Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Rachel Thomas Murphy of Thomas Grey Interiors about her early stages of design, her affinity for the University of Kansas Jayhawks, and her community-focused Passion Project.

Pathway to Design

As a young girl growing up in McKinney, TX, Rachel loved interacting with people and their habitats. Following her family’s tradition, she enrolled at the University of Kansas where she studied nursing. However, she realized that she did not have a passion for biology and found that nursing was not for her. After moving to Wichita, Kansas with her husband, she found herself helping her brother and sister-in-law move into their new house. While they were having trouble making their home look comfortable and also aesthetically pleasing, Rachel realized this was her opportunity to help people while pursuing her passion. Now a mother of three, Rachel went back to school to obtain an online degree in Interior Design from Art Institute.

Starting the Firm

In 2012 Rachel started her firm, Thomas Grey Interiors. She wanted to have more time with her family and be in control of her own schedule, and her husband had a good job that allowed her to try to see what worked. This flexibility proved to be very helpful in her early stages. She entered into another stage of her career when she and her husband went through a divorce, and, realizing that she had to support her family, became strategic with her offerings. Now, Rachel offers a defined product list on her website and no longer provides free consultation services. Once she started charging for advice, Rachel noticed that her advice started getting better.

Rachel offers a variety of services on her website. Her 90 min consultation services help to fill in the gaps in between the longer remodel projects, and she completes about one a week. Often times these consultations turn into bigger projects. Working as a team of 3, Thomas Grey interiors also offers two builders’ packages, one for spec homes and one for model homes. The spec home package includes interior finish selections and the model home package includes interior finish selection and whole home furniture selection. These builder packages have given her financial stability and allowed her to continue to grow.

Leaving a Legacy

In the beginning, Rachel says the idea of bringing on staff was a scary proposition. She spoke with her financial advisor and set her new employees up on a pay scale that was wage and commission based. Now, having a staff not only creates additional opportunity, but it also gives her time to focus on what she chooses. Her newest focus, which is a culmination of her love for connecting with people, is her Passion Project. Rachel started to think about what she loved and what her legacy would be, and she realized that helping others is where her heart is. Her Passion Project is a civic initiative in which a community based non-profit, generally helping women, receives labor and financial help with their facility. Her first project was for the Wichita Family Crisis Center. For 2018 Rachel will be working with Dress for Success to create a space that is safe and designed with dignity.

To learn more or to connect with Rachel visit her website, Thomas Grey Interiors.

Chaise Lounge Updates

Last chance to vote for #MakeMyChaise! Voting ends today, May 25th at 7 p.m. EST. Vote for your favorite design to help one lucky winner’s idea go from napkin to showroom as it’s developed, built and featured at this year’s BDNY event. Follow this link to check out the designs and vote!

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Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!

About the Author
Grant is diving into the world of podcasting and interior design as an audio editor, blogger, copy editor and marketing content creator. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Grant has lived on the Front Range for five years and is a political scientist by training but journalist by craft, contributing to newspapers and media outlets in Boulder and Denver. He’s written on a wide range of subjects, including street racing in Denver, animal rights activists that steal chickens slated for slaughter and a mailman who is terrified of dogs. When not spreading the word about the world of interior design, Grant writes fiction and non-fiction, plays music in bars across Denver, and hikes Colorado’s toughest mountains.

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