The design rep walked into the office carrying his box of samples ready to bypass the reception desk wanting to get access to the design staff. I had a staff of four Jr. Designers working on a couple of hotels and restaurants. The man greeted me by handing his business card saying.

“I’d like to speak with Mr. Bailey.” Silence. 

“I met him at a design show he asked me to stop by and show him our line.” 

I could feel Linda smirking.

“Oh that’s great! Except there is no Mr. Bailey.”

Silence.

“I’m Michele Bailey-Lessirard how can I help you.”

40 years of being in business, as a woman business owner.
30 years in the creative healing arts.
20 years teaching online.

April 2, 1981, marks the day I incorporated Bailey-Lessirard Designs; an interior design firm specializing in restaurant and hotel design. I named it Bailey-Lessirard so it looked like the firm was more than one person. And Bailey was easier to remember than Lessirard.

I started BLD with a dream and a drafting table in our 2nd bedroom. Within 3 years I grew the company into an award winning design firm, listed in Interior Design Magazine’s Top 100 Interior Designers for Restaurant and Hotels.

Along the way I had fun, met great people and learned how to sell; along with working with premier architects and engineers in the industry while managing a diverse team of personalities. The dark side? dealing with clients who didn’t pay ($50K), drunk interns (hey Fort Lauderdale Spring Break), an employee who slept with and stole clients along with being terrorized by a construction crew for being a whistleblower.

To this day I still love design. planning. building.

40 years ago. Feels like yesterday.

What I wish I knew then?

That even in the chaos focus on the dream.

Keep hope alive.


In the picture I’m 29 sitting at one of the drafting tables… mom snapped this picture. Click to read about the Cocaine Cowboys aka the early days of being an junior designer.