BISMARCK – Lacey Kuhn wrote her first check to buy a subscription to a bridal magazine. The 34-year-old Bismarck woman says she's been obsessed with weddings since she was a little girl. In high school, she told her guidance counselor she wanted to be a wedding planner.
So when the opportunity to buy a local decorating business came along, she took it.
Ten years ago, Kuhn partnered with her mother, Peg Schettler, who has over 40 years of experience in interior decorating and floral arranging, to form Simple Elegance Professional Wedding and Event Decor. They've been working together ever since, doing about 20 weddings a year, plus parties and other events.
"It was scary at first," says Schettler, who also lives in Bismarck. "I was kind of thinking, 'Oh boy,' but it's been good for her. It's what she wanted. So I said, 'Yup, let's do it.' "
The women say their close mother-daughter relationship makes it easier for them to have a good working relationship.
"She brings great ideas, a fun personality and many years of experience," Kuhn says of her mom, 63. "We're both pretty bubbly — we get along great. Although there are challenging times when we may not see eye to eye, I'm grateful to be able to have the chance to work side by side with her."
It also helps that they've found a natural way to divide up the duties. Kuhn, a North Dakota State University grad, handles most of the business side (marketing, promoting, setting up meetings, etc.). Schettler handles the design and assembly side. They host a bridal show in Bismarck, too. This year will be their eighth.
The idea for the bridal show came about from a late-night discussion over pancakes.
"One night after doing a wedding, we were pretty hungry, so we went out for pancakes. We started talking, and we decided we should have our own bridal show. That decision got made at 3 in the morning over pancakes," Schettler says with a laugh.
Kuhn's advice for other mother-daughter pairs entering a business venture together?
"I would say enjoy it — be thankful, and above all (quoted from "Grey's Anatomy"), keep it separate — church and state, etc. If you don't agree with something or have a small squabble, remember not to take it home with you," she says.