We had the good fortune of connecting with Lacey Hennessey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lacey, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
FREEDOM. I’ve always been self-motivated, never really enjoying being micromanaged by a boss. Give me a task and you’ll never be worried if it will get done or on time. So when I was in the corporate world, sitting at a desk all day, I thought to myself, I can do this on my own. I want to make my own schedule, take as many vacation days as I want because I know that the work will still get done, and done well. I wanted to have the freedom to make as much money as my hustle would allow. Being an entrepreneur seemed like it was meant for me, I just had to start. And so I did.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a chameleon of the arts. What does that mean? I’m adaptable. My work is typically colorful, includes bold outlines, and contrasting tones, but I can also change my palette for my client’s taste. For example, I approach my murals with a marketing mind. I was in the marketing industry for 10+ years, so I approach murals with client goals and objectives in mind and build the visual around them (vs. creating artwork and trying to make it fit). My work is for everyone. Easy to understand, provides a message, and invites interaction, all while adding my own twist and creativity, which leads to unique, custom artwork for every project.
My business started as a hobby back in college. I was painting fraternity coolers and beer pong tables to make a little extra cash. Then while working full-time and with the help of social media, it became side-hustle painting gifts for baby showers and weddings, after graduation. My employer knew I enjoyed selling my work and at one point, noticed I was basically working 2 full-time jobs. I’d leave my “real” job and go home and paint to fulfill commission orders until 1am. Eventually, she said, how about in lieu of a raise, you take Fridays off to focus on your business. And so I did. Then as my business grew, we knew I need to make another change. Her support was amazing and a real catalyst to my success. We had several transparent and open conversations about my growth and her thoughts as my employer and I think that was key.
I look back now and realized I had a business in front of my face the entire time. That I could have graduated college and jumped into entrepreneurship, but that wasn’t “the norm”. I needed the “real job”. The advice I want to share with everyone is that if you have the drive to work for yourself, you can do it. Not sure what your business is yet? Well, make a list of your skills. What do your friends ask you for help with? That’s your business. As a society, we will always pay for things we don’t want to do. It doesn’t have to be glamorous. I hate proofreading. Are you good at it? That could be your business. But you have to want it. If you make excuses, then that is not your business. You’ll make the time for the goals you want to achieve.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In college, I did an internship in Greenville, South Carolina, and basically never left. I grew up in Maryland, and this town just seemed like the best of all my worlds. Clemson University is a short drive away, and a gameday visit is a must. Downtown Greenville offers a vast variety of outdoor festivals and dining experiences. My favorite entertainment weekends are Fall for Greenville in October, Artisphere in May, and in the spring/summer every Friday is Downtown Alive. All three of those events include free live entertainment. Greenville is also home to the Peace Center which hosts Broadway shows and other concerts. Make sure to stop by Hoppin’ taproom and Urban Wren for dinner. Both are located together at Markley Station, right down from the Greenville Drive stadium, the minor league team for the Boston Red Sox AND they are home to 8 murals I have completed. Jianna, Sobys, and Halls are also amazing downtown restaurants, and must stops! The new AC Hotel Greenville has a beautiful rooftop bar and several restaurants ranging from Italian, bbq, pizza, a cookie stop, and again, features one of my murals titled “Golden Hour” out on the exterior patio. You must try a cocktail from Paloma! Just down from all these hot spots is Falls Park. Home of the beautiful Reedy River waterfall. It’s a small park, you can snag an ice cream cone or coffee, swing on a bench, and grab a few photos. Then, hop on the free trolley that runs down Main Street and you will be sure to see a shop to grab some Greenville merch. Oh, and the entire town is dog friendly! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to thank the internet. YouTube “University” I’m looking at you. These days, if you want to learn a new skill, or find someone (anyone!) who knows more than you on a topic, Google it. There is so much FREE information and we all have access. Don’t have a computer? Then head to a public library. Between online tutorials, free downloads, social media accounts on TikTok and Instagram, how-to guides, and an endless directory of people sharing content, if you have an idea we are all given access to make it come alive. It’s the hard work YOU have to put in next.
When the internet seems overwhelming I call on other successful people around me. My last corporate boss (and now friend) Marion Crawford, owner of marketing agency Crawford in Greenville, SC has been an extremely valuable resource to me. While working under her, I learned tools outside of the creative industry that would help me run my business, like important administrative processes for receipts, billing, and client customer service. In addition women like Elizabeth Wheaton, Laura Cox and Kim Hassold are all successful, small business owners who are transparent in conversation and super supportive. They tell it like it is, and that’s what you need.
Instagram: @hennesseyinthehome (as of May 1 it will be @lacey_does)
Other: TikTok – @lacey_does