The Interview — Haley Weidenbaum, Interior Designer & Co-Founder of Everhem
Welcome to Talking Top 10, a recurring series in which we feature the founders, CEOs, creators, and leaders who are shaking up their industries. Ahead, read our Q&A with Haley Weidenbaum, and keep scrolling to shop her Top 10 must-haves.
Growing up, Haley spent countless hours reconfiguring the layout of her bedroom furniture, all the while gaining an informal, albeit invaluable education in how best to utilize space. Over time, her desire to design interior spaces grew from a childhood pastime to a burning passion. Haley's impeccable design instincts and efficient, bootstrapping approach to challenges are only outdone by her disarming positivity and charm. Haley's mission is to design homes that make people happy. Happiness looks different for each client, and that is the challenge that Haley looks forward to solving with every project.
During her eight years as an interior designer, she helped customize window treatments for almost all of her clients. It had forever been her experience that there was no easy or simple answer when it came to designing window treatment and she knew if she was struggling with it so were others. With the help of her husband, in the summer of 2019, she launched Everhem—a simpler way to design beautiful window treatment.
Haley holds a Bachelor in Communication from The University of Southern California and a Certificate of Architecture and Interior Design from The University of California at Los Angeles. Haley's work has been featured in publications such as Architectural Digest, The New York Times, Elle Decor, Vogue, Domino, and Refinery 29.
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Tell us a little bit about your journey as an interior designer. How did you get where you are now?
I graduated from college during the 2007-2009 recession and finding a job was next to impossible so when I applied and was offered a sales position at a premier hotel chain, I jumped on it. It only took me six months to realize it just wasn’t a good fit. While I enjoyed using the people skills that the job required, I couldn’t exercise any creativity and I had zero passion for it. So I took a leap of faith and enrolled myself in an interior design certification program. With some classes under my belt, I began interning for a few different design and architecture firms. Soon after, I was able to build my own clientele, mostly through word of mouth, and launched my own interior design firm. For the last 8 years, I have mainly been a residential interior designer (with a few commercial projects, too) focused on creating beautiful spaces by blending the old with the new and infusing a signature California aesthetic with worldly-inspired accents. Working for myself, it has been a dream to build such a wonderful client list and work on incredible projects throughout the LA area. While this might sound a tad cliche, the best part of being an interior designer for me is turning houses into homes.
Let’s talk about Everhem. What led you to the realization that we needed a simpler way to shop for window treatments?
As an interior designer, most of my clients looked to me for the best solution for window treatments in their home but it had forever been my experience that the world of window coverings was scattered, confusing, overcomplicated, out of date, and out of touch. Despite the noise and confusion out there, I had to find the right fabrics and styles. In time, I created a signature style that worked seamlessly in a wide variety of homes. But I realized that without the help of a seasoned designer, the process of choosing window treatments must be next to impossible for the average person. And so I set out to make it easier for everyone, not just my clientele. With my husband’s help, we developed, designed, and launched Everhem in Summer 2019. We offer drapery and hardware, Roman shades, and woven wood shades. Our options are extremely curated and simple. We chose these offerings because, from an aesthetics and style perspective, we believe these are elegant, yet understated window treatments for the modern home.
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What’s it like having your husband as a business partner? How do you divide up responsibilities?
Working with your spouse is probably not for everyone but it works for us. It can get a little difficult at times to turn work off and occasionally Everhem conversation spills over into personal life but overall, we’re pretty good at compartmentalizing. We’re partners in everything else anyway so what’s one more thing. We have extremely different skillsets and complement each other really well. We’re both strong where the other is weak and vice versa. So the responsibilities got divvied up naturally and we don’t really step on each other’s toes.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in building your businesses into what they are today? How did you overcome them?
Building any business is a challenge every single day but I think the biggest challenge we’ve faced to date was the onset of this pandemic. We had no idea how things would pan out. Our workroom had to shut down for a while with a bunch of orders in the middle of production and new orders pretty much came to a halt. But we saw an opportunity since our business is the business of home and that’s where everyone suddenly found themselves. I started offering virtual consultations with customers to help them make design choices and measure their windows. Everhem launched a sale in March that continued all the way through the end of May. We advertised it via newsletter and social media. We also reached out personally to every customer who had orders in production that had been halted. Thankfully, they were all very understanding. Slowly but surely, our workroom was able to reopen, we were able to get old orders completed and new ones started to roll in.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in other designers’ work. I’ve been fortunate to get to know and collaborate with a lot of incredibly talented designers and witness them work their magic and create beautiful spaces. When they do it with a little help from Everhem products, that’s just icing on the cake and it validates what we’re trying to achieve with our company’s mission.
Tell us about an all-time favorite project you’ve worked on.
A few years back, an up and coming actress hired me to design a new condo she’d just purchased in West Hollywood. She worked a lot and the set was basically her home, so she wanted her actual home to feel more like a pied a terre. Our aesthetic preferences aligned and she gave me virtual free rein. The result was a whimsical, Spanish-Scandinavian crossover complete with Hans Wegner chairs among other mid-century modern accents set against dark mahogany floors, vintage Persian rugs, Moroccan poufs, and lush velvet sofas. It was definitely a satisfying project as a designer.
What interior design mistakes do you spot the most and how would you fix them?
The biggest one I see is people blindly following trends irrespective of their own personal taste. Don’t follow trends. At least not for big-ticket items. Follow your heart. Make accent piece choices that speak to you personally and, when it comes to larger purchases, go timeless and classic. It lasts longer.
If you had to pick a favorite room in your home, which would it be and why?
This might be recency bias talking but the nursery we just designed for the twins on the way feels like the obvious choice. This is a room in our house that has been bare since we moved in. It was always the plan that it would be our second baby’s room when the day came. But when we found out we were getting two more at once, it obviously presented some challenges given the available space and the layout of the room. We took pains with every detail, from the wallpaper to the cribs to new window coverings from our new Nursery collection. It went from a bare space with nothing in it to a room that is almost complete. All it needs now is its intended residents.
As a full-time businesswoman and mama (with twins on the way—congrats!), what does work-life balance look like for you?
Being a pregnant mom and a business owner during a pandemic is kind of like a marathon that doesn’t really end. Though I’m not a marathon runner - or any kind of runner for that matter - I understand that runners often achieve what’s known as a “runner’s high,” or a feeling of euphoria once they’ve kept at for a long enough period of time. There are no big parties or fun date nights out or social plans of any kind right now which are the usual respites from work and motherhood. There’s just simple pleasures like a home-cooked meal, a good book, sleeping in on a Saturday morning, a camping night in the backyard with our son, the unborn having a boxing match in my belly and just being incredibly present for all of it. I guess those things are my “runner’s high” during this endless marathon. And without them, I’d have collapsed a long time ago.
What’s next for Haley Weidenbaum?
Aside from two more children and family expansion, I’m hoping for Everhem expansion and growth into new product lines, continued and redefined success for the business and, when it’s finally safe again, a well-earned vacation.