Interviews

Using Experience and Expertise to Craft a Business Set for Success

Author Retta Leritz Published October 31, 2017
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From starting her own business, to operating under the umbrella of an established company, Retta Leritz is about to embark on her latest entrepreneurial endeavor that will share her classic yet quirky design skills with the world and hopefully help her craft the lifestyle she is looking for.

 

 

What inspired you to start your business? What pain were you solving? How did you get motivated to take the first step?

Long hours and late nights are no stranger to me, as I have started small businesses in the past. That said, I feel I am approaching a “Part Two” in my career, and I have been searching for something to re-energize my spirits and mesh better with my new life.

 

While I love my current job as an interior designer, it isn’t one that scales well. The sleepless nights did not cause any bother when it was just “me”, but with a new family and husband, I am finding that I, myself, can only put in so many hours a day. Having worked in the product end of design in the past, I was motivated to create another tangible item that could scale better, and would allow for me to live fully both inside the office and out.

 

Having worked in the product end of design in the past, I was motivated to create another tangible item that could scale better, and would allow for me to live fully both inside the office and out.

 

What sacrifices have you had to make to become a successful entrepreneur?

The sacrifices are never-ending as an entrepreneur. From financial to personal, I have taken many. 

 

In the past, I accumulated business-related debt, which always left me feeling numb. I also missed many weddings and girls’ weekends, due to both the financial strain and stress on my schedule. The hours of sleep that were lost are too many to count. 

 

That said, the benefits of owning a business continue to outweigh the sacrifices. What I have learned is that you have to put in your dues. The wins do come, but sometimes they come months and years down the road. When they arrive, though, they are worth all the sacrifice.

 

What motivates you and how do you stay motivated?

Lucky for me, I have a solid, support group made from a variety of other, female entrepreneurs. We come from many backgrounds, are many ages and have businesses in vastly different sectors, but we find we go through the same struggles. 

 

To have their unwavering support – whether it be given in the form of advice or just a shoulder to lean on when times are tough – is priceless. There is solace in knowing I am not the only one experiencing certain issues. 

 

I also have an incredible family and husband who are cheering me on from behind the scenes. From the start, they have encouraged, critiqued, and supported me in ways too many to list. 

 

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

In a way, I am starting my career over again. While I am and always will be a designer, I’m about to embark into a new category. Lucky enough, I have learned a lot of lessons over the years, which is allowing for me to go in with a different mindset. 

 

From the start, I am going to be more mindful of cash flow. I also am utilizing real metric systems to capture data – instead of just assuming things that may not be entirely accurate. 

 

I have also learned that I am only as good as the team around me. This time around, I am enlisting help from the beginning. Whether marketing, accounting or logistics, there are people out there who know more than I do. Instead of ‘roughing it’ on my own, I’m going to invest in systems that will put me on top sooner. 

 

I have also learned that I am only as good as the team around me. This time around, I am enlisting help from the beginning. Instead of ‘roughing it’ on my own, I’m going to invest in systems that will put me on top sooner.

 

How has your business changed your life? How has it changed the lives of others?

Since I have yet to release the ‘new’ company, I can share that it probably has yet to change lives. That said, I DO see how my efforts have influenced my stepchildren. To share with them the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of entrepreneurship is a powerful story. 

 

I want them to grow up and learn that work isn’t a bad word. Though there are times I have to sacrifice playtime for my job, I hope they will understand and appreciate what I have built over the years. 

 

The biggest payoff would be to see them pursue their dreams and goals – no matter how lofty they may seem.

 

When customers hire your services, they are getting your personal aesthetic and vision. Some might say that sort of individual focus might prevent growth. How has your personal taste helped and or hindered the growth of your company? How have you used the personalization of the design industry to grow your business?

Admittedly, it IS hard to scale an interior design business, as I can only share my vision and talent with so many customers at a time. This conundrum actually has been the inspiration behind my new chapter. 

 

I am creating a line of products that encapsulate my style and can be sold to a larger demographic. It will allow for me to reach a much, much broader market.

 

Overall, though, my personal style has also been a great benefit to my career. I have built a brand on ‘me’; I have a classic, yet somewhat quirky and unique aesthetic that seems to stand out from the masses. From interiors to paper to – now – children’s clothing, I am finding that my customers seek me out because they appreciate my taste – no matter the genre of design. 

 

Interior design is a well established industry. What are some new, exciting things happening in the interior design world? How do you find new markets and clients? How has technology changed your business?

The world of interior design has changed a lot over the years. Introductions like Pinterest and Houzz have given the general audience access to design ideas and products that were originally limited to designers. On the one hand, it has allowed for better communication tools with clients. On the other hand, it has forced us, as designers, to place a stronger value on our talents and skills. 

 

We’d love to learn more about transitioning your business to operating under the Castle Design umbrella. How has this helped your business? What have you had to do differently?

The move to Castle Design has been one of the best decisions I made for myself as a business owner. 

 

The model at this firm is unique and allows for me to still operate my design business autonomously. I have an incredible boss who encourages self-growth and places tremendous value on supporting our needs. At Castle, I am backed by a full staff: project managers, office staff members and a strong leadership team. I now spend my days working as my best self, which is that of a designer. My clients are lucky to receive more attention, as I am not spending extra hours pushing through issues that are not my strong suit. 

 

I’m able to work more efficiently, which has also allowed for more reasonable work hours. With the ‘extra’ time I have in the calendar, I can focus on my ‘chapter two’ and spend real, quality time with my family. 

 

My biggest asset is to be a product of my mother and grandmother. Their senses of style were entirely unique, and they gave me a perspective that has encouraged uniqueness and confidence.

 

Your mother and grandmother were also designers. How have the women in your life influenced you and your business? How do you support and influence other women and women entrepreneurs?

My biggest asset is to be a product of my mother and grandmother. Their senses of style were entirely unique, and they gave me a perspective that has encouraged uniqueness and confidence. 

 

When it comes to encouraging and supporting other, female entrepreneurs, my biggest hope is that I can share my story. Every one of us who embarks on starting a business faces challenges, and I have learned to embrace mine. There have been many failures, but also many successes. Each one has put me where I am today. Those are the stories I hope to share, as there is power in knowing you are not alone in this journey. 

 

We heard you’re up to something new! Can you give us any insider info on what you’re up to next?

While the details of my ‘something new’ are still to be released, I am happy to share that I am entering the world of childrens wear. I found that there is something missing in the market, and I am eager to share more in the near future! 

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