I had a chance to interview my good friends - sisters Lauren Kellim and Erin Conklin - fellow creatives and owners of design company, Humble & Grand. Both of them run a successful design business and online shop while each raising little ones of their own. They share a glimpse behind balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood, the values that help created their company, and finding time for what matters most.
Please introduce us to Humble & Grand and who you are.
Humble and Grand is a boutique interior styling & organizing company and an online shop in which we sell curated artisanal goods from local and international artisans. We are very inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese design, we have always felt the two cultures are incredibly cohesive and complementary to each other. We are also extremely value driven, everything we do must be guided by our core values: Honesty, Simplicity, and Authenticity.
What is your favorite aspect of being a business owner? What is the biggest challenge?
We really love the creative freedom being small business owners offer. Everything we choose to do within Humble & Grand is a reflection of our authentic style. When we work with clients in their homes, it's such a fulfilling process to learn about who they are, what they love about their home and then help guide them to create a home that feels exactly true to them. Curating is a passion of ours, so finding all the artists and curating our shop's line has been incredibly fun. Also, another huge bonus is working directly together. As sisters, we have two very different sets of strengths, and yet they are so complimentary to each other that it makes doing projects and running the online shop fun and fulfilling. We could never imagine running this business without each other. It would just not be as fun. Being a small business owner is hard enough, you need to make sure that you still find joy in what you do. A big part, for us, is getting to be together every day.
The biggest challenge is definitely all the business end of stuff. When you are running projects and managing an online shop, so much can fall through the cracks so fast. We are still so young and don't have the means to hire out to have other people manage the marketing, social media or even just answering emails. At this point, we are doing it all. We hope someday soon we can add an employee in to help with some business busy work. We also are both mothers to very young children, so building a new company, all while being present parents is very challenging. But we always put our girls first. Business will always be around, but kids are only small for a very short time. We always try to remind ourselves of that, so we don't overbook or over task ourselves.
Lauren Kellim in her Sol Mock Neck Top
Erin Conklin in her Lakeside Jumpsuit in True Black
You are both a part of the local maker community. Please share with us some of your favorite makers and brands.
There are so many talented individuals that we have met, and whom we are privileged to help support through the shop. We are inspired by people who stay true to who they are. That authenticity always shines through in what they create. We obviously only support small and large companies that are running their business in an ethical manner. We Love handmade products because of the direct connection it provides to the artist. For example, when we wear your [Mien Studios'] clothing, we feel good because we are supporting someone who is hardworking and running an ethical business, but also we feel your style shine through. Like, wearable art. Same goes for pottery when you use a mug every day made by someone you know, those moments have more value and meaning.
Where do you see Humble & Grand and yourselves in 5 years?
We see ourselves continuing to work one on one with clients within their homes, helping them to create holistic spaces that can nurture the lives they are living. We love this part of our job, so we hope we can do that forever! We see ourselves running workshops to help guide a wider audience on how to design spaces that encourage slowing down, nurturing our homes and in turn ourselves. We also hope that our curated online shop continues to grow and encourages shoppers to think about their purchasing. We love being a part of the creative community and hope to continue to collaborate and grow with all the other hard-working small business owners trying to make this world a more beautiful and thoughtful place.
I find that it's definitely more difficult to maintain a social life once I became a mother. What do you make time for between motherhood and entrepreneurship?
Honestly, being stay at home moms and business owners doesn't really leave time for a social life. What we do make time for is lots of family time. We live across the street from each other so we are always together. This is nice because our girls are growing up more like sisters. On Sundays, we make a point of gathering both our families for supper. Having a strong family connection is extremely important to us.
That being said, we do see the value in having some grown-up time. So we make sure to schedule date nights in with our husbands. In this busy life, we want to make sure we never forget or overlook our relationship. Strong supportive marriages take work, so these nights are precious to us as well.