We had the good fortune of connecting with Teresa Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Teresa, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
Success is simply accomplishing goals. I am constantly adding, changing and redefining goals. Success used to mean financial success to me. I needed stability at that time in my life. Finances had always been tight growing up and throughout my marriage. Then I became a single mom of 3. I was the sole provider and the task was daunting. Accomplishing that goal set the stage for the next goal and so on. Now, my personal success looks different. Life balance has become my new goal – my new quest for success. It will be never ending because life changes all the time. But at the end of each day, I have my quiet moments and reflect on my day. Was I a good boss today? Did I listen to my employees? Did I hear my kids – was I there for them in their moments of need? Did I help others – family, friends? Did I take care of myself? That last one will be a never ending journey for me.

Success for me is an on going goal shaped by failures and accomplishments. Success is getting past each no and turning or shaping it into a yes. Success is watching my children grow and become accomplished adults, Success is quiet, loud, tears and joy. Success is celebrating wins with my employees. Success is lifting other women up and helping them manage life balancing tasks. Success is striving to be the person that God intended me to be.

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What should our readers know about your business?
KJ Custom Screen & Outdoor Living is a small business in construction. We design, construct, and install outdoor living products. We make outdoor kitchens, structures and our main product is motorized screens.

Building a business as a woman in construction was not easy. I have been in this industry for 16yrs. The view of women in construction has come a long way since then. I remember being on a ladder helping my installer and being told that ‘a ladder was not where I belonged’. While it was said with concern, it still made me mad. You tell me “no” and I will figure out a way to make it a “yes”. I continued to help where needed. I have done every part of the job with my crews. How could I understand the job if I didn’t? I had no background in construction. I was very green and needed to learn from the literal ground up. I threw myself into every training which at this time was only offered through the Dallas Builders Association. Women were not seen in field trades yet in Texas. We were just in the office. I learned from every builder, contractor and installer that was willing to teach me. I was self-taught. I didn’t have a woman mentor. I could run a business from an office, but I had to learn the field too. It took years. I was not successful overnight. I was not successful in 5 years. It took 8yrs. I had to work very hard for men to trust me on the jobsites. I had to earn respect for them to give me a shot with my product. I worked twice as hard to get leads. I was the owner, office manager, sales consultant, part-time installer – all at the same time. I had 2 kids and another on the way. My daughter spent many days in the office with me growing up. It was very hard work, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Today, 16yrs later, we are a successful outdoor living business. We have grown from just me and 2 installers to 9 full-time employees. We have branched out of the Dallas area and now work with builders in Austin and Houston. We are recognized statewide as a reputable screen/outdoor living company earning many rewards for our work. We have been featured on the show Designing Spaces Luxury Edition. I get to mentor young women, trying to break into this field. We are continuing to grow, providing the best service and products in our industry.

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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.
Dallas Stars Game anyone? We love hockey in this house and attend games when we can. We are located in North of Dallas so our main fun is in the Mckinney/Frisco areas. Our favorite place to go is downtown Mckinney square. Great restaurants & pubs in an old timey atmpshoere. Lots of locally owned shops and places to go. For another fun night out, we go to the Rare Books Bar, a local speakeasy in Frisco. I am no longer as young so sitting down, eating good food and listening to local music is my idea of a good time.

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Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Gosh, so many people have had a hand in my success story. At each pivotal point in my life, my family, friends and colleagues have each played a part.

I want to shout out my friend Chrissie Nemeth, Vice President at Vandelay Hospitality Group. I have known Chrissie for 27yrs, personally and professionally. I was at a cross roads of what to do with my professional life. Through her encouragement, I decided to stick with being a small business owner. She was there mentally & physically cheering me on through out one of the hardest times of my life. She took a very small salary to help me grow the business. I was basically starting over with just a company name. She stayed with me that first year, working beside me, going through the ups and downs. She was a light I clung too, radiating constant positivity. She would not let me give up. This woman had lost her entire home in a fire, survived throat cancer and was MY support system? KJ is now a multimillion dollar small business. Now I get to cheer Chrissie on in her career. She is one of the best restauranter’s in the business.

Website: https://www.kjcustom.com

Instagram: kjcustomscreens

Linkedin: KJ Custom Screens & Outdoor Living/ Teresa Williams

Twitter: @kjcustom

Facebook: kjcustomscreens

Yelp: NA

Youtube: KJ Custom Screens & Outdoor Living

Other: TIKTOK: KJ Custom Screens & Outdoor Living

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Image Credits
Justin Terveen – Photographer

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.