I’m always a little hesitant to share what I’m up to in my work life because I don’t want to give away too much or (more likely) put anyone to sleep. But since several of you asked for more insight on what I do on a daily basis and I’m feeling pretty excited about everything I have on my plate these days, here’s a peek at the projects I’m juggling right now…

pace yourself cocktail napkins

{Note to self: PACE YOURSELF. Cocktail napkins will be back in stock in two weeks; striped straws and wine opener are back in stock now!}

1. I’m slowly but surely getting to the point where I can’t manage everything on my own anymore, which is both exciting and terrifying. On a given day, I’m getting a kajillion emails from customers, current vendors, prospective vendors, sales reps, and freelance artists and designers I’m working with, not to mention the PR pitches, sponsored post proposals, and reader questions for my blog. The customer service side of things alone can sometimes take several hours a day! I do my best not to beat myself up but I hate feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to manage everything and manage it well. I had two summer interns who were INCREDIBLE and showed me what was possible if I just freed up a few hours of my time to actually do the things I’m good at. The experience totally changed my perspective on running a business and taught me that investing in good people, while it can be daunting in the beginning, is worth the initial investment, like, 10,000 times over. I can’t wait until I’m able to build out a true Design Darling dream team!

stop and drink the rosé print

{Yes way rosé.}

2. You guys have been loving the artist pop-up shops we’ve done this summer and so I’m lining up a few more in the months to come. It’s been super cool to see you incorporating original art in your homes right next to prints we carry year-round. Keep those Instagrams coming! Right now you can shop Anne Harwell McElhaney’s beautiful acrylics and watercolors. I’ve been a fan of hers for several years now and just can’t get enough of her Palm Beach-y aesthetic. This palm tree is my favorite!

3. For the past year (at least), I have had approximately 382,672 product design ideas and roughly 0.2 seconds in the day to do anything about them. But rest assured that is about to change! I am so excited to show you what I’m cooking up and I’m extremely hopeful that everything will resonate with you so I can bring you more accessories and decor that you can find only at Design Darling! I basically live for the feeling of getting a new project off the ground so I’m excited about taking these first baby steps in the direction I’ve always dreamed of.

4. Reordering and restocking inventory post-birthday sale. Not glamorous but, hey, I’m keeping it real!

5. Replacing my debit cards what feels like every 5 days because some jerk in Salt Lake City thought it would be cute to steal my card number and ring up $2,800 at Harley Davidson. #onbrand #keepitclassy

sleep in print

{My favorite sleep in print over my new favorite thing in the universe, a navy scalloped headboard by Katie Kime.}

6. Contemplating office space / shipping solutions. This is not an easy decision for any small business owner and particularly tricky given the cost and space constraints of New York in particular. I’ve really decided to table office space for a few more months (how long have I been saying this, really? ugh) in favor of investing in the products that keep you coming back to Design Darling and that I long to produce myself. Sometimes I feel totally illegitimate because I’m still (mostly) a one-woman show and working from home and other days I just remind myself I’m onto something good and all the photos of packing orders in a studio apartment will make for a great first chapter in a book someday…

7. Continuing to blog once a day because, at the end of the day, I really do love it and I’m a big believer that you have to fight to make time for the things you love.

8. “Getting ready” for fashion week, which for me means ordering a ton of cool clothes and pretending this is the year I’ll up my fashion week game… and then returning everything and sticking to the tried-and-true pieces I already have hanging in my closet. #toohonest?

9. Seeking extra time in the day (someone teach me to wake up at 5?!) to start eating lunch, cooking at home, making it to the gym, answering every tweet, sleeping enough to stop getting sick in the summer, and occasionally remembering to remove my chipped nail polish or, I don’t know, brush my hair. Oh and planning more trips because getting out of town makes me see things in a totally new light when I get home. In all seriousness, I’m totally revved up about where my business (and life in general!) is right now and I couldn’t be more stoked for everything I have in the works!!! Just being honest about the day-to-day ups and downs that are happening behind every obsessively styled Instagram. 😉 Please tell me there are other small business owners out there who feel the same way…!

This goes without saying at this point but thank you all for being part of this crazy journey! Your comments, emails, tweets, pins, purchases, and even just the silent support make my world go round day in and day out. Design Darling is a happier little corner of the Internet thanks to all of you. xx

44 thoughts on “WHAT I’M WORKING ON RIGHT NOW…

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  1. I’d love to see another post like this, reflecting the opportunities, challenges, and growth associated with your move to Dallas. It’s clear you’ve been able to align your business and have made some really positive changes. I can’t wait to hear about them!

