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Gina Hacken I From Designer to Design Business Owner

Gina Hacken is the principal designer and owner of Gina Lauren Interiors. We recently had a conversation about work-life balance, where she shares how she leveraged years of experience in the industry to ultimately launch her own design business to be there for her family and fulfill her passion for design on her own terms. We also discussed her realization that designing and running a design business are two very different things and the network she leaned on to get advice, support, and referrals.

The important thing is that Gina is successful and achieved the life she now lives by being scrappy and creating a plan. Below is a breakdown of how Gina got where she is today – and with four kids!

Gina’s Journey From Design School to Now

The skills Gina learned before she broke out on her own were absolutely imperative to her starting her business. She began by interning for a model home design firm and working part-time at Home Depot Expo. Then she began to work with a well-known retail design company, Ethan Allen. 

These jobs taught her a ton about design and helped lead her to the success she has today. A piece of advice from Gina is not to overlook the retail options because they are learning centers for designers.

After Ethan Allen, she began to work with a contractor, but three months later, he closed the business. Pregnant with her fourth child, she took a leap of faith and started her own business.

How Gina Structured Her New Business Day to Accommodate Her Life

Being a designer is one thing, but being a business owner is completely different. She plans out her day ahead of time so she can plan exactly what she needs to do the next day. She also works in chunks of time, oftentimes answering emails or putting together floor plans at 4 AM. She also works on her phone, answering messages throughout the day.

How Gina Was Resourceful

Gina learned and continues to learn on the go. She constantly listens to podcasts, reads articles and books, and joins Facebook groups about running a design business. She’s not afraid to ask questions and have conversations as well. She says that you have to take what you learn, and then it’s trial and error to see if it will work for your business. She also has connections because one connection can lead you to a client or know someone else who may be able to land you clients or help you with a business issue.

If you want to learn more about being a design business owner, visit

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