Early in his career, DuVäl Reynolds found himself at a crossroads. He had completed three years of college as a premed student studying neurology when he realized it wasn’t the right path for him. Design was nowhere near his radar—he just needed a job to stay afloat. After submitting nearly 100 applications, he landed a role at custom closet manufacturer California Closets.
“I honestly think that was a godsend,” Reynolds tells host Kaitlin Petersen on the latest episode of the Trade Tales podcast. “There, I realized I had a knack for design.”
It didn’t take long for Reynolds to rise through the ranks. He was promoted from administrative assistant to executive assistant, then moved into the HR department and landed a position overseeing the company’s showroom. Along the way, he had the chance to hand-draw designs for clients who came into the space, reigniting a childhood passion he’d long forgotten.
From there, everything seemed to fall into place for Reynolds. He found a design program that would allow him to attend classes at night while maintaining his full-time job during the day. In his minimal free time—and with a newfound sense of purpose and direction—he began building his design business and establishing a clientele. By the fall of 2017, he was able to take the plunge and go all in on his own firm, confident in the business knowledge he’d acquired during his time at California Closets.
When Reynolds did finally take the leap, he was surprised to find that many of the smooth-running operations he’d enjoyed at his previous job were nowhere to be found. “When you are working in another company and it’s a well-oiled machine, you don’t realize that you’re using machines,” says Reynolds. “The processes are already in place, the documents are set up, the systems are functioning—you don’t think about that when you jump out on your own.”
On this episode, Reynolds shares how he ironed out those finer details of his business so he could move on to the top-level decisions that took his firm to the next level—including how a focus on accountability with his team prevents future mistakes and why defining his core values helped him take control of his firm’s culture.
Homepage image: DuVäl Reynolds | Courtesy of DuVäl Reynolds