The JessicaSimien.com “She’s A Boss” series is all about women in leadership positions. Women are not celebrated enough for their amazing and one-of-a-kind accomplishments. We’re using our platform to shine light on some very talented and intelligent ladies working toward (and realizing) their dreams. Not only will you have an opportunity to learn about them, you will also get to learn from them as they share their business advice and pointers on how to maintain balance.
Danielle Parker is a interior designer residing in Jackson, Tennessee. Our intern Samantha caught up with Danielle to learn more about her company and get advice on becoming an entrepreneur. Check out their chat below.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Can you tell me about your educational background?
Danielle Parker: Yes, I have an Associate of Science degree from Jackson State Community College where I majored in Communications. I also have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lambuth University, where I majored in Public Relations and minored in Psychology. I graduated Cum Laude with both degrees.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Tell me a little bit about your company.
DP: I design and create “up cycled” furniture. Up-cycling is to reuse discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. I’ve always felt that I had a gift for creating things that were different than the norm. I’ve been that artsy girl ever since I realized I could imagine. I love working with my hands and allowing my mind to run free with creativity.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: How did you get your business started?
DP: Last year I decided I wanted a career in doing something I loved. I took a step back and asked myself, “What would I enjoy doing for the rest of my life?” The answer was vague, but I knew it involved interior design. From that moment, I had a plan of action and took steps towards my future. With that being said, I may not have gotten everything right at first, but as I continued to do my research, consulted professionals and experimented through trial and error, I saw my potential and that gave me enough will power to continue on.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What kind of process do you go through to create pieces?
DP: There are four stages to my process. The first stage for me is to “Relax and Imagine.” Sometimes it’s good just to be quiet, relax, and let the ideas come to you. I never know where I’ll draw my inspiration from. That’s why it’s important for me to carry my sketch pad everywhere I go.
The second stage is “Exploring”. I have to go out and find the materials. Sometimes I find a material and sketch around it, and other times I sketch first, and then go out and find that particular piece. I travel to yard sales, salvage yards, Goodwill stores, antique shops, and sometimes people drop things off to me. I allot time to go out and explore these places. I don’t always find what I’m looking for, but the key is to keep looking. When it comes time for the “Building” stage, I get anxious because I want it all to come together and be exactly what I imagined. Because some of my pieces have hidden storage areas, I have to really be creative and come up with ways to pull it off. It can be frustrating at times, but well worth it in the end.
The fourth stage is “Marketing”. Having a great product is one thing, but without exposure and a good marketing strategy, your product will not sale. When it’s all completed and I step back and see the finished product, every single step was well worth whatever frustration I may have encountered along the way. It usually turns out better than I imagined, and I am assured every time that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
DP: In the next five years, I see my business taking off! I’m not limiting myself to Jackson, TN. I want my business to be a household name all over the country. I see partnerships with major corporations in my future. I see giving back to my community and those in need. If other businesses can do it, why can’t I?
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Any advice you would give on being an entrepreneur?
DP: My advice for those who want to be entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with positive people who will build you up and encourage you. Being an entrepreneur requires a lot of prayer, patience, hard work and motivation. Set daily goals as well as long term goals. Every business flows and runs differently, so develop a process that works for you.