If today’s episode doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will!
If you’re ready for holiday decorating tips paired with inspirational stories - then this conversation is exactly for you.
On today’s episode of Life with Loverly, I’m chatting with Chaz Easterly - the brains and heart behind Linen & Flax – and we are chatting all things Christmas magic in our homes.
Linen & Flax is a lifestyle brand designed to create beautiful, livable environments, apparel, home goods, and more. Their passion is to provide the beautiful elements of home and lifestyle that set the tone for memories to be made and real life to be lived.
Chaz’s story into entrepreneurship is SO inspirational. What started out as a need for additional income for her family with a job at Pottery Barn, quickly turned into an untapped passion and gifting.
Something that Chaz said that really struck me was that she felt unqualified when she first began her journey because she believed she was ‘only a mom.’ She loved being a mom, and that had been her role her entire life, but when it was time for her to step into the workforce - she felt behind and unprepared.
…but she didn’t let that stop her.
She drew strength from the Proverbs 31 woman in Scripture. A woman who was a mother AND an entrepreneur. The Proverbs 31 woman was buying and selling land, she was making clothing, and that was when Chaz found permission to step into more.
And that ‘more’ for Chaz happened to be Linen & Flax.
In addition to learning Chaz’s inspirational story, in this episode you’ll also hear:
- Chaz’s suggestions for wallpaper for your powder room
- Her 3 L’s to designing a room: Light, Layers and Life
- 3 tips for decorating your Mantel, Tree, Tablescape + Coffee Table
And one BIG, decorating take away?
Don’t wait on drapery!! People usually overlook this, but this is one of Chaz’s first focuses! It makes the space feel cozy, so don’t put this off.
This conversation is a great mix of motivation toward your dreams and tangible tips for your decorating.
And if this holiday season finds you in a tougher season than normal, you’re in good company, friend. Chaz is here to offer her heart and advice for anyone entering the holidays with a little more heartache this year.
Tune in to borrow a little Christmas cheer and maybe even discover what your ‘more’ looks like next year.
Use code LWLFREESHIP at the Life with Loverly Shop for free shipping on all orders within the Continental US!
This podcast was transcribed using Rev.com. Please forgive any typos or errors.
Brittany:Hi friends. Welcome back to the Life with Loverly podcast.
Nichelle:Hi, welcome back.
Brittany: How are you?
Nichelle:I'm great. How are you?
Brittany: Good. Back in the swing of things. I know. I can't believe we're in the first week of December. It feels so crazy.
Nichelle:It's weird to think because I felt it was more like we were going into holiday full force before Thanksgiving and it ki- we're in the middle of it. We were in the thick of it, but it doesn't feel the way it did before Thanksgiving. Do you agree?
Brittany:Right. It it's really weird. I feel like I haven't finished or really even started Christmas shopping yet.
Brittany: Chris is the only person who I've bought gifts for so far.
Nichelle:Well, you're one up on me
Brittany: Thankfully because of our shared note. I'm like, yes, exactly. Oh, he added something great. He added something great.
I actually need to do my part and add back to that. So that he's aware. And then we set our Christmas tree up late, which is not like me. I mean the four year tree has been up since October, but the girls have loved helping decorate the one in our living room and so that's been a fun little thing for us to do over the past week.
Nichelle:Random. But I've just finished putting all of my Christmas up and you know that's not like me.
Brittany:Yeah, I know. I don't know what it was this year.
Nichelle:Well, the flu took me out first.
Brittany:You were down and out for a week
Nichelle: I feel like. Yeah, so then it was recovery mode after that, getting the house clean and just like time got away. So it's now decorated. We're ready to go.
Brittany:You're like, I can enjoy exactly when I come home and sit. It's funny. In today's episode we are interviewing Chaz from Linen and Flax, which we'll get into that in just a second. But one of her tips in our interview that we talked about was she loves coming home and lighting a candle and that is <Oh yes>, her getting into her nighttime routine and the day is ending, I'm switching into home mode. And I thought about that last night, actually lit a candle last night and I was like, oh, this feels so cozy. And she was so correct.
Nichelle: Im all about the candle life right there. Do you wanna go ahead and introduce her?
Brittany:Yes. Okay. So I've been really looking forward to this conversation. Several of y'all requested that we interviewed Chaz from Linen and Flax. So here we are. She's the founder and creative director of Linen and Flax, which is a lifestyle brand that provides design services, home goods, apparel and more. They are located in Roswell, Georgia, on Canton Street. So if you are in the area, definitely stopped by one of their two locations. The brand was born out of her love for design, passion for people and the desire to create a kind of environment that families can truly call home. I actually met Chaz probably four or five years ago now when I lived in Roswell, just being over there shopping and shopping in their home store and we just kind of made an instant connection. She just had this warm, inviting, just personality and I was kind of starting out blogging and they had the front of their store is stunning. And I remember going in being like, do you mind if I take a picture in front? Everything is decorated so beautifully. And she was like, absolutely. What's your name? And we introduce ourselves and we've just stayed connected over the years and so it's been so fun to watch her journey and for her to watch mine and I feel like there's just been, our paths have crossed so many times, so it's really cool that we got to get her on the podcast
Nichelle:And you actually just ran into her down at the beach.
Brittany:You just saw her in person, was able to give her a little hug. And sometimes when we do these podcast interviews, it's not always local in our studio. It's on a Zoom call and somebody's in another state. And so it was fun to be able to see her before our call and then it just kind of felt like it flowed a lot better
Nichelle:Guys, Chaz has such an eye for designing a home with beauty and livability, which I think is such a huge deal. <affirmative>, there isn't a thing in her storefront or online that I haven't wanted
Nichelle:And don't even get me started on her beautifully curated apparel line. I have to tell you, I'm obsessed with her signature scent. It's the Linen and Flax signature sent. Yes candle. So good. And it makes such a good gift for the holidays or even for Hostess gift. I know you actually really like it too.
Brittany:Yeah, somebody actually gave me one of those candles for a housewarming present and what was so cool about it is the vessel that it comes in is actually really beautiful and it looks like something you would wanna clean the wax out and set on your mantle or set somewhere for decoration. So I love that It's kind of like a two for one, but their signature sent is like, and it's such an affordable, easy gift. So if you need something, definitely check out the candle. So Chaz's heart behind her, her business is just as beautiful as a pieces that she sells. It's hard not to fall in love with her. In this conversation we chat about how she started her business, her passion for design, and then we get really tangible on how to decorate our homes for the holidays with an extra dose of magic for our families.