  2. Love this! Where did you get the baskets for your expedit shelves? You have great taste! I can’t wait to move and use your pics as an inspiration for design – might even use some tips for my office at work 🙂

  3. Hi Mackenzie,

    I have mostly jump been a silent supporter but I find you such an inspiration! I love honest posts like these not only because it really shows that your life is crazy busy and not just perfect instagrams (never thought it was, but I still just love this!) You give me the idea that maybe one day I can do what you’re doing. I’m only 21 and still trying to figure a lot out just getting out of college in May. Keep doing what you’re doing and I can’t wait to see where you go!

    ps, I do wake up at 5, and it’s still not enough hours in the day to get everything done!

  4. your personal posts are some of my favorite. i have loved watching your shop and blog grow. but i can only imagine how hard it is to balance both of them plus your life. you are doing a wonderful job and i cannot wait to see what you do next! i have a feeling i am going to love and want whatever beautiful things you end up designing!

  5. Sounds like someone’s a busy little bee! Looks who’s a big time working girl!
    Hope no big bumps in the road surface anytime soon!


  6. We love everything about this post. Having an inside look at the small business owner/blogger life is just so refreshing and something that we relate to so much. Oftentimes bloggers make it seem like life is so perfect and the reality is that it’s not always a breeze. How much can an Instagram photo really say, anyway? 😉

    Balancing it all is the hardest part — whether you are balancing a family, a business, a blog, a career or some combination of the above. Thanks for sharing more of your everyday reality with us. Can’t wait to see what you have planned… We will of course follow along the way! xo

  7. Thansk for the honesty Mackenzie, this was great to read! For those of us sitting at a desk from 9-5 all day everyday, people in the blogging world like you provide wonderful esapism. I love your blog and it’s nice to hear a bit of the back-end of blogging and being a young businesswoman. Even if it’s not as glamorous as jetting to the Bahamas for a wedding 🙂 Keep it up, you’re doing a great job!

  8. Love these day in the life posts! I’ve followed your blog since right before the launch of your shop (!) and always come back for the eye candy.

    This type of post and honesty is incredibly refreshing to read as a small business owner who is also currently juggling way too much. But I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else;) Also, who needs to wake up at 5 when you’re just getting around to checking non-work emails at 4:30?! The joys and pitfalls of working from home…

    Do you ever have trouble “turning off”? It’s something I’m currently struggling with myself as I juggle potential new opportunities and the never ending social media cycle.



  9. I loved seeing what you do on a daily basis and what you have planned! The realness was awesome. I’m really excited for everything you have up your sleeve! You are a rockstar 🙂


  10. I love this post! bloggers often are very vague and it’s interesting to know what bloggers are up to because its a very nontraditional career. as always, you are classy and mature and i wish you nothing but the best

  11. You’re one busy woman, Mackenzie!! Starting my own business would be a dream one day, so I love how honest and up front you are about both the good and the bad. Great to see you keep picking yourself up after a knock back!

  12. I love how honest this post is Mackenzie, it’s refreshing and insightful to be able to follow along with your journey and here about what is happening with your business. So many exciting new things on the horizon!

  13. I love hearing about what you are working on! And I love the pop up shops you put together this summer for art work! As soon as see the color on my new walls I’ll be ordering some!

  14. I love how honest you are here, Mackenzie. hearing about your day to day life is not boring at all – it’s inspiring seeing a small business owner at work! You’ve accomplished so much and seem to be enjoying your work which is refreshing to see. Design Darling is totally ‘on the up’ and is only going to get better, by the sounds of it! KKeep these types of posts coming, they’re obviously resonating! xo

  15. You are so talented and such an inspiration, Mackenzie!! Keep doing what you’re doing – but definitely make time for vacation/time off because you totally deserve it. Enjoy the rest of your week! xox

  16. Mackenzie, I am so happy to read this! As a fellow one-woman shop owner that can’t quite do it all on my own anymore and is also currently trying to figure out studio/shipping space situations, as well as new products and designs- it is so nice to hear that I’m not the only one!! 🙂 You’ve done a wonderful job with your boutique, it is always one of my favorites to shop- between the fun pop-up art prints, lovely jewelry, and fun things for the home there is always a great selection to chose from. It doesn’t hurt that everything is so cute and you market it all so well! Now if only there was a way to pause time during the day and just get it all done! Don’t worry though, you’re doing great and are such an inspiration for other entrepreneurs like me!

  17. Thanks for being so honest!! Totally an inspiration. I’m sure you’ll find the time to fit in all great things!! Thanks for the motivation & for keeping it r e a l 🙂

  18. This is so refreshing to read! It can get hard to remember that behind the blogs and instagrams and tweets that we’re all just 20-somethings trying to hold it all together and find our place. I’ve been reading your blog since before the shop went live and it’s so fun seeing what Design Darling and your blog have become over the last couple of years.

