Our inaugural Small Businessperson of the Year award is proudly presented by the Small Business Center at CPCC, assisting more than 2,500 startup entrepreneurs and small business owners annually through networking events, free seminars, no-cost counseling, a business resource library, and tuition-based and non-degree courses.
As apartments have boomed in Charlotte, so has business for Vignette Interior Design.
Behind the brainpower of owners Rosarae Drury and Emilie Claeys Moseley, this design firm has scored the contracts to outfit the lobbies, common areas and model apartments of projects like Crescent SouthPark, Fountains Southend, and the Presley Uptown.
They’ve also done office buildings including the 1616 Center and the Nexsen Pruett headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina.
Revenue at Vignette Interior Design, founded in 2009, continues to grow. They currently have four employees in their office in South End.
All that led Drury and Moseley to be named the finalist for our Small Businessperson of the Year award in the B2B category.
Get to know Rosarae Drury and Emilie Claeys Moseley better and learn from their success with these five questions. Responses have been edited for space and clarity.
What’s the first hour of your day look like?
Drury: I start work at dawn, the first to arrive. My first hour is my most productive and reflective hour of the day. It is the serenity before the storm. The early morning stillness allows me to construct a plan for the whirlwind of design challenges and multitasking, which will consume the majority of my day.
Moseley: It starts with a latte in bed (only because I literally married a saint), followed by me coming to terms, every day, with the fact that I am in no way a morning person!
Then there is some Class A pup snuggling, and then checking emails so I’m caught up and ready to go. I like to think about what’s ahead of me for a good bit before I tackle my day, and organizing my thoughts helps me delegate to staff with better clarity and be more efficient.
What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learned?
Drury: Appreciate your employees and let them know they are valued. Our design team works hard to be creative, productive, accommodating, and dedicated to creating amazing design. Without such a great team, my job would be so much more difficult. I am incredibly grateful for my office family.
Moseley: I think it’s important to really be who you are and stay true to yourself. Not everybody will like you, but that’s OK — you just need a piece of the pie to be successful and not the whole thing.
Trying to be everything to everybody is exhausting, and you end up with something very diluted. Our best relationships with clients are the ones where we can be very natural, without much of a filter. Their projects get the best results, and we definitely have the most fun along the way.
What’s a recent purchase of less than $100 that you love?
Drury: During a recent trip to Indiana, I had the opportunity to interact with refugee families from Iraq and the Congo. Each family had a different story of why they were here — their stories were unbelievably horrifying.
During my stay, I was introduced to the Southport Young Life chairman who was telling me they serve these families in many ways, but one was allowing them the opportunity to go to summer camp. It’s been described as “the best week of their lives.” Hearing this, I sponsored a refugee teenager to have a chance to go to camp.
Reading their thank you card and seeing laughter and smiles on the video clips of camp made every penny worth it.
Moseley: This just in — my new super stylish pink Allbirds are perhaps the most amazing shoe I’ve ever worn. They make you feel like you are walking on a cloud, and I’m on my feet 10 to 12 hours at I time when I install projects, so comfort + cute = total win.
Also, people don’t usually associate environmental friendliness with fashion, but the story behind these shoes is pretty compelling and makes you feel even better than the marshmallows on your feet already do.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Drury: Honestly, most books I read these days are geared toward my 6-year-old daughter. Raising a free-spirited, socially-engaged child and seeing life through her eyes has taught me not to be so rigid, re-engaged my imagination and strengthened my creativity.
Moseley: Probably “Spook,” by Mary Roach. I am much more attracted to non-fiction, but sometimes it can be a snoozefest and read like an encyclopedia. She’s an amazing author with a ton of dry wit who can be factual and hilarious at the same time.
What other small businessperson do you admire?
Drury: Since we started our company, I have admired Katie Tyler, owner of Tyler 2 Construction. My business partner and I sought her out when we were getting our business off the ground and she has been a great mentor. Her strong presence in the male-dominated construction world is inspiring.
Moseley: I am really amazed at what Jeff Tonidandel has been able to do. We’ve been going to Growlers, our local NoDa haunt, for a while now, but his new ventures are great, too. He wasn’t a restaurant guy before he opened his first place, and now he has a mini-empire because he works hard and keeps his concepts simple and right for the demographic.
I also think he has done a good job finding the right people, which is so important. Colleen Hughes, his craft cocktail connoisseur, is really talented and her contributions add a lot to his brands.
Photos by Lauren Rosenau Photography