Nichelle:I think her tip on how to decorate your mantle was one of my favorite and I'll definitely have to incorporate that this year because that's the last little
Brittany:Touch. It's funny because I feel like as she was talking about giving a few decorating tips, I was like, yes. Yes. That makes sense. She simplifies some of these tips, so if you just need a little bit of help on how to design a room, she gives you the basics on how to really get started. So I feel like there's so much good information in this conversation. So without further ado, let's get ready to find your Christmas cheer. Here's my conversation with Chaz from Linen and Flex.
Hi Chaz, how are you?
Chaz:Hi Brittany. So happy to be here.
Brittany: Well first of all, last week when we were both down on 30A, we ran into each other and it was so nice to give you a hug and chat about talking at this conversation. So I thought that was a really fun precursor to having this conversation and met your daughter and she is so beautiful in person. I've never seen her in person just on your stories, but she is so beautiful.
Chaz: I mean - I need to let her hear that because how girls are, how tough we can be on ourself. But I've actually talked about you often with Jacqueline because I think she should do what you do. Yes. And I'm like, look, I mean she doesn't such a tasteful, beautiful way. And so when she met you she was a little starstruck.
Brittany: Oh my gosh.
Chaz:So that was fun. It was fun. We had such a good time. We love Rosemary. It was so fun running into you. I mean -
Brittany: It truly is. I saw you guys were drinking some ice coffee. What's your favorite coffee shop down there?
Chaz:So I kind of like this little shop is called Third Cup I think. Yes. And no one really knows about it. First of all I like it because there's no line. I know. No one really ever goes there. We used to go to there's one in downtown Rosemary because of an A and I cannot the
Brittany:Name. Yes, it's Aveda,
Chaz:That's it. Yes. But the line is so long. So third cup, it has a cute little window service. We get our vanilla lattes, ice vanilla lattes, and then we try to do a three mile walk. That's our morning routine.
Brittany:I love that.
Chaz:Yeah. I started walking this past year and Jacquelyn is like, that is so boring. How do you just walk for three miles and now she's doing it in college when we're at the beach he's like, let's go. Come on, it's seven, let's go walking.
Brittany: I love that
Chaz:No better place to walk.
Brittany:Seriously. Third cup. I remember when they opened down there that they just opened last summer. But the yes, I love the name so much because there's so many times you're having your first cup or two at home and then yes, later in the afternoon or whatever, you're getting your third cup of coffee and I just think the marketing. And the name behind that was so clever.
Chaz:Yes, so clever. I mean we're always getting our third cup.
Brittany: Exactly. Exactly. So I know you guys were down at the beach last week. If you could describe your last seven days in one word, what would it be?
Chaz:Family. I was surrounded by family. It was our first Thanksgiving at Rosemary <affirmative>. So my sister came with her family. My dad came, we lost my mom this year. So it was his first Thanksgiving alone. So we didn't want him to be alone. And then Jacquelyn came home from college and the boys were with us and it was just perfect. I mean we didn't have the perfect tablescape. We had mashed potatoes and gravy everywhere. But, it was so perfect just having the family. We really were thoughtful about spending time with the family, not so much making it perfect on the table and the perfect platter. I picked up Turkey from Honey Bake Honey baked ham and I just simplified it and we really just embraced time with each other. It was really good. We hit the pause button.
Brittany:I love that. I actually talked to a few people over the past few days who did more of a, I wouldn't say a pre-made Thanksgiving, but they kind of outsourced their Thanksgiving food in order to save time and actually spend time with family. And so many people were talking about how amazing that option ended up being. I think we might try that next year.
Chaz: I left Atlanta and on the way to the town I stopped at Honey Baked Ham with big coolers. I got the ham Turkey, I'm like, let me get this broccoli casserole. We basically outsourced it as well. And then we just made the fun sides that all the kids, which takes no time. So I think that's the way I'm going to do it. We just, were not in the kitchen all morning. We did a little bit of prep the night before we were at the beach on Thanksgiving. It was so nice.
Brittany:Do you think this will be a new tradition for you guys to spend Thanksgiving down at Rosemary?
Chaz: I hope so. I have a hard time getting on the books in Rosemary.
Chaz:It is always rented, but I hope so. I was actually was talking to the kids about that. I'm like, what do you think? New tradition and they were into it. So I think
Brittany: So. Yeah. It's so nice to be down there when the weather is a little bit cooler too. Because you can still be on the beach and some people are even still swimming, but so it's not as crowded and it just feels, yeah, you get a different sense of appreciation for the beach when you're there in the off season. I think.
Chaz: Completely mean. There was one morning I got up really early and I just went for a walk before Jacqueline woke up and it was chilly, it was foggy and it was probably the most beautiful time I've ever seen the beach. Look, nobody was on the beach. It was so quiet. And I just thought this is the best kept secret coming here in November, because it is crowded in the summer and even at six in the morning there's a lot of walkers. I mean it's always crowded, but it was one of the best mornings I've ever had and it was just quiet and just felt really kind of alone, which was really nice.
Brittany:Yeah, that's definitely needed.
Chaz: Good and beautiful.
Brittany:Yeah. Yes. So you are the owner of Linen and Flax, which has many facets of design and aesthetics. So you have the home store, the apparel store and the design service and then you rent your cottage in 30A. Tell us a little bit about linen and Flex's backstory and where the name came from.
Chaz:So I got the name when I was sitting in church, but a little pre-story to that was my life has kind of been a story life to put it gently. And I've had a lot of personal struggles, and really from a young age into adulthood. And it's never really been easy. It's been very imperfect. But through a lot of my difficulties, I've learned so much and it's really made me who I am. So when I created and started dreaming about creating Linen and Flax, I wanted to build something with purpose. I wanted to build something that shared my story of overcoming and a story of imperfection but also kind of rising to the occasion. And it really Linen and Flax came to be out of difficulties as well. I was struggling in my marriage and my husband at the time said, you know, need to go get a job and don't come home unless you have a job.
