Angela Page, 33, took her finance degree and her love of design and turned them into a successful business. Stepping outside the box, she chose to leave the security of a corporate job and pursue her dream. The result? Le Creatif Designs, LLC., a successful interior design consulting firm launched in 2000. In 2007 Angela will open Le Creatif Design Gallery, which will offer quality, fashionable and unique furniture to the sophisticated client. Angela’s success is due in large part to her outlook on life, “Your dreams will inspire you but your goals will keep you moving in the right direction.” This belief has carried her through the many challenges of a small business owner. In 2005, she was awarded the Miller Urban Entrepreneur Series Business Plan Contest, which enabled her to invest more in her business. Angela’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed, in 2007 she was nominated Black Enterprise Magazine’s Rising Star of the year. To learn more about Angela and how she turned her dreams into a successful business, read on in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Le Creatif Designs, LLC
Le Creatif Design Gallery will open its doors Summer 2007
Providence, Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island
BS in Accounting
The Art Institute of Atlanta
BFA in Interior Design
Le Creatif Designs, LLC
Owner /Interior Designer
The Coca-Cola Company
Senior Financial Analyst
Nova Information Systems
Circuit City Stores, Inc.
About the company
Le Creatif Designs, LLC, is one of metro Atlanta’s most progressive interior design consulting firms. Launching my business in 2000, I believe I have made an indelible mark in the interior design industry. After more than seven years of success, Le Creatif Designs is expanding its services to further include retail sales with Le Creatif Design Gallery. The design gallery will offer high quality, fashionable, and unique furniture and home accessory pieces sure to please the sophisticated client with a discerning palette for creative design.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
As Le Creatif Designs expands to include Le Creatif Design Gallery, it presents new daily challenges. In addition to customer and vendor contacts, networking with business professionals and organizations, creating design layouts, and sourcing product to complete the designs I am so involved in setting up the gallery location from the design aspect as well as establishing all of the systems necessary to run the facility. I am also interviewing for various positions for the gallery.
Most notable milestones
Transitioning from the corporate world to entrepreneurship. It takes a lot to step away from the “security” that comes with a guaranteed paycheck. But when you notice your dreams and goals are one and the same when it comes to your career, you have to seriously look into yourself for the strength and faith to follow it.
What’s the niche?
I have a unique blend of business acumen and creativity which makes owning a design firm a perfect fit for me. I love the idea of creating an empire that is basically limitless. I can continue to build the dream and open new galleries where the demographics work. Or I can build a firm here in Atlanta that encompasses every aspect of design or just one. Whatever the dream, I can make it come true because I understand how the business of design works. I know what drives the numbers and what creates new opportunities. And at the end of the day, I know what’s hot when it comes to design.
What’s the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me right now is financial. It is a difficult challenge to actually get small business financing from the traditional banks. Having the opportunity to be a grant award recipient of the Miller Urban Entrepreneurs Series Business Planning Contest in 2005 was a unique opportunity to assist me in financing my business. However, most small business owners do not have that opportunity. I put everything I have into this business because I believe in it and I know where its going. Having a bank to feel the same way would allow my more immediate goals to supersede anything this industry could imagine!
What’s in store for the future?
In the very near future Le Creatif Design Gallery will open for business! The grand opening is scheduled for September. The gallery will feature furniture, accessories, and art. Some of which will be created by local artisans and craftsmen. Le Creatif Design Gallery is making a mark in the industry. We are going to make it our business to create a path of success for other entrepreneurs to follow.
Best way to keep a competitive edge
Always stay on top of your education and your industry. That doesn’t mean you have to keep going back to earn more degrees, but it is necessary to subscribe to industry publications, read books on your industry, find a mentor and/or be one. You’d be amazed what you will learn from teaching others. Challenge yourself to do it bigger, better and faster the next time you do it. You should never be satisfied with the status quo and you should never feel like you know it all. There is always something else to learn.
Guiding principle in life
Have dreams and have goals. But know enough to understand the difference. Your dreams will inspire you but your goals will keep you moving in the right direction.
Yardstick of success
Being able to give something back to those who are in the position you were in when you started. I look at those who contact me in regards to being “trapped” in corporate with a desire to follow their dreams and I try to make sure I give them the road map to success I followed and also offer words of advice. I look at the little girl in a class room with the world telling her she has to follow the math or science discipline in order to be successful and I offer her an opportunity to see the world of design through my eyes. At the end of the day, it’s not about success. It’s about significance. What significant difference have I made in someone’s life.
