Oakmoss: What is the name of your business, what service do you provide, and where are you located?
Chris & Claude Company: We are Chris & Claudia Beiler, a husband-wife Creative Space Designer team based out of Chester & Lancaster County, PA- We call ourselves "The Chris & Claude Company"
OM: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your day to day looks like with your business.
CC: We are just your everyday couple ...with a strong history of really loving to step outside the box.
We kinda grew up together - Our families were good friends & passionate Home-Schoolers, so we got to hang out in the same groups growing up - we eventually began serving together in leadership for The Honey Brook Youth Center.
Serving together is pretty cool, you get to know each other well, and after that, it was history… We loved serving together, so when we got married, it shouldn’t have surprised us that we also loved doing business together. Chris & like to think that we are equally creative, just in different ways. We really vibe well off each others gifting’s.
Chris is real big on not wasting time & being effective, so we have little team huddles, talk about our day, talk about our week, talk about our food menus, talk about our design projects, talk about the boys - divide up the work & git’r done. I’m such a hater when it comes to office work, so lucky for me, Chris kicks it into high gear in that department.
Our day to day though - man, It’s such a clash of babies & business & design & pinterest & beautiful magazines & failed nap times & hard work & canceled orders & changing diapers.
OM: Have you always been interested in design and renovation? If not, when did that passion start?
CC: Ever since I was a little kid, i’ve had a knack for plastering walls with all sorts of crazy-hard-to-take-off-things. One day in my young life, I had the urge to cover one whole wall in my bedroom with old broadway musical song sheets. I never had the courage to ask my mom if I could do it & she’s never had the courage to take it all down - At the time, I was too young to realize how much work it creates your future self if you use regular scotch tape to hang 8273981 sheets of paper on a wall.
Looking back now, I think that was the beginning of me started to express my fascination with home design.
Chris & I never looked at ourselves as super-creative people, just as people that liked to think outside-the-box. When we were dating, I was a bus-driver for Coatesville School District, a rough district, but I was, and still am, super passionate about changing my little world. Chris was a Solar Engineer, and did his job with gusto & excellence. Before we were engaged, Chris purchased an old 1800’s foreclosed home in the Borough of Honey Brook & moved in with a few other guys. The attic of that 1800’s home had never been finished, & was bat-infested & ugly-ugly-ugly. That was before I could walk in a place and see potential. He proposed to me up there - asked if I wanted to marry him & live up there with him. It was a bit shocking, the idea of living in a terrible & cramped & dark attic, but I agreed. We began working together on designing the space. Except we didn’t use the word ‘designing’ - We didn’t really know what we were doing. We were in over our heads in wedding plans & attic plans & life plans. We knew it was the path we were to walk in and kept stepping out in Faith with it. Thankfully we have crazy-awesome family members that stepped in & literally saved the day & paved the way. Family + Friends helped design the attic, helped caulk the attic, helped paint the attic, helped install cabinets in the attic, helped with it all, I tell ya what.
Community is amazing & we are still so grateful. It’s because of them that we realized our love of turning awful places into beautiful & unexpected spaces!
OM: What is something that you've learned being a creative business owner?
CC: We have learned about Redemption.
Truly. In an earthly sense, the more you see ugly places being transformed, the more you are able to picture the next ugly space as it could be. It’s kinda cool. A little piece of redemption, just in house form.
OM: Have you had any road blocks in business growth? How did you bypass them/overcome them?
CC: The balance man, the balance.
Kids are definitely never ever ever a road block, but one of the challenges has been balancing our thriving family & our thriving business. Growing Pains are real, both in our kids & our company. My mom often reminds me that I am “First of all a mom, and second of all a business-woman." And I take that very seriously… I have been blessed with the best of the best when it comes to babysitters, a support team, and employees. Chris has been gifted with being a team-leader & he loves delegation. It’s saved us these first few busy years as we hire & train & learn to rely on our team.
We can’t do it all ourselves, and we are mighty fine with admitting it.
OM: What is one of your favorite homes that you've designed/remodeled?
CC: We occasionally work with my dad’s house flipping team called “Gr8r Purpose.” Last year the team purchased a beat up, foreclosed house on Hazel Street in Lancaster City. 2 of my sisters & their husbands, my mom + dad & Chris + I got in there and designed the place. The brother’s-in-law flipped it over the course of a few months time- then we had a grand hurrah day & staged it. It was & is & forever will be drop-dead-gorgeous. It was the first house we’ve ever done that I actually-factually wanted to live in. Super jealous of the new homeowners, but so happy for them!
OM: What is your ideal workday?
CC: Because our company office is currently in our home, the work could always be looming in front of us, especially with employees in & out every day.
We’ve learned that we have to set boundaries for our business/home involvement if we want to thrive & not just survive. One of those has been to put Office Hours into place. Instead of a modge-podge of never ending work, I now (try to) work (mostly) during Office Hours, and then I’m ‘off the clock’ when office hours come to a close. This helps me focus on motherly things, like grocery shopping + reading books to the boys + keeping my head on straight + brunches with friends + sisterly times + of course midnight pinterest-ing + 5am coffee-ing.
I love to wake up in the morning before the boys, come downstairs & drink some coffee while reading my passage of Scripture for the day. When I hit my workday/mothering day without having connected to The Source, it’s rough.
So what’s my ideal workday? Starting with coffee + Jesus + Chris & ending with the boys tucked into bed & the floor cleared of toys & hopefully some design work knocked off in-between the start + finish of my day.
OM: What is one piece of advice that you would give someone starting out in the small business world?
CC: Be Willing To Deligate.
Pass on The Vision.
Grow as The Lord Says to Grow or Slow down as the Lord says to Slow Down.
I love the story that Joanna Gaines shares about how God told her years ago to shut down her shop - and how she did, but she felt like it was the end of her dream. It certainly wasn’t, but she didn’t know that. It was about Obedience. I never want to cling to my dreams so hard that God can’t do His thing.
We were so lucky to get to have one of our workshops in a home renovated by The Chris & Claude Company. Read more about the workshop and see photos here!