And I thought, oh okay, I'm a stay at home mom. I loved being a stay at home mom, but I really didn't know what gifts or talents I had. And I remember driving down Canton Street, which is where our stores are now, two stores. And I was like, God, I have nothing to offer you. I'm a stay at home mom. I was a waitress when I was 18, then I did ministry for a short period of time. What am I going to do? And I was kind of crying. I'd gone to a couple stores on Canton Street and I got denied. I was looking for a job. And so I ended up at Pottery Barn and I brought a picture of my family and I didn't have a resume because my resume would not read very interesting. And I said, listen, I just need to go home with a job.
And I handed a picture of my family and the manager hired me on the spot. She says, no one has ever come in with a picture of her family before you're hired. And shortly working there two weeks, they decided they wanted me to launch their design services, which they didn't even have at the time. And I was one of those people that felt like I could do anything even at that time. And I was like, of course I will. So I've worked there for about three years, never really knowing what I was learning, learning how to run a store and learning design. But then I decided to step away and I was thinking I could do this on my own. And I left Pottery Barn and I was thinking of a name and I could not come up with a name. I'm sitting in church and this word flax jumped off of the pages in the Bible.
And there's an area in scripture, Proverbs 31, where it talks about this woman who is resourceful. And she wasn't just a wife, which is what I always perceived her to be, but she was more, and the gifts and talents she had, she was an entrepreneur basically. So first female entrepreneur you'll ever see in scripture. And I always looked at her role as a wife and then I shifted that day and I thought, she is a entrepreneur, she's buying and selling land, she's making clothing. And it almost gave me permission that I could be more. And I was like flax, I love flax, I love linen, Linen and Flax. And that's really how the name came. And then shortly after I chose this name, I was sitting with a friend who was helping build my website and he was kind of researching the name and he is Linen and Flax, it's gotta ring to it.
And I said, do you like it? And he's like, I do. And he was kind of looking up different things and he goes, what's interesting is it's the process of refinement. In order to make linen, flax has to be stripped and it has to be broken. And then beautiful linen comes from it. And that's my story. And I wanted a brand with purpose. I wanted a brand that showed, even if you're stripped down to the core, you know that God can build you up. And it's what we do in design with design services when we remodel, we strip down to the studs and we rebuild. And that is truly the story of my life, continual story of my life for whatever reason.
Brittany:Well and it's interesting too because I feel like going into somebody's home and helping them create it maybe from nothing into something that purpose follows you into somebody else's home. And then you're able to grow it up, which I think is so many people love what you create. And I don't know, I feel like the Chaz touch on things is just so stunning.
Brittany: I knew a little bit about your background and that you'd worked at Pottery Barn, but some of that was even new to me. So I feel like, I don't know, that's just really inspirational if nothing else.
Chaz: Yeah, well it's such a picture. I think design also of I can walk into a home and one of the gifts, I have a few that I realize, but one of the gifts was I can go into a space and I can see it completed. I truly can walk in and I see it. And then the hardest part for me is downloading it to everybody that I have to work with. But I see it, and I know that that's how God sees us. He sees the finished work and I know he saw me here when I was dreaming about this 10 years ago. He saw what my life was going to look like today in 2022. And he knew I needed Lenin and Flax. So I really believe that he built me, made me for, for a specific purpose but also to carry our family. And it has been such a gift. It has been such a gift more than just a business. It has been truly a gift, that really keeps on giving.
Brittany:So what is decorating mean to you outside of what you've just mentioned?
Chaz:So I have always, I'm not trained as a designer. I have always just gone with my gut. And for me, it has been about creating environments. Not just a pretty space to be published in a magazine. But I think about the family as a whole. I think about the age of the kids. I think about the kids growing up and what that's going to look like in 10 years. To me it's always been about creating environments that are full of peace and you know, walk in and life is busy, life is the world is crazy. We're all going a hundred miles an hour. And when a client hires me, I want them to walk into their home and feel peace. I want them to feel like it's a sanctuary and it's a refuge. I think you can create amazing, spectacular, stunning spaces, but if they don't feel like you wanna end your day there and you wanna get cozy up on the couch with your kids and watch a movie or sit with your husband and have a cup or glass of wine, however you end your day, I want that to, I want them to feel it.
So it's more to me about the feeling than even the visual. But, all of those visuals give that feeling and it's very intentional. I believe in intentional design to the point of asking them where they wake up in the morning to have their cup of coffee. And if you put your slippers onto the morning, I mean we get really specific of what the floor feels like when they step out of bed. And I really think that's what makes us a little different is the intentionality of the whole process.
Brittany: I think too, those are probably things aren't even thinking about when they're going to design a space in their home, but that it's something that they're doing all the time. I mean, I go to put my slippers on all the time because I like the way the fuzziness feels on my feet that makes me feel like cozy and at home. So if I could have a certain rug in a cozy place that gave me that same feeling. But I think what's really cool here, or I hear you saying is you bring some of those questions to life and allow for people to have this thought process that maybe they don't even know they want to have when styling and designing their home. And you can really bring that out of them. So I feel like that's something people wouldn't even know that they needed that they will would end up getting with you guys.
Chaz:Yes. I think people design off of Instagram, they see something on Instagram or Pinterest and we're designing with Pinterest, but it truly is how you live. And I'm big on form and function. I want it to be amazing and gorgeous visually, but the functionality, if it's gorgeous, but every day you have to take a roller to your couch. That is not good. Or if something's pilling constantly or if it's oversized and the proportion's not right. So it's just all about ease of life. That's what we create. Making life easy but making life beautiful. And when you do those together, it's special. That's probably what I hear from our clients' feedback. They'll live in their house a year, two years after we've built it and they'll still say, oh my goodness, just the placement of my coffee, my coffee maker. Or I'm so glad we did this in the master bedroom. I don't have to go across the whole house or just the little things. The Costco door from the garage I, the little things. We're literally building a house right now that has a Costco door we've called it. And she's just so happy about that. And it's even cost a lot of money. It's just being thoughtful and creating thoughtful spaces.
Brittany: Oh that's so exciting
Chaz:For everyday life. Yes, everyday life has to function and classic, we like to keep it classic because trends as we all see, they change constantly. But if you have a classic timeless, neutral palette, it gives you longevity and you don't have to keep redoing and redesigning every time a trend changes. So I think that's also a piece to our design aesthetic, keeping it neutral.
