The Fuchsia Design goal: provide interior design expertise to West Michigan families, bringing their individual style to life through interior design. Autumn Fuchs, full-service interior designer and Fuchsia Design founder, understands what it means to put specific talents to work when building something bigger than yourself.
What prompted your decision to become an entrepreneur?
I had a very specific vision on how a design project should be managed. While I value the experiences I gained working for other design firms, my passion for design and detailed personality fueled my desire to develop my own company. Being the leader of my own business allows me to execute projects in a way that sets Fuchsia Design apart from other firms and provides clients with the best possible experience.
What have you done to create and grow a successful business?
While I could certainly say, "I was financially savvy, I had a humble beginning starting my business out of my own home, I invested in my business, and I put myself on a modest salary," none of those tips are any different than what you could find when Googling "how to start a successful business." What really helped me develop my business was recognizing that not all projects fit the vision I had for Fuchsia Design. By learning to say "no" to projects that weren't the right fit, I opened up my schedule and availability for bigger projects and opportunities I may have otherwise been too busy to take. It has also ensured that we are the best fit for our clients, so it creates a win win relationship.
What is the greatest or most interesting lesson you've learned so far?
I believe that everyone has specific talents they are meant to use in their lives. Even though we may know how to do everything in our business, that doesn't mean we should do everything. For me, it was helpful to recognize what my strengths were and only take on those tasks. As a business owner, it's easy for me to want to do everything, but important to step back and recognize that there are other people that might be better at that particular task than I am, and my company and clients will thrive because of that.
For example, despite having over 10 years of experience in AutoCAD, it was not what makes me feel creatively fulfilled. So I hired an AutoCAD specialist whose gift is computerized drafting. I may know how to create 3-D renderings, but I'm not as efficient as I would like to be. I hired someone who's been creating them full time for nearly 10 years and thrives on that one task. Every member of my team has been hired to do an aspect of our industry that they love and excel in. I've learned that by doing this, it keeps me and my team from getting burnt out from wearing too many hats. It also keeps us feeling creatively fulfilled in the work we are doing.
What are a few of your favorite things about being an entrepreneur?
It's exciting to be building something that's bigger than myself. I love being able to grow a business that designs dream homes for my clients; spaces where they raise their families and make lifelong memories. It's a very personal industry to be part of, and creating a company that allows my team to design those spaces for our clients is incredibly rewarding.
What sets you and your business apart from others?
Fuchsia Design is unique compared to most interior design firms because we are full-service. We don't just do interior decorating: We do beginning-to-end design. In addition to a college background focused on interior design and construction management, I have years of experience working with clients from the initial concept through completion of their home. That means collaborating with the architect on the initial drawings, working through electrical plans, plumbing diagrams, custom cabinetry drawings, elaborate trim details—all the way to dishes in the cupboard and bedding on the beds. My team members' expertise in interior architecture and three-dimensional renderings are also valuable components to the experience clients receive when working with Fuchsia Design.
What advice would you offer those who ponder following their dreams?
As my late Aunt Dixie said, "It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't know you can't." Take the risk and have faith in yourself, because life is too short to not live out your purpose.
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. They don't stop at "no"—and they persevere through risks and rewards. When West Michigan Woman sought nominations of local woman entrepreneurs to feature as our cover story, the response was outstanding—as are the women our readers selected. All are in the earlier stages of their endeavors. All have a story to tell. To read the published article introducing these women, click here.