Entrepreneur Profile: Rachel Mospan
Rachel Mospan Design
When Rachel Mospan decided to take the plunge and start her own interior design firm in 2021, she knew the driving ethos behind her new business. After years of hobbyist design, she wanted to offer renovation and redecorating services that were both beautiful and environmentally conscientious.
“I had been a part of enough renovation and redecorating projects to see how much waste was generated in the process or how many times something that was perfectly usable was thrown away in order to replace with the latest and greatest,” Rachel said. “Times when something that was historical or had some character that contributed to the history of a home was painted over or removed and replaced with something vinyl. That pervasiveness of that culture in the home was not something I wanted to contribute to.”
Her business, Rachel Mospan Design, offers interior design services with a focus on low waste, sustainability, or eco-friendly.
“All of those terms can apply in different ways for each project,” she said.
Rachel had doubts when debating leaving the security of her corporate job to work in the interior design field. The people who planted the idea of Rachel starting her own business had MBA degrees, which she does not. She fought the idea that she not only didn’t have enough education, but also not the right education, since she has not studied interior design.
“I had these doubts like ‘Who am I to start this business and call myself an interior designer when I don’t have formal training in that field?’,” she said. “I ended up speaking with a friend from high school who started her own interior design business a few years ago. Same situation as me. No MBA, no formal interior design training and she was like “You’re crazy. You don’t need that stuff. You’re good and people need what you have to offer.’”
Rachel’s friend told her about a podcast for interior design business owners called A Well-Designed Business. She became an avid listener and found confidence in the stories of people in the field, who got there in a variety of ways. This helped Rachel decide to start her own business.
“When I was looking at changing careers, I thought about working for someone else versus starting my own business,” she said. “I really wanted to have control and be able to influence each project and execute on my core values even if it sacrificed a little bit of the bottom line potentially, but I wanted to just be able to position my values the way that was consistent with my ethos. So, I decided to start my own business because I didn’t see anybody in my area doing it the way that I wanted to do it.”
Her husband was supportive and encouraged her to set up a business plan. Rachel found a business management platform and mapped out the first few years of her firm. She also analyzed the impact on the family finances with the loss of her steady income and cost to start the business.
“Interior design, as it turns out is a very low overhead business to start,” said Rachel. “You don’t have to have an office space. You don’t have to have employees. You don’t have to have materials or parts or manufacturing or transportation, or really much of anything besides a computer. And you could even go without that if you wanted. Just draw things – paper and get a measuring tape.”
Rachel participated in the SPARK Business Accelerator through Saint Mary’s College. She appreciated the mind work the program offered, which helped build her confidence in her firm right at the start. More recently, she took part in the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership’s HustleSBE program for minority and women business owners. She enjoyed the weekly daytime format and found shared connections and experiences with her classmates.
“Those three hours just felt uplifting,” she said. “I would share something that to me feels small and someone in the class would be like, ‘Yes! That’s awesome!’ Having people see in you what you’re not seeing because you’re in your own cloud was really powerful for me. Hearing about other people’s wins was also inspiring for me, so having that community at a set time when I didn’t have to be thinking about how I should best use these three hours. I already know this is how I’m going to use these hours and I’m going to get something out of it and it’s going to be great and I’m going to, you know, hear what I need to hear at exactly the time I need to hear it. It was a very nice appointment to have each week with myself and my business and peers.”
Looking back on her original business plan, Rachel laughs at how far off it was. Initially, she thought she would be doing numerous in-home consultations, leading to many small projects. In reality, she found herself doing less projects, but each of those projects were bigger than what she anticipated.
“Fewer but bigger projects,” she said. “It’s been interesting to just see how it actually plays out, whereas the bottom line worked out to be pretty close to what I expected. It was just the makeup of that income was very different than what I expected.”
Two years into Rachel Mospan Design, she has earned a Certified GREEN Professional accreditation. Rachel is also surprised by how much she enjoys being an entrepreneur.
“I thought I would be like tolerating that part, whereas actually that’s the part that I feel really passionately about now,” she said. “In addition to the work that I do for clients, but just being able to mold and shape my business to be completely aligned with my family life, aligned with my values and I think it allows me to contribute in the most effective way to my community and my society.”
For more information on Rachel and her business, visit www.rachelmospan.com.