Lucy Dean

Appreciate the small wins, don’t get bogged down in the details, and keep your mind on the goal!


Lucy Grymes Designs was created from Lucy’s desire to provide a welcoming atmosphere when she invited friends and family to her small apartment. She’d arrive home after work to wrinkly or not enough placemats with flowers in her hand that would have to be arranged in somewhat unattractive drinking glasses. Wasn’t there a way to dress up her table without having to purchase multiple vases and plastic placemats?

Two worlds collided to get the answer. Lucy left her consulting job to take a chance on delving into the world of textile design. She attended classes on textile design, color theory and painting all the while still cooking, inventing cocktails and having friends for impromptu get togethers. It wasn’t long before the idea of colorful paper placemats came to mind.

While Lucy was exploring how to get her watercolor creations from easel to retail, she began to think about how paper could be used to make her flower arrangements have respectable, beautiful vases. After looking at many shapes, the idea of using origami to make a foldable, affordable, storable vase wrap evolved.

Where did the idea for [Insert Company Name] come from?

Being a young professional living in a tiny apartment, I quickly learned entertaining is not as easy as it looks. I always wanted a festive, beautifully set table but I did not have the money to buy new table settings nor the space to store everything. I especially hated having to always use drinking glasses as vases since there was no place to keep many real vases. I set out to solve these problems in an aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly way, and at last Lucy Grimes was created.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My days can vary in terms of what task I am actually completing, but they are all structured the same way. I am a firm believer in time blocking – that is where you structure your day in blocks of time and you complete one task during each block. For example I would create a block of time to create all my social media posts for the upcoming weeks instead of taking time everyday to create a post. This helps me to stay on track and prevents me from getting distracted and wasting time.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Asking questions – I ask a lot of questions. I started Lucy Grymes with lots of ideas but absolutely no experience in designing, printing and wholesale, so bringing these ideas to life was no easy feat. I quickly learned the only way I would be able to do it successfully was to go to the experts and ask questions on question on questions. Not only did this help me learn, but it also helped me gain respect because people knew they could not just give me a quick, half thought out response.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Coral being being the Pantone color of the year! I have always loved that color – I feel like it is a vibrant color that also has a soft edge. I am a very visual person, so knowing I would be seeing this color pop up all over this year sparked some joy.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Having a morning routine has definitely made me more productive. I wakeup early, workout and then take some time for myself in the morning to get ready while I listen to the news. By the time I get to my desk my mind and body are wide awake.

What advice would you give your younger self?

To look forward, not down (and this is something I am still telling myself). Too often I find myself zeroing in and obsessing over little details that seem incredibly important at the moment but in reality will have little impact in the long run. This just creates unnecessary anxiety and wastes time. When I realize this is happening, I take a step back and try to refocus with the bigger picture in mind.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Almost everyone agrees that you should show respect to all people, but I notice that certain parts of the population, like homeless people, are often ignored. I was brought up to look all people in the eye and respect them as a person which has lead me to work with and hire low-income and homeless women. Along the way I have learned so much from their varied stories.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Celebrate the small wins because this is what keeps you going! We all have our eyes set on big goals, which is good, but those only come every so often. This helps you stay positive and motivated as well as helps you realize everything you have accomplished. Too often we just focus on the negative and that really wears you down.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Asking for help. At first I was trying to do everything myself in an effort to save money. However, I have realized that getting experts for help is money well spent and frees up time for me to focus on the creative and strategic side of the business so we can grow.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I quickly learned the problems that can arise when you do not have verbal agreements in writing. I had an issue with a contractor that had different memory of a conversation we had and I ultimately had to pay the difference. I now take the extra few minutes to
write a follow up e-mail summarizing the notes I had taken after every important phone conversation or meeting.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would love someone to start a TaskRabbit type app for beauty treatments in the home, which would be great for women tight on time or money.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently broke my arm and had to caved and purchased a $119 blowout membership for my hair. I wanted to do it for so long, but never did because I felt like it was an excessive expense. But I love having my hair done, it makes me feel put together and presentable. I have been going every week and it has become 45 minutes of “me time” where I just sit back, relax and feel pampered.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I use so many different softwares for various tasks, but I would have to say Plann really impacted my productivity. It is a social media app that you can go into and create all your future posts at one time, and then it will automatically post them on the date / time you specify. I HATE creating social media posts for Lucy Grymes so this app allows me to create a block of time once every couple of weeks and get it all over with at once.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson . This book helped me realize what is actually worth giving a f*** about, because too often we find ourselves stressing over everything – a lot of which does not actually matter. Once you figure out what truly matters, you can focus your energy on that.

What is your favorite quote?

“Do one thing everyday that scares you.” – Elenor Roosevelt

Key Learnings:

  • Workout early in the morning and time block the rest of your day for maximum productivity.
  • Follow-up verbal conversations with a written email for better communication and record keeping.
  • Appreciate the small wins, don’t get bogged down in the details, and keep your mind on the goal!