Shea McGee and her husband Syd are Founders of Studio McGee, an Interior Design firm based in Salt Lake City. Shea studied Public Relations in college but realized quickly that design was in her cards. After just a few semesters of design school, she had a waitlist of projects. The McGee’s launched their firm in 2014 out of a spare bedroom and it has quickly grown to become one of the most well-known interior design studios in the nation. Shea was kind enough to take time to answer some questions about her career. Please see below! We love her style and hope you do as well.
Imagery by Kate Osborne
What was the beginning of Studio McGee like? How did you and your husband help it flourish?
The early days of Studio McGee were filled with big ideas and a whole lot of hard work. Funny enough, that is exactly how I would describe where we’re at now, but our day-to-day looks much different! When we started, Syd and I wore all the hats – accounting, customer service, social media, designer, photographer, office manager, ordering, handyman, etc. We hustled and took on every project we could to build a portfolio and constantly asked ourselves,”How can we improve?” Honestly assessing all facets of our business can be scary, but the growth we’ve seen as a result has been incredible.
Tell us more about what you do, your studio and how your environment affects your work?
My role is Creative Director and I oversee all the visuals for our interior design projects, styling, products, and marketing. I meet with our designers and team members daily to provide creative direction, review things, make edits, and set the vision for our brand. Natural light and a collaborative work environment are my magic ingredients for creating beautiful things.
Your website is multifaceted with your style web series, blog posts, and projects. How do you keep track of so many moving parts at once?
This is one of the trickiest and most enjoyable parts of my job. I’m a busybody and my mind is always racing. I love that my hand is in so many things, but it can also be overwhelming. I find that maintaining a schedule and putting every little thing on my calendar is one major component to staying sane.
How do find inspiration for the many different aspects of your business?
I get away from my phone or go deep into the Pinterest hole!
You started out of your spare room and now have a team of 30, can you offer any advice to small business owners on how to create a successful firm?
Be willing to make short-term sacrifices for longterm gains. Also, learn to delegate and let people run with it! As a small business owner it is easy to feel like you can do everything, but that doesn’t mean you should! You may find yourself pleasantly surprised that your team can do an even better job than you were doing while trying to juggle many tasks.
How does Freda connect with your personal style?
I have been wearing Freda shoes for awhile now and I absolutely love them…and I’m not just saying that! The Freda look is similar to how I approach designing a room.The styles are a modern take on classics and they always have a bit of an edge.
What has been your biggest challenge? What do you do to keep positive and energized?
The biggest challenge is that there are always challenges! I think that at some point I had to come to grips with the fact that no amount of hard work or creativity will make you immune to roadblocks. Positivity is a muscle I have to constantly have to workout! Taking time with my family, getting outside, and clearing my head are all things that keep me energized.
A powerful quote you live by?
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them, they went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo DaVinci