I’m happy to share a new feature that I’m starting on Inspiring Women! I get so energized and motivated by the creatives around me, and I wish that I could share more about them and their lives in addition to the photos that we’re taking that day. So I figured why not? First off is Donna Garlough, the Style Director at Joss & Main. Donna and I have been working together on the book that she’s writing, so we’ve had many shoots together over the past year. She’s hard-working and passionate, and also amazing at what she does. I’ll let Donna introduce more of herself below. You can find her elsewhere at her blog and on Instagram!
1 – Describe your career and life in a nutshell.
I’m the Style Director of Joss & Main, an e-commerce site offering inspiring, on-trend decor at great prices. I also oversee content for Joss & Main and its sister site, AllModern, as well as celebrity and blogger collaborations on the largest of our brands, Wayfair.com. I work with our buyers to sniff out the emerging trends, our photo studio to showcase our product in a compelling way, and our writers to create stories that help people put it all together in their own homes. Anywhere there’s a strong style story that needs to be told, I’m likely to be involved, and that’s really because I come from an editorial background. I started my career in magazines, and over the last 15 years I’ve covered everything from food to green living to weddings to health to travel. But the home is really where my passion lies, and I love helping people figure out how to create spaces that inspire them daily. As for my own home life, I live in Boston with my husband and two kids, in an 1860 brick townhouse that we’ve spent eight years renovating, and I blog about decorating, at SelfStyled.com, on the side. So yeah, my hands are just a little bit full!
2 – Tell me about a project that you’ve been involved in that you were particularly excited about.
My book! Like raising two kids in the city and renovating a historic home, writing a book about decor has been a complete labor of love. It’s being published next Spring 2018 by Rizzoli, and it’s a design book for everyone—a guide to help you figure out your style strengths, overcome your hesitations and weaknesses, and design spaces that put a smile on your face. Writing the book was incredibly intimidating, but it has also been extremely empowering—even after laying out the concept and landing a book deal, I almost didn’t know how much I knew, or quite how passionate about the message of home I really was, until I started writing and shooting spaces to feature in print. The neat thing is, all of the homes we photographed were styled by the homeowner and/or me; not a single one was put together by a trained interior designer, so they were living, breathing examples of what I’m encouraging readers to do. I’m urging people to embrace their innate design leanings, start putting things together using tips and tricks I’ve learned over time, and to stop treating decorating as this precious, pretentious thing. Anyone can do it, and it’s such an amazing way to express yourself.
3 – How do you stay inspired?
Travel, for sure. I’m lucky to get to visit other cities when collaborating with celebrities and bloggers on decor projects in tandem with our brands, like when I worked with Lauren Bushnell of The Bachelor to redecorate her Denver home, teamed up with Julianne Hough on her backyard, or when I styled the NYC apartment of Amber Fillerup Clark, a.k.a. The Barefoot Blonde, for a photo shoot. Going to the big trade shows for my industry, like High Point Market in North Carolina, always fills me with ideas, too. And when I’m traveling, I make a point to visit local restaurants and decor shops and take in aesthetic experiences that are different from what I see every day. As much as I love browsing websites, reading blogs and scrolling Instagram from my bed or desk, I find I can come up with 10 times the article ideas and decor concepts when I’m out and about. Oh, and I’m a magazine junkie. Give me a Conde Nast Traveler or a trashy celebrity rag and 45 minutes of quiet time, and I’m a happy gal.
4 – What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
Everyone has a different mission at work. Some people want to disrupt industries. Some people have an idea and won’t sleep until it’s out there in the world. Some want respect, some want money, and some people just want to be the boss. (I don’t prefer to work with those people.) Me, I want to create and to inspire. Whether they’re readers or customers, I want to help everyone find a bit more brightness in their everyday: less stress, more ease, and more delight.
5 – What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20, or tie yourself to someone else’s outline of a career in your field. Focus on where you are, your own unique strengths, and the chapter you want to write next.