SOUTHERN EXPOSURE: A YEAR IN REVIEW

Updated: Jan 9


Each year that Southern Exposure has been just a dream or has started to become a reality, we have taken time to reflect on the previous 12 months to celebrate what we have learned, how we have grown and consider how we want to move forward. Our goal is to take a moment and take in all we have accomplished in order to better our business practices and ourselves for the coming season. This reflection has looked a lot different than the past years. In a way, 2021 felt like our biggest year yet, even though frankly it was a lot slower than the year of the magazine. We worked on design projects that came out of relationships we grew in the year prior that we recognize is something really special. We started and completed a project with the owners of the Soko Coffee Shop. The best part about it, besides watching their little girl turn one and grow so much in the short seven month project, is we actively get to be a part of sharing this project with the public daily. It has been so sweet to see people in their space and use it as we designed. The coffee and atmosphere the Soko brand brings does most of the work, but it's humbling to see a piece of creativity make its way out of our daystorming journals, and into a tangible, physical space. During the process, we learned more about each other as a team and more about the nitty gritty of project coordination and implementation. We would love to invite you to order yourself a cup of well made coffee and check out the finished space soon. Along with Soko, we have had the privilege of working with old friends from college and childhood with a Primary Bedroom Makeover and Kitchen/Downstairs Remodel. We’ve taken on a fun project with a special non-profit organization here in Eugene to bring color and texture to their office space through artwork and interior elements, as well as curated a Southern Exposure design package for a YoungLife auction and fundraiser. Writing this out now, is fun for us to see how the projects have all been so unique, while also falling into areas where our hearts are most drawn to: our community, new and old, and supporting other great organizations in our city. Each project reminds us why design is calling our names. We are designers who create environments where life flourishes. Looking back on all this year has entailed makes us excited for the next here in 2022. It's a good reminder of who we are and who we want to become as a business and individuals. Love, Meg & Rach



 

Rachael texted me today not knowing I was having a harder day at work. She was putting together this Year in Review for you all and asked me what I was most proud of this year within Southern Exposure. It made me stop for a moment, but only a brief one. I thought about what I could say for myself or what I’ve done this year and then immediately thought, “not me, You”. I texted her back just that, “You”. Maybe a sappy reply, and obviously if you know Rach at all, I immediately got a reply back with a teary-eyed selfie, but I really mean it. This year Rach has not only overcome a lot of difficult transitions, she has redefined my own understanding of initiative and action. Through all of the ups and downs, her passion for Southern Exposure has been steadfast; her daystorming never ceasing. I’m proud of her for working on our projects while applying to every interior design job in town where she could be poured into and grown as a designer. She worked hard to learn this year. She worked hard to push through the interview process, which was exhausting. And she worked hard at supporting this company throughout it all - with excitement and fervor, not dread and “have-to” mentalities. If you didn’t know, because of my current design position at another firm in town, I have taken a step over (not down) from Southern Exposure, after the completion of the Soko Coffee Shop. I’m still here with Rach, but out of respect for my current position I haven’t been working heavily on SE projects. Rach has in return stepped up to the plate to learn, create, and grow Southern Exposure until we can both make this thing our full-time gig. While taking on more work for SE, Rach has also started a new interior design job in town where she is learning the ins and outs of construction and project phases. It has been so fun to see the impact she has already made in this position and to see her value for all she has to offer. Her talent, passion and grit in all her past work experiences, each uniquely challenging, have shaped her into the professional designer she is today. Anyway, this afternoon I was humbly reminded in reviewing a project that working as a team strengthens the quality within a design. Rachael’s text asking me about what I was proud of today came through merely an hour after I had this realization. I thrive with collaboration, and I’m much more filled when a project comes together with it. This reinvigorated my excitement when creating environments with Rachael. Like our website says, we are both rooted in authentic friendship and while we believe we are strong on our own, we are better designers together. So I’m just proud of her. And I am thankful for her in loving me well as a friend first, and supporting me well as a business partner second. Cheers to more initiatives within Southern Exposure for the both of us in 2022! - Megan



 

Sometimes I feel it's hard to pause, hard to sit in what's been, when I am chomping at the bit for what's to come. I have always been a visionary, but often find myself unsettled by my accomplishments. It's that “never good enough” mentality. While this drive can be an asset in building a company, Megan often grounds me, reminding me to give space to celebrate and process accomplishments. When we asked ourselves “what are we most proud of from this past year” I sat in the uncomfortable, vulnerable place in order to take a look at our successes, and challenges that grew us. I am proud of the way we honored our authentic friendships. When we concluded one year of our seasonal magazine production, we could have easily jumped on the commitment to do another. After a few conversations it was obvious that the magazine wasn't as fulfilling as it was in the beginning, and even felt exhausting at times. It was a turning point for what Southern Exposure was and is going to be. Christin was able to love and encourage Megan and I to pursue our true desires of being designers, and we were able to love Christin and support her in her next chapter as well. Those conversations were hard, but pushed us all into the roles that we are meant to be in. Our friendships and relationships have been the driving factor of every business decision we have made. I am proud of what we have learned. When you take on the responsibility of owning a business there are so many things that come with it. We have had to have conversations about tax law, accounting, SEO’s, licensure, etc. After a long day spent in a design project, these details add to the list of things to juggle in my mind and I often find myself dreaming of measurements and balancing checks. Megan and I have had to create new systems to honor all we are learning. The unknown has sharpened us as women and business owners, ultimately building confidence knowing we can tackle whatever lies ahead. We have learned ways to communicate with each other, those in our workplaces, clients, subcontractors and our community. The journey of learning has been so rewarding and fuels us to keep seeking knowledge and creativity. I am proud of what we accomplished. Together we took the leap to put our name out there as a design firm. We were able to attract clients and business partners who were curious about who we are and what we wanted to build. As a result, we were given the privilege to build out a brick and mortar coffee shop, design a primary bedroom, and help with a kitchen remodel. This was all happening while Megan finished her degree, we launched a website, we started a brand, we traveled, we moved, we ended jobs, we started careers, our families grew AND we were IN A GLOBAL PANDEMIC. There were days we could have quit because there wasn’t much to lose, but each day we moved forward and at the end accomplished so much! I am proud of Southern Exposure, and after the last couple of years, I am proud of what we have created and built. I can not wait to jump into 2022, unsure of how it will be written or the memories we will take away from it. We will continue to share our hearts, our goals, our successes and what we will learn along the way. Cheers to more tea and more joy. - Rachael




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