The team at Flax Sleep has a passionate commitment to supporting other womxn entrepreneurs. Being part of a community of people who are doing amazing things is one of the best parts of entrepreneurship. This ongoing Journal series will feature the womxn we admire who are kicking ass and taking names across the country.
Laura Melling isn’t just an incredible designer/stylist/creative director, she is also an amazing creator of community. She is a connector of like minded people and a brilliant ambassador for anything, or anyone she believes in. We feel incredibly lucky that Laura believes in Flax Sleep and that we have had opportunities to work with her.
Tell us briefly what it is your business does.
Laura Melling Studio is a Vancouver based interior design firm. We design beautiful spatial experiences for brands, real estate developers and residential clients. My team of four womxn have combined superpowers in interior design, visual storytelling and operational best practices. We love the process + value collaboration, integrity and a sense of curiosity. We are passionate about making space feel good.
What inspired you to make this happen?
From an early age growing up on Vancouver Island, I can remember having a spatial awareness and tactile understanding of the world, paired with an entrepreneurial drive. When given the choice on how to share my ideas, I would often find a way to take a three dimensional or visual approach with model making, drawing or painting. I started my first business in primary school when I setup shop selling handmade friendship bracelets at a local holiday market, and there were a few others along the way. Upon graduation from high school I knew I wanted to spend my life doing something creative but I didn't know what that looked like, or what steps were involved to get there. So I went to design school because why not?! First a Diploma in Interior Design, then a Bachelor of Design in Textiles. While in design school at OCAD in Toronto I was exposed to incredible classes like Guerrilla Entrepreneur-ism which started to shape I could blend creativity with business. Around the same time, the notion of entrepreneur-ism was emerging and I felt so inspired by a community of designers, makers and creatives starting their own businesses. I knew I would need more experience before going out on my own and worked with a boutique interior design firm for a few years to gather as much operational knowledge as I possibly could. In January 2011 I made it official and founded my studio when my husband Quinn and I moved back to Vancouver. Fast forward 8 years and I am still here, equally as driven to be a successful creative entrepreneur as I was on day one.
What keeps you inspired to keep doing this?
I wake up with a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to do what I love and collaborate with others each day. Even when running a business feels super hard + overwhelming, there are three things that keep me going - community, exploration and process. Community is all about the energy that comes from a shared experience. Collaboration is my jam, I am so drawn to its boundless potential. Exploration allows me the space to go out in the world - be it local or afar - and gather the inspiration that fuels my creative practice. Process is the framework that informs how we do what we do.
What's your biggest learning in 2019?
Ooooo - love this question! Full transparency, this year I learned how to balance vulnerability with confidence and ask for help. As a creative entrepreneur with no formal business education, I often felt overwhelmed by tasks like cashflow projections, business development and strategy. It finally dawned on me that it is ok to show vulnerability and reach out when I didn't know how to move forward. I have intentionally expanded my community of mentors, advisors and fellow entrepreneurs. I have been fortunate to participate in incubators such as the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs E-Series, Alt Summit and 3Fold Leadership Workshop, all of which have provided an inclusive environment to learn about healthy business practices.
Who is your biggest #WCW right now?
Oh my goodness - so hard to narrow it down to just one #WCW :) Barbora Samieian is one of my faves - she is the co-owner of the salad shop Field & Social and has become a dear friend, mentor and mamapreneur role model. It can be tough to balance entrepreneurism with raising a young family, and I have learned how amazing it is to be surrounded by supportive, creative womxn like Barbora who lift each other up. Once a month after daycare drop-off we meet up for a morning session at a local coffee shop to talk vision + goals, self-care and business practices. We have a shared love for conscious collaboration and are always dreaming up ways to connect with our community.