We had the good fortune of connecting with Asha Thune-Clark and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Asha, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It’s funny because I’ve never thought of myself as particularly artistic or creative. However, for as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with physical space. I think I was 4 or 5 when my mom surprised my sister and I with new bedding that had tiny pink roses on it and I remember walking into the room and feeling so happy to see that beauty and that order. I shared a room with 1 of my 4 sisters at any given time and they knew I had very specific rules about how they could decorate “their side.” NSYNC posters had to be hung in frames and beds needed to be made. My older sister still laughs about how I “allowed” her to hang a poster she loved inside the closet so that I didn’t have to see it. For a long time, I fought my passion or obsession with spaces because it felt self-serving and I wanted to do something that would help people in a profound way. I received my master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin but carried this wish that I had been brave enough to pursue a design path. I enjoyed my work but always felt like something was missing. After many years and at the strong encouragement of my husband, Bryant, I found an organization for home stagers and re-designers. I remember being beside myself with excitement at the discovery of this group of people doing exactly what I wanted to do. The woman (and one supremely talented man) in the group were exactly what I needed to learn and build a business. I am forever thankful that the right people were put in my path. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Most of us don’t live in a magazine and don’t have infinite budgets to create our spaces so I’ve always had a goal of making the most of real-life homes and I think that sets me apart. I’ve had to balance the desire for “wow” portfolio pictures with the reality of budgets and function. Some of my colleagues will only accept projects over a certain price and while there is a minimum dollar amount that we need in order to be able to make any noticeable changes, I’ve always been drawn to the idea that not all projects require infinite resources! The most important lesson I’ve learned is to not diminish my talent and not compare. We have been and continue to be in a social media world of biggest, brightest and best and while I love the inspiration that can come from from that world, it leaves out so so so much reality. I spent years thinking, “I can’t do this for a living because I’m not good enough. My pictures don’t look exactly like what I see in the magazines” or “I never would have thought to do that amazing treatment, etc.” The reality is, cheesy as it may sound, you cannot deny the thing that is meant for you. The shift from getting a paycheck deposited into my account every two week to taking on the entire success or failure of an endeavor was HUGE for me but I kept taking the next step. My hands would shake when I answered the phone with a new potential client on the other end and I would sometimes leave a project feeling unsure or even disappointed in myself but I found that my business grew organically and steadily through word of mouth because I cared deeply about not just creating a better space, but about the people who allowed me into that space. I think about the beautiful woman who raised kids and made a life with someone who suddenly found herself alone for the first time in 30 years surround by things that didn’t make her feel good. I don’t have those after pictures on my website or social media, but I know that she wakes up in a space she loves now and looks around with fresh enthusiasm at what’s ahead and I love that for her. That’s my brand…plain and simple – I want to create spaces that make people feel good.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love hiking around Lake Georgetown or the trails at Spicewood Springs. Climbing up and down the Hill of Life with my dad and my 6lb dog in a doggy backpack is a favorite that never gets old. Seeing plays at the Zach Scott theater or Paramount never disappoints and catching a favorite musician or band at Austin City Limits was a pre-Covid favorite. I’m a huge fan of the shaved ice margaritas (and everything else on the menu) at El Monumento in Georgetown and could eat Hello Sweeties BBQ a couple of times a week. I continue to be obsessed with anything and everything from Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop on S. 1st or cupcakes from Cupprimo. The Oasis is worth visiting for an awesome view and a margarita (clearly one of my favorite food groups) and The Domain has some of my favorite shopping and plenty of restaurants to keep up bag-carrying strength!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am so grateful to Amy von Andrian, who I first heard speak about her career in home staging. Amy was so generous with her time talking me though setting up a business and meeting me for coffee to encourage me and answer questions in the early days, weeks, and months. I would not have the success I do without my good friend and mentor, Amy George, who not only mentored me on business but trusted me to work alongside her while I built my client base. The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) and the Home Staging Resource (HSR) provided priceless professional training and education. Last but not least, my phenomenal husband, sisters and parents have always been my biggest fans and never doubted my ability, even when I tried to convince them that they should!

Website: www.havenspacedesigns.com
Instagram: @havenspacedesigns
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/asha-thune-clark-301189b/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HavenSpace

Image Credits

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