For Emilie Munroe, interior design was always on the periphery. Growing up, she got to know an interior designer while helping her mother, a professional organizer, and found herself running errands at the San Francisco Design Center while still in high school. Later, while working at Turner Broadcasting, her interest in decorating led her to be tasked with overseeing the design of a new office. She eventually began to attend design school at night and took a gig as a project manager at a design firm.
Still, her aha moment—when she knew the rest of her career would be driven by design—didn’t arrive until she stepped into designer Jay Jeffers’s office in San Francisco.
“I remember walking through the front door and thinking, If this doesn’t work out, then there is just no justice in this world. This is my home, I’m meant to be here!” Munroe tells host Kaitlin Petersen on the latest episode of Trade Tales. “I was like, This is it, I’ve landed.”
She got the job, and during the six years she spent with the firm, Munroe climbed the ranks from design assistant, to associate designer and then designer. She remained in awe of the team, Jeffers’s leadership and the way he structured his business—and used those lessons to shape her own firm when she decided she had to strike out on her own.
In this episode of the podcast, Munroe share a few lessons from the other side, including how she gave herself space to forge her own design aesthetic, why she let her firm’s branding and clientele emerge organically, and what she envisions for the team that’s going to carry her business through its next phase of growth.
“Your company is going to grow into an entity that really defines itself. If you try to hyper control it to begin with, you don’t know what you’re going to end up with,” she says. “Just give it time to take shape. Who knows what direction it will go?”
Homepage image: Emilie Munroe | Courtesy of Emilie Munroe