Interview with Kelly & Mary Anne Fallis of The Remote Stylist, Ltd.
Tell us about your company, it’s purpose, mission, target audience, goals, what makes it unique.
Typing the words ‘gray paint’ into Google and getting 200,000 results didn’t seem to be a good use of my time. The frustration of having to sift through pages of décor information to find out where I could get that chair locally, what colour would be hot in the next six months and how to do things around my own home drove me nuts. Decorating a home did not need to be so complicated! With my Toronto-based home staging operation, Organized Outcomes, in full swing, I was determined to do something about it and creating the Remote Stylist was a natural progression. The Remote Stylist came together in 2008 and is an interactive, go-to decor destination site, that provides the latest in home decor deals, trends and advice – all under one roof. It’s unique because it links brands, retailers, design professionals and consumers together in a one-stop shop; literally, every question you could possibly ask you’ll find an answer to, and it doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself a trendsetter or décor-challenged, the Remote Stylist helps you make great décor decisions, regardless of where you live!
How did you come to work together in the first place?
When I started my first company Organized Outcomes, my mother was an empty-nester, hadn’t worked for 20 years, but looking for something to do. I needed help and with her background in decor and her passion for organization and order it made sense. When I started the Remote Stylist, she was eager to get out of the field (ie staging homes) and up for the challenge of the online world, so I brought her along.
Please describe your respective roles in the company.
I run the company, as President and she’s my right hand or Vice President.
How has working together affected your relationship outside the “office.” In other words how do you keep family matters separate from work related issues?
Because of the virtual nature of our business, we don’t have an inside and outside the office line so all issues become one. Everything is blended, but I can certainly tell you it’s made family discussions more interesting. Even when we’re in the car on the way to the farm or cottage, or store, we’re continually sharing ideas and working towards achieving that common goal!
What are some of the challenges you have faced working together?
Our biggest struggle comes down to the age difference and isn’t so much a struggle but a challenge. I’m 32; I got my first computer at 16 and the internet showed up in a computer lab form at 19. That being said I’ve learned the online world, rapidly quickly. My mother is 61. It simply doesn’t come as easily! The biggest struggle is finding the patience to teach her how to do something and waiting for it to “click in.” That being said she’s getting really good at it so I have to keep ratcheting up the learning curve.
We get to share in the successes together and nothing tops that!
What do you like best about working together? Least?
We love the fact we can bounce ideas off each other; that we can commiserate or celebrate together; that we can travel to exciting places together; that it doesn’t feel like work! The downside is that some work days never end!
What, if any big challenges or little annoyances have occured as a result of working together and how have you managed to overcome them?
The obvious one – when two people work for the same company, they share income and expenses. In up times its great, but in the down times, both suffer. Managing the ups and downs is a constant challenge without one there to pull out the other. We’ve learned to be there and balance each other with positive and negative.
8. What tips would you share with our readers for working with a member of the family?
If you already get along, do it! It takes the relationship to an entirely different level. That beings said be sure to communicate and be open to ideas. The fact you already know that person well and can sense moods, disappointments, reactions, etc allows you to be better prepared to deal with them.
9. What’s been the most exciting thing that has happened as a result of working together (eg. unexpected publicity, obtaining an unexpected client/customer, an emotional moment, etc)?
This is our 6th year working together, and second company. We’ve had great success and enjoyed every minute…and of course relished in all the external success. The best thing about working together however is what’s happened to us personally. I’ve delighted in watching my mom’s level of confidence and excitement rise as she’s challenged each and every day. On the other hand she’s so proud of, and delighted in, watching me become a successful entrepreneur. All the third party endorsements and comments are wonderful but when you can watch each other blossom in entirely different ways, there’s no other word but magical.
10. What’s next for this mother daughter team?
More ups, down, love and laughs! We are just at the beginning of the Remote Stylist journey but expect it to take it to places far and wide, full of interesting contacts and partnerships.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
From mom – It was wonderful to be given the opportunity when I was at loss. There has been nothing better than watching these companies grow with daughter at the helm, and the chance to see her as a confident, successful business person.
For more information on The Remote Stylist visit http://www.remotestylist.com
This article can be read in the Spring/Summer 2009 Issue of WE Magazine for Women