Brittany:Because you can always add in some of the trendier touches, but it's like your main palette needs to stay classic is going to give it that long term effect.
Chaz:We always tell our clients your money pieces, keep 'em neutral, <affirmative> your big sofas, your sectionals where you're really investing. And then have fun with pillows or do a fun paper wallpaper, which is having really having a moment right now doing a fun paper and a powder bath or a secondary bedroom but play with patterns and do it in small little doses and then it's so much easier to change.
Brittany: We are looking at some wallpaper for a bathroom right now and I feel so overwhelmed because there's so many options out there.
Which would you say, because I've seen several of the ideas I've seen have been really bold, bigger prints and then a lot of really tiny, which wallpaper option do you prefer for a powder bath?
Chaz: So I like a bigger print. I just feel like it has more visual impact. You know, walk in and it just really takes your breath away.
I also am loving this paper we have found this past month or so, there's these beautiful plaster papers because plaster can be, that's me, that 30 a vibe. But plaster can be so expensive and it's hard to find someone who does it well, it's also hard to find the right resource. But we have some beautiful plaster options. So not so much a big pattern but more of a texture. And some of those papers are amazing and they'll have pattern in them, but because they're tone on tone, you see the pattern, but you see the play on the texture.
Chaz:I'm going to have to have to send you some
Chaz:Really pretty. But I mean I'm loving all the papers right now. I mean we're using a lot of it.
Brittany: Yeah. I feel like that's also a fun way to, while you don't want to constantly change your wallpaper, but it feels like that's a fun way to dress up a room and then go off of that.
Chaz:Yes, yes. A hundred percent.
Brittany:Okay, so going back because there's a lot of people who listen to this podcast who are maybe interested in starting a business or just are entrepreneurial minded. So I wanna have some real conversation just about some of your background. But, what was your biggest obstacle you had to overcome when you were first starting out?
Chaz: I think my biggest obstacle was the balance of family and work. I was a stay at home mom. When I tell you through and through, I mean doing it all and I didn't have the luxury to get a nanny cause I was building a business. So I was still a stay at home mom. But, doing it all in the workspace and trying to start something from nothing financially, also physically. And that was, if I really think about the time of starting this, that was the biggest challenge. Trying to get to the bus stop at 2:30. I would be scrambling from an install by myself because I didn't have a big team running to the bus stop. And then I would think, oh my goodness, my whole car is full of accessories. Where's my kid going to sit trying to get dinner on the table. Then trying to get them to football, taking calls from clients again, I didn't have a team, it was basically me and trying to just handle it all. So that was the biggest obstacle. It was such a gift when I was able to hire help and really, I never had a nanny, I still did it all. I still wanted to be a mom, but trying to do it in a way where I could go of some of the control. And hire people that could handle it.
Chaz:And that was a game changer. And trusting people and finding what I would call vision carriers, that had the same vision, they had the same passion and love for it. Because I think starting a business you think no one's going to love it you or have the passion that you have or the work ethic. You think all these things, but that's not true. So when I found vision carriers, people that loved it like I did, it was a lot easier. But that was the biggest challenge.
Brittany:One thing I always say to people who are wanting to maybe start, but then I feel like they have a list of excuses as to why they shouldn't. I'm always just go for it. You know, don't...
Chaz: go for it.
Brittany:...know what is going to come out on the other side. Or it might seem impossible and hard, but I look back over things that I did and I'm like, that was impossible and hard and it got me here. Yes. So it's encouraging to hear from other people what was an obstacle at that time, but turned out to be an amazing leap of faith.
Chaz:You know it's interesting because I was kind of told by a couple people, you know, should wait until the kids go to college. Do this when your kids go to college. And my father said to me, he's like, listen, you have to do it while you're young. Do not wait because it's going to take a lot of effort and don't wait until you're 50 when my kids would not be in all of them in college until I'll be 49. So that would've been a mistake. So I was terrified, I was scared. I didn't have a ton of money to start. I think the people have perceived that maybe I just started this as a hobby. I truly did it to bring income into our family because we needed it and I had to build it from nothing and fully fund it. So it started very small, but I just worked and did a little bit more and worked and did a little bit more. And at the Thanksgiving table this year, a couple days ago, Jacqueline said one of the things she was thankful for was Linen and Flax because our life would be so different without it. And if I had not done it for the sake of the kids <affirmative>, it is sending them to college, it's providing shelter for us. And you know I think as moms I think we can't do that. But I did this for my kids and it is helping our kids grown children. It is, I don't know what we do without Linen and Flax. So it's such a gift. So don't be held back by that. I think we can do it, we just have to figure out the balance of it and just go for it. What I did,
Brittany:I feel like that has to be kind of a full circle moment. Hearing Jacqueline say that because what was something that was worrying you about potentially not starting it, she is sitting there saying like, I am so thankful you did start it. And I don't know, it's just the circle that closes. I feel like you have to be really proud of that.
Chaz:It made me tear up and my sister was, everybody was in the room and they all were just saying, knowing kind of everything that we have walked through over the past few years, it truly was something that I was kind of forced to do to figure out. But became our lifesaver and it is full circle. And my kids see my oldest son has started his own business, he's an entrepreneur, literally watched me with not a lot of resources or education and they're like, if you can do it, anything is possible. And that is such a gift to give your kids as well that they see my work ethic, they see that I kind of beat the odds, sort of speak, that you know can dream big. And this is beyond my dreams actually. I just wanted it to work. I didn't know we were going to have an apparel store and an eCommerce and a lifestyle brand. I had no idea. I just wanted to be an interior designer.
Brittany:Yeah, it's amazing though what you guys have built. I thought it was so awesome a few years ago when y'all opened the apparel store and I feel like that division is killing it.
Chaz: Oh my goodness. Apparel is killing it. Yes.
Chaz: It is so easy because home can be a logistical nightmare sometimes. There's just a lot of moving pieces and parts. But apparel is one of the best decisions I made also, you know, can have a lot of people speak into your life positively or negatively. And there were thoughts of, well what do you know about apparel? And I was like, well what did I know about Home? I just love it. So I think if you love something, you know, follow what you love. And I, I've always loved apparel, I've always loved home, I've loved Rosemary, which now we have the lifestyle home. So I just follow what I love and I think that's where the success comes because if you love it, the people following you are going to love it. And it doesn't feel like I'm selling. It just feels like I'm sharing and it just works. Sharing what you love, you do.
