Whatever you choose to do, do it to the best of your ability.
Amanda Archambault is founder of Pocket Living, a Tiny Space design and construction company. Alongside her two co-founders, Azad Rahman and Juan Castellanos, they are the first Tiny Space company in the city of Atlanta, Georgia.
By the term “Tiny Space”- her company designs far more than just tiny homes. From building mobile retail spaces to a tiny home with a garage, there are no limits for what the minds behind Pocket Living can do.
Amanda is also the owner of Archambault Interiors, LLC, a residential design firm. The advantage of having her design company has given her much preparation for the tiny house movement. “There’s just something so sweet about having control of every detail from the beginning with tiny spaces. We design it, we build it and we choose every finishing detail until it’s perfectly Pocket Living. ” Amanda states that interior design is at its fullest when designing for Pocket Living. It’s the best state of challenge vs. character to make something feel so personal for the client. It’s not as if you can walk into a RV dealership with a hand sketched drawing and tell the sales person that this is what you want; with Pocket Living, you can!
Outside of Amanda’s design careers, she is co-founder at Alana Athletica, an up and coming yoga apparel company. The company touches basis with her drive to empower women as a woman entrepreneur. Alana is partnering with an organization called Emerge Lanka, that supports young female abuse survivors with education and opportunities needed to support themselves. With high positions in demanding companies, Amanda is on-the-go all-the-time! Her schedule is very limited but she still makes time to be a socialite in her community. On a Friday or Saturday night, you can easily spot her at the front of a concert making the most of every weekend in the hip art and music scene of Atlanta.
Where did the idea for Pocket Living come from?
It all started with design – my drive for interior design sprung from going to estate sales with my mother as a child, always in awe of the antiques and beautiful old homes surrounding me. My love for this space, in conjunction with a fascination for sustainable living, was what led me to closely follow the tiny house movement – to the point where I decided to build my own tiny home.
Months later, I met Azad (now COO), who at the time was situated at the same co-working location as I was, and had recently left his job in Management Consulting with dreams of becoming an aspiring entrepreneur. Azad and I shared similar interests, as he spent much of his free time doing market research about tiny homes, after hearing much about the buzz. We quickly realized that our strengths easily complemented one another – my design/construction and his Supply Chain and Procurement expertise were a perfect fit!
The last piece of the puzzle came when Juan (now CFO), also a former Management Consultant, left his corporate job and began to focus on the Real Estate market in southeast USA. As an advocate of innovation and an expert in Finance and Analytics, I knew that Juan was the right person to join the Pocket Living team and tiny home movement. We are now a team of 3!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The availability to work remotely means as ideas pop up, I can move tasks from one business to the other making an open door for creativity. If I want to take a trip, I have the ability to bring my work with me. The flexibility helps with accomplishing more throughout the day.
A typical work day looks something like this. One of my goals for the year was to be able to cook an amazing omelet. I have chickens *all named after celebrities like Heniffer Aniston, Chickelle Obama, Audrey Henburn, etc… * I have finally mastered the perfect omelet. So I eat it every day…
Then I make my list of To-do’s- Run my errands- Head to the office or client consultations.
Every day’s schedule is drastically different depending on which job is a priority. Last month I was contracting a build and using power tools and this week I’m doing AutoCAD drawings for a Master Bath remodel. My main goal is to stay organized!
How do you bring ideas to life?
Inspiration is everywhere. Luckily, I’m surrounded by many artist that fuel my energy for creative ideas. We work late almost every night. To be honest, we could probably end our days by 7 pm, if we weren’t so easily distracted by each other’s creative ideas causing a snowball effect.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Maximalist: When I say I’m a maximalist, people give me the craziest looks. The tiny house community is built around minimalism and everything it stands for, so I understand the confusion until I explain. The “trend’ maximalist is a style I refer when talking about ascetics. The white wall movement looks amazing in pictures and it can make rooms feel very clean and spacious. I have an Interior Design and Decorating background so I love maximum character. I love intricately patterned wallpaper, artful light fixtures, bright colored cabinetry, parquet flooring and all the little details that make a room feel quirky and unique. The minimalist vibe in a tiny home can make the space feel larger, but if it’s something I’m living in, I would rather have a space I can relate my personality too. I already know it’s small so I’m a firm believer in filling it with beautiful items and not trying to make it feel bigger. I want my personal tiny home to feel like a Swiss army knife with all these little gadgets and surprises. The key to being a maximalist in a Tiny Home or Studio is multi-use pieces, smart organization and being tidy!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m a list maker. I jot down everything I have to do that day and prioritize it. I tend to plan an impossible amount of task for each day, if I list everything, I always get it done. When you have 4 hours of travel, 3 appointments, 5 phone consultations and office work to do – it can easily be overlooked if not noted!
