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Community Over Competition

If you've been following along here for awhile, you might think this is basically an #introvertdesigner support group, with a good amount of design mixed in. I have to say that description doesn't really bother me. In fact it rings true for me a sentiment that is often thrown around in the design world but one I believe whole heartedly over competition. For some of you this phrase might conjure thoughts of local design events, small talk over cocktails while networking and business card trading, but I've got to be honest, nothing makes me more uncomfortable. Never mind the time it takes to get ready for events like that - I'm juggling life with three kids still at home and running this growing business that I love and still be the wife and mother I need and WANT and strive to be.

All of this to say, I even surprised myself when I decided to join a group of other designers from all around the country in early 2020 for a four day business retreat here in Texas. I didn't know what to expect really, because I've been to events like this that were, let's just say not so "community" focused but I have to tell you that I think I hit the lottery with the ladies I met at that retreat.

Photo by Madeline Harper Photography
Divine Women of Design Photo by Madeline Harper Photography

I am so beyond grateful for that decision to attend because I met these divine women of design that I still talk daily with, either on the phone or over group text chains, and some of us have even managed to meet up while traveling and also go to markets together. I know I'm not alone when I share that I treasure knowing that I have a rock solid community to turn to for celebration and advice. And that got me thinking... are there alternative ways of embracing the community over competition mindset that works with an introverted personality?

Turns out, at least for me, there absolutely is.

After the BOD podcast episode I did last year with one of my design field favorites, I saw a slew of messages come in through Instagram and email from all over asking about different products or business questions that I loved answering. I've hopped on the phone with people from around the world (farthest locale so far: Saudi Arabia!) and even reconnected recently with a designer I met years ago on my first High Point trip who reached out when she went from a design duo to a solo firm. I know some designers who don't take to this for whatever reason, but I personally feel like there's room for everybody to have a stake in design if they want one, and any information I pass on is paying it forward, as so many people did for me, and still do for me now.

Anyone can find or be given information - it's what you end up doing with it that makes the difference. The next person runs his or her business differently from mine, and clients have different styles, so there will be plenty of work for all of the different creatives there are out in this big world. Operating from abundance has proven to be much less stressful and more self-focused, in that I watch what I'm doing next, rather than fixating on what someone else just landed. Think about it - how many clients can you reasonably take on with your life schedule, priorities, and other commitments per year? Know that reality, and you'll find yourself focusing on serving those people exceptionally well instead of side-eyeing such and such designer that's commuting into "your" territory.

Your people are going to find you and you're going to have the business that you're meant to have, and hopefully you work hard at it and operate from a place of integrity and kindness. And that also means looking out for potential clients as well as other designers that you respect so you have recommendations at the ready if a client isn't the right fit for you and your business model. Think of all the time we would waste if we worried, always looking over our shoulders at what everybody else is doing, so much so that we'd not able to focus and grow the business that we want to have. In my humble opinion, there's room for everybody who's passionate about design and wants to work hard at it - pull up a chair and let's help each other out.

Feel free to message me on Instagram if this resonates with you, or you're building your business - I'm happy to pay it forward and help if I can! In case you want to keep up with what we're up to at Nancy Lane Interiors you can sign up here for our monthly newsletter.


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