We had the good fortune of connecting with Maddy Kozoyed and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Maddy, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Trusting my intuition has been essential to helping this business get to where it is today. When I left my comfortable, full-time job working for a huge global brand to run Whatsoever Things are Loverly full-time, I was uneasy at first. It’s nerve wracking to go against the grain! But trusting that I should follow the joy that I get from this work – fitting people’s big lives into small spaces in a way that’s sustainable and supportive – has been the best decision I’ve made.

I also trusted my gut to incorporate my values of mindfulness and sustainability into the foundation of the business, and to help others bring their values to life in their homes as well. Especially with the past two years, everyone has a real need to fit in more life, more function, and more ease at home, and it’s been a blast helping my clients do just that.

Imposter syndrome has certainly crept in – as I’m sure it does for other small business owners! But focusing on how grateful I feel to be doing this work with such great people, and the satisfaction of bringing the sigh of relief they need to their spaces, reminds me I’m on the right path.

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?
Whatsoever Things are Loverly was born from a desire to live a more sustainable life, and a feeling that my physical space was holding me back from taking better care of myself and the planet. I’d always considered nature, wild places, and local communities sacred and worth protecting. But I didn’t know how to take individual action against climate change that felt good for me. It wasn’t until I met a friend on a volunteer trip cycling across the country in support of affordable housing, that I felt empowered to finally try and align my beliefs with the ways I took action in my life. After watching her agonize over a decision on what sunscreen to buy, something that felt so simple to me, I started to pay attention to what brands I was supporting, what ingredients I was consuming, how much waste I was creating as an individual, and what systems I was supporting by living my life as I did.

I started (slowly!!) to make more sustainable and ethical choices around clothes, food, beauty, travel, and home decor. I quickly realized this was not as easy as I’d hoped, and honestly could be draining at times. With the continual drain of resources, trampling of wild places, displacement of communities, and constant threat of irreversible environmental disaster – how was I supposed to stay positive and feel like I was making a difference?

That’s when I realized there was a delicate interplay between making better choices and maintaining my mental wellbeing. I couldn’t maintain the mindfulness of my consumption without considering the effect it had on my mental health. I felt guilty when choosing convenience or savings over sustainability, overwhelmed by the lack of accessible and eco-friendly options, and procrastinated on things like learning how to compost for fear of failing. I also found that my physical environment significantly impacted my mental wellbeing and progress as well. Was I able to host a party without using paper products? Was my kitchen organized enough to make me feel ready to meal prep plant based meals? Did I have enough space to store refillable containers while traveling? How was I prioritizing my life based on what I made room for in my home?

What I found was the more I considered the form, function, and (most importantly) feeling of my home, the more supported I felt to continue to make sustainable choices, maintain my mental wellbeing, and achieve my goals.

Now, I’m able to create content around sustainability, mental health, and interior design and provide one-on-one design services to help other others remove the overwhelm of aligning their life with their values. I firmly believe that your home does not have to be as big as your aspirations are, but it needs to support you in getting where you want to go.

In the past year, I’ve learned that while everyone has unique needs for their space, there is usually an underlying feeling they’d like to experience in each part of their home. My design process taps into that feeling and prioritizes the individual values each person holds, to create a home they will love everyday.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In an ideal week, I’d go to all my favorite plant-based places – pizza and hot shrooms at Donna Jean in Banker’s Hill, donuts at Nomad in North Park, panang curry and wontons at Veganic in Hillcrest, cocktails and dinner at Kindred in South Park, animal style fries at Evolution in Banker’s Hill, burgers and milkshakes at Plant Power in OB, and a night out at the Plot in Oceanside. Great mexican food is also a must – our favorites being Ranchos Cocina, City Tacos, Hugo’s Cocina, and El Comal. We’d bar hop our local neighborhood of North Park, always starting at Polite Provisions for cocktails before hitting breweries on the walk back home – Fall Brewing, Kairoah, Pariah, Belching Beaver, Rip Current, Second Chance, Mike Hess, North Park Brewing, and Original 40. (Obviously over the course of the week!) When we’re not in a food coma, we’d hike in Mission Trails Park, bike the Embarcadero, surf at La Jolla Shores, let our dog play at Dog Beach in OB, go to the zoo and museums in Balboa, hit the farmer’s market in Little Italy and catch a sunset at Sunset Cliffs.

We moved to San Diego right before the pandemic started, so we didn’t get much time to see it in it’s fully open glory! However, when things are completely safe, I can’t wait to explore more!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m so grateful to have a big family, loving parents, and great friends who has been my cheerleaders my entire life. I also would not be the person I am today without my incredibly supportive partner, Clay. He has trusted me, grown with me, held me, and celebrated with me for almost 7 years. I’m eternally grateful to have the encouragement and support of such a smart and loving person. He had faith in me when I didn’t have it in myself, and I appreciate the courage and his partnership has given me over the years.

Website: whatsoeverthingsareloverly.com

Instagram: instagram.com/whatsoeverthingsareloverly

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.