in order to really understand STOWED (formerly known as the marais), i thought it would be make sense to give an insider’s look at me, and the events that led me to starting a seating company. we’re all too familiar with the female struggle of choosing between work and home life – but some of the continuing realness of the problem is too often concealed with generalizations about the topic. in giving a face to the issue, we want to give you a glimpse about our experiences.
just a bit about me.
why did you leave your life as a lawyer on wall street?
in my past life, i was an attorney. i know. not exciting, so i won't elaborate on the ins and outs of being a corporate lawyer on wall street. if someone were to ask me: why did you become an attorney, i’d always stutter for a second, and then come up with some nonsensical answer that it just happened. while, in actuality, i did it because it was the safe thing to do. by nature, i’m risk adverse, so becoming a lawyer had a logical and predictable path that i took.
while i did like some elements of my former career, like learning from brilliant colleagues, the constant onslaught of challenges, the required analytics and the sense of achievement for my successes, it wasn’t my dream job.
you then naturally ask, what is your dream job? well, as trite as it sounds, it’s creating a business from the ground up. starting something, operating the machine and growing it. while still practicing law, i considered and worked through sketches of not one nor two, but multiple different ventures. none came to fruition. in the end, i never really had the guts to go for it.
after years of daydreaming and considering a move, it wasn’t until i became pregnant with my first son that i was able to make that jump. you see, whether i realized it or not, i gave myself the excuse that i wasn’t just leaving my career for some unproven start-up theory, i was leaving it to raise a family. between you and me, we know that was all an excuse, whether I personally understood it or not – clearly, many women resume their legal careers after having children. but, the door was open, so I took it, and left the practice of law.
how did you come to start a home furnishings business?
after years of exploring the possibility of tons of new ventures, i learned, for me at least, the business discovery had to be organic. i couldn't just sit down for hours, brainstorm and unveil a company. (i couldn't figure out the answer, like a good lawyer would) i had to just see it. kind of like dating. you can't look for it. it will find you. if you look, you'll fail miserably.
so, it wasn’t until i embarked on a 15-month long life-changing venture of building my family residence that i had that a-ha moment. for a year and a half, i haggled, searched, researched, called, travelled and compared: blood, sweat and, actually, a few tears (very few). it was through this building process that i discovered STOWED. with this epiphany, i mentally went through a reality checklist. (1) was there an unfilled gap in the market – check. (casually chic home furnishings and décor only readily accessible abroad.) (2) was there a way to make this model unique and attractive to consumers. check (through direct to consumer sales with retail pop-ups for inspiration, experience and exposure. (3) did i love every second i thought about home décor furnishings. check (like, beyond love it.)
what happened in between?
as you already now know, after having my first son, i embarked on my new professional identity – that of an entrepreneur. for the most part, my gateway to STOWED is a story of me dabbling in, and purchasing, local companies – all of them already working businesses that were in need of TLC. i was a fixer of sorts for these businesses. i issue spotted and repaired broken company pieces. some ventures were victory stories; others, not so much. but, all gave me just a little more confidence to launch something from scratch.
keep moving forward. not going to lie, there are up days and down days, but the feeling is good either way. it's hard. damn hard. the work-life balance. the work of a start up. but, never is there a day that i don't absolutely love both. that's the truth!