What advice would you give your younger self?
That it’s okay to say no. As a people pleaser, I always want to make sure everyone is happy! I spent much of my younger years doing jobs for free – letting people take advantage of my work and volunteering, when I should have grounded my feet a little more and spoke up for myself. I now know my worth and make sure the work is fair for BOTH parties.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
That you can be a maximalist in the tiny house movement. Not everyone agrees but that’s okay! The world would be a boring place if everyone had the same opinion!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Self-care. One of my mentors opened my eyes to how important this self-care idea is for your mental state. Within the business realm, there are always ups and downs and you can’t control much of anything. You can’t make someone fall in love with you. You can’t make your boss give you a raise. (Most) people can’t make a million dollars over night. You can’t control the weather or traffic. The only thing that you can truly control 100% is yourself. A simple task such as drinking enough water, eating healthy, getting enough sleep is so important. If those are the only things you have full control over, why let them go to waste? When I pay attention to those little details, I have a sharper mind and feel genuinely happier!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Always reevaluating and evolving the flow of work. As the business grows, I have to find new ways to work when it comes to book keeping, appointment scheduling, etc. This is something I’m currently doing. I’ve accumulated more jobs and planning different avenues to juggle all of them!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
You can’t succeed without a risk. Not all of those risk are going to be successful either so you have to be okay with failure. Just getting back up and trying something again! One failure I had as an entrepreneur was when I started my first business as an Interior Designer. I gained a lot of experience working under a designer while in college and post-college. One area we never did was work with Drapery. My very first client ordered over a dozen drapery panels from me and when I measured, I was way off. In result, I had to have them remade and paid for them out of pocket. I learned a big lesson from that. Details are everything and never assume anything. Even if you are 90% sure something is right, still double check. On the bright side, I have absolute beautiful drapery in my home office!!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would love to open a tea shop one day. I have a business plan set aside and one day I’d love to bring it to life! The idea is to have the tea shop be a place for matching herbal remedies to people’s health. They can come in, meet with a specialist to talk about how they want to improve their health, and our tea “Guru’s” can guide them to the right teas. Herbal teas have been around for centuries and I find it fascinating how they work. This is an idea I may touch back on 10-15 years down the road.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I gave a $100 gift card to one of my most loyal clients. Just a simple token of appreciation can go a long way!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
AutoCAD. It’s a software that creates floor plans, elevations and 3D models. I couldn’t do half the work I do without this software. It helps with precision in making sure each project is thoroughly accurate. I will typically use AutoCAD for floorplans, furniture plans, elevations and full house plans to give clients a view of our visions.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. One of the best subscriptions I have is Audible. I have little time to sit down and read a book but I have ample time to listen to one while traveling! I’ve listed to The Power of Habit twice because I found it so interesting – learning people’s unwitting behavior. Body language is something that’s embedded in our DNA. For example, when a blind person is excited, they raise their hands in the air. It’s not just something people do when there’s a touchdown. Habit and body language are two things I’ve spent countless hours studying. I highly advise reading this book If you have a sales career of any kind!
What is your favorite quote?
“No matter the situations, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence”. I remind myself at times to think with my mind and not my heart. The saying “follow your heart” is a great quote that I live by for my personal life. Business is a different matter!
- Whatever you choose to do, do it to the best of your ability. Treat success like there is no other option our there!
- Adaptive- We can adapt to anyone’s suggestion when it comes to design. The most important aspect about growing is having an open mind and trying new task when presented. It’s never too late to learn a new skill!
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Pocket Living on Instagram: @pocket_living
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.