my own business and managing weddings, trials, engagement and bridal sessions, and my blog. The thought of it all brings tears to my eyes! The days seemed long and the weeks seemed short as I worked tirelessly to get my new business off the ground. I worked alongside some of the most admirable hair and make up artists while I trained and continued to hone and perfect my craft.
I was fully committed to my new dream of makeup and hair and I welcomed change. To be honest, the day I opened my business (October 2009), I was basically one foot out the door at my firm. I always gave my work 110%, but I wasn’t as eager to grow within my job as a designer. I became less motivated to get on the next, best project and more into exploring the idea of a career change. I was young, eager and so positive. My resolve to make this work had me believing that there was no way the business would fail! I knew that although the process would be messy and uncertain, it was worth the struggle to attain my goal. I was determined to make it work! And I’ve never been more proud than I am now. There is no better feeling than being able to work for yourself.
On April 9th of 2011, I walked out of my firms doors one last time and never looked back. I was excited to face new endeavors and challenges, but so sad to say goodbye to the ones who made me who I am today. I owe so much to Gensler, the firm where I both realized my dream to be an interior designer, and where I also closed the door on that chapter in my life. As hard as that change was, I was so overwhelmed by the joy and the new adventure that awaited me.
I never thought this hobby and personal love for making others feel beautiful would blossom into a career, and business, that I love. Not only has this been a new career for me, but I’ve been so blessed to be able to grow and work with a team that I adore. In 2009, I was a solo company. Now I am so proud to be able to say that I have two of the amazing lead artists, who are so accomplished in their own rights, and admired in the wedding and beauty community (Sabrina and Charisse). In addition, we are so lucky for our team to have an array of artists who do makeup and hair on weddings days (Julie, Chloe and Casey). I’m incredibly humbled and thankful to walk this path with a team and support system (my hubby, family and friends and all of you reading this). Without their (your!) support, the dream that I have been so fortunate to have realized, would never be possible. I’m forget grateful!
I have never achieved perfection. I am constantly evolving and embracing change. I have learned, and continue to learn, a lot of valuable lessons the way. I have been forced to make sacrifices. Some of which affected my marriage and my family. I have made compromises. I have taken risks and made mistakes along the way. But all of these experiences, both large and small, good and bad, are a part of what it is to follow your heart. It has allowed me to live my dream. I don’t know whats next for this company of mine. I can’t see into the future, but I can tell you that ideas are flowing. I can tell you that I will never stop striving to reach that next milestone and I will continue to learn and grow and pour my heart into all that I do. Pretty excited to be celebrating my 8th year in business! 🙂
I want to thank Nordstrom for partnering with me on this post. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to work with such an incredible company. Although, this has nothing to do with fashion or retail (well except, everything I’m wearing in this post is from Nordstrom), I’m a firm believer in the way they Nordstrom does business, their outstanding customer service and loyalty. I’ve always been a Nordi’s girl and I’m grateful for their support in my blog and how they’ve inspired me to share pieces of my heart that I’ve haven’t shared in quite some time.
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