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Insights and Inspiration: A Journey with Alison Reuter


Meet Alison Reuter, a CanvasRebel Interview May 9th, 2024



We were lucky to catch up with Alison Reuter recently and have shared our conversation below.


Alison, appreciate you joining us today. What did your parents do right and how has that impacted you in your life and career?

I might be biased, but I think my parents did a lot of things right when it comes to raising my sister and me. In terms of what they proudly did in relation to my becoming a business owner…they required me to study business at a university.

The news that I had to study business was a bit of a shock to the system as a junior in high school day dreaming of studying art & psychology. Needless to say, those desires were quickly squashed & replaced with the information that it was business or bust. Given this challenge, I managed to pair International Business (from the University of Denver) with an additional degree in Electronic Media, Art, & Design (EMAD). The EMAD degree was even a program in conjunction with the Rhode Island School of Design, so I checked the boxes of business from a university & added in art for myself, hehe.


Since spending decades in the corporate world, I’ve learned to thank my parents for setting the rule of “business (degree) or bust.” Without the intricate understanding of how businesses work & why, I don’t believe I would have so seamlessly transitioned from corporate employment into personal business ownership. My family has always said, “it doesn’t matter if you want to be a musician, artist, or writer, if you don’t know how to sell your services, you’ll always be the starving artist.”


Having learned about the finances, marketing, & legalities, etc. of running a business and then working in a creative role in the corporate environment has given me a truly holistic understanding of the bottom line. It’s this full circle perspective of business that’s allowed me to build the foundation of my design firm that’s been cash-in-hand profitable since day one. It’s a frightening fact that only 17% of small businesses make it past the year two mark; so I consider myself lucky to have had the educational foundation my parents required, paired with the practical experiences in a corporate setting, to make my business successful. Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad. 

 

Alison, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?

Oh gosh, a little about myself…well, I’m often told I’m a Creative Space Engineer, lol. In other words, I’m an Interior (Architectural) Designer who specializes in residential & retail design – consciously creating space where you thought there was none. There’s a science to creatively & analytically viewing environments, which when done well gives both physical space & well-being to clients. Effective design also streamlines clients lives, so they end up with more time & money to enjoy their passions. Designing & renovating gear rooms, mud/laundry rooms, garages, & retail environments, etc. makes me smile as I know more space, time, & money are being generated in my clients lives, so that they can enjoy living large & playing more.


Being raised in a family of what some would call analytical creatives lead me to lean into the concepts of both business strategy & the softer side of the built environment. My family also heralds the health benefits of being active in the outdoors (we grew up ski racing, exploring the mountains, & traveling), so finding a way to merge these three details was a goal of mine even while in university. Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, & other doctors are now stating design has a profound impact on one’s well-being… “Architects and designers have a greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals.” – Dr. Claudia Miller. All things considered, I don’t think I could have found a better avenue for helping others thrive.


When it comes to business & purpose for clients, A/Revelation designs is here to create conscious changes – enlightenment through exploration & collaboration. We’ll be focused, yet playful, while tenacious & natural, so you receive the best renovations to support your active & adventurous life. We want you to (rec)create, while we (re)create.

 

 

Are there any books, videos or other content that you feel have meaningfully impacted your thinking?

As someone who loves sharing knowledge & championing others, there’s actually an understated division of my company that focuses on mentoring/coaching/consulting fellow designers, creatives, & contractors to help them succeed in business. This service encompasses so many of my preferred business resources from my college days to current learnings. It’s truly a compilation of all the lessons (learned both the easy & hard way, lol), so that other entrepreneurs don’t have to figure out all on their own…as Madonna says, “one is the loneliest number.” Being able to share my knowledge & see the lightning strike when learnings click brings me pride. There’s more than enough business/clients out there to share the wisdom that’s been learned along the way.


At the top of my list of resources is the powerful book “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz. The lessons in this book are easily some of my favorites. The process of cash management is paramount to successfully running a business – finances are what usually kills small companies. I’d always run my personal finances in a very similar manner to the Profit First practices, so when I read the book I had to reread it (technically re-listen to it, Mike’s narration is hysterically entertaining) & then binge the Profit First Nation podcast too! The processes shared resonated so well with how I visually & psychologically view systems, it was a no-brainer for me to embrace it. I give credit to this cash management system for why my business has been cash-in-hand profitable from the beginning.

 

Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?

Like many entrepreneurs getting started was a bit bumpy…I was working in corporate & it was the “Summer of Covid.” I’d gone from traveling 100% of the time for work to 0% due to the travel restrictions, so I decided it’d be a great idea to go back to school for a master’s before I had to travel again for work. In other words, I was racing the clock to complete a two year program in nine months, all while working full time, going to school full time, living between the mountains & the city, legally starting a business, running a full renovation of a 1930s cottage, & maintaining a relationship – not to mention my sanity. Oh, and I started the master’s program six weeks into the program, so I had to play catch-up on top of it all!


Resilience + Tenacity + Boundlessness = Progress + Enlightenment


Getting my business up and running was certainly a wild ride, yet what is life without adventure? I wouldn’t change the trajectory that I’ve been set upon in this process, as I feel I simply have more compassion & understanding for the busy adventurer that also happens to be my usual client.

 

 

If this interview inspired you to start a home renovation or take your business to the next level, reach out through one of out platforms below!


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Image Credits: Emma Pion-Berlin



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