Brittany:Exactly. That's so exciting. So aside from just going after your dreams and just starting out and trying, what would be some other advice you would give to somebody who is dreaming about starting a business of their own?
Chaz:Well I think there's, the easy thing in your head is, well this isn't the right time, but there's never a right time. There's never a perfect time to start anything. I mean you just have to do it. And I think to me, I was worried about timing and that I have seen now seven years later, that's not been an issue at all. And then finances, just start with what you can. You know, don't have to wait until you have X amount of dollars in the bank. I was scrambling for the first year I think of really just scrambling every time. I'm always scrambling. I mean I'm a hustler at heart, but anytime I'm making it, I'm building into the business I make and I build. And that's kind of how I operate. And it just has been running itself. So I would say don't let fear hold you back.
Don't wait for the perfect time. There is no perfect time. And just follow what you love. I mean, really, truly my best advice, if you don't love it, don't do it. You have to love it. Because there's going to be days where the grind, as you probably know, it's hard. It's a grind and it is a real job. Yes, I'm 80% of the time it's fun. But 20% of the time you're up all night, you're scrambling, you're shopping, you're filling orders, you're looking at the bank accounts, are we going to be okay? And it's hard. You're dealing with employees. We have 40 employees right now and you have to take care of them. But with that there's sometimes there's shifts and there's changes. So it's hard and you have to love it to do it.
Brittany:That's so great. And congratulations. I did not realize that you guys had 40 employees. That's so amazing. Yeah. I'm just sitting over here beaming. So proud of you. Everything you've accomplished.
Chaz:Thank you. Pretty, it's crazy. I, I'm surprised myself sometimes, it's amazing. In fact, I'll have to sometimes ask the operations manager, I'm like, so how many people are working for us right now? Because it does change. We have seasonal help. Mm-hmm. But yeah, we've worked consistently at 35 and with Seasonal 40. And we may keep them on next year because they're got an amazing team that also takes time to build. It's not like we've always, I've always been blessed. I've had people that I've loved to work with but maybe they were like, this was part-time and this is full-time. They were just like, it's a lot. And I understand that. I mean you have to be invested. But we have such an amazing team that's very invested right now and that makes all the difference. And our customers, I would say our team is part, as much as I am part of the success, they are too. They love going into our stores. They love the people that work in our stores. They love the interaction they have when they come to headquarters to pick up their orders. I mean, we have such a great staff.
Brittany:Yeah, that's awesome. That's true.
Chaz: They love it too. And if they don't love it, they wouldn't do it because it's hard. It's hard work. That is that key to the puzzle. Loving it.
Brittany:That's so true.
Okay, let's take a little bit of a shift in, get some decorating and design. So when you are decorating and designing a room, what are the foundational steps that you usually start with?
Chaz:So I think about the three L's. So life, you wanna bring life into a room, you wanna bring light into a room and you wanna bring in layers. So that's kind of how I think of a space. And then I start from the ground up. I, it's important where you put your feet and it's gotta feel good. And I think about again, the age of my clients and how many kids they have. If they're going to be laying on the floor watching a movie. So I start with rugs, floor/flooring, rugs, windows, drapes, shades, and lighting. And then we fill in with all the cozy comforts sofas, sectionals. Those are questions we ask too. Are you a sofa person or are you a sectional? What's your Friday night? Are you watching Netflix with your family curled up? Or do you want your own chair and your husband has his own chair and separate couches for the kids? So we get really intentional with that. But starting from the ground up is key. A lot of people say, well what's my color palette? You know, because we're neutral. We really don't have that issue. So that's where the layers come in and that's where every rug we choose, there might be some color play, but it's mostly about the texture of the rug. And any time I share a rug at a client's home on stories or in our feed, we get such a response for our rugs. Cause we're super intentional about the texture because we've taken out the color. So the drapery is all about texture. Normally a beautiful linen, different shades of linen, or a linen with a little bit of a pattern ever so slightly. And then we'll have fun with custom pillows. We love to customize our pillows just because we don't want every house to look the same. So yeah, starting with the big investment pieces, your rug, your drapery, and do drapery. Everyone waits on drapery. That's like the last thing they do. But that's one of the first things that we think about because it is expensive, it's kind of like just do it. Just do it right up front. And then you can build your room once the walls are dressed, the floor is dressed, then you kind of build from walls in.
Brittany:It's crazy how adding drapes to a room can...
Brittany: ...completely change the look and the feel of a room.
Chaz: Completely. Yes.
You could do a cocoon feeling. It wraps around you. And that's that whole environment, that cozy... I think that's what people say about us is when they come in after we show them the reveal of their space, that's one of the first words. Even their children will say, they're like, it's so cozy. They feel it. And it's those layers. Yeah, it's so important.
Brittany: I love the feeling of that. I remember we had moved into our home here in Athens and we moved in the middle of 2020 and then I was nine months pregnant two weeks later. Hazel was born after we moved in. So it was just a crazy disaster zone. And I remember probably four months later I was feeling like I was going to have a breakdown and I said I need to take a break from my Instagram. I need to just get some stuff done around the house. And one thing that I did was I wanted Chris to hang the drapes in our master bedroom because for it we didn't have any. And I immediately felt this sense of calm after those were hung up. And it was so silly looking back now. But it was so important to just bring that room together and just at least feel like, okay, I have one place that is, feels cozy and done so any future place, I will definitely be doing that first.
Chaz:And it's so worth it. I mean it is, I'm in a rental right now, just moved and I'm like, I need dry break. But do I do it in a rental? But it does. It's a finishing touch. And I think when people call us, if they didn't start with us in the beginning and maybe they've built a house and they've moved in, they're like, "I don't know what it is, I can't make it at home". Well it's because there is no drapery. They have no rugs. They have furniture just kind of floundering out in the middle. Nothing's anchoring it. So you really need an anchor, we'll call it anchor pieces, which is if you're in a family room, you need a great rug. Oversize. The other problem, a lot of people choose a rug the wrong size because it's cheaper. So we're always go bigger than you think. Max out your space, put a big rug down and then put the furniture on top of it. But, that's kind of where people try to save is rugs and drape rain. It's the worst place to save I to save. I would say just pause and wait on certain items, but invest with your foundational pieces.
