Launched in 2004 by stylish design duo and real life besties- Wendy Estes and Tiffany Harris- Layla Grayce was amongst the very first online shops catering to the home. Armed with business savvy, entrepreniurial flair, and a whole lot of faith, together they filled a niche previously untapped into and created something we can’t live without. Fast forward a few years and Zinc Door was born- Layla Grayce’s mod alter ego. An online shop brimming with furniture, rugs, lighting, decor, bedding, and more- Zinc Door focuses on transitional classics with an updated edge. We were thrilled to sit down with Wendy & Tiffany to talk business, balance, and of course- great style:
If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
We’ve experienced personal and professional trials and triumphs throughout the years and feeling fortunate for both leaves little room for regrets. Every challenge we’ve faced has refined our decision-making as business owners and tested our passion and determination to make it work. For that, we’re grateful.
Challenges, if any, of working with a best friend? And tips for making it work?
Whether you’re working with your best friend or a complete stranger, it’s never without the occasional strife. However, working with someone you know inside and out truly has its benefits: when you hit a rough patch, you’re comfortable enough with each other to be honest and work through it. The strongest rock of our relationship is our mutual respect, which is the best advice we can give: always respect your coworker, listen to what they have to say and value their opinion. It may sound a little silly but we treat our partnership like a marriage of sorts. Be slow to judge and quick to forgive imperfections. You’ll make it through anything.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to an entrepreneur just starting out?
Have faith! And besides that, work hard. Launching and growing a company isn’t easy. However, nothing compares to chasing down a dream, so dig in your heels and prepare to sweat. When you finally find success, you’ll look back at those long hours with pride.
Tips for balancing work and personal life?
The ultimate question! Believe me, this one isn’t easy, but it all comes down to dividing priorities and setting boundaries. Know when to shut off the computer so you can eat dinner with your family, but afterward, if your kids are busy with homework, take advantage and shoot off a few emails. It’s never an easy balance and almost impossible to attain when you have a family. Staying dialed in to your children’s needs while letting go of the perfect scenario or outcome at work might be necessary one day. However the next day, work may need more from you. Flexibility and intuition have been our guide to a stronger work/life balance.
Hardest lesson in business you ever learned?
Things don’t always go as you hope, or plan – especially those best laid. But, as with any setback in life, you have to simply get up, dust yourself off and try again. Business helps you grow a steel coat of armor; after awhile, nothing can touch you. Resilience is key.
The moment when you knew your business had “made it.”
The first time we were featured in Daily Candy our site crashed eight times. We totally freaked out – from stress! When everything was finally up and running smoothly, we realized that maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. We must have been doing something right if that many people were flooding Layla Grayce at once. It was an exciting moment for sure, especially because we have so much respect for Daily Candy.
How is the way designers and customers shop for furniture and home decor changing, if at all?
We’re seeing a lot more acceptance to the idea of shopping for furniture online. For a long time, you’d hear people say “I’d never buy a sofa from a website!” But now, technology and websites have become so sophisticated, and consumers that much more savvy, that it’s much more common. Today, you can literally sit at your computer and furnish your entire home without ever stepping foot outdoors.
The one piece every style savvy person should have in their home?
Anything mid-century modern, whether it’s a side table with hairpin legs, a Lucite accessory or a clean-lined retro chair. Not only will it add flair and interest to your overall design, but since it draws inspiration from the past, a mid-century modern piece will last you forever.
Decorating a home can be overwhelming. Any tips for our readers on how to do it without going crazy?
Take it one step at a time; it will never be a project that is accomplished overnight. Leaf through magazines or resources online and collect tear sheets of images that inspire you; it will help you understand your style. Purchase pieces as high in quality as they are in style; furniture is an investment, and you want it to last. Have fun with knick-knacks and décor; they color your environment with personality. Most of all, buy what you love. If you follow that, you’ll always feel at home.
Your style motto?
Be yourself! Decorate your home in a way that reflects you, wear what makes you happy and surround yourself with items that bring you joy. Have fun with your style; it’s not permanent, so don’t be afraid to take risks. Also, life is short; celebrate in color!