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Kymberlyn Lacy, the creative mind behind International Flair Designs, is the epitome of a woman entrepreneur. Kymberlyn somehow manages to wear several hats as a mother, owner of a successful interior design business, mentor, public speaker and philanthropist. A native of Southeast Arkansas, she has made a name for herself as an interior design expert, being featured on a variety of media outlets, both locally and nationwide.
Kymberlyn’s life has been riddled with tragedy, such as her brother being burned over the majority of his body and (two years later) watching her childhood home burn to the ground. She has also faced the challenges of being a teenage mother. However, all of her experiences have only served to instill in her a sense of determination to succeed – and to give back.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Kymberlyn about life, business, and her plans for the future.
What is the “why” behind your business? What about interior design brings you joy and fulfillment?
It brings me great joy to know that, through interior design, I am able to give clients a new view on life (after the initial “Oh, my god!” reaction when a finished project is revealed). I’ve been able to give clients a new sense of hope; businesses a sense of mastery that goals are now obtainable; disabled clients a newfound level of independence; and children a living space that inspires them to reach beyond their imagination. At the completion of each project, I walk away knowing that I’ve made a difference. That means the world to me.
What are some challenges that you have faced as a small-business owner and how did you overcome them?
As a small-business owner, I’ve discovered that balancing family and business can be quite challenging. Throughout my life, I’ve always been determined, driven and a go-getter. However, in the beginning of my interior design career, I wanted to be there for my children. Missing games, parent meetings, late night study sessions, and ballet recitals were never an option for me. Because of that, I put my lifelong dreams and aspirations on pause. At the time, providing a strong foundation and being the best supporter for my children overshadowed my career. Now that my children are older and more self-sufficient I am able to devote more time toward achieving career milestones.
How do you think that the challenges you have faced in life and business have helped you?
“I am an overcomer!” is a phrase that I use often when speaking to ‘at-promise’ teenagers. I strongly believe that each challenge that I’ve faced in life is simply there to catapult me to my destiny. I also find it easier to face difficult situations by first changing my perception. Then I approach those challenges with the mindset that this was sent as a lesson for me to grow and I seek out the solution for that problem. In turn, I’ve also learned how to turn challenges that I’ve faced into a marketable approach.
Which partnerships are you particularly proud of?
About 10 years ago, I received my first call from a national brand that wanted to feature me as an interior design expert and product ambassador. Since that opportunity, I’ve been able to solidify partnerships with a host of other national powerhouses such as Kirkland’s, The Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Bass Pro Shops and Goodwill Industries. To have that caliber of brands trust me to represent their product and brand is remarkable. The relationships that I’ve developed with each brand is truly a treasure. I am forever grateful.
Can you tell me a bit about your charitable work with The Ronald McDonald House, AR Read, and the Central Arkansas Library System?
The Ronald McDonald House Charity is one of the most welcoming charities that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. They are very near and dear to my heart. Growing up, my baby brother was tragically burned in a house fire. At the time, my family live 2 ½ hours from Arkansas Children’s Hospital. During that difficult time, my family was able to stay at The Ronald McDonald House while my parents sorted out living arrangements for my four siblings and I. It was from this life-altering childhood experience that I developed a desire to give back to such a well-deserving charity as The Ronald McDonald House. Part of how my family and I give back is by becoming part of the Supper Club, which provides families at the House with home-cooked dinners. I also redesigned one of the rooms at the House, and serve on The Chocolate Fantasy Ball Fundraiser Committee. It’s always a great pleasure to be a small part of such an exceptional mission at The Ronald McDonald House. Growing up as an educator’s daughter reading was an essential part of my upbringing. My mother required that we read the dictionary and 1,500 page novels. We were also expected to learn foreign languages. Education was not to be compromised. It was due to my mother’s strict upbringing that I developed a love for reading and became an educator/advocate (my first career). It is also what led me to take up the mission of providing underprivileged children with reading materials. Recently, I was able to kick off AR Reading Day at one of our local schools. It was such a fun, life-changing experience.
Growing up as an educator’s daughter, reading was an essential part of my upbringing. My mother required that we read the dictionary and 1,500 page novels. We were also expected to learn foreign languages. Education was not to be compromised. It was due to my mother’s strict upbringing that I developed a love for reading and became an educator/advocate (my first career). It is also what led me to take up the mission of providing underprivileged children with reading materials. Recently, I was able to kick off AR Reading Day at one of our local schools. It was such a fun, life-changing experience.
The Central Arkansas Library System extended an invitation for me to teach a series of Interior Design courses to patrons and to give away a free interior design makeover to a well-deserving teen. This was also a very fun and fulfilling experience.
What are your future plans?
2015 was an amazing year for my firm. A lot of time was devoted behind the scenes to rebranding our image as well as expanding the services and products that we offer. The launch of our home collection is still a work in progress. After much thought, I made an executive decision to work with local vendors versus a major brand. My kitchen has literally become my testing lab. I have partnered with local seamstresses to create fabrics that I am excited about (it’s been hard keeping everything a secret). We are nearing the official relaunch of our brand, it is something that I am proud of and can’t wait to share with others.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other women who are pursuing entrepreneurship?
My entrepreneurial journey has taken me through many different phases but through perseverance, patience, diligence, focus on my vision/purpose, and sticking to a strict strategic plan, I’ve been able to achieve goals that are unimaginable.
How can people connect with you online and offline?
If you would like to find out more about my interior design services, I invite you to visit my website, International Flair Designs. You can also connect with me on social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
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