We had the good fortune of connecting with Jocelyn LaFerney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jocelyn, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Entrepreneurship was always there, somewhere, in the back of my mind. But I think our generation tends to be pretty risk-averse. You get the degree, put in the effort, and work your way up in someone else’s company.
So I did. I had a great job as an accounting consultant, with stability and a good paycheck. I was checking off all the boxes everyone said I should. But when my husband and I renovated our first home 9 years ago, I experienced the creative process in a new way and kept finding projects to keep it going.
After a few other house flips, I knew this was what I had to do. I was finally working toward joy, rather than just putting dollars in my clients’ accounts. I felt like I was giving back to the world in this truly tangible way.
When you walk into a home that’s beautifully designed, you can feel that. It matters so much. Especially now. And now that we’re spending so much more time at home, people are really starting to get it. To see how a home’s interior can bring chaos and stress, or calm and peace.
What should our readers know about your business?
The name Ledger & Ladder Studios tells our story. The ledger is from my background as a CPA, the ladder symbolizes both construction and home building, but also the building of my career and this business. Growing this dream I have. Studios is plural on purpose, too. I view each home we work on as a studio in its own right. A collection and a story of the people who live their lives there.
For the last several years, my husband and I would purchase, renovate/restore, and sell old houses as a side hustle to our full-time jobs. We were gaining so much momentum with the business. We were finishing up a beautiful 100+ year old Queen Anne home in Galveston, TX. We were just weeks away from the finish line when an arsonist burned it to the ground. I was devastated. All that hard work, gone.
We had nothing to show for it, no portfolio photos, nothing. I could have quit. But instead, it became this pivotal opportunity to reevaluate my business. That moment led to some soul searching, and I decided to switch from home flips to designing for clients. And I’m so glad I did!
Conventional wisdom kept telling me there was no room to transition from my current career. That I had invested too much in that career path to just walk away. But now I know that’s false. Life is a lot more fluid than conventional wisdom makes us believe. We get to choose every day. I mean, who’s to tell you, you can’t do something? Work hard. Put in the time. Do what lights you up. That’s what the world needs.
So I think the most important muscle we can cultivate as business owners is the right mindset: knowing that bad news today might actually be paving the way for good things tomorrow. That resilience will keep you going no matter what comes.
Furthermore, I’m also deeply committed to the habit of staying rooted in integrity. House flippers have a reputation for cutting corners, for taking the easy (and cheap) way out. But just because home buyers can’t see something in the walls doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
We have a rule at Ledger & Ladder: If we wouldn’t do something in our own homes, we won’t do it in someone else’s. And our clients can feel that. Trust is so important in this industry. As designers, we get intimate access to people’s lives and their homes. That trust is everything. With that trust I am finally working toward joy, rather than just putting dollars in my consulting clients’ accounts. I am giving back to the world in this truly tangible way. When you walk into a home that’s beautifully designed, you can feel that. It matters so much. Especially now that we’re spending so much more time at home, people are really starting to get it and see how a home’s interior can bring chaos and stress, or calm and peace.
Although, I didn’t originally pursue a career in Interior Design I think my story really resonates with people. We all have this desire, this passion to pursue what we love. But it’s easy to talk ourselves out of it. To feel like we can’t.
People seem to resonate with the fact that I just went for it and decided to build the career I wanted. And it makes sense. We find ourselves drawn to people who do what we wish we could. I love that about entrepreneurship. When you give yourself permission to chase down a dream, the people around you feel like they have permission to do the same.
There’s room for everyone. In the corporate world, everyone is vying for the same promotion, making everyone feel in competition to some degree. But as designers, we all have such unique aesthetics, visions, skill sets, backgrounds. It’s not about competing for jobs, but finding your voice. This is so incredibly freeing! Because then you can build a community and support other creatives. There’s room for us all, and we have a lot to learn from one another as we grow our own careers.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh, I love this city. There’s so much to do and see (and eat)! For starters, walk around Bishops Arts District Eat Lunch at Eno’s Pizza Tavern. I’d also want to make sure they had a burger at Maple and Motor, then for after-dinner drinks, we’d head over to the Libertine Bar on Greenville.
We’d have to hit up the old school drive-in movie in Ennis, TX called Galaxy Drive-in. It’s the perfect escape right now.
Ok, back to food! We’d enjoy the mussels at Meddlesome Moth and check out the gorgeous stained glass windows that were originally located in the Old Hard Rock Cafe Dallas. If we were craving pizza, we’d stop at Pie Emporium, and at some point, I’d have to stop in for the best barbecue in town at Lockhart’s Smokehouse.
To walk off all the food, maybe spend a day at the Galleria, or take a spin around Reunion tower and check out all the landmarks in Dallas.
And for a lazy day soaking up some sunshine, we’d sip a Mambo Taxi on the patio at Taco Diner and people watch.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Husband. He has been a consistent voice of encouragement and isn’t afraid to take calculated risks to help me see my dream become reality.