Today we want to introduce you to Megan Ann McFarland. Patricia met Megan a few months ago at the Charleston Piqued Party but has been following along with her amazing interiors on Instagram for months. Last month she event visited Charleston for Megan’s e-commerce launch party and in true Megan fashion every little detail, down to the napkins were branded and gorgeous. Get to know Megan below:
What Inspired you to start your business?
I felt inspired to officially start my business after I began posting photos of my own home on Instagram. The feedback I was receiving on these home decor posts was overwhelmingly positivity with many people asking to hire me for my services. It was a a no brainer that I had to start an interior design business! The feedback I receive on Instagram continues to drive my business today and remains my number one referral source.
What advice would you give a student or aspiring entrepreneur?
Just Jump! I only wish I would have sooner. I spent 12 years climbing the corporate ladder-knowing it was not my true passion. Just a paycheck. Find whatever it is that you’re good at, something that truly is important and inspires you and just run with it! You don’t have to have a fancy degree, lots of money in the bank, a grand business plan, yada yada…you truly just need a vision and insane drive to be successful. That’s it. Everything else works out. Promise.
How has social media influenced or helped your business? Do you have an example?
Social Media is 100% the sole reason I was able to start a business in the first place. I joke all the time that Instagram is the House that built Megan Ann McFarland Style and Design but it’s actually so true. I was building more than a business on Instagram-I was building a brand. Social media is a free perfect platform that gives you this amazing opportunity to do just that. My brand and my design aesthetic was loud and clear. All you had to do was visit my page and you would know in about 5 seconds if you wanted to hire me or not. That’s what social media for business is for. I was able to attract the exact clientele that I was looking for-just by posting beautiful photos of my own work, my style and my inspiration. We receive a new inquiry just about every other day from social media. That’s a major win in my book.
Who do you admire and why?
Studio McGee. This interior design power couple has played a very important role in my business decisions. Design is 80% business after all. They knew they wanted to build a brand and an empire-something way beyond just serving residential design clients in their home town. Within three short years, they grew an instagram following of over 600,000 and are running a very successful e-commerce site that more than doubles the business of their design services. What stood out to me with them is the fact that they took insane risks. Risks that maybe didn’t make sense at the time but more than paid off. I would have never of hired not one but two employees now if it weren’t for them. They taught me that if you want to grow, you have to hire help. You can’t possibly do it all alone. You build a strong foundation so you can build the “house” or empire in this case on top. My goal is to experience this same level of success in my industry. I know I want more and I know that takes risks.
What is next for your business?
E-Commerce. The dream for many is brick and mortar. Not me! I grew up watching my mother open and run a retail business for many years. It is tough. Especially in the day and age of Amazon and Wayfair in my case. I decided right off the bat I wanted to open a “shop” but strictly on my website. I’ve started small and have included many of my favorite things from rugs to pillows, prints, towels, candles and even jewelry. All of my artists and makers are Charleston locals. That was really important to me as I feel these are the people that I have supported me from day one. This community of women is amazing! I want to do all I can to give back to the city that has given me so much. Next will be my favorite chairs, chandeliers, sofas, and more! So I know the local love won’t last forever but it was the perfect place to start.
What do you think has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?
Building a Team. I never would have thought after 5 months that I would have an assistant and business manager, a junior designer, a photographer and an intern all working with me towards the same goal! It’s pretty amazing and inspires me to do my best for them daily. I love having inspiring people around me who encourage and support me, are honest and full of ideas. My team is just that and I feel so lucky to have them. Hands down my greatest accomplishment is each of those wonderful ladies.
I have so many but in reference to above- “The bigger the Dream, the more important the Team.” Could not be more true.
What’s your number one design advice or trick?
Spend the bulk of your budget on upholstery. Splurge on performance fabric-it’s so worth the peace of mind. Most of my clients have kids and pets so this almost always makes sense. We save on the accessories and some of the styling pieces. I love to mix high and low. You will usually find a beautiful upholstered sofa or chairs in my space covered in luxe throw pillows but then see target trays and home goods finds on the coffee table. It’s the mix that usually makes it possible for my client and I help them navigate that delicate balance.