“Follow your dreams.”
People use that phrase so casually. If I think back hard enough, I’m sure I’ve even used signs with that phrase in one of my designs at some point over the years.
The reality is, following your dreams is HARD. And it is scary. At times, it is even a little defeating.
But boy, when you keep at it, there are moments when following your dreams can be pretty darn wonderful.
On Feb. 12, 2012, I set out to follow my dreams. My particular dream was to own my own interior design company, and after years of working for other interior designers, I finally took the leap.
It’s hard to believe it’s already been 10 years; but it’s also hard to believe it’s ONLY been 10 years.
I’ve grown so much as a person and as a designer in the last decade.
No matter when you joined me on this journey or how you got here, I want you to know that I am truly flattered. I hope that my projects, posts and blogs brighten your day and help you find inspiration.
How It Started
Early in my career as an interior designer, my husband, Jamie, an entrepreneur from a restaurant family, began encouraging me to open my own business.
Like I said, following your dreams can be terrifying. What if it all goes wrong? What if I fail?!
It’s so much easier to play it safe and stay right where you are. But that also means you’re stuck.
By that point in my life, I already knew all too well how hard it is to make it in the design world. I was turned down for the program at Mizzou – University of Missouri, Columbia, the first time I applied. I was ready to give up way back then.
As luck would have it, I was awarded an internship with Kathy Walther of Cherry Street Design, a commercial design firm in Columbia, Mo.
Kathy planted a seed and my dreams of becoming a designer blossomed. She encouraged me to apply for the design program a second time and I got in. You never forget those moments – the ones where the right person gives you the right words at the exact right time to put you on the right path. I was so happy to see that Kathy commented on my 10 year anniversary Facebook post. She is still such a great cheerleader.
In May 2004, I graduated from Mizzou with a bachelor’s degree in environmental design. I was ready to move back home and planned to send out 10 resumes a month until I landed a job. Fortunately, I found a fantastic job with an established and talented designer, Ellen Kurtz of Ellen Kurtz Interiors. I worked with Ellen from 2004 to 2012 and I learned a lot from her.
While I was comfortable in my role with Ellen, the thought of striking out on my own became less scary as I got more experience. So, in February of 2012, I took the leap and started JSB Designs, working out of my apartment in south St. Louis County.
I wish I could say it was immediately a glamorous and booming business. But no great transformation story starts that way. I had some projects, but I was also working at my husband’s pizza chain and a local florist to supplement while building clientele.
As my interior design clients referred me to more clients, my business grew. My business was, and still is, based in large part to positive word of mouth and referrals to happy clients.
To me, this is the best compliment I can ever receive! To know that my clients are so happy with my work that they refer me to friends is an honor. Knowing that friends think of me when they hear of upcoming projects feels like a pat on the back!
How It’s Going
In time, I moved out of my small home office in a South St. Louis County condo into my new home office in Belleville, Ill.
In 2014, I became a mother when my son, Lucca, was born. While raising our family, I continued to design and business steadily grew.
JSB Designs has grown so much that design assistant Savannah Day joined me in September 2020. Savannah brings experience and a great eye for colors and decor to the team.
As the team expanded, so did our need for space. In March 2021, JSB Designs moved out of my home and into an office within the Eye On Design’s showroom in downtown Belleville.
I teamed up with Jennaver Brown, owner of Eye On Design, in the early days of JSB Designs. Partnering with Jennaver was a turning point for my business. At Eye on Design, Jennaver offers custom window treatments and soft furnishings, and provides top of the line products from well known brands, including Hunter Douglas. As an established and respected business owner in the metro east region, she really helped open doors for me in Illinois.
While 75 percent of my clientele is still in the St. Louis, Mo., area, I’m always eager to attract clients on the Illinois side of the river.
In the past 10 years, JSB Designs has helped preserve family heirlooms, displayed treasured artwork, and made spaces more functional and beautiful for families and businesses.
I’ve designed everything from functional kitchens and relaxing bedrooms to luxurious bathrooms and adorable spaces for kids and cozy living rooms. Likewise, I work with amazing contractors and vendors and have met so many clients along that way that have become friends.
Each project is special to me and there are challenges and successes that come to mind with each. However, when I reflect on my career there is one project that always comes to mind.
I will always be proud of the work I did at the Hubbard House in 2021. I poured my heart and soul into securing donations and overseeing the remodel of the dining room at this East St. Louis shelter. When I opened this business, I never could have imagined that my biggest achievement would come without any luxury linens or fanciful furniture.
With donations of goods and services from fellow business owners and vendors,, we created a breathtaking dining space for displaced families to come together to dine and to share their day. Ten years of experience has taught me that this is the stuff of life that really counts.
I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years holds for JSB Designs! Right now we are hustling and tackling as many projects as we can! (If anyone out there can fix the supply chain issues that would really help productivity, thanks.)
For now, we will celebrate! Ten years is a milestone I am truly grateful to have reached.
We would not be here without the support of our family, friends and our clients. Thank you all for your support and your business!
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