There’s an interesting statistic I hear being kicked around lately – 80% of us hate our jobs. 80%! That’s a lot of people.
At first I thought it was a younger person pandemic, people in their twenties and thirties who weren’t getting what they were promised after graduating college. Many of them have felt they kept up their part of the bargain, only to fall flat due to the recession or the realities of corporate life. But the reality is that 80% incorporates everyone – the difference is those of us in our twenties and thirties are doing something about it.
Take Michelle Edgemont for example. Michelle and I grew up together in a small Eastern Pennsylvania town. After graduation, she pursued a career in fashion graduating from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Textile/Surface Design. Now she runs her own business designing fabulous handmade craft and floral items for weddings in the Greater New York City area, and here in Eastern Pennsylvania.
I sat down with Michelle to discuss how she got started changing her stars.
A simply good life (ASGL): What kind of work do you do?
Michelle Edgemont (ME): I design modern, fresh, personalized wedding decorations and flowers. I make weddings look and feel fun, colorful, and beautiful using handmade decorations infused with each couple’s individual personalities.
It’s so much fun to be able to get to know a couple and create an awesome wedding with unique decorations just for them! My favorite type of clients are those who appreciate beautifully styled rooms, have an eye for fashion, and are a little bit off the beaten path.
Wedding design is a bit like interior decorating – I like to think of each wedding as a home, a perfect opportunity to let each personality shine and be surrounded with design and decorations that the clients absolutely love.
ASGL: How did you get the idea for your business?
ME: I’ve always loved crafts, art, and design, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when I started to attend weddings of friends and family that I saw a perfect place to implement my talents. Weddings are full of joy. Even if there are hardships in the families, by nature, a wedding is a joyful and happy occasion. I love having the opportunity to be able to be a part of that.
ASGL: Launching a business is a very scary thing, what ultimately made you decide to do it? And why now?
ME: At the beginning of 2011 I realized that it was the perfect time to go for the life that I always wanted. For me, this means working from home on my own schedule and designing into my own, personal aesthetic for individual clients and being a part of weddings. I had the start up funds and the support from my husband, so I dove in and went for it.
ASGL: What should everyone know before starting their own business?
ME: It’s no joke. You really have to love LOVE love what your business will be. Everyday will be filled with failures, sometimes tiny and sometimes huge, but always able to be learned from.
ASGL: Small business owners notoriously work long hours, how do you balance work and fun?
ME: Currently, my wedding design business fills my time that I’m not at my day job as a textile designer. So, yea, long hours! I have a very detailed to-do list filled with huge projects broken down into tiny action steps. Each step accomplished is one step closer to the great goal.
My husband is in the process of finishing up his band’s first album, so he’s working super long hours at his dreams as well. We make sure to always eat dinner together and put aside at least one weekend afternoon to spend time together without distractions. Luckily, my wedding design work IS my fun. I love it. It doesn’t feel like work to me.
ASGL: What advice would you give someone who wants to go into your line of work?
Create your own voice. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to go against the flow and design what you truly love. – Michelle
ASGL: You’ve had a lot of national pr exposure early on – how did you get such great placement?
ME: In early 2010, I attended a seminar called Making Things Happen. Through that, I met so many like-minded, inspired, determined peers in the wedding industry. We all live to encourage each other and watch each other succeed. They have been huge cheerleaders for me!
Also – I submitted my work to a lot of national publications and blogs. It’s scary at first, but as soon as I hit send on all those emails amazing things started to happen.
My advice, feel the fear and put yourself out there.
ASGL: Owning a business at a younger age is still a bit taboo, how do you beat back the naysayers?
ME: Is 29 young? I actually feel like I’ve gotten a late start. Luckily, I haven’t felt any resistance about my age. There are so many resources available now, opposed to when we were in high school, that I would love to encourage all younger people to start their own empires.
With social media and unlimited access to tons of educational tools on the internet, opportunities and knowledge is limitless. I personally love teenagers who are making their stamp on the world, like 15 yr old Tavi Gevinson, who recently launched a website for teenage girls, RookieMag.com.
Oh, and those naysayers, they should use all that time wasted naysaying and do something productive. Like launching their own companies!
ASGL: Where do you want your business to go in 2012? What’s next?
ME: In 2012, I’m concentrating on creating my best work, work that I can be completely proud of. I want to keep defining my own voice and style, and concentrate on writing more often on my blog.
Couples needing awesome decorations, florals, and styling can contact Michelle at Michelle (at) michelleedgemont (dot) com.