For Henderson native Kristin Calderon, her love for interior design began as a hobby when she was a full-time, stay-at-home mom for more than 12 years.
"I was doing it for friends and family. It was fun," said Calderon. "I attended UNLV for 2 years studying graphic arts and interior design but got pregnant and never graduated."
Calderon said when she got divorced, she had to fight feelings of insecurity while applying for jobs because she thought she wasn't qualified without a college degree. Then she got an offer and a boost of confidence from one local interior design firm that took a chance on her.
"The owner told me that when it comes to this field, you either ‘have it or you don't,’” said Calderon. "And they knew I had it—passion, drive, and creativity. Those are things I look for now when I hire employees.”
Calderon is the founder and owner of "The Idea Room" located in Henderson. The business started as a design center but has grown to include a brand-new furniture showroom and attached retail store featuring lifestyle products and an e-commerce site called "Copper & Tweed."
"When I started this business in 2016, we called it ‘The Idea Room’ because I was working out of one room in my house,” said Calderon. I had two workers then. Now we have 18 employees."
Calderon said the pandemic led to more business than ever before for her team, with more people moving to Nevada over the last year from all over the country.
"That's why we needed a brick-and-mortar space. Our showroom is where people come in to look at the furniture and our lifestyle boutique which includes everything from kitchen and bath accessories to lamps and rugs and even handbags," said Calderon.
"Las Vegas is definitely one of the most diversified cities for interior design and that's because the people here are from everywhere, and many of them want their homes ready to "live-in" as soon as possible."
The Idea Room offers services from remodeling, custom woodwork, staging, and furniture purchases for both residential and commercial spaces. And Calderon said she takes pride in the fact that she can offer her customers wholesale pricing for furniture and other home pieces, from which she works with more than 200 manufacturers from around the world.
"I understand that people have different budgets, and we tailor our services to that," said Calderon. "I would say our style is modern-transitional. We are on-trend but transitional to each client so they can make their space their own and not one that necessarily looks like a model home."
While Calderon is excited to see her business grow (seven new workers were hired during the pandemic alone), she says there are still challenges, similar to ones many other small businessowners face during these unstable economic times.
"We have seen material costs jump over and over the past year, and furniture prices going up 10 to 20 percent," said Calderon. "Despite that, we have not raised our design prices. We are hoping prices will soon drop a bit so everyone can afford what they are looking for."
As for what's next for The Idea Room, Calderon said success has given her the flexibility to spend more time with her family. She remarried three years ago and now has two stepsons along with her three children. Calderon says like any mom can attest, you work hard and get things done because that's what you have to do. The difference is finding the career and people that give you joy.
"I think going through hardships and twists and turns in life gives you even more drive to reach your goals," said Calderon. "Creating beautiful spaces is an outlet for me. You are giving joy to your customers. It's a beautiful thing.”