A few years ago, Kristin (Weilert) Lindley, ’04, decided to leave corporate life to launch her own boutique home design/staging business with her longtime friend, Meagan (Branagan) Baker, ’04, MBA’05. Although both women had successful careers in sales, they were looking for something more personally fulfilling.
The business acumen the women gained as students at Niagara served them well as they built a brand and established a business plan for what would become Upstate Roots Design.
“Our background in business management would be the catalyst of our success, because we both understood the importance of slowing down in the creation of this company,” Lindley said.
“We applied our education and years of hands-on experience to the creation of Upstate Roots Design,” Baker added. “We understood that heading into an industry that was heavily referral based and extremely competitive would require a solid business strategy, and we were fortunate enough to both have the background and education to start here.”
Their new business provided the creative outlet they were searching for, enabled them to better balance their careers and family, and helped Lindley honor the legacy of her father, who passed away unexpectedly from cancer in 2016. He would make unique room décor for her home; after his death, she learned how to do it herself, sharing her work on Facebook and Instagram postings.
The first nine months after launching their business in 2018 was spent building a reputation in the Rochester, N.Y., market and learning more about the industry. In July of 2019, they completed their first staging job. Since then, their business has grown significantly, and they credit their diligence in establishing their brand with playing a key role in their success.
“People feel they relate to us, to our story, and now crave our brand in their home,” said Lindley.
The women recently purchased a cobblestone farmhouse built in 1832 in North Greece, N.Y., to be their first-ever headquarters. As they reinvent what was once a private home into their business space, they are also starting a new chapter for Upstate Roots Design.
“We have a lot of crazy aspirations and dreams, but we hope to continue to grow with our new headquarters. We hope to use this property as a platform to welcome customers and the community in different forums. We hope to expand in other avenues, as well,” said Baker.
“Now that we have our own ‘home,’ we hope to continue to build upon our ability to offer services that bring beauty into our clients’ homes,” Lindley said. “There is no greater feeling than providing a service to someone that brightens their day or warms their soul. It warms ours, too, and that is the stuff that gets us excited!”