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Exploring Life & Business with Lea Parsons of PARSONSDESIGNS

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lea Parsons.

Hi Lea, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I got my degree in Interior Design in 2012 from Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, GA. I moved to Florida to try to find a job in my field. While there, a really good friend reached out to me about her upcoming wedding. She was in need of help with the décor.

I accepted and used whatever she provided to make her wedding what she was looking for. She was grateful and loved what I did. That’s when the seed of wanting to be more than just an Interior Designer was planted. I moved to Maryland in 2014 in search of a better opportunity to work as an Interior Designer.

I worked full-time for different companies (small family-owned businesses, a newly built/renovation construction company, and even a granite company) while I practiced my event décor skills on the side. I would occasionally lend a hand to friends who were having various celebrations and gained experience as I go.

During this process, I assisted my sister in her destination wedding (2016) and became a little bit more confident in putting myself out there. I officially started advertising myself as PARSONSDESIGNS in 2018 and did my first official wedding that year. It was great.

I used word of mouth to land my first couple of jobs (friends or friends of friends) and was so grateful that people loved what I did and referred me to their friends.

In 2020, I got my social media up, but not fully running as it should until 2021. In 2022, I registered my business as an LLC and participated in my first Wedding & Bridal Expo.

The road to get to where I am now wasn’t easy and I did question my abilities ever so often because I wasn’t accelerating at the rate I thought I should. When I began to just focus on the present and what I’m currently working on, I see that I am exactly where I need to be.

My growth will not look like anyone else’s, but what I do know is that I am growing and being who I want to be as a business owner. I have prayed over my business numerous times because I want it to be covered and make sure that above all, my business represents God and myself.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road hasn’t been smooth. There were mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual struggles I had to overcome. Mentally, I doubted myself and my confidence wasn’t where it should be.

No one can beat you up and tear you down as you can, so I had to wrestle with myself to shake these negative feelings. I use to compare what I was doing with businesses that have been around way longer than I have but had to remind myself that they have been in business longer than I, I will get to the levels which I need to be when it is my time and there are people out there that will hire me.

To help me navigate where I want to be as a business, I met with a life coach (who is also a phycologist) to help sort out the way I felt about myself and to determine what my goals were. Figuring out where I want to help to shape the road I should take.

Emotionally, having a life coach, family and some amazing friends that I can express myself and get their feedback helped me to know that I have a purpose. I am here for a reason and to overcome any struggles that may come my way. They have even helped me when financially things didn’t look good. Starting a business means investing money and time. Having people in your corner that encourages you and calls you out when you’re doing more than you should is always a great thing.

Physically, I struggled with trying to start a business while working a full-time job, a part-time job at one point, volunteering time with a youth organization, serving on the hospitality team for a young adult group, and leading out as a praise dance instructor for kids at church. My focus was definitely split, but finding a balance meant I had to keep my calendar up to date and try to not over-extend myself.

This meant not overbooking myself and learning to say no to things that came up last minute and interfered with previous engagements. I also had to sacrifice sleep some nights to prepare for events. I have also learned to take a day off of work, when needed, after an event so I can rest and reset. I only have one body, so I have to take care of it in order to keep moving forward.

Spiritually, I had to remember that I needed to lean on God for help. I am here because of Him and I constantly remind myself that I need to thank Him. Being constantly on the go can be draining and I tend to sacrifice time with God to spend doing other things (mainly catching up on sleep).

Again, finding a healthy balance and having a calendar helps greatly!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I am an Event Planner and Interior Designer. I have staged a home for a realtor and had two set design gigs thus far. As far as an Event Planner, I sit down with the client and discuss their event (birthdays, weddings, rehearsal dinners, graduation parties, baby showers, etc).

We go over their visions, ideas, and color schemes. Based on what they are looking for, I submit a rough idea/design of what I’m planning to do along with my service fees and rental fees. Once it is approved, I shop for items, prep linens, and other items needed for the event.

I set up the items on the day scheduled for set up. If they ask for a day of coordinator to make sure everything runs smoothly, then I would facilitate that followed up with cleaning up of the items (cleaning of the facility is not included). if they do not want a coordinator, then I would return for the time allotted to clean up.

As an Interior Designer, I do consultations on residential properties only. I can assist with giving ideas on your home layout, and what you can do to make it function better and I can either only provide you with recommendations or I can provide the service as well. I also provide pantry/kitchen and closet organization and baby room set up.

I am known for my ability to create and make my own items for events and home décor pieces. I have created pearl balls, paper flower balls, yarn barns, greenery, a custom sign-in painted letter for guests to sign, a greenery wall, a wooden stand, and a hand-painted rug to name a few.

There are not many Event Planners that have an Interior Design Degree. I use my ability for crafting to help create things that can be utilized for various events. I am very reliable and responds to emails, text, and phone calls. If I say I will be there by a certain time, then I will be there ready to set up.

I’ve had clients tell me that they never had to worry about whether or not I would flake on them. They worried about other vendors, but not me. My job is to make sure the event turns out the way you saw it or even better.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
I have learned that it is ok to slow down and enjoy some self-care.

During Covid, I had a few jobs to do and we made sure my assistants were masked and took necessary precautions to ensure no one’s health was jeopardized.

I value other people’s well-being as much as I do myself. I also learned that it is ok to turn a job down if things don’t seem to line up properly.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Alyssa Ryan

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