We had the good fortune of connecting with Keagan Harley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Keagan, how has your work-life balance changed over time?

When we first started our business (or should I say, when business picked up and we got busy), I did not set proper boundaries for my work and personal life. If my phone rang, I had to answer it (even after work hours) – if I received an email, I had to answer it right away. I was so driven by the fear of losing business to our competitors, and the dread of emails piling up. Of course, it wasn’t long before I burnt out.

The first step I took in setting boundaries was establishing my work hours, and sticking to them. If we stopped taking calls at 6pm – I didn’t answer my phone at 6:15pm. I had to fight the temptation to answer emails at all hours of the night. I learned that most clients are genuinely interested in our brand and are ok with reasonable response times during business hours.

Learning proper time management was also crucial in my growth as my own boss. I learned how to maximize increments of downtime, knowing how to prioritize responding to pressing matters, and giving grace to other business needs that could afford not having my immediate attention. This all allowed me to truly enjoy my time away from work without stressing (as much).

At the end of the day, business owners are always going to have some level of stress regarding their business. It’s not often that we can truly step away and not worry about our clients needs, operations, finances. But having a balanced work and personal life allows us to be the best bosses we can be.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

When I think about my journey as a professional, I think of baking a cake. (Hear me out). If you think about it, when you bake a cake you have to follow the steps precisely, in the right order, to bake the cake successfully. You can’t put the cake in the oven without the batter being prepared. You can’t add the icing until the cake is cool. Everything has its time, and one can’t come before the other.

My journey to where I am currently has been just that; a process. I started off in retail, because I was convinced I wanted to be a fashion designer. After graduating with a BA in PR, I decided to take a few design classes. I quickly learned that sewing wasn’t for me – However, I loved the marketing aspect of the fashion industry, particularly how an image, or a video could compel a customer to buy a product. From there I was using my fashion background to style for local photo and video shoots. Eventually my talents landed me commercial work, where I was styling for fortune 500 companies and national print ads, Corporate life definitely wasn’t for me – so I decided I wanted to start my own production company. I left my corporate gig to fully pursue my entrepreneurial journey.

On that journey, I teamed up with some friends at Ronin Art House, one of whom is now my husband. They had a beautiful production studio in the Montrose area where we produced marketing materials for local clientele. One day, our client asked if he could host a private dinner in our production studio. We said “why not?”. The event went so well, not long after, others were asking to host their events as well. It wasn’t long before we knew we were on to something big.

7 years later, we own 3 of Houston’s most unique venue spaces, with a 4th on the way. Nothing along the journey could have come before the other. I’ve learned to trust the process and give it your all along the way.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I’m such an old lady – my friends know better than to ask me about hang out spots, BUT I do love some good food! Some of my favorite places to go for dinner are Nancy’s Hustle, City Cellars, or Post HTX for some Chop n Blok. My favorite local digs are Moon Tower Inn and Kickin Kombucha.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

As cliche as it sounds, I have to give proper credit where credit is due. From a young age my mom introduced me to all kinds of genres of music, interior design, art, and theater. She also gave me a love for a good party. And I’m not talking about club parties, or college ragers – I’m talking about the best house parties. The parties where all of your family is there having a good time. The parents and elders are laughing and telling stories; all the kids and cousins are having the time of their lives, and the food is delicious and plentiful. These very parties helped shape my childhood, and gave me the fondest memories. I want every guest attending an event at our venue to have the same fond memories with their friends and loved ones. I want Ronin Art House to be a part of those unforgettable memories.

Website: https://www.rentalsatronin.com/

Instagram: @RoninArtHouse

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RentalsAtRonin/

Image Credits
@Capturingthematching @IYOagency @AshleyArdenphotography @blvdphoto @anchorstudiostx (list of credits not in photo order)

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.