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style + work
"I do a lot of
during the day.
My lifestyle has to
fit all the things
that I have to
What would you consider to be your job title and what industry are you a part of?
My job covers a lot of disciplines. I would call myself a designer, a decorator, a stylist and a creative services type person. Also, an artist. What's complicated about that is how it is broad - not so specific. I'm not an accountant or a teacher where people understand exactly what my job is. It's very diverse. I do a lot of different things for a lot of different clients; it just depends. It's all creative based, and it's all mostly design-based.
What drew you towards your career in interior design and styling?
How many years have you been a stylist?
Who or what do you believe has been the strongest influence of your own personal style?
In my family (my mom, my cousins, my sister), we live out in the country and so being comfortable and being able to work is key. We don't wear heels - we wear boots. I'm usually dressed ready to work.
Other than that, travel is a huge influence on my personal style. I notice how women dress, the way they wear their scarves or accessories, or the way they are very casual but still sophisticated. I've been to places that are really colorful or all just black and white. I am always taking note of these details. I also purchase a lot of my clothes while traveling and shopping in the textile markets.
Fashion should be comfortable and personal style should be comfortable in your home as well. I want to be surrounded by beautiful things, but I also want anyone who comes into my home to be comfortable. I don't ever want to feel unapproachable. I do a lot of different things during the day. My lifestyle has to fit all the things that I have to accomplish. My house, my home, my car, my life. Sometimes it's messy, sometimes it's dressed up. I have to be able to find a way to do everything.
How do you determine what you're going to wear to work each day? What does your typical wardrobe look like?
It depends on what I'm doing. When I'm working in the studio at home, it's very basic - black leggings, black t-shirt, topknot bun, and no make-up. When I work at photo shoots, there is a lot of movement; bending over, moving, lifting, and carrying heavy things. I have to wear work-appropriate clothes. I can't wear shorts, skirts or things like that. It's a modified version of what I would wear at home, a little more professional, but I have to wear comfortable shoes because I am on my feet all day. Also my clothes get ruined a lot, whether I am working in the studio at home or on a shoot location, so I can't wear things that are too precious. When I'm going to business meetings or evenings out with clients, I might wear a skirt instead of my leggings, but it's a simple shift from my typical outfit.
I find that I have to make so many decisions about things while I'm working, that I have started to eliminate decisions in other places of my life. I really like to dress in a uniform almost. It's pretty standard every day.
When you're working on a photo shoot set, what do you wear?
Where do you shop, and when do you find the time?
What type of daily tote/bag do you use and what is inside?
Do you have a book with you, in case there's downtime on sets?
To carry around with me? No. I do have my phone. I read on my phone. I don't carry books around. That has been new in like the past two years. I have tons of books. You can see them throughout my whole house. I used to carry around two or three with me, and things have changed so much recently that I don't keep hard copy books with me anymore, unless it's specific to what I'm going to do. I do carry magazines, though.
Do you have anything that's currently on your wish list for either clothes or accessories?
What is something that you wear that instills more confidence on days when you don't quite feel yourself?
What's your lipstick brand and shade?
What is the most important part of your beauty routine that you feel helps complete your look?
What's your mani/pedi style?
You have really nice bounce in your hair. Is there a particular hair product that you always use?
Do you have any accessory brands
that you love?
What do you do in the morning that helps you prepare for the day ahead?
Do you hand write your checklists? I know you've said 'mental' but do you write it out?
By what means of transportation do you use for your shopping, client meetings, and photo shoots?
When you fly for some of your styling jobs, do you work or read on the plane, or sleep?
When you travel for business and photo shoots, how do you take it all with you?
That's cool. How did you find the assistants?
Do you have a favorite song, artist, or playlist that you listen
to while you are out and about or while you're working here?
What is your morning beverage?
Coffee, dark and black. I like strong coffee and I don't put
anything in it. I like the smell of it. It makes me feel awake.
When you go to different places, different offices, different
countries, everyone serves coffee differently. Sometimes it
is with cream or milk, or sugar or cubes or powder, or some
herbal things. If your accustomed to being able to make a
drink a certain way and you go places where they don't have
the things that you like, it's gross. If you just drink it black,
then there's simply good coffee and bad coffee. I drink really
strong coffee. Like espresso ... like triple espresso.
