You really have to love the internet these days, thankfully for my friend Olivia who introduced us, I’m so thrilled to introduce this next brand to you in our Meet the Maker’s series: Pepper Home. There has always been one constant love of mine throughout my adult-ish years and that has been stylish table linens. I pride myself on owning a vast collection of unique textiles to pull out throughout the seasons, so it was no surprise that when I connected with Erin over the phone, we hit it off immediately. This powerhouse female duo has created your next home decor obsession with their cheerful table linens and pillows via Pepper Home. It’s time to dress up your home!
1. What was your inspiration for starting Pepper Home?
When we met as students at Columbia Business School, Kelsey and I had both just reached that inflection point in our lives where we were no longer living with roommates. We were in the process of moving in with our now husbands and found ourselves caring a lot more about the way our spaces looked and felt. Although we were still in rental apartments, we both experienced that urge to nest and finally felt ready to put the effort and money behind really making our spaces feel like home. We started Pepper because of the frustrations we encountered while decorating our apartments.
2. What’s the best tip for transitioning from corporate to a creative-ish career? What has been a major learning moment in this journey?
For any person leaving the corporate world for a startup or small business, the lack of structure and order can be a little jarring at first. I think that it is really important to recognize that you need to have a lot of self-discipline to pursue this type of work successfully. I have never worked harder in my life, but at the same time, I am my own boss and have a lot more flexibility with my schedule. I learned early on that in order to be productive, I needed to set a strict schedule for myself and stick to it.
I would say that the biggest learning moment for me has been the realization that I cannot be an expert at everything—and that’s ok! In a job like this, you wear many hats and take on roles and responsibilities that are entirely new to you. I used to get really frustrated by this but now I’ve learned to really focus on what I’m best at and delegate other responsibilities to people that are better suited to handle them!
3. You’re a new mom, what’s your best tip for juggling work and home life?
Being a working mom is hard, there is no doubt about that! Since I am running my own business, I don’t feel that I can really ever check out from work. As a result, I have become really good at compartmentalizing and sticking to a schedule. For example, I will leave my office early (around 5 or so) so that I can hang out with Jack for a few hours before he goes to bed. I then like to try and make dinner for my husband and I and enjoy a bit of time before resuming work. Putting the phone and computer away for a couple of hours every day is a nice reset and makes me feel like I get enough time with my family, even it’s if brief.
4. What advice would you give women who want to start a business of their own?
I really believe in that saying, “two heads are better than one.” So many amazing women (and men!) start businesses by themselves. Honestly, I don’t know how they manage it. I think most people understand that starting a business is incredibly challenging. However, what they don’t realize is how emotionally draining and isolating it can be! Having a phenomenal business partner makes a massive difference and—if at all possible—you should find one before you launch. Having a partner like Kelsey (who also happens to be a very close friend) has been critical to the success of our business.
5. What’s your opinion on women-owned businesses taking over the internet right now?
It’s obviously fantastic! Seeing women start phenomenal companies like Away, Parachute, Glossier and Outdoor Voices is incredibly inspiring. I believe that in order to successfully launch a strong brand, you need to really listen to consumers and take the time to understand their frustrations. I think most would agree that women generally tend to be better listeners than their male counterparts. Along with intelligence and determination, I think that the ability to listen and observe has enabled women of our generation to excel at building successful consumer brands.
As someone who had a non-traditional creative career and switched, I love meeting other women who are doing the same and also helping me decorate my tablescapes! Thank you, Kelsey & Erin, for taking the time to talk with us!