Books + Magazines, Inspiration

The Importance of a Great Team

August 12, 2013

Oh the importance of a great team. You really can’t underestimate the beauty in finding people that you can trust, respect and work well with who are also super talented, fair and “get it” when it comes to your ideas and vision. It’s rare for me to find team members that I really click with. I’m picky. While I am by nature a total people-person and enjoy the company of everyone (even difficult personalities are cool with me), it’s not the same when it comes to working with them. It has to click, you know? It’s either right or it’s wrong. So today I want to shout out two very special women – one I’ve known since March 2009 and the other I’ve never met in person in my life and just “met” online a few weeks ago. Both are seriously great women and you should know them and know why.

The Importance of a Great Team

Leslie (standing) and Laure (seated) in Emily Henderson’s home – so happy Emily is part of the book!

The first is Leslie Shewring. An intro is really not needed if you read decor8, followed her Color Me Pretty column (on hold for now until we finish our book), or know about how instrumental she was in Blogging Your Way during its early years as a teacher. Now, Leslie is co-authoring the next book that we’re currently working on and she is doing a bang up job and I’m really proud of her. When you find someone like her to work with, and you click, keep them near and dear. Leslie has been a massive support in my life – not just work stuff – especially now as I’m ill and she has flown in (literally) to Hannover to help on our book, and then flew last week to San Francisco and LA (from her home in Victoria, Canada), and is still working so hard styling and producing beautiful photos as stylist, photographer and art director on shoots. I’m blown away by her attitude throughout it all and am so happy we’re on this project together. When our book releases on March 21, 2014, I will owe so much of its beauty and wonderfulness to her. Thank you Leslie.

The Importance of a Great Team

Flower Power! Can’t shoot a home without ’em! These were for Bri’s house (yay DesignLoveFest!).

The second extraordinary female whom I’d like to celebrate is photographer Laure Joliet. This lady is a class act. She accepted a job with a few weeks notice, hopped on a plane to San Francisco to meet Leslie, and began shooting the first of four homes over the course of last week in both SF and LA. The best part, she gave me NO CRAP. I have zero tolerance for ego when I work with anyone, I don’t care how great you are. Laure listened to me as I rambled on about this and that, which could have offended some photographers (please shoot tethered, please use a tripod, only natural light, blah blah blah) but she had no problem accepting my direction and didn’t once let ego take over doing great work. I directed them both remotely to the best of my ability on shots we needed, angles, ideas but ultimately they had the bulk of the work and ran with it and blew me away as a result – as the photos came in each day, I looked through them, supplied feedback and we moved on to the next shoot and continued this process and in the end, as a team, we really accomplished a lot. I mean a lot. I owe the success of last week to them, not me. To put Leslie and Laure together without any knowledge of how the other works (or even who the other is – they were strangers when they met) and watch them nail all four homes shows the power of women who are talented and professional and how they just GET STUFF DONE.

Leslie gave me the full scoop after the shoot week and had NOTHING but positive things to say about Laure – she sang her praises and would gladly work with her again, and this alone made me absolutely the happiest person ever because I wanted them to click, work well together and do great work and they accomplished that and so much more. You’ll see some of Laure’s gorgeous work in our book that releases in March. I can’t wait to show you! This book is now much bigger than Leslie and I with the addition of gorgeous homes and the wonderful Laure, so Leslie and I are even more excited to share it with you soon!

The Importance of a Great Team

The home of SFGirlByBay will be in our book, yay!

So! To begin a shiny new week on a positive note, I want to celebrate the beauty and importance of a great team of amazing women. These girls, the homeowners, Leslie’s amazing sister Diane who accompanied them in LA to work hard on shoots too… All of them. I’m worked with some women who sadly, left me uninspired, burnt out and wondering how in the world they ever got to where they are with such abrasive personalities. These women were just the opposite – and they made magic as a result. I know first hand what the definition of a great team, mediocre team and team SUCK can be! And these ladies were team awesome all the way. Thanks, LJ and LS and THANK YOU to Emily, Bri, Rachel and Victoria for being such a lovely team of homeowners, too!

(images: emily henderson, bri emery, laure joliet)


  • Reply tinajo August 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    You sound like just the right crew – good for you! I wish your book had been available now..! :-)

  • Reply Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door August 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    What a great post. Thanks for sharing some positivity and support. Working with others on such a huge project can be stressful I’m sure and I”m glad you found a great team. Cheers!

