I never intended to design for anyone other than myself. In fact, I only intended to work on my own projects. But I need to tell you a bit of a long story so you can understand how I approach design, and why olliePop Design is here.
I have a long list of family members who make money in real estate investing all while working regular 9-5 jobs. That’s the only life I knew. We built, renovated, built again, renovated again. We never hired anyone to work on our properties, we just traded hours with each other. So at the age of 23 I bought my first house and started doing what I knew best, and that was to gut the place with the idea that I’d make money when I sold it in 2 years. But I wanted an elevated sense of design to my homes, so went to school for architecture and with each house I honed my craft and fell in love with the transformation process.
Then we bought our forever home. I was making great money in my 9-5 so we threw a ton of cash into this place. Our goal was to get it done then refinance it and pull out the money so I could start buying rentals and other real estate ventures.
Well, that didn't happen.
I had a daughter. She nearly died during child birth. On her 4th day of life we were preparing to say goodbye as she had suffered major brain damage and all her organs were failing. We had her baptized the night before and I howled so loud, rocking back and forth clutching her blanky that my mom made (the one I forced her to sew to match the one she sewed for me and took me home from the hospital in). I prayed for a miracle. Don't let my first born be taken from me.
The next morning she opened an eye.
Hours later. Another one.
Suddenly we went from preparing to say goodbye to preparing to take home a child who would grow to have major handicaps. When we left the NICU she had 4-5 doctor's appointments a week and needed to be quarantined as she was so fragile and couldn't afford to get sick. I sat there wondering how I was going to go back to my demanding career leading teams of 20+ people when I had a new life requiring incredible amounts of flexibility.
Our savings depleted. Fast. We couldn't refinance our home as it was under construction. We didn't qualify for any type of support as our previous-year income was too high. I had to do something. But what? I was absurdly depressed and messed up because of what happened and the hormones that go along with child birth. Yet I had the possibility of my life crashing in a MAJOR way staring me in the face and I had no choice but to do something.
I called my realtor and pitched her an idea. I saw a niche in the market. (But let's be honest, I did absolutely NO market research on said idea). I'd combine light remodel work with staging to get houses ready for sale. My clients would be realtors. She loved the idea (wait, what?). So in 4 days (no joke) I came up with a business name, created a logo, a website, some business cards and a flier. I set out a bunch of before pictures of our house and had 30+ realtors over to pitch them my idea.
The next day 2 of them called me with jobs. Well alright then. Here we go.
Fast forward 2.5+ years and I've only done 1 of those types of projects. What happened is that everyone saw what I could do and started wanting me to do traditional interior design and remodel work. Who knew? I always saw the reactions people had when coming to our house, but I never thought they'd want me to design for them. Crazy! Right?
So that's how olliePop Design began. And I think because I didn’t start out with a goal to be an interior designer I have an atypical approach to design. I just go with what feels right for the space, and put architecture first. I don’t care about trends or awards. I just appreciate good design for what it is. And have an immense passion for seeing a transformation come to life.
How I'm Giving Back
Be Strong Girlfriend
Be Strong girlfriend is so so close to fully launching. It’s mission is to shine a light on women who have gone through something major in their life and how they’ve tossed themselves aside for those they love, including stepping away from their careers like I had to. We’re starting with t-shirts, with a goal to have everyone wearing one so we lift up these women and let them know we’re there for to support and to encourage them to stay strong and go after what they want, despite their set backs. We’re looking for volunteers and financial backing to help us spread the word as quickly as we can. Let me know if you’re interested in helping.
I have a pipe dream to create homes near Children's NICU hospitals that will house family's while their child is in the NICU. I'll kit each room with the essentials (breast pumps, mini fridges, toiletries, etc). I know all too well what you need during that difficult time and I want to help as many family's as I can. I'm working on funding this project, so more info will be coming along soon. If you have any interest in helping get these house's off the ground, please let me know.