interview by Kimberly Davis Guerra | photos by Kathryn Ann Photographie
As a local entrepreneur of Paisley House retail store and fine home design team, wife & mother, Joani Scaff has got her hands full! We caught up with her recently to talk business, design & family.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family. Are you from Houston? Where did you go to school?
I am originally from the Chicago area. I am the fifth of six children. I grew up in a home filled with color and a lot of love and energy. My dad was an artist and my mother an accountant. My dad had an advertising agency while I was growing up and was an entrepreneur. I have been married to my husband Kyle for 30 years and have two amazing boys…….super blessed to always be in their presence.
It’s hard owning your own business. Why did you want to become an entrepreneur and open a retail store and design firm?
I have had a feeling that I wanted to be an entrepreneur for most of my life. I think I was influenced a great deal by my father. He was so creative, had his own business and had a successful art career, in his own right.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
The time commitment for building and establishing your own business required more than I had ever would have envisioned. The biggest challenge has been to make this commitment, while balancing the responsibilities of being a parent and a spouse. My first priority is to my family. I do the best I can, but as an entrepreneur, you do get stretched ….A LOT.
No single one, but many small ones. Some of my most gratifying design customer success stories are not necessarily the biggest ones.
My biggest triumph are the relationships I have built with my clients throughout the years. Their trust, friendship and loyalty have been beyond satisfying. As a designer, if the relationship is good, you are woven into people’s lives. The professional relationship turns personal and that is so special. I have walked through some tough stuff with clients as well as celebrating their victories. For all of this, I am grateful.
Houston has been exploding over the past few years. Why do you think women business owners are so successful here?
I think Texas is one of the places you think of when you think of free enterprise. I think this is true of both women and men entrepreneurs. I think there is a greater optimism here than what you see in other parts of the country.
What advice would you give to women who are looking at becoming an entrepreneur?
You have to be all in. I once heard someone say that having your business was a way of life. Once you make the commitment, you need to be prepared for some challenges. Make sure that it is something that you have a passion for and the grit to withstand the valleys.
Your store is gorgeous and has so many unique items, do you personally pick out all the pieces? What inspires you?
I do select everything. I rely on my team to give their opinion, which I respect, but in the end, its me. And actually, I do look forward to market. They are long days but I really enjoy seeing my vendors and the new product.
What is your favorite part of your business?
Hands down, the design side of the business. I love building homes with my clients. I have a pretty good track record here as I have built about 30 homes over the years. When I say built homes….I have been the design consult for new construction.
I love when everything comes together. Whether it’s a new build, remodel or someone just needs to redo a space. I love when I hear my clients express their comfort and happiness in their home.
In getting a home ready for the season, what is the first thing you ask your clients and customers?
This is a tough one. I ask their expectations. I try and help guide my clients to start way earlier than the deadline…especially if your deadline is the holidays.
When setting a table, what is the one thing that you cannot live without?
A center piece that you can see over and CANDLES.
What is the quickest way to transform a room?
For a quick change without redoing EVERYTHING. I like to add new lamps, pillows and a fresh new piece of art. These few changes can really transform a room.
Completely unrelated. Who do you admire?
My mother…she has a kindness and grit like no one I have ever met. She loves the Lord and has been such a good mentor to me.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I am originally from the Chicago area and it’s so beautiful there but I LOVE where I live – Houston!!!
Where would you like to be in 5 years?
I am a ‘one day at a time’ girl. I still see myself working, because I love what I do. My dad was painting until his last days, so work is in me and I’m cool with that. Maybe my kids married and a grandbaby or two in my life.
We wish Joani all the success in the world and many healthy grandbabies! Stop by her store for some fall decor inspiration!
9090 Katy Freeway, #120