Chaz:That's what we encourage our clients to do. We always have to have those conversations because everyone thinks the same. Well I don't need drapes right now, but I'm like, no, let me tell you why you need drapes.
Brittany: Right. Well and I think too, educating people who maybe don't know or they've never walked through this process or thought about it. And so people, they're trying to recreate something they saw on Instagram and they're like, oh I'll be fine without that. And it's like, no, no, no. That's the key. That's why you like this photo is because of how cozy it looks.
Chaz:We'll build the house, we'll design it with all the furniture. But, when I come in for install day where we're putting, laying all the pillows and all the accessories and styling the mantle and the coffee tables, that's when the magic happens. Now we've spent two years building this house, but that one week of install week or install day, that is truly the magic it because it's all the layers, it's all, it's the candle that you light at night that makes you feel cozy. It's the $20 candle that changes your life. But it's just these little things, the stack of books, the layered linen throws so everybody has a throw and they cuddle up. It's very thoughtful.
Brittany:It's what everybody truly needs.
Chaz: Yes. Thoughtful design.
Brittany:Exactly. So right now we are in the holidays. So let's talk specifically about decorating for the holidays. What is the biggest thing that will make your room feel like Christmas magic this holiday?
Chaz:Well, I was just saying I love a candle. So our scented candles for the holidays. I mean when I come home from work, that's one of the first things I do is the candles. And it just gives you that feeling of peace and it smells amazing. It smells like Christmas. So a great candle or a few great candles. I love to kind of refresh our pillows and they don't necessarily have to be Christmas pillows, but they could be a velvet pillow that you can carry throughout. You can even start in October and carry it through march and you have a little more value there. So I like changing my pillows, maybe a boucle fabric, something with little texture, adding a little velvet. I'll even change my everyday throws and do a heavier throw. And I love touches of, like I was saying, life. So we have amazing greenery. It's not real, but it's faux garland. It's probably our biggest seller. But I think for Christmas is having that beautiful greenery kind of around the little twinkle lights. I mean it's easy, it's very simple, but it adds a lot to the space and it just feels festive and not so overly Christmas, more seasonal. So yeah, I think greenery lights and nice soft touches like the velvet or bucle or just cozier fabrics on your sofa, your pillows.
Brittany:I feel like I don't use enough greenery, but when I see it used properly, it's another thing I think that can complete a space.
Chaz:Yes, it totally does.
Brittany:Yeah, it's hard to find good greenery. But you guys sell a lot of greenery in the store on Canton Street.
Chaz: We do. And why that sells so much is when I was decorating before linen influx, I was decorating, I was girl on a budget and I was trying to do it on a budget and I was buying faux greenery and it just looked terrible. It looked very pine neatly and it didn't bend right and there were gaps in it and I could never get it. So when I started Linen and Flax, one of the, we opened at Christmas time December 4th, and so I was buying a lot of Christmas items and now we've basically become known for our Christmas. But I was looking for a perfect greenery because I was so frustrated with doing it in people's homes. I'm like, I hate this stuff. And I found this amazing greenery and every year I bring it back, it has been a staple, but it looks real. I mean it looks like the type you buy at Trader Joe's that we all want.
And it lasts for three days and it dies. But it's amazing. The price points excellent. But just putting that around your, I have a mirror behind me right now and I have it draped over a mirror going up our banister on the fireplace and it's just a few touches and it just totally warms up the space and it feels festive, but it doesn't feel overly done. And you could keep it through January and February. It could feel wintery versus holiday. So we love it. I mean I love a touch of greenery even when we're not at Christmas, like a fiddle leaf bag or an olive tree in your space. Anytime you can bring in life to a space, it really matters. It feels right.
Brittany:One thing I love about coming to the store on Canton Street, for those of you guys who are local in the Atlanta area, their Linen and Flax store is on Canton Street in Roswell. But I feel like stepping in there, you get so much inspiration the way the store is decorated, you can immediately see, okay, this would work on my coffee table if I set it up like this. So I think people need to see sometimes, and you guys do such a great job of showing how just any consumer coming into buy a candle or some new pillows could actually transform a room and add some of those special touches.
Chaz:You know, Brittany, that's funny that you felt that because that was super intentional. When I first started this, I launched Linen and Flax out of our home and I decorated my house full of merchandise and sold out. And I realized when I opened a store that they bought everything because it was in an environment, it was in my home. And it was like, oh I can go. I'm going to take this. Literally I had a lady say, I want everything on the coffee table. And she took it to her house. One lady took everything on my front porch. I mean, I can't even believe that I sold everything out of my house. I basically did, but we are hibitual people. So when I found that house, we started at the apparel store, the smaller store, it was a little bit harder cause it was smaller. When we moved to the new place where we currently are, there were rooms. We did take down a few walls, but we were really intentional about keeping them as rooms instead of just opening everything up and filling it with racks and merchandise. We wanted to have different rooms. So we really created room one, room two, room three. And each room has a luxe version, a casual version, the white room. So they all have a feel and it really works because they walk in and they're like, I need all of that on the oh that I want everything on it and the console and it just takes the brain damage I always say out the equation, what do I put on this console?
Brittany:It's so true. I think one thing that I'm hearing over and over is the word intentional, which I really like. I always select a word of the year. And this year one of the words I selected was intentional. And it is so fun to hear everything that you've put intention behind and how it's working and how it's benefiting other people. I think that's so important. The hustle and bustle of life and just the way of the world today is so hard to do things with intention and you actually have to intentionally try to be intentional.
Chaz: Be intentional, yes.
Brittany: But it is just a common theme throughout this interview that I'm like, okay, and it's working. I don't know, I just love it.
Chaz: Words are important to me and they have a lot of value. This year I chose this word courage and it's been a courageous year, but intentional is I, I've been thinking about for next year, because you have to be, I'm actually creating something for our store right now and it's with words and we're going to launch it next year. But I was like, there has to be a star word. I'm like, is it courage or is it intentional? Because you have to be intentionally courageous and you need all of it. So anyway, intentional is a strong word in my life and I was like that. It was, it's been a word for my, I read this book years ago, probably 15, 20 years ago, intentional motherhood. She's a friend of mine that the author. And ever since I read that book, just being intentional as a mother, it carries into every facet of your life.
