Entrepreneurial Journey: Laura Trevey of Laura Trevey Media, Inc.
You have probably heard the quote that has been attributed to Mark Twain and others, “Sing like no one’s listening, Dance like nobody’s watching, Live like it’s heaven on earth”. Laura Trevey, who has always loved to dance, embodies this quote and it comes out in her beautiful artwork, home décor and her entire product line.
Laura’s story is interesting and inspiring. In 2000, her 89-year-old grandmother, with whom she was very close and considers her creative muse, asked her to take watercolor painting lessons with her. This step took Laura from just enjoying painting to a lifestyle brand carried by retailers such as Target, Wayfair.com, Amazon, Domino and The Mine, to name a few.
One of the keys to her success is that she is an early adapter. She has a thirst for learning and it has served her well. In 2008, Laura wanted to try to sell some of her paintings. She had heard of an online startup called Etsy and decided to give it a try. Her paintings started selling and she has never looked back. That one action inspired her to start a blog (early adapter again) to help further sell her art. The blog then morphed into more of a lifestyle blog, sharing how-tos, home styling tips and even home tours.
Don’t think this came easy or without a ton of work. To establish her blog, Laura posted 7 days a week for 5 years. She even spent time on vacations to build her following. Her lifestyle blog quickly became a bigger business than her art sales. As it took off, Laura wanted to find ways to grow her art business as well as her blog. In 2015 she was invited to attend a Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker Event held in New York. Jill Wage—one of the editors and now Editor-in-Chief of Traditional Home—admired Laura’s iPhone case and inquired where she could get one. Up until that point, Laura’s products were sold by other retailers, but this conversation with Jill motivated her to rebrand and incorporate an e-commerce shop on lauratrevey.com.
If you think Laura had to dig deep and invest tons of money to launch these efforts, think again. Her perseverance, tenacity and willingness to learn how to sell online pushed her forward. She admits it would be difficult to replicate what she has accomplished starting out in today’s saturated marketplace. Her advice: study the trends, dive deep into your site analytics and go to conferences like The Southern C Summit because there is nothing like face-to-face connections for helping your business grow.
“Study the trends, dive deep into your site analytics and go to conferences like The Southern C Summit because there is nothing like face-to-face connections for helping your business grow.” – Laura Trevey
Today, Laura is known for her resort inspired bedding and coastal décor. And she remains true to her inner spirit with authentic and original happy and vibrant watercolor designs. She is still Dancing as if no one’s looking.
I had the pleasure recently to talk with Laura Trevey about her entrepreneurial journey.
What drove you to start Laura Trevey Media?
It really started when my Grandmother asked me to take painting lessons with her. I would also say it is the curiosity for learning new things that has propelled me to this point.
What did you learn from your previous career that helped you with being an entrepreneur?
I was a travel agent in the early 2000’s and witnessed the industry’s decline because of the power of the internet. That experience taught me that you can become obsolete quickly if you don’t continue to learn, explore and analyze your marketplace.
What was your biggest surprise or most difficult thing about starting a business?
I would say getting over the fear of promoting my own brand. Being vulnerable, and telling your story is always scary, but necessary on order to be authentic.
What is your Distinctive Selling Point or how do you distinguish yourself from others in your space?
My products take you on an authentic journey to be bold and to influence your own happiness.
What is the biggest piece of advice you would give someone starting a new business?
How to feel fulfilled; this is what we are all searching for, but are we looking in the right places? The advice I’d give to my younger self is, “Finding joy is pretty hard to do if you are always chasing after the next big thing without appreciating where you are in the present”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a true believer in setting goals and pursuing my dreams. I have now learned to appreciate where I am in the present. I have learned to appreciate the work I have done in the past to get myself to this point.
“Finding joy is pretty hard to do if you are always chasing after the next big thing without appreciating where you are in the present”. – Laura Trevey
What is your favorite part of owning your business?
I’ll sum it up with one hashtag #embraceambition – I’m inspired by the mission of the Tory Burch Foundation, “Own your power, your drive and your dreams. #EmbraceAmbition”
What’s the best investment (money and/or time) you’ve made in your business to date?
Attending conferences such as The Southern C Summit have been invaluable to my business and me. The reason is quite simple. It’s about people. Meeting new people face to face, having meaningful conversations and developing relationships are all key factors to the success of my business. Even though our smartphones can do almost anything these days, they cannot do everything. My advice, get out there and spread your passion in person.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
I’m annoyingly punctual (just ask my family), extremely organized and I’ve mastered the art of time management. All of these qualities or personality traits, whether good or bad, enable me to get my job done in order to enjoy what is important, my family.
What is your personal definition of success?
For me, feeling fulfilled is the definition of success. I feel fulfilled when that idea pops into my head and I actually act on it and when I push myself to try something new even though it’s scary. I feel fulfilled meeting new people who challenge me and make me step out of my comfort zone…and when I inspire others. But most of all, as a woman and mother, I feel fulfilled every day as I seek to be a positive role model for my three teenage children.
Laura’s entrepreneurial journey is filled with joy. When you meet her in person you can see why her product line puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Look for Laura at the 2018 Southern C Summit.