    As for the waking up at 5am, I saw someone else suggested scheduling early workout classes. Totally seconded! I’ve started scheduling 5:45 and 6:00 am Flywheel classes at least once a week and while the cost and the guilt of skipping are what initially get me out of bed, the rush that you get after class when you realized what you’ve accomplished before most people crawl out of bed is a high like nothing else. I’ve been doing it for a few months and now I find myself waking up early on days when I DON’T have a class scheduled too!

  19. This. Is. The. Best.
    I love love love it when my favourite bloggers bring their readers into their world on in a ‘real’ as opposed to staged capacity. You seem so happy and fulfilled at the moment and I hope it’s a bit contagious. As for extra time in the day – the best way I’ve managed it is to get outside first thing. Roll out of bed (no snooze!), throw on some sneakers and cute running shorts and take a short walk, even if it’s just to grab coffee. Something about the sunshine (melatonin, probably) wakes you up and the lights go green on your day. And I find time in the sun so helpful with managing stress – again, melatonin. Grab this exciting new stage and run with every second!

    Amy x
    Girl for Granted

  20. you are not alone! my small business is requiring more and more of my time which is making some changes in my life. but I know it will be worth it, and I love what I’m doing!

    can’t wait to see the new things you have in the works, keep up the awesome work 🙂

  21. Way to go!!! You sure are busy and should be proud of yourself. Thanks for taking the time to write the blog.

  22. I love how honest you always are 🙂 It makes so much difference and you take so much time to make you readers happy by always answering to comments and emails! Honestly well done for all that on top of the boutique because so many top bloggers never reply to anything (sorry but it’s true) You on the contrary are just a star 🙂

    I can’t wait to see what you have been working on and wish I had a way to get to NYFW to meet you! Maybe one day 🙂

    Hope one day I get to move to the US or you do international shipping so I can finally enjoy everything you sell!

    xo Sylvia

  23. Thanks for your honesty, Mackenzie! I’m in a similar boat. Trying to run a business on your own can be an overwhelming experience but well worth the reward! If only the days could be longer and we all could run on less sleep.However, you seem super organize and are doing an awesome job in your “one-woman” show so take pride in that. On a side note, ginger tea with fresh squeeze lemon juice works wonders for a cold even when you feel it’s just coming on.

  24. love it!! keep doing you! i’ll always be reading. xx ps need the sleep in print…someone teach me to do that. lylas

  25. Hi Mackenzie,
    If you’re serious about the 5am thing, I have a piece of advice, something that has worked for me. You also said you wanted to get to the gym more often. I don’t mean to make any assumptions about your budget, but I’ve found that signing up for super early (6am) barre classes forces me out of bed early, and also makes me a lot more productive/organized the night before, since I have to be ready to roll out of bed and have my stuff for the day ready. It doesn’t have to be barre, but THE KEY is signing up for EXPENSIVE exercise classes that you feel awful cancelling for reasons like being tired or having too many glasses of wine the night before. There’s a level of accountability to your bank account, along with the people on the waitlist who you screw by not showing up last minute. I know it sounds silly, but it works! The benefits are great, too. You’re working out, getting your day started earlier (not with coffee), and you end up going to bed earlier because you’re actually tired at the end of the day! Good luck! Excited about all you have going on right now–


    1. This is a pretty good idea! I can see how it makes you accountable. Thanks for keeping it real Mackenzie! I love when I read about the glamourous and then not so glamourous parts of people’s lives…because really we are all humans. I’m excited about your business too and can’t wait to see where you’ll go with it 🙂

  26. I love how real you are, Mackenzie. As a college student, it’s refreshing to see someone going after their dreams and being honest about all the ups and downs of the real world!

  27. This was really refreshing to read!! I loved your honesty and the range of topics you’ve covered here. I’ve been following you for a while, and it’s very cool to see your growth as a business owner and blogger. Keep up the great work 🙂

  28. One of my favorite posts of yours, ever. I love how honest you are about everything and as a longtime reader, it’s been awesome to follow along as you accomplish so much. Good luck with everything!

      1. I second Gabriela! Loved getting to know what’s going on with you and your business on a more personal level. You’ve got this 🙂 Can’t wait to see what you have in store for products!

  29. Hopefully you already know this, but I am extremely proud of you and excited to see what’s next! You should feel incredible when you look at this list. Personally, I’ll be anxiously awaiting your exclusive designs. Go girl go!