Hay, Rebecca

Rebecca Hay: Designer, Business Coach, Podcaster and Mother.

With a passion for turning a house into a home through a design esthetic that is approachable and classic, designer Rebecca Hay candidly shares why she chooses to focus on collaboration over competition, her love for podcasting (one perk: no makeup and hairstyle required) and her honest advice to other working parents struggling with work-life balance.

Q: Why have you made it your mission to disrupt the traditional elitism and secrecy that have been cornerstones of the interior design industry?
A: I firmly believe the world is a better place without elitism and secrecy. When I started in this industry, I found it very intimidating not only because I was young and new at the craft, but also because the Toronto design scene was such a tight and very exclusive community. It was common for people to keep their trades to themselves. It was somewhat unheard of to ask another designer to share their resources. It only contributes to the feeling that it’s survival of the fittest, and every person for themself. I do not believe this will breed the most creative result, nor does it build up a community that needs to share information, so that we can become stronger.

Q: Can you tell us about your podcast Resilient by Design? What do you love most about the podcast space?
A: I started my podcast, Resilient by Design, in the middle of the pandemic. My jobs had slowed almost to a halt, and it was something I had always wanted to do, but didn’t have the time. I love to give back and share with the community. As it turns out, the podcast was the best thing that came out of the pandemic for me. It’s such a great opportunity to talk with a variety of experts from around the world. It’s such an incredible platform for sharing knowledge and building community. I also truly love that with a podcast, you don’t have to do your hair and makeup — LOL. It’s really about the contact and the words and the personality. There’s no judging a book by the cover, because you can’t see who’s on the other end.

“I honestly believe we are stronger when we share our knowledge with one another”

Q: Why do you think it’s important to focus on collaboration over competition?
A: There’s an expression I love, but I don’t remember who the author is: “A rising tide lifts all ships.”

I honestly believe we are stronger when we share our knowledge with one another. When you’re able to see that others are doing something differently, you can tweak how you do things to improve it. But, when we live in a secrecy bubble, and nobody shares, you cannot grow, others also do not grow and, therefore, the industry will not grow and will not be strong. I started to see major traction in my business when I built a community of like-minded designers around myself.

Q: What are some effective ways any entrepreneur can up level their life and business?
A: Entrepreneurs can up level their life and their business by simply taking stock of what they do best and what they like to do the most. Then, you can look to hire out for your weaknesses. If you don’t love to do invoicing, chances are you’re also not that good at it and it takes you a while to get the job done. Hire an administrator who can take that off your hands and do it in less than half the time. Now you’ve freed up your time to focus on your skill set and whatever it is that lights you up.

Q: As a mother to two children who is running a successful company, what would your advice be to other female founders who are struggling with work-life balance?
A: I do not believe work-life balance exists. My advice to other working parents is to cut yourself some slack. I don’t think you can do it all at once. I believe it was Sheryl Sandberg who said, “We can have it all, we just can’t have it all at the same time” — or something along those lines. You get the point. We all try to do too much with too little time — slow down. There will be ebbs and flows. Some days you will focus more on work and other days you will focus more on family. Accepting that fact has been a game-changer for me.

Q: If you could describe your brand in three words, what would they be?
A: I would say my brand can be described in these three words: crisp, classic and curated.


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Estelle Zentil

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