And I have seen, if I am just intentional, even when it feels big and it feels overwhelming, if I just chunk it down and every day just be it intentional about one or two things, it works. And if there's no, I'm not a big planner, I wish I was, I kind of just wing it. But if I at least am intentional and maybe I don't have my to-do list of 10 things, but I'm intentional about two things, it provides me success. So it's been good for my soul to just be thoughtful and intentional in every area of life. And it does pay off.
Chaz:It's because you're focused. Yeah.
Brittany: It's hard though. Sometimes I feel like it's so hard I just get going and then I'm like, hold on a second. Am I doing that with intention or am I just doing that cause I feel like I need to. So then I stop and I'm like, okay. Then it's, I feel so clear in a decision when it's being made out of intention other than when it's just like, oh I think we'll just do that because it's busy and whatever. So I feel like that's been, I've noticed that as a huge difference just for me personally in the last year that I've really been trying to be intentional.
So I know during the holidays decorating can be kind of difficult for some people. Can you give us a few tips for people that are decorating their mantles , trees, table scapes, and coffee tables? What would be your go-tos if somebody's trying to spruce up their space for the holidays?
Chaz:So I'm big about repeating, so if I'm going to start, I'll start for the holidays, I'll start with my mantle. That's kind of like the show stopper. If you have a fireplace that, if that's your focal point. So I'll do lush garland. And then I like asymmetric. Now I'm not so symmetric, I used to be very symmetric, but I like to kind of change that up. So I'll do an asymmetrical garland on the mantle. And then I love candles again, it's the life, the lights. So candles, and layers. So I'll put candles, I'll, I'm looking like what's over there. I have little trees. So we have the beautiful candles and touches of winter, like white trees. Different shapes I think are really, they're appealing to your eye to have different heights and different shapes. So we like to play with heights and shapes and not be so linear.
So if you're doing candle sticks, not having them side by side but kind, having them layered or one sits back once sits forward, very important on a mantle you do not wanting lined up. And then I would carry that repeated over your table and I'd have another white tree or something white to play with the white trees on the mantle. And then I would have maybe a bowl with greenery in it and ornaments. And then I'd have an oversized candle because that's like, you know, sit down on the sofa, you've got your coffee table so you wanna light your candle. And then of course your little snuffer for your candle, that's just cute. A touch of brass. So different material plays as well. You have a touch of brass, like a ceramic base, beautiful faux stems. And then you carry that over to your dining table.
Maybe a centerpiece is a beautiful big bowl with a little bit of greenery and ornaments. Or maybe it's just a big bowl with beautiful ornaments that are also on your tree. I don't love a themed Christmas. So when every room is different, I know people do. That's just not what I do. I like to kind of repeat and carry it throughout, but also changing in my dining room. I have some greenery but I have different types of trees. A little bit more fancy. I would say. There's a little bit of gold in them. So I just think you should repeat and don't overthink it. I think some people spend way too much time decorating a Christmas tree to make it perfect. I think imperfect is kind of what I like and where it doesn't feel so forced. So just float up that tree and don't overthink it.
If you have a tree that you've had for a while and you're like, I can't afford to go buy a new tree, throw in a new garland. We have this beautiful metallic garland that we've added to some of our clients' trees just to refresh their tree cause they didn't wanna go buy another one and then we changed up the ornaments and you can just get a few ornaments and it really changes up your look. But I would say repeating throughout, at least feeling consistent, not matching. You want a different look but you want it to feel cohesive.
Brittany:I love the cohesive, the word cohesive throughout the house. I feel like that's kind of the style I go for as well. We have the tree that I have in my foyer that I'm like, this is my pretty tree.
Chaz:Love that tree. I always see it. I love that foyer.
Brittany:I love that tree. But then I have young kids and so they wanna be part of making ornaments. So we have a separate tree in the back and that's the one that I'm like, okay, this is the fun tree. This is where they're going to put all their ornaments. And this is the really the family tree. But I think it's interesting because some of my friends, they've got all their trees up and everybody's taste is so different. But one thing I feel like I am seeing on Instagram all the time is a consistent, your tree should be like this. And I feel like people should do what they really like and what is going be their taste. And it's okay if it's not what somebody else really likes. This is where it gets to be very personal to your home. And you'll probably be happier if you're not trying to do something that you don't love.
Chaz:It's not you. Exactly. Yeah. Just to have a pretty Christmas. I totally agree with that. Speaking about the kids, I always had a kids tree and they loved it and I would just let them go crazy, just put it anywhere and kind of like, oh my gosh, I have to let go of that perfectionism. But it was their favorite thing to do. We would always have it in the basement where it was all their stuff. The big sectional and all their Santa's village, everything kind of lived there and it really was their own and they loved it. But I do think the tree should represent you and it should have your personality and it should have, if you love to travel. When I was in Rosemary, actually, I always get a rosemary ornament. I like to put those on a tree. They're so cute. So I think it should tell your story.
It's a great opportunity to tell your story actually. Your family story. People will say with designing, they'll say, well, I'm going to wait till my kids are older. That's another thing that I would say, don't think like that. They're like, well, I'm just going to wait cause I have young kids and well sofa that has a performance fabric, but don't wait to create home. You're creating home for your kids. So it's kinda a shift in thinking. And every time we sit down with clients, that's what we're designing for basically families. And we're talking about performance fabrics. We're talking about rugs that are durable and that can stand the test of time with kids, with dogs, we're talking about coffee tables that you can put a water down and there's not going to be a rain. So you can still have a beautiful home and have young children and create an environment of beauty and magic. You can. And it's faulty thinking that you have to wait until they're 18 when they leave and they're coming back for two weekends, over the summer.
Brittany:And then it's completely different than what they were used to. And they're like, what are you trying to do here?
Chaz:What happened? What happened? Mom's got some good, so do it now and you can do it. We designed for families, that's truly our bread and butter, so to speak, that it's our families that wanna have high performance pieces that will last, that their kids can sleep on, they can be sick and lay there that they're not going to be worried that they're on mom's couch. So we believe in a livable home, a relaxed home, and a comfortable home. I mean, that's home. You don't wanna be afraid to sit down.
