We had the good fortune of connecting with Lylah Healy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lylah, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My path to owning an interior design studio wasn’t a straight one. I graduated from the USC School of Theater and studied theatre and acting most of my life. Much of my training was focused on feeling and expression, and I loved the art of storytelling. But the 2008 recession hit, and in order to make ends meet I needed to find a more steady stream of income.
I found a position in marketing and rode out the recession, but during that time I also became successful in my role and gained momentum in my corporate career. I learned how to craft efficient processes and also how to lead a team. My corporate career taught me about structure and how to drive projects forward. However, my creative background was always waiting in the wings and I missed the process of creating.
When my husband and I bought our first home I fell in love with the design process and how simple changes to a home could impact how you feel in a space. I began sharing our personal updates on social media and every day I fell more in love with interior design. I was still employed full-time with my corporate position, but I knew that I could run a design business. In the beginning, I only had an hour or so each day to work on my business, but it gave me a creative satisfaction I hadn’t felt in a long time. Initially, I was designing to fill a creative void, but I was getting positive feedback from friends and social media. I didn’t immediately dive in though. I slowly and methodically built out a small piece of my business every day. I had a daughter by this time, and I wanted to be sure that if I transitioned into the design world it would be enough to support my family.
For a long time, I worked full-time and also took on design projects. I worked in the evenings and on the weekends. It was hard to balance, but there was also a creative fulfillment there that I was seeking. I learned about the design process in terms of what worked and what didn’t work and applied what I knew from my marketing position. I knew that I wasn’t going to be an overnight success, but if I was consistent and kept working towards my goal I would find success in the same way I had with my corporate job. I figured I’d be working for at least another 20+ years, so if running a design business continued to resonate in my heart, I could spare a few years of learning in order to build a business that really excited me.
I continued to build relationships and took on more design projects and was eventually able to quit my full-time job and operate as the Owner and Principal Designer of Rose Lake Design. All that effort I put in, even just that one hour a day added up over time, and what started as something to fill a void became a business that was aligned with what I loved and what I felt I was good at. I learn new things every day, and I don’t think you have to know all the answers to get started. You just need to start.
Today I am truly living a dream. I love working with professional families to create intentional living spaces that are equal parts functional and beautiful. As a Mom of two, I know how much a streamlined thoughtful space can help create a relaxing environment and one that can also set you up for a successful day. It may have taken two separate careers to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I’m happy to say I’ve finally found my home as the Principal Designer of Rose Lake Design.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Many of Rose Lake Design’s clients are professional families. They are often busy with social schedules, running businesses, and raising families. I think my dual background in creative arts and operating as a corporate professional has helped me understand the kind of communication and organization that my clients need. As I mentioned, my path to owning an interior design studio wasn’t a straight one, but I believe that it has been a blessing in disguise. My varied background has allowed me to understand the client’s perspective and how to add value during the design process. I support my clients by understanding their priorities and the fact that they are usually seeking an interior designer to assist with 3 main issues: a lack of time, the desire to save money, or the desire to reduce frustration. The design process at Rose Lake Design was developed to address and solve all three problems when it comes to design and renovation.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a San Diego local, I have a deep love for our city. I grew up in Carlsbad and the Carlsbad beaches never get old. If I had a friend in town for the week I’d take a tour of the Carlsbad Aquafarm and sample their oysters. I’d grab a sunset cocktail on the rooftop of Fresco 264, and we’d definitely order the warm butter cake at Nick’s on State. It is truly heavenly.
I’d visit the lake in Lake San Marcos and let the kids feed the ducks and play on the open grass lawn. The view is beautiful and you can get a wood-fired pizza to-go for an impromptu picnic or take an after-dinner gondola ride.
I always love a good farmers’ market and fresh veggies for a home-cooked meal. The Leucadia farmers’ market on Sunday is always a treat. I’m also a sucker for fresh flowers and my go-to for dressing up the house is the International Floral Trade Center in Carlsbad or the Encinitas Flower Shop. There’s nothing better than fresh greenery in the house,
Viewpoint Brewing in Del Mar has a great outdoor patio, and after all that eating and sampling I’d get some steps in at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It’s another great place for the kiddos and I’m always game for some fresh air and views of the rolling hills.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a shoutout to my friends and family who told me to go for it, and encouraged me as I figured out how to launch a business from scratch. When I approached my sister regarding quitting my full-time job to pursue design she didn’t tell me I was crazy for leaving a steady position during a pandemic. She smiled and said, “Sis. I think this has been a long time coming. I think you should go for it.”
I also want to thank my clients. These are people and families who have believed in me as an early designer and have shared their lives with me. Without people believing in me I’d never have had the opportunity to design.
And finally, my husband. When you’re starting a business there are a lot of ups and downs and he’s been by my side through it all. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive partner. He’s always encouraging me and I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to take the leap without him telling me “You got this. Go for it.” Thanks for always cheering me on.
Photography by Walking Eagle Photography https://walkingeaglephotography.com/