Goal yet to be achieved
I would like to get the store opened. It is going to be a great accomplishment to actually close on the retail space and an even greater accomplishment to open the doors to the public.
Best practical advice
Be planful in your business ventures. Set small goals that will get you to your larger goals.
My dad because he is a realist. He keeps me grounded in my thought processes. At the end of the day we have completely different tolerances for risk taking. But I need to hear his conservative views in order to be sure I thought of all of the possible outcomes before I take a chance. He is a brilliant mind and a visionary, and just a little cautious!
What motivated you to get started?
I had a desire to be creative. I loved to express emotions through design ever since I could remember. I would invoke a feeling from a person when they entered my space before I ever knew what that meant. I knew if I had that kind of influence over people with my designs, I should do it more often and on a bigger scale to see what natural talents I could unleash.
Like best about what you do?
I like being able to take a space like a lump of molding clay and create a work of art. I love to look at the before shot and the after shot of a room and see the difference I have brought into the clients space.
Like least about what you do?
The thing I like least about what I do is that I can’t do it all. I know I have an analytical part of me that wants to control every aspect of Le Creatif Design. It has been a great challenge for me to understand that in order to create a successful and sustainable business, you have to allow the work to distributed in a productive manner. Also, the business should be able to run without me when need be. The only way to do that is bring in competent individuals to assist in the growth and development of the business.
At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was 10 I believe I said I wanted to be a psychiatrist. My dad majored in Psychology and I just wanted to be like my daddy. I had no idea what it meant to be a psychiatrist. I just knew my dad had a job and most other dads in my neighborhood did not. So he must have been smart! He told me to look towards a business degree if I wanted stability. All the while I was sewing doll clothes, painting, drawing and redecorating my bedroom every chance I had.
What was your first job?
My first job was in a bakery decorating cakes. I was the best high school student decorator! I loved it. It did not pay much but I could draw on cakes and work with people.
Biggest pastime outside of work
As a small business owner, I do not have time that is designated “outside of work.” But when I am in a designated “down time” per friends and loved ones, I love to spend time at the movies and trying out some of Atlanta’s great restaurants. If I said shopping, I would have to admit it was for furniture and home accessories. If I said traveling, I would have to admit it was to look for unique pieces for the store. If I said reading, I would have to say I read books about building small business, interior design principles, how-to books on crafts and design. That is just what I enjoy doing all day everyday!
Three interesting facts about yourself
- In 2007, I was nominated Black Enterprise Magazine’s Rising Star of the year.
- In 2005, I was a winner of the Miller Urban Entrepreneur Series Business Plan Contest.
- I used to dance on TV as a preteen on a local dance television show!
Three characteristics that describe you
- I am a self-motivated individual with the tenacity to achieve my goals of entrepreneurial success.
- I am a spiritual, God-fearing person. I believe everything that is happening to me in terms of business was set in my path long before I knew anything about it. My faith has me where I am today.
- I have a silly personality! Most people are shocked by how silly I am when they get to know me.
Three greatest passions
- My passion to design and create beautiful spaces that represent my clients’ personalities is what keeps me going.
- Creating a business legacy for my family to build on.
- Establishing a foundation to allow other young minorities the opportunity to express themselves creatively as a career.
Right now, its “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber. This is my second time reading it and it sheds so much light on what small business owners think they know about business and how to keep from falling into the trap many business owners have in the past.
Diabetes awareness. My sister died at 33 with four children from this disease. She was diagnosed at eight and lived a very difficult life as a result of it. Even after her death, I still have family members being diagnosed with the disease as well as millions of other Americans. The disease they have is from our lack of knowledge around what we eat and how we live. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Who would you like to be contacted by?
It has always been a dream of mine to be on the Oprah Winfrey Show and/or in the Oprah Winfrey O Home Magazine. I believe she has done what it is I think all business owners should strive to do: market the person as the brand. After that the future business opportunities are limitless. On a more personal level, I would love to be included in her network of people in order for me to learn from her and even have a roundtable discussion with her on subjects like business, dreams and aspirations, books and recipes. I just want to prove that great minds do think alike.