They say behind every great man is a great woman. Well, with the rise of the girl boss, we’ve seen more and more of these great women in their own right. The greatest thing about this recent push for the empowerment of women is how they turn around and empower others. Michelle Lynne, owner of ML Interiors Group, does just that with her second (that’s right 2!) business - Designed for the Creative Mind.
When Michelle got into interior design, she had a very hard time finding mentors. No one would help her. “I vowed that I would not be that person,” says Michelle. “Once I figured it out, I was going to pay it forward. I thought I was a business badass, but this industry was a lot harder than I imagined.”
The idea for formalizing a way to give back to other women who wanted to start their own interior design business came well into the success of Michelle’s own interiors firm.
“When I was out of town to adopt my daughter, my team rarely, if ever, called me,” says Michelle. “They told me that they just followed the processes and procedures we have in place and can answer their own questions. So then I went into maternity leave knowing that what we had created in my business was working.”
So the summer that her daughter was born, Michelle began building the platform to educate other women. She struggled naming the business and went through several rebrands before Designed for the Creative Mind® was settled upon. Now came the hard part - creating the content.
“I put together an outline that was huge,” says Michelle. “This is going to be like the Encyclopedia Britannica - no one will want to do all this. So I broke it down and ended up creating a 6-week digital course. Just the basics.”
Between her already robust following for ML Interiors Group and her friends in the industry, Michelle started promoting her new endeavor through social media. She gave away content and built up an email list, as well as going on many podcasts to chat about how to be a female entrepreneur. The course took off, and with its success, Michelle started teaching the same content via video calls.
“The first lesson is all about finding your own voice,” says Michelle. “And the rest of the course is telling the women, soup to nuts, this is what you need to run a successful interior design business. The feedback I received was that the course was awesome, but that these designers were ready for more!”
The latest iteration of Michelle’s content is the “Interior Design Business Bakery.” The initial six-week content includes the key ingredients, and then the supplementary information and time spent on video calls with her clients for the rest of the year is what she considers the “frosting.”
“An amazing, beautiful benefit to this is the community that has grown out of the designers in this program,” says Michelle. The amount of confidence that these women develop is incredible. I love teaching the business, but I really love seeing the light going off in these women’s heads when they realize that their work is worth it.”
Michelle’s biggest message is not technical business acumen or tricks of the trade, it’s that you are worth more than any money is.
“You are a child of God, you change peoples lives,” Michelle tells her mentees. “You create a refuge for other people - how can you not value that?”
“I have to remind people that this is not just about fluffing pillows and picking out paints,” says Michelle. “Oftentimes, we, as women, are just good at this sort of thing, so we don’t think of it as a valued service. I have to teach these women how to educate their clients of all that their services entail. This is a professional, luxury service. Just because it might be easy for these women, or fun, doesn’t mean it’s not worth the money they deserve to be earning.”
Women tend to naturally be people pleasers and caretakers, so Michelle teaches them to set boundaries. “Don’t take texts at 8:30 at night with design questions. Not every person that calls you is going to be your client, and that’s ok.”
Michelle also values the relationships that have blossomed because of Designed for the Creative Mind. The social media groups for the program are a great place for the women to come together, especially during the pandemic. She herself has developed close friendships through her business as well.
“I show these women that it can be done because I’m currently in the design trenches,” says Michelle. “Once they see that it can be done, then all bets are off. I’m the Sherpa of the interior design business. I am going to guide you. Tell you what to pack - don’t step over here because you’ll slide down.”
As Michelle shares her passion with these women, it is truly evident that she just wants others to be successful. ML Interiors Group is thriving and growing, and Designed with a Creative Mind is growing every day as well. In fact, Michelle just launched a podcast for the program to share the knowledge with even more women!
“This is why I get out of bed in the morning,” says Michelle of her work with other interior designers. “This is not work to me. And these designers can now, in turn, go out and help people create beautiful homes. Giving back becomes a ripple effect.”