Yes, that's my favorite kind of coffee. I want the jolt. I can't take that away because there is something about that morning ritual of something hot, to just sip on or hold in your hand and kind of ease into the day.
What does your typical workday look like?
When you meet with clients, what essentials do you need to have with you?
What laptop do you have?
When you're meeting with them, are you taking notes on your laptop, or are you researching in front of them?
Both. I would have my notebook, my phone, and my Mac which I could do things on all of those. I prefer to write notes by hand. It helps me think. Typically, those first meetings are when I am brainstorming. I'm just meeting the person for the first time. They're telling me what they want. We want to be able to show each other things on the Internet. 'I like this,' 'this is what we're thinking,' 'this is what we did last time,' 'this is what this looks like.' We are able to look at things on the screen or worst-case scenario on my phone. I have an iPad that I also take with me, because I like to take pictures with my iPad. When I go to client's houses, I think it takes good photos of rooms.
After the preliminary meeting, it's more logistical - measuring and documenting, and taking more specific notes. After that I'm sort of turned loose to do my part. Whether it's set design, or research, or finding furniture pieces or accessories, or putting together a mood board, or whatever it's going to be. That's my time to come into my studio and do all of that.
How do you handle job-related stress?
I do have a lot of job-related stress, but everyone has a lot of job-related stress. I just try to keep things in perspective, and know that things change, and try not to take it all so personally. Being self-employed honestly makes having a good life/work balance a struggle. I can work all the time. There's no one here to tell me to go home or to close shop. I can just keep going and going and going. So, I try to make sure that I'm taking time to take care of myself.
What are some of your work pet peeves?
Disorganization ... apathy ... wasting of resources. Just typical stuff. If I have all the tools I need to do my job, and I can go and do my job - I am more effective and get a better result than if I have to spend a lot of my time problem-solving and putting out fires. Generally, I'm honestly really laid back and just look at it as 'how do we get over or around this to get to what the goal is.' I don't really have pet peeves per se. There are things that come up that are irritants during the day, and I wish that hadn't happened. Every place I've ever worked, it doesn't matter how great or wonderful the situation is, those things always happen. It's more just learning to roll with the punches, I think, is a better solution.
What is your happiest moment at work?
I love the finished product, for one, because so much goes into it for me. Depending on what the project is - sometimes it's emotional, or personal, or it's just time and/or money invested. To see it done and done well is so satisfying. It is also satisfying to see people really happy with the result, or to see other people enjoying it. Obviously any time my work gets published is really satisfying.
I also like to have fun at work. Just those days, when everyone is working and doing a good job, and then something happens and everyone is laughing. I realize that I am at work and I'm really enjoying it, especially because it doesn't feel like "work."
How would you describe your office
What would you say is your favorite office supply and why?
I love a black Sharpie. I like gridded graph paper, it's really good for sketching. I am a decent artist and I can draw, but it's really free-hand. A lot of the design stuff really needs to be more rigid and measured out, so graph paper is great for that. I use a lot of tape. Double-stick tape, Scotch tape, painter's tape, masking tape, gaff tape. I use a lot of tape.
When you write your to-do lists in your composition books do you use Sharpie for that?
How do you manage the transition from old notebooks to new ones? Do you have to re-write any of your notes into the new notebook so that you're not carrying around a couple of notebooks, or do you carry around a couple of notebooks?
No, I only carry around one notebook, unless for some reason I forgot my notebook and I have to get scratch paper to write things down, and then I update notebook. My notes are pretty much daily, and so whatever is on the page before it transfers onto the next page. If I reach the end of the notebook, whatever was on the last page will just transfer to the first page. There is overarching ideas, or things that aren't necessarily to-do lists, just ideas or thoughts or things I want to research, so I don't throw them away. I find that I don't go back to them very often.
Also a lot of things are in duplicate and triplicate, because I do use the note section of my phone, and I also keep files and documents on my computer with a lot of the same information.
Do you have anything on your wish list for the décor in your work space? Or any adjustments?
How do you organize your desk space?
