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Meet Emily Larkin of EJ Interiors in Lakewood (East Dallas)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Larkin.

Emily, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started EJ Interiors in April 2007 at the suggestion of my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time). I was in between jobs and he thought it was a good idea for me to start my own interior design business since I had always dreamed of going out on my own (I just didn’t expect that it would be at the young age of 24- almost right out of college!) He was in Public Relations so he helped me get my blog and website set up as well as market myself to new customers. I started by putting fliers on doors of the apartments nearby and ads on Craig’s List (this was twelve years ago, before we had Instagram and all of the great social media tools we use so much today!) It was trial and error at first but I was surprised how quickly EJ Interiors and my blog (Material Girls) grew. My blog went from solely having a presence in Dallas, to expanding to four other cities in a short amount of time. I got many wonderful opportunities through the blog- press, new clients, and vendors which really helped launch my business into what it is today. Eventually, I stopped blogging as EJ Interiors grew to where I couldn’t sustain both businesses anymore and I focused solely on my design firm. Fast forward to today, and we have projects all over Dallas and beyond. We have gotten to work on some really great homes in all different styles, with amazing clients who trust us to turn their spaces into something really special!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
On the business side, one of the challenges has been learning different programs like Quickbooks and Squarespace (where we host our website). I knew nothing about accounting or marketing before I started my business and for a creative person with an interior design background to have to jump into a whole new world of something I wasn’t formally educated in, it was definitely a learning curve! Interior design is 75% paperwork, admin, and communication (and only 25% design), which isn’t something they teach you in school. The job looks very glamorous from the outside but there is an incredible amount of detail that goes into it so you have to be very meticulous in everything that you do. If you have a small firm like I do (with only one employee/other designer), you have to be prepared to not only practice interior design, but also Marketing, Human Resources, Public Relations, and Accounting! (You basically do it all!)

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about EJ Interiors – what should we know?
We specialize in full-service residential interior design. We are known for creating unique spaces that capture the essence of each client’s lifestyle and personality. We are recognized for our fresh take on interiors, bringing distinctive designs that combine vivid hues, dramatic patterns, and a mix of antique and new pieces. I think what sets us apart from others is that since we have a small firm, clients can take comfort in the fact that even as the principal/owner, I am incredibly involved in each and every decision on a project. I have very close relationships with all of our clients and always make myself very accessible to them.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have had a lot of great mentors and cheerleaders over the twelve years! At the beginning of my career, my husband, parents, and roommate at the time were all very supportive of my plan to go out on my own. They have all continued to be a great support system as well as other family and friends. As I was building my business, I was also working for a small commercial movie theater design company, and my boss there was a great mentor who I learned a lot from. I also get together with my local interior designer friends every few weeks to bounce ideas and thoughts off of each other.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos by Lance Selgo; Dog in the photo – my pup Zoey who is EJ Interiors’ mascot! 🙂

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