We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Lashae Ben and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicole Lashae, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve had a few different moments in my life where I started my own business or side hustle. My first official business was a beauty box subscription that curated monthly boxes of hair products. When I started that business, I was thinking of creating a solution for myself and women who had similar pain points. Most recently, I started revamping my consulting business, which I started at the beginning of 2019. The revamp has been almost like something brand new. My thought process was pretty simple this time around. I thought, “How can I use my expertise from my career and turn it into a company that I’d LOVE to work for.”

As I made a list of everything that I had done in my career in sales within the interior design industry, I started build frameworks and consulting offers that could reach businesses like those who I’ve worked for. I also made that the offers that I was building could actually solve pain points of my ideal clients.

Having my own business is also important to me because I want to be able to work on my terms, including set my own hours, take month long vacations, spend time with my son in the middle of the day and more.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is called Thrive In Design, which is a design and innovation consultancy. We focus on developing human-centered strategies that help interior product companies increase their brand awareness and revenue.

The interior design industry has many different layers to it. Most people don’t think about all that it takes to create a well designed space. One part of the process includes designers creating a design, which also involves selecting all of the furniture, finishes, etc. from an array of interior product companies. Those aforementioned companies are my clients. I want them to be known by designers so that they can in turn sell their products and aid in creating beautiful spaces.

There are lots of design and innovation consultancy firms out there, but Thrive In Design is the only one that I know of with this focus. I am super excited every day that I get to wake up and feel like I am walking in my life’s purpose while also being the first in my lane.

I’ve devoted more than half of my life to the interior design industry. I enrolled in interior design summer classes at Pratt Institute College of Art when I was 15. Back then, I had hopes of becoming an interior designer. Later, I went on to earn my BFA in Interior Design from Syracuse University and my MA in Design Management from Savannah College of Art and Design. I never practiced as an interior designer. Instead, I worked in sales and business development for interior product companies like Koroseal, Lamin-Art, USAI Lighting, etc. for 10 years. I learned the ins and outs of how an interior product company worked, while also being able to consult some of the world’s top designers while in my roles. Now, with my business, Thrive In Design, I’m able to combine all of my experiences and my love for design thinking and innovation into one.

It has not been an easy path. I’ve been faced with a lot of rejection and a lot of moments of people doubting my abilities. Before now, I kept going because I just had a burning desire to succeed. These days, I keep pushing because I want to create an amazing life for my son.

Along the way, the biggest lesson that I learned is to always be in learning mode. I learn from everything whether it’s on the job experience or the checkout experience at the grocery store. I’m always thinking about how I can learn something, which I might not be able to apply right away, but I always have a toolbox to pull from. This is especially important in entrepreneurship.

I want the world to know that I was born to thrive and to inspire others to thrive in design.

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.
Currently, Baltimore is home for me. But, the Miami area will be home very soon. I’d say, I’d start off a day in Miami with coffee and breakfast at OTL cafe. Then, I’d sign us up for a bus trip to the Everglades, where we’d spend a few hours on a boat on the search for alligators. While there, we’d explore the gift shop, grab some snacks from the food stand, and try to avoid the birds snatching our fries. IYKYK.

When returning back to the city, we’d chill out a bit and get dressed for dinner and drinks at Sugarcane.

I’m not a party animal anymore, so we’d likely be home and sleeping no later than 9PM.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate this shoutout to my mom. When I was young, my mom was an award-winning Sales Director with Mary Kay. She set the perfect example of setting big business goals and going after them with tenacity.

Website: www.thriveindesign.co

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nicolelashae OR www.instagram.com/thriveindesign

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thriveindesign

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thriveindesign

Other: EMAIL: hello@nicolelashae.com

Image Credits
Photographer: Marsha Faynshtayn

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutMiami 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.