RESIDENTS SHARE ABOUT THEIR PASSION PROJECTS
West Suburban Chicago is home to many creatively stylish residents– from inventors and entrepreneurs to stylists and interior designers. Each story is just as inspiring as the next.
Amy Storm of Glen Ellyn
Interior designer, Amy Storm, doesn’t push her personal style on her clients, but works to uncover the homeowner’s unique design DNA and then designs the spaces around it, enhancing the homeowner’s personal style. Amy earned her degree in Interior Design through Iowa State and now owns the design firm, Designstorms, that primarily focuses on residential projects. Along with the firm, she and her husband, Josh, opened their own resource-rich home décor showroom/retail hybrid store named Storm Inspired. “We wanted the store to be completely open to anyone and everyone,” says Amy. “You don’t have to be a designer to shop like one.”
Fall is one of Amy’s favorite seasons for reworking a home and bringing in new accessories for a fresh look. Storm Inspired will be offering some beautiful décor for the season, mixing golds and silvers and rich, earthy colors. Her advice is to Keep It Simple. You don’t need something on every surface in the house, just select a few special areas.
Since Amy and Josh own Storm Inspired and Designstorms, they wear many hats. “My husband and I work together, which is amazing, especially in stressful moments, because he keeps me laughing,” says Amy. Large design projects can be stressful on clients, and she explains their job as designers is to guide, inform, play well with others and keep it fun! “I love making other people happy, building their trust and hearing how much they love their new spaces.”
Lindsey Fleischhauer and Stanley C. Valiulis of Napervlle/Wheaton
A little over a year ago, Lindsey Fleischhauer became a new mom. She would dread going shopping with her son because she knew what a hassle it was. She could never get everything on her list due to the car seat taking up the whole cart, and surprisingly, many carts aren’t even large enough for a car seat. She wanted something that was safe, simple, sturdy and could hold the weight of babies up to a full year. “When I thought of the idea,” says Lindsey, “I went straight to my dad who has his name on more than 35 patents for retail store fixtures and has a style for launching new products and businesses.”
Lindsey and her dad, Stanley C. Valiulis, took their idea and created the Totes Babies Car Seat Carrier. You simply place the carrier onto any shopping cart, adjust the four arm grips, place the car seat into the carrier, adjust the safety straps and shop away. They have been taking pre-orders for about four months but officially launched in August with hopes of becoming a household name and growing the brand with more products in the future.
Lindsey follows her dad’s business style of being passionate about what you do and working smarter not harder. “A lot of people focus on the non-productive busy work and not the productive work that will actually generate business,” says Lindsey. “He has always been a mentor of mine, so he was the perfect co-founder.”
Tracy Ftacek of Plainfield Have you ever wished to have a hair and make-up team arrive on your doorstep to help you get ready for a date night or a special occasion? Enter Tracy Ftacek of Plainfield who is the owner and founder of Pretty Convenient, a free app that can be downloaded on your smart phone or iPad and provides a convenient, on-demand hairstyling and makeup service in your home. “It’s like uber for hair,” says Tracy.
As an award-winning hairstylist and makeup artist with 26 years in the beauty industry, Tracy personally selects and trains each member of the Pretty Convenient team and gives an opportunity to stylists to make extra money with a supportive, education-focused company. She has also spent the last eight years working for Paul Mitchell as an artist and travels the country teaching stylists and salon owners on cut, color, style, business and social media. She brings her extensive knowledge to her Pretty Convenient team to help them all work as one.
The service is currently available in Illinois and Indiana, and in October, she will launch in Minnesota. In two years, she hopes to be available in all the surrounding mid-west states and then eventually grow nationwide. “I am so proud to have created a company that allows busy women an avenue to look and feel pretty on their schedule and at their location,” says Tracy. “It is also rewarding to see stylists having fun and enjoying what they do for our clients while earning supplemental income.”