That's when you are down to business.
What is a work tool that's a must-have for you (app, hardware or software)?
How do you prioritize and manage your email inbox?
I'm working on this one. There are two schools of thought on how to manage email and I don't have a designated answer. My thought was just send something so they know that I got it. A lot of times I'm not giving full communication to people, not thoughtfully answering their questions. I may want to have a conversation with that person, but I'm just throwing something out there, just so they know that I received their email. If I wait until I have time to actually sit down and answer all of my emails, sometimes it's too late.
I have two email addresses and they all go to the same inbox. I don't have folders. I have filters in my email that filters out social media, direct mail, and spam. Sometimes it's not always right; every once in a while, something slips through the cracks. Otherwise I have 25,000 emails. There's no way I could sort through all of that.
I'm trying to find out what the best way is to deal with that. I personally felt more comfortable just replying to all of them as they came in. I really have read books or talked to other people and they said that's not the way to do it, try this other way where you can actually give thoughtful responses, but I just don't like to make people wait.
There is some sort of delicate balance in there, and I haven't figured that out yet. When someone texted me, I immediately responded. When someone emailed me, I immediately responded. It just builds. Then it became where I needed a whole afternoon to answer all of these emails and do it thoughtfully. If someone sends me a nice email, or wants to ask me a question, or wants to work with me, I don't want my response to say "Hey, I'll get back to you later."
My other thing, too, is that I never want to be rude or dismissive. I am busy, but everyone is busy. How do you appropriately, and respectfully respond in a timely manner, with the thoughtfulness that it deserves? Sometimes I simply can't do all things at all times. That's a tricky one for me.
Do you get as many texts as you get emails?
It's different because, texts are only through people that I know. I get a lot of emails. A lot of the emails are just junk - things that I signed up for, or networks that I'm associated with. I'll read those emails if and when I have time. Mostly for my work I'm contacted through email initially. Once we start working together, texting is critical. It makes my life a lot easier. It allows people to respond when they have time, but is generally more quickly than email. Texts suggest urgency.
How do you manage your work finances?
We've talked a little about your to-do
list, but what is your secret to achieving
your daily objectives?
The to-do list is pretty big. For me, being
able to balance a lot of different things
at the same time, we call it plate-spinning
- 'Okay, this is happening over here and
this is happening over here, and I have
to call this person, and I have to deal
with this and that didn't show up, or that's
broken.' All those things really do happen
at the same time, often. It's being able to
put out those unexpected fires and still
handle it all without getting upset. That's
just sort of like modus operandi, that's
how it goes. I simply deal with it by
dealing with whatever is hottest first.
Prioritizing is really big.
A to-do list is essentially prioritizing, but you have to be able to do it in real-life too. You have to be able to know in the moment, "Okay, we're not going to worry about that right now because this has to happen today." Sometimes everything gets dramatic and my to-do lists help my sanity. Also, it's a nice ritual to have in the morning - to sit down, have a cup of coffee, and chart out everything I would like to accomplish that day. I'm purposeful and put more on my to-do list than I know I can actually accomplish. Whatever I don't finish that day goes onto the next day's. That's how they start, whatever is hottest is first.
How do you stay on top of industry news or your career?
Who are the stylists and designers that inspire you?
Which sites and publications do you find yourself going to the most?
You don't study it because you don't want it to influence your style?
I don't want it to influence me. I want to be inspired by it and I'm more inspired by people's attitude or their ambition or their energy or the purpose of what they do. I really am inspired by women in design who inspire and encourage other women. I pay a lot of attention to companies who do non-profit work. I'm obsessed with textiles and how they're made and what they mean and where they come from (all the different countries). There are women traveling around the world helping women set up weaving cooperatives so they can raise money for their families. Things like that are really inspiring to me.
I don't want to judge myself on someone else's success. I don't want to ever be a cookie-cutter stylist and I do think if I spend too much time looking at what other people are doing, I might start comparing myself to them. Or, I think people start copy-catting each other. Everything just becomes homogenized. It's more interesting to do your own thing. I'm more inspired by art and artists and writers and people who have taken their own path and led interesting lives. That's the kind of stuff that I spend time thinking about and researching.
