August 1, 2019 marks the first day of my 13th year owning Earth and Images. As I reminisce over the years, I could not be more excited about how we have grown to become a premier interior design firm in Arizona.
When I purchased the business in 2007, its technology consisted of a calculator, an adding machine, and a carbon fax machine. We were primarily a retail store servicing the trade with beautiful and unusual finds from around the world. Six months to the day after I purchased Earth and Images, the Chinese stock market crashed. I happened to be at a home consulting on some accessories and furniture when the husband of the house was in his office and started screaming and throwing papers. I looked at the woman and said that I thought she should get whatever she wanted that day, because she may not be shopping for a while.
Soon to follow was America’s financial crash and our sales dropped by 60% or more for several years. I know many of us small business owners who made it through that time have come out on the other side so much wiser and that many of the choices we made to survive have made us stronger. In our case at that time, as we no longer had as many designer’s to service, their client’s did not want as high-end of merchandise, and the fact they simply had more time to find things on their own, forced us to take a hard look at our business model. It was natural to evolve into providing interior design services ourselves. The challenges that forced those changes are something I am ever grateful for as doing interior design has proven to be so much more fulfilling to me than simply running a retail store.
Today we are doing some extremely complicated interior design projects and earlier this year completed a 63,000 sq ft property that included 2 barns, a main house, a guest house that included an indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, hair salon and massage room, indoor gym, racquetball court and shooting range. There were many problems to solve, as creating something this magnificent from scratch is no easy feat, but wow! To see the completed project finished in all its glory and to have that behind us and now part of our portfolio is a really good feeling.
The bulk of our work is remodels of all styles and sizes, which we absolutely love doing for the transformational aspect. We have been fortunate to mix in many exciting new builds, furnishings projects, and commercial projects as well.
I contribute this success, first of all to my team, who are all so amazingly good at coordinating their parts of the projects, and also to our process, which allows us, although we are a small but mighty firm, to streamline and conquer the work that we are blessed to have come our way.
This year feels especially sweet, as I am 2 years out from my initial diagnosis of breast cancer, and despite a year and a half of extensive treatment including 4 months of chemo, surgery, and 32 radiation treatments, we not only survived, we thrived! I often felt that Earth and Images was a life of its own, and now I find that even more true.
I am looking forward to seeing what the next 12 years bring!