Dyer and Jenkins "Forge Your Own Path" series is all about American Makers and Do'ers. We love people who have travelled off the beaten path and taken the entrepreneurial plunge. It's very important for us to spread the word about them so that other people may find and appreciate their talents. We believe that it is not only our duty to produce American Made items, but it is also our responsibility to spread the word about others who are doing the same thing.
Tell me a little about yourself and what you do.
I am a decorator, stylist, and designer based in Nashville TN.
When were you born, where?
I was an 80's kid born in a tiny town in south Louisiana called St. Francisville. My entire family stills lives there. Its filled with charm and character.
What were your hobbies growing up?
I was always super social. l loved being with family and friends all the time. i grew up really close to baton rouge so if LSU had a home game my family was there. Dancing was always my favorite thing to do…still is.
Did you go to college?
I graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in child and family life...I don’t use my degree:)
How did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
Well, I was in a relationship for close to ten years and he was the main breadwinner. When that ended last year I knew I needed to figure out a way to pay my bills so I trusted my friends words that I was gifted at decorating and styling. It was honestly more out of necessity, not because I thought I was good enough to do it. I feel so very thankful and humbled by all the beautiful opportunities and people I have gotten to experience this year. Every job feels like a gift.
Why did you choose this path?
A few years ago, I found out I had to have a really risky and dangerous spinal cord surgery. I knew I was going to be in my bed for a good long time recovering after the surgery and if the surgery didn’t go well, even longer, so I wanted my home to feel really good and like a respite. Decorating was a way for me to not focus on all the hard things going on around me, a way to focus on beauty. My home ended up being photographed and showed up on a lot of design blogs. People thought that’s what I did...and up to that point I thought I didn’t have any creative ability whatsoever! It was really other people’s words and encouragement that helped me realize that I was a creative!
How do you try to create change through business and in your personal life?
I love design and styling so much and I’m so thankful I can pay my bills doing it, but for me if feels more of a means to an end. it opens up more opportunities to share my story and the message that you can live a really beautiful life despite your circumstances. (you can read more about the story on ruthielindsey.com) I also know the value of having a home that’s a respite when you are going through broken times. I love being able to offer that to someone! The job is way more about the relationships and loving people the best way I know how.
What causes–not necessarily organizations, but just adversities you try to understand and have others understand–do you hold close to your heart?
I think I can really relate to people walking through broken or traumatic experiences so I try to always have eyes to see those people and to empathize with them and enter into the brokenness with them the best way I can. Even if its just sitting with them and crying. Life can be so incredibly hard but it’s also filled with so much beauty and redemption. I hope to live in such a way and love people in such a way that demonstrates the fact that you can live such a beautiful and rich life despite your circumstances or the brokenness in your life.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Every time my papa would leave my presence as a child he would always say, "I love you so much, remember your manners, and always look out for the little guy." I love the idea of always looking out for the little guy, seeking to have to eyes to truly see everyone. Notice folks that may get missed or not noticed, or may feel uncomfortable or awkward and don’t just see them but lookout for them, love them, care for them.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to a fellow creative?
We all feel like we are tricking people and don’t know what we are doing. Be honest about your shortcomings but surround yourself with people that love you, encourage you, and remind you of your gifts for when you forget. Don’t take yourself too seriously, work hard, but remember its really about the people. People may not remember the details of your work but they will remember how they feel when they leave you. Be kind and loving to everyone.
Why do you feel Made in America is so important?
It’s so critically important for the American economy. I honestly didn’t use to think about where my things came from, but now I love the idea of supporting American made makers and their families.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
“Beach Music” by Pat Conroy. He is a southern writer that can make me laugh and cry harder than any other writer.
If there was one movie you could go back and watch all over again as if you’ve never seen it before; what would it be?
Probably To Kill a Mockingbird. It was a favorite in my home growing up and Atticus Finch is my favorite literary character of all time. Ever.
Wanna find out more about Ruthie? Check out her website.