Meredith Heron Wants to Make Interior Design Personal
ThirdLove is a #ByWomenForWomen company, and we love celebrating strong women who are doing amazing things! Our weekly blog series, #WomenMade, is a chance to get to know some of these standout females who are creating products, services, and tech we love.
The epitome of a trailblazer, Meredith Heron doesn’t let anything stand in her way, learns from her mistakes and embraces fear head on. Bold to the point of brazen, Meredith preaches authenticity in both her life and decorating style to turn houses into homes that reflect the personalities and stories of the people who live there. Meredith shares with us her trials and tribulations, and how she’s turned hurdles into a solid foundation for success.
Why did you start Meredith Heron Design?
I started out as an elementary school teacher, but discovered that I really hated routines and parents/principals so I went back to school for interior design in the evenings. When I decided to start my own firm, it never occurred to me that I should work for someone else first. I like to blaze my own trail and 22 years later I’d do it all over again.
Tell us about yourself.
As a designer, I actually see myself as a storyteller–and I’m a damn good story teller. I’m passionate about creating and if I’m not designing, I’m most likely photographing something.
What was one challenge you overcame during the early days of your company/work?
When I left teaching, I joined forces with a friend who was supposed to handle the business side of our company. She grossly overstated her abilities and then pulled a ‘I’m going to the store for a quart of milk’ and was never to be seen again. There was no warning. I was devastated to lose both a friend and to have my business thrown into chaos. It took years to untangle the mess she left us in, but looking back I’m filled with gratitude. It showed me my own resilience and that when you align with the right people and are in your zone of genius, you are able to overcome much of what is thrown at you.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Passionate, Earnest, Optimistic
What quality do you love most about yourself?
Despite being a redhead and a Leo, I’m actually extremely flexible and easy going. I pivot really well and my husband says that I’m relentlessly cheerful and optimistic. I’m also fiercely loyal.
When do you feel most beautiful and/or confident?
8 years ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis after the birth of my son and almost immediately my body began to disfigure and betray me. It was incredibly painful. The medications I was put on to control it, didn’t work and my doctor asked if I would consider going into a drug trial. Three weeks later, I could run up the stairs again and get on the floor to play with my son without pain and a year later I was declared in remission. A side effect to the medications I am on, it would seem, is that I build muscle very easily–too easily in some cases. I feel the most beautiful and confident when I see these muscles and my strength.
What’s the top song on your playlist right now?
Senorita by Shawn Mendes and Camilla Cabello.
What is your motto?
Jump and the net will appear.
What are the advantages or benefits of being outside of the traditional workplace environment that many people may not realize or know about?
I love to empower and help others to find a voice and being a founder really makes that possible even if the others don’t realize it at the time.
Why is it important to understand both the challenges and benefits of being outside the traditional workplace environment?
Understanding what fears and motivates you unlocks a key into being more empathetic, more intuitive and helps you to chill the F out when needed. Perspective is everything.
Do you think founders/disruptors/creators should take time to reflect on the pros, even if they’re constantly putting out fires?
If you are constantly putting out fires, you need to ask why do you keep setting them and figure out a fire-prevention strategy for your business. Almost always it means examining how you communicate with your team and your clients. There is always room for improvement, especially in a world where social media and access are changing at lightning pace.
What did success mean to you when you first started your company/work? How has your definition of success changed since then?
When I first began, people asking me to design their homes was enough. I didn’t make any money the first seven years I was in this business. I worked ALL the time. I was scared ALL the time. I chased the money. Eventually, I asked for help and was prepared to start working on me and figure out what was at the heart of my internal fears and worked to overcome these.
Thinking about your time as an entrepreneur, what do you believe is one of the most challenging hurdles women entrepreneurs have to overcome?
Women are socialized to make peace, to not rock the boat and often have a different set of rules to live or are perceived by. To that, I say rock the boat, speak up, own your truth, share your fear and your vulnerability when it makes sense and follow your intuition. Your gut rarely lies to you. Find other like-minded women and lean on them, support them and raise each other up.
Can you share what happened when you finally felt like you were on the other side of the struggle?
Life got a lot easier. The work life balance exists when you stop being the roadblock to it. I established ground rules. I work 9-4 or when I choose to, which sometimes means weekends but that is my choice and it is always for/with clients and people I respect and admire who appreciate me. I learned that saying, “no” or “that doesn’t work for me” or “but how about” opened more doors than it closed.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
I would tell myself that cutting corners with accounting is foolish and it is worth the money to have someone join your team who looks out for your financial health. Other than that, there is very little I would change– I’m as strong and successful as I am now because I had to fight for it.
What does your morning routine look like?
I like to wake up and spend time on the internet whether it be Instagram, Twitter or play a game of Bejewelled Blitz. I then roll into the bathroom and power through skincare, dental care, shower and hair 101. There is a belly rub for our Maine Coon, Bruce Wayne Bat Kitty, and a few snuggles with my 10 year old son Luke, who likes to sneak up on me and scare the crap out of me. My husband does the cooking so there is usually something to nosh on or a shake. In non-snowy months we bike together to work, dropping our son off at school along the way.
What are your favorite ways to practice self-care?
I’m working on the whole self care thing, but I’ve yet to meet a situation that “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran can’t cure and I have an arsenal of Italian Reds and Gin for those extra tough situations should external agents be required.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Just be yourself Meredith.
What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?
I am the bringer of joy and I reflect the best parts of people back at them in their houses. I weave their personal stories into what becomes their home. That’s pretty powerful and intensely personal. It’s magnificent to hear “It looks JUST like them!”