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

Hi Chasity, Kristen, Sam, why did you pursue a creative career?
Being creative is so much more rewarding than going through the routine motions for a paycheck. It’s motivating. We are constantly seeking to outdo ourselves with each project. Being able to vibe with other people on a creative level is really, really cool. Sam Jacobsen, our friend who has done carpentry and woodwork on a few of our installations, has been a game changer for where we can take our ideas. He’s incredibly talented and has really elevated what we have been able to accomplish. We love learning from each other and taking that knowledge to the drawing board. As cliche as it sounds: watching a creation of your imagination come to life is a magical experience.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets us apart from others:

Kristen: We like having a real relationship with our clients. We are very transparent about things and always keep the client’s best interest in mind (even if it’s not what any of us want to hear.) We want to be real with people and also be more than just a transaction. We have completely done things over, we have taken trips all over the city, and we have reworked projects after their completion because we weren’t completely satisfied. We offer maintenance options on all of our installations because we want to be a part of the success of the piece even after our initial work is done. We give a huge damn about what we do and the people we do it for.

Chasity: Keeping our word and hospitality. It’s hard to come across a business that will actually do what they say they will…let alone in a timely manner. Keeping our word and being up front with our clients is key to growing our business. Also, we all come from the hospitality industry – so we know how important treating people with kindness can go. I believe we’ve had the opportunity to grow so quickly because we are building a reputation for ourselves – and so far…it’s a reputation we want to be known for. As Warren Buffet said “ It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

Sam: Confidence. Being able to be confident in our design decisions, in our interactions with our clients, in how the project will look now, then through each season, then throughout several years. You have to plan for that ahead of time, it matters how things grow in, it matters that there are changes in texture and color and heights because that composition has to grow but still be read and your intentions clear.

On taking Risks:

Risk seems pretty essential when it comes to running a business. We have each taken a risk to start this business, but we have always made it a point to be as responsible as we possibly can be when it comes to being smart business owners. We just recently started having all of us on full-time which is scary and exciting at the same time. We have more power to throw at the business, and more people who are depending on the success of the business to live.

We also take creative risks all the time when presenting our ideas to clients. We really like shooting-for-the-moon when it comes to the scale of what we are doing. We even slightly warn clients of this when sending proposals and ideas their way (ha!) Sometimes we have to scale things back or make changes to suit their needs, and honestly more often than we’ve expected – someone sees the intention of our design and allows us total creative freedom. Which is definitely the coolest feeling when someone likes your idea that much.

The biggest lesson we’ve learned along the way? Don’t settle and don’t sell yourself short.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We are lucky enough to have quite a few clients we would put on this list (including but not limited to):

Little Tart Bake Shop (if you haven’t tried Sarah’s pastries you are sincerely missing out on a gift.)
Three Parks Wine Shop (Sarah has an incredibly curated inventory of wine and the staff is so knowledgeable and kind!)
Elsewhere Brewing (Great beer in a beautiful space with an evolving list of events to be a part of!)
Kimball House & Watchmans (Incredible cocktails, well-versed oyster menus, with fantastic dinner and dessert options)
Victory Sandwich Bar & S.O.S. Tiki Bar (Really great spots for a fun & casual hang out!)

Other places we love to just walk around and get inspired? Atlanta Botanical Garden, The High Museum, and Oakland Cemetery. If you are down for a small drive: Gibbs Garden in Ball Ground, GA has a Japanese garden that is stunning in the fall.

Atlanta also has a lot of awesome farmers markets where you can get local goods. There are lots of great food vendors and products to choose from!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We would like to dedicate our shout out to everyone who has encouraged us to take this leap, has cheered us on while we figure things out, and has supported us as a business. We have been overwhelmed with how things have grown since we began and couldn’t do this without each and every one of you!

Website: openairdesign.studio

Instagram: openair.design

Other: grow@openairdesign.studio this is the email for all inquiries!

Image Credits
The image of the three of us was shot by: Applehead Photography & Design The other images provided were shot by: Cassie Robinson

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta 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.