Keep forging ahead: Minnesota native finds success as interior designer
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Hopping on a plane and jetting off to the far corners of the country, Laura Wiedmann is taking America by storm — one room at a time.
Bringing an easy experience and fresh approach to the design process for her clients through Laura Wiedmann Interior Design, she's created custom spaces unique to her clients' homes for just shy of a decade. She recently got national attention for her work for singer Jordin Sparks.
But why is she being written about in the local newspaper? Well, Wiedmann herself is a local.
"I am originally from Moorhead," she says, sipping coffee in her Edina, Minn., studio. "I have always been very creative, and, at Moorhead High, I was always in all of the art classes."
Noting that her mother, Linda, was the main secretary in North Dakota State University's Apparel, Design & Hospitality Management Department for more than 20 years, Wiedmann says design is in her blood.
"I got a lot of my creative talent from my mom. I think I definitely went down this path because of her."
After completing her degree in Phoenix, Wiedmann moved to Minneapolis, working in an upscale furniture store before heading back to work in an upscale design studio in Arizona.
A year later, in September 2010, she opened her first design studio and has been designing through her independent business ever since, managing two locations in Edina and the Scottsdale-Phoenix area. Still, she isn't bound by borders.
"I will take a project anywhere," Wiedmann says. "I basically go where the work is needed."
With clients from Los Angeles to New York and Minnesota to Texas, she's traveled the country, creating breathtaking spaces in homes across America.
"My entire business is referral-based," Wiedmann says. "I do no advertising. It's all word-of-mouth, repeat clients and referral business."
Opening a business is no easy feat for anyone, even with mentors and guidance.
"My father (Dean Wiedmann) taught me everything I know about business," Weidmann says. "He would always tell me, 'Don't think about the money, just take care of the client and the income and money will come.' He passed in 2007, so I couldn't seek guidance from him. I had to do this all by myself."
With the help of two design mentors, one in Arizona and the other in Minnesota, Wiedmann forged ahead, establishing her business and creating her brand from coast to coast.
It's an adventure that has landed her several awards and recognitions — including excellence awards from the American Society of Interior Design (ASID) in two categories and the chance to participate on the design team for the 2017 ASID Minnesota Showcase Home and the committee for the 2018 ASID Minnesota Showcase Home.
"There have been a lot of highs, but there have also been a few lows (with the business)," Wiedmann says. "Any obstacles are just technicalities. I am pretty ambitious, so if I do have an obstacle, I just tell myself, 'You gotta get through it.' I am definitely a no-nonsense, keep-forging-ahead type of person."
It's that no-nonsense approach that has led to success for Wiedmann. She says she can admit when she doesn't know how to do something, and she's not afraid to ask questions — traits that she says keep her humble and help her grow, learn and explore while taking life one day at a time.
This small-town Minnesota girl also doesn't let her success go to her head.
"I travel back to Detroit Lakes (Minn.) often to visit my mom and my family," Wiedmann says. "Fargo-Moorhead is dear to my heart. I wouldn't trade being raised and growing up there for anywhere else. I have the best memories, and it's shaped who I am today."
Wiedmann has had the opportunity to design spaces for clients across the country — and she's reached the celebrity market. She was recently featured in People magazine for her nursery designs for singer Jordin Sparks, who happens to be Wiedmann's cousin.
"(Sparks and I) have become very close," she says. "We are cousins, and I would send her links and inspiration shots to qualify what she was looking for. She hadn't even, technically, hired me to do this. Then all of a sudden she said, 'Laura, will you please do the nursery?' I know her so well, so I kind of knew what she would like. It was interesting to get her tastes."
Working with family can get tricky, but Wiedmann and Sparks found a balance and created a beautiful space for the singer and her new son, DJ.
"It was really fun," Wiedmann says. "I have been watching her and supporting her and getting to experience her talent and be proud of her in her niche in her talent. It was really fun for me because she got to see where I excel. It wasn't cousin Laura; it was designer Laura."