  • Reply Rebecca_Bee August 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    What a lovely group of ladies to be working with. I am bummed I didn’t have a chance to meet Leslie when she lived in LA. Oh and I completly agree, Laure is a class act.

  • Reply Tracy Warner August 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    This is wonderful, I love home design and would really look forward to following you.

  • Reply Isabelle August 12, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Dear Holly,

    I’m so looking forward to your new book! I hope you are doing fine and don’t work too hard :)



  • Reply Annie Kruse August 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    This is such a great post Holly and your gratitude and enthusiasm just jumps out at me. Having directed many shoots myself I can imagine that you must have had a bit of underlying anxiety especially as the two of them had never met but it sounds like you’ve developed a great German (?) no nonsense approach and have a good gut feeling (excuse the pun in your current condition) about people. Well done and I’m looking forward to the book next year!

  • Reply leslie August 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Thank you for such a lovely post. I totally appreciate you. xo

  • Reply Gwen. The Makerista August 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Isn’t it always so lovely to work with like-minded, helpful and inspiring women? What a great group!

  • Reply mel August 13, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Good on you for the shout out Holly, so many people take a fantastic team for granted. I really can’t wait for your new book – especially seeing Victoria’s and Bree’s homes. What a treat! Hope the morning sickness is easing a little. Mel x

  • Reply Aileen August 13, 2013 at 3:33 am

    Wow, dream team! I love all the bloggers whose homes you’ll be featuring and now I’m even MORE excited to see your book when it comes out!!

  • Reply Punctuation Mark August 13, 2013 at 4:17 am

    i agree with you… working with reliable, honest and dedicated individuals is a rare thing today and when you find it, its a great thing to have!

  • Reply Visual Philosophy August 13, 2013 at 7:22 am

    It’s so important to have a great team and it sounds like you’ve found one that works for you. Congrats and wishing you the best in all your endeavors!


  • Reply Amy August 13, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Ah Holly yes the joy of working with a great team and making something really beautiful, I miss those days, on my editorial shoots when we used to ‘nail it’ I’d do a little happy dance, it was the feeling of everything coming together with a brilliant team and making that moment. I miss it. Thanks for reminding me ; ) x

  • Reply Jasmine Koh August 13, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Wow – to be able to do all that remotely! You ladies have to be a great team. I agree with you that it is indeed a rare find. The question I have is how do you find them?

  • Reply Gretchen August 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I love this, and totally agree that once you get the right combination of talented people together it can be absolute magic! Looking forward to the new book. XO

  • Reply Michele August 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I’m glad to hear that the book is progressing so well. I know you are all working hard to complete it and will do a wonderful job. But it is tough waiting for it!! I’ve been going through withdrawal over the fact that there have been no Color Me Pretty columns for a long time, and no posts over at A Creative Mint. Sniff, sniff. I will snap up the book as soon as it is available and hope to see more greatness on the blogs too. (And take good care of yourself, Holly. I’m glad you have such terrfic ladies working with you.)

    • Reply decor8 August 14, 2013 at 9:46 am

      @michele – Yeah I know – I’m excited to share it too – it releases March 21 but if you pre-order on Amazon you will most likely get it in late Feb. When the pre-order link is live, which I imagine will be this Fall, I’ll let everyone know!

  • Reply Margarita August 14, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I am very much like you, I am a people person but when it comes to work I have my vision and way of doing things that is why appreciate so much when I meet someone I connect with like my photographer piero who know each otter as friends and have been working together on my photos. You 3 are very lucky to have each other looking forward to the next book!

  • Reply Trisha August 15, 2013 at 1:10 am

    What a wonderful wonderful crew you all are. So inspiring to see that there are still people (of influence I might add) who still value working hard together and actually being nice! It just fuels my fire to hear it. Thanks for sharing Holly…what an inspiration to us all.

  • Reply Michele August 15, 2013 at 6:11 am

    @decor8: Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply Tanya mc Donagh August 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

    @decor8: hi holly, I agree wholeheartedly with Michelle, and cannot wait for the book xxx

  • Reply Laura Gaskill @ Lolalina August 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I can’t begin to say how excited I am to see this book when it finally goes to print! I imagine cracking it open for the first time will be like opening a present with little gifts from some of my very favorite people…so glad to hear it’s coming along well! Yippee!
    hugs, Laura

  • Reply Mariana . So Much Love August 29, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    You rock Holly!!!!! You have a great team with you, and you deserve it!!!
    Big kiss!

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