How do you spend the amount of time on social sites without finding yourself going down the wormhole?
That's hard, because it's fun. I personally have met a lot ... I've met you actually. I meet people. It's real. I really do create connections with people that are real and they become my friends and I have an extended circle of people and I get to do things that I wouldn't normally get to do. It is a balance. I don't really watch a lot of television. People have their little guilty misfit moments.
Sometimes I discover things that are actually really amazing and inspiring. Some of it also really is just a time suck. For me, it's beneficial. Specifically, I don't really do Facebook very much, but I do like Instagram a lot. It's because I see so much inspiring work from designers all over the world and have made friends and connections with people who support me and what I'm doing, and I support them. It's work related so that makes me not feel so guilty. Also, it's very encouraging. This isn't an Instagram commercial or anything, but there really is this little community of women in the design world who are passionate about their work and their life and making women's lives better and creating positive, supportive little networks and communities for people. It's a very positive thing.
Do you have favorites that you follow on Instagram?
What is your method for networking?
Do you have a mentor?
What advice have you received in your professional life that has really stuck with you?
Do you have a work motto?
What do you do during your downtime
to refresh and recharge yourself?
Travel is the most important, and
anything I can do to be outside. I have
trouble with that because I'm kind of a
workaholic. I don't always know when
to turn it off because the things I enjoy
as hobbies are actually my work.
Reading magazines, interior design,
and drawing and painting, those are
hobbies, but they are also actually my
job. They all start to intertwine. For
me, literally getting away is the thing.
As soon as I am somewhere else, out
of my normal realm, that's when I'm
the most relaxed.
What's your favorite place that you've
been and do you have any trips on
How did your parents influence your career? You mentioned work ethic.
They were just always super encouraging and supportive in anything I wanted to do. Even from the time I was little, my mom let me be creative. She let me design my room. I was allowed to write on the walls and paint the walls crazy colors. I was allowed to dress myself and dress however I wanted. Anything I wanted to do as far as art or art classes. Travel. I traveled a lot in college and it terrified them that I did it, but they didn't give me a hard time about it. They let me go. They were always supportive in that way. They never told me that I needed to have a "normal" job or a backup plan, or something stable and consistent. They never said that.
They've just always been my biggest fans. They give really good advice too. It's risky owning your own business, and it's risky leaving a good job to go out on your own. They just really give me serious, good advice on how to manage money, or make sure I know what I am doing. "Take everything into consideration and then just chase your dreams."
What currently fascinates you?
It's always changing. For a while it was tiny houses. Then I got a tiny house. I have hobbies, but my hobbies really are all painting, drawing, decorating, playing with stuff. I like junking. I like going to thrift stores, flea markets, I like big trash day, and going through people's trash, dumpster diving. All that kind of stuff.
Did you say you go through people's trash?
On big trash day. Not their garbage cans. Big stuff. It's like furniture, but it's also like really good scrap wood. A lot of the really nice scrap wood. People just put out furniture, like nice things, on big trash day. You don't always get something good, but it's interesting to see. I've seen all sorts of stuff, like a cello. I have gotten some wooden chairs that way. You have to be careful because it's trash. You don't want a sofa ... you know what I mean? Like something that's going to have gross germs on it. More so thrifting and flea markets than that.
Another long time obsession of mine is survivalism and Mount Everest stories of survival. I think I've seen every Mount Everest documentary and TV show about people that live off the grid in Alaska and build their own cabins and hunt their own food. That's fascinating to me. I don't ever want to do any of that stuff, but I have lots of books and have seen all the movies. It's a little weird. I have an end of the world backpack. My brother has one too. He's the one that gave me the idea. Like in your car, an emergency backpack but it has water and food, matches that don't get wet, and everything. I'm really not scared of any of that stuff, I just think it's fascinating and it's fun. I just think it's interesting.
Paige's styling tips for interiors:
1 - Have objects out where you can enjoy them.
3 - Have things styled: books on the coffee table, a tray full of objects that you've
collected, or family pieces out where you can see and appreciate them.
4 - Print and frame travel photos of places you've been and display them so that
you are surrounded not just by beautiful things, but by personal experiences.