Designing My Journey: From Stay-at-Home Mom to Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

It’s finally official… Welcome to my first blog post! 

You can consider this a “Cliff Notes” glimpse into who I am, where I came from, and where we are heading… 

 

 

 

As you probably know, I am Morgan Mullen, the proud owner and founder of Mullen Design Co.  

We are located in San Diego, California where I run a design firm, an online store, a brick-and-mortar boutique, and a home decor subscription company.

Originally from Rancho Santa Fe, California, I met my husband Joe in college while taking a business law class. Who would have thought that all these years later we would be running a company together while raising our four babies. 

 

morgan and joe black and white wedding picture

 

Just five years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom, with a marketing degree and a sense of longing for “more”. During the moments when my two little girls slept, I would keep myself busy crafting decorative succulent planters and pumpkins. Not only did it provide a creative outlet, but it also sparked something within me.

 

 

As time went on, I noticed a peculiar pattern.... Friends and family sought my advice on design-related matters: choosing paint colors, picking wallpaper, or selecting the perfect spot for their sofas. Through the haze of motherhood, it was difficult to fathom why everyone turned to me for help. Truth be told, at times I even felt slightly annoyed by their requests.

Then it struck me - I was constantly revamping and reimagining my own living space during my downtime. In fact, my husband and I often laugh about the time he returned home from work to find our sofa had been sold on Facebook Marketplace. (Sorry, Joe!) Redecorating and reinventing our home filled a much needed artistic void and triggered immense joy. 

 

kitchen design by morgan mullen with large island and dark green cabinets

 

One day at the park, while connecting with a friend, I shared my yearning to do something beyond being a wife and mother. I cherished my role, but I was consumed by a burning desire to build something bigger for our family. Mid-conversation, I mentioned my interest in offering design services and I will never forget her saying "I think you should go for it. What do you have to lose?"  I have thought back on this moment so many times over the years.

Okay - fast forward a few weeks and I mustered the courage to post my own personal decor & design projects on our local Facebook moms' group. Alongside photos showcasing my personal projects, I asked if anyone else needed assistance. I'll never forget that moment, consumed with equal parts excitement and fear, as my heart raced in anticipation. Like after like poured in, accompanied by comments from people eager to enlist my help. It was an incredible feeling. I often reflect on this memory, recalling the times I considered deleting the post due to self-doubt. 

Looking back, I'm immensely grateful I didn't. 

Initially I offered my services for free, then gradually transitioned to charging enough to cover my babysitter's fees. Within a year and a half, I found myself with a waitlist of clients willing to wait six months to a year. I was growing, evolving, learning about boundaries, and gaining invaluable life lessons so quickly it was at times overwhelming.

 dining room design by morgan mullen

 

Fast forward to year three when I ventured into the world of e-commerce on our website, mullendesignco.com

Establishing our online store was an exhilarating process: sourcing and purchasing products, building our website, and eagerly watching the sales roll in. 

 

 

 

As the store gained popularity, messages poured in from people across the country who loved our shop but struggled with selecting the right items. 

The idea of assisting them in sourcing specific pieces to update their spaces simmered in my mind. Yet, juggling our local design clients' demands proved challenging - there simply weren’t enough hours in the days - and the idea had to wait. 

Then, in March 2020, everything changed. The jolting arrival of Covid-19 introduced uncertainty and fear, making it unwise to embark on lengthy construction projects with large budgets and extended timelines. One by one, wait-listed clients postponed their projects. 

A pit formed in my stomach. We had recently bought our  new home, our three young children depended on us, and my husband had just left his 11-year corporate job to join the company. 

 

 

In the midst of my panic, I shifted into full-blown solution mode. Ideas swirled in my mind until one morning  I awoke with an epiphany. What if I curated surprise boxes available to customers all across the country, filled with carefully selected items to update and style their homes? 

 

 

It was the perfect solution for those clients and customers who loved our store but struggled with making choices. Excitedly, I shared the idea with Joe over lunch and within a few short weeks, we had our first box, meticulously curated and ready to launch. 

On my birthday in September 2020, we nervously unveiled “Live Simply by Mullen Design Co.” A mix of terror and excitement filled the air. I remember turning to Joe and whispering, "What if no one buys it?" His response was filled with unwavering optimism (AS USUAL), "But what if they do?!" 

The fact that we managed to gather a significant number of items within such a short timeframe, despite the supply chain challenges posed by the pandemic, was nothing short of remarkable. We hit the "launch" button on our subscription box, and within just 23 hours, hundreds of boxes were sold. 

Each time a new subscriber notification flashed on my phone, I felt overwhelmed with emotion. These people were putting their trust in me, purchasing a box without any knowledge of its contents. It was an incredible validation. 

Those first few seasons, Joe and I would work until the wee hours of the morning, boxing up orders that took over every available space - our family room, living room, office, and even the garage. 

The energy surrounding this venture was magnetic from the very beginning, a feeling I will never forget. Witnessing UPS trucks pulling up to our family home, collecting box after box, was so much fun and having our children involved in the process was an incredible gift. 

It quickly became evident that we needed more space. Thus, we opened our brick-and-mortar design studio, just a short 10-minute drive from our family home, in Southwest San Marcos. 

 

fully stocked shelves in mullen design co's design studio space in san marcos, california

 

Over the years, we have built a team of creative, talented, hard working individuals at Mullen Design Co. They have been integral to our growth and we would be lost without them. (More on them soon, promise!) 

 

mdc crew members packing Live Simply subscription boxes in the warehouse

 

Now, as we celebrate our 10th season of the subscription box, it continues to sell out every single time. This journey has been one of the most incredible gifts of my life, and the gratitude I have for our dedicated following and subscribers knows no bounds. 

 

 

Starting this company from scratch has been an enormous learning experience. If someone had told me five years ago that I would be where I am today, I would have never believed them. This journey has demanded endless hard work, countless tears have been shed, and invaluable lessons were learned. 

There were moments when I felt like giving up, phases of extreme burnout, consuming mom guilt, and all the challenges that come with being a mom and entrepreneur. My days begin at 5am and, as a mother of four little ones, I squeeze every ounce of productivity into each day. 

 

 

I'm thrilled to have you join me on this journey, where I'll share my insights on running a household, organization, time blocking, manifesting, and meditation to calm my mind. 

I'll delve into the supplements I take to manage my autoimmune disease, and discuss everything from outfits and capsule wardrobes to Friday Finds, travel, easy recipes, entertaining, living simply, and the relentless pursuit of personal development. 

Consider me an open book, ready to share my life, my family, my passion, our projects, and the fun sources of our stylings. 

I'm SO happy and grateful you're here.  

Xo, M