Brittany:So I know the holidays can be so magical, but it can also be tough for so many different people. What suggestions do you have for those that may be having a tougher holiday this season than normal?
Chaz: Well, holidays can be really tough. And we've talked about this on our Instagram as well and stories. Whether you're going through a life change or I lost my mom this year, or you know, lost a spouse, what have you, it's life is hard at any season, but Christmas especially. And so I just feel like we should have grace and grace for ourself and to think, not everything has to be picture perfect. Instagram perfect, pinterest perfect, but if you have the margin in your life and heart to put up a tree, that's awesome. If you're just like, this year I'm just going to do a mantle, that's awesome. Do what you can in the time that you can. But I would say more so put your thought into being with people, with family, with friends. Maybe your house isn't perfectly decorated, but surround yourself with people.
Invite people to your home. Maybe that's the nudge. You need to put a cute centerpiece together. I think it does make you feel better. Because our environments do make us feel better. I think that is a fact. So I think just do what you can and take it bin by bin. Take a bin out of the basement and put something up. And if there's things that are too difficult, hard reminders, maybe it's childrens ornaments, a lot of empty nesters struggle with that, they talk to me about that, then maybe go buy some new ornaments and change it up a little bit.
Brittany:I read something the other day that made me think about different people going through different seasons of their life and how that can look different for everybody. The post that I read was in this home decor new build kind of group on Facebook where people are always asking other people's opinions and showing like, "Oh this is, we're doing a new build. What are your top kitchen requirements?" Or whatever, or suggestions. And this girl got in there and very vulnerably, she posted these photos, they had moved into their new house and nothing was decorated. There were boxes everywhere. And she was just looking for a little bit of, please tell me I'm not the only one in this phase of life. And so I'm reading the comments because I was kind of like, oh gosh, I hope people are being nice to her and not like, oh well you need to do XYZ to hurry up and get this done.
And so many people were like, thank you for sharing that you're not in a perfect situation right now. And it really got me thinking that person might be in their version of hard and maybe I can't relate because I am not in that season of life that they are in, but I can give them grace and I can look at it through a lens of love. And that's something that they're going through and it doesn't make them a lesser person. It's just a different season. And I think that applies if you're struggling in the holiday season two, this is just a season. But then for people interacting with somebody who's struggling, just leading with love is always the answer I feel like.
Chaz:Always the answer, I would say, look for beauty everywhere, not just on Instagram, but look for it in your children. Look for it in design, look for it in hard. And when you find it in the hard things, that's true beauty, to be able to see through the hard and through the mess and through the imperfect life. That's really what I hope people find here when they follow not just the influx, but follow me so that they see it's a person that this was hard to do- it was possible that you can do hard things, you can persevere through hard things and you can be courageous to face your fears, face your hard, and find beauty. At the end of the day, it's there . Not just in interior design, but in life. There's so much beauty and you just have to have eyes to see it.
Brittany:Yeah, absolutely. Well this has been such a fun podcast episode. So on this season of the podcast, I'm ending each conversation by asking the guest, what is the most meaningful act of kindness someone has extended to you that has had a lasting change on your life?
Chaz:I listen to your podcast and I love your podcast by the way. I'm so proud of you actually. I mean, well done. You've done such a, you've been, I don't even know the word or what's the word? Like a pathfinder of this industry, of what you can do in this Instagram world and it's on social media. You've done such a beautiful job. You've done it with grace.
Chaz:We've done it with class and it's beautiful. But I would say it was hard for me to think of one thing. I think the biggest surprise for me and meaningful thing for me is I don't have the biggest following. I think it's like 80 something thousand. But these people have become friends, and they have gotten me through really hard things. I mean, like I said earlier, Instagram could be a blessing and a curse. But I have found here this space that I have had the most amazing cheerleaders and the days that I would get up and think, oh, how am I going to do this today? There would be just random messages of, you know, can do hard things repeating to me what I told them. Those everyday messages have gotten me through the hardest times of my life, the hardest times of my life. And so I wouldn't say it's one thing. I would say it's this tribe of people that have rallied and who are for me and for Linen and Flax and for my family at the end of the day, just providing for my family that is so impactful and meaningful and it blows me away. People I've never met and they have changed our life. So, I would say it's these amazing followers and customers that send cards and flowers and buy a candle just to support us. And it means everything. It blows me away.
Brittany:I think, if anything, this is a great reminder to those of you guys who are listening to, if you think or if you see somebody like that needs a word of encouragement, say something to them. Encourage. I think there's so many times I started doing this recently, if somebody I felt was really on my heart, maybe I hadn't talked to them in a while, I would send them a text and be like, "Hey, I don't know why you're on my mind right now, but I just wanna let you know that somebody's on the other side of this thinking about you and praying for you, and I hope everything's well", just kind of a touch base. And some of the responses I've gotten back when I've just randomly said something have been like, we're actually in a really hard time right now. You just encouraged me and didn't even know. So I feel like if more people gave encouraging words or said something when they really felt it, you have no idea. Here's what prime example you on the other side that really has meant so much to you over so much change recently.
Chaz:I mean so much and so much value in those words. Again, I'm a person who values words and it was almost like, is this God? Because it would be on a daily basis, random. And I would try to come on with, even though it was kind battling going through really hard stuff, I couldn't share everything that was happening. But it's like they knew and they were there and they were cheering my family on, not just me, but they were like, "you've got this and we've got you because you've always had us". So we've got you during this time. And I felt it. I think they were praying for me, they're praying for our family because I mean, I saw the results of those prayers and it blows me away because I know this space can have a bad rap. But I think that what you give out to people comes back and being kind and encouraging. I do that just, it's who I am. I like to encourage people. It fills me as much as it fills me to be encouraged. They're doing the same. It just comes back. So what you put out definitely comes back.
Brittany:Absolutely. Well, Chaz, this has been so amazing. For our listeners who don't follow along with Chaz, absolutely go to Instagram right now and go to Linen and Flax. We will leave all of the details for where to find her, their website in the show notes. But thank you so much for joining us. Truly have enjoyed this conversation so much.
Chaz:Thank you so much, Brittany, for having me. I love being there and adore you. You're killing it,