When we asked Estee Stanley where her passion for fashion and interior design comes from, she says that her mom was a very stylish person and she grew up following her around all the chic stores in the 70s and 80s… Fred Segal, Biba, Fiorucci. Her grandmother was her first influence on home decor. So it was instilled in her from a very early age. Nowadays Estee is established and well known as an interior designer and stylist working with a lot of celebrities. In our interview we asked her about her entrepreneurial journey and found out why she spends a lot of time with her new clients, about a month before she even starts her job.
Estee, Thinking back to your beginnings as an entrepreneur, what was the most challenging part for you building your brand?
The actual building of the brand was difficult because, as a designer, so much time is spent designing, organizing and constantly working that there really isn’t time to build the website, do the marketing, etc.
What was your priority to be seen and heard in the industry?
I never really saw it as a priority, I just kind of happily fell into it. But now my philosophy on designing is that the house feels casual, comfortable, stylish and sexy and that every square inch of the home is used. I believe every space should be open to life. I’m not one for designing rooms that are only to be looked at and not lived in.
You work a lot with celebrities nowadays. How did you get your first celebrity client?
My first celebrity clients were Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen. I was their stylist so it made sense to make the leap into home decor because they already trusted me and I knew their aesthetic. The collaboration was natural and seamless. We all learned on the fly together!
One of your main goals is that you want to represent with your work who your client is. How are you getting a feeling for people you didn’t know before, besides asking for what they want? Do you spend a lot of time with them to get to know them better before getting to work?
I basically interview my clients and spend a lot of time – at least a month – with them prior to starting the job. I also usually request at least one Pinterest board to get an idea of their vision. I honestly see myself as a DJ remixing what is in their head.
Did you ever finish a project where you didn’t meet the clients or your expectations?
Of course! Not everyone is going to be a good match. Some clients like to micromanage the design, which never really works and sometimes you have to part ways.
Besides running a successful business you’re also a mom. How structured is your day to meet both ends – business and personal life?
It’s obviously difficult to juggle but we all do it. I try to finish work by 5:30 pm so I can be with my kids once they’ve finished their homework or after school activities. They usually let me know when it’s time for my workday to end.
Is there a time during the day or in a week that is non-negotiable just dedicated to quality time with your family?
I really try to keep my weekends and some Fridays free for a family-only time.
What ́s important to you to teach your children when it comes to growing up in a world where everyone can be everything?
What I want for them is to figure out who they are and what makes them happy. And know they don’t need to be everyone and everything. They just need to be themselves. And find their passion and be present.