Entrepreneur: Colleen Waguespack - Baton Rouge Business Report
POSITION - Owner
COMPANY - Fig & Dove, Colleen Waguespack Interiors
WHAT THEY DO - Well-curated, minimalistic Christmas decorations; residential interior design
NEXT GOALS - Develop exclusive collections for high-end resorts and expand reach internationally
DECKING THE HALLS
The evergreen garland, gold trimmings and deep red accents that mark the Christmas season were never Colleen Waguespack’s favorite additions to her newly-refurbished interiors. Bringing over 20 years of experience to her Baton Rouge interior design firm, Waguespack is known for her contemporary, minimalistic design style featuring warm, pared-down and modern aesthetics. During the holiday season, clients frequently ask Waguespack to help style their homes for Christmas parties, which she once found to be a frustrating task. “With Christmas decorations, everything seems so temporary, or overly red and green, which just didn’t really go with the palate of people’s homes. I just really couldn’t find the right products to compliment the types of interiors I was working on. That’s really when I started to notice a void in the market.” In 2015, she founded Fig & Dove, a couture line of holiday décor designed to complement her interiors.
MERRY AND BRIGHT
While Waguespack never dreamed of developing a line of Christmas decorations, having a personal product line has long been one of her goals, along with opening her own interiors practice, which she did in 2016 after working for nearly a decade with Holden & Dupuy Interior Design, a New Orleans-based residential design firm. Waguespack began her career in Washington, D.C., working as a project designer for a commercial architecture firm, where she gained branding and product development experience. “A product line was always something I was interested in, but I felt like the market was so saturated when it came to lighting and furniture and fabrics, but actually, in the area of Christmas decorations, there isn’t a line anything really high-end, well made and simple.” Waguespack spent three years researching a wide variety of Christmas decorations, from stockings to tree-toppers, and identified five core products to start her brand: Tree stockings, acrylic stocking block holders, acrylic tree stars, acrylic doves and tree skirts.
Artisan collaborations are at the core of Fig & Dove. In her first year in business, Waguespack focused on finding artists that would add an imitate layer to the décor, making them true works of art. “The acrylic star toppers are really sculptural and so are the acrylic doves.” Last year, Fig & Dove featured new products like hand painted ornaments. This year, as the brand continues to expand and evolve, Waguespack is adding items to fit a wider variety of holiday needs like American made, hand-dipped paper advent candles and one of the most lifelike artificial magnolia wreaths Waguespack has ever seen. “Most of our products come from things I just thought were hard to find. So it is really more about the well-curated Christmas.” From her start as solely an e-commerce brand, Fig & Dove is now in 20 stores across the country and has exclusive holiday collections at Nordstrom and One Kings Lane this season.
TIDINGS OF COMFORT
These days, Fig & Dove is a full-time job for Waguespack, who relies on her two employees and interns to help her balance the product line and her interior design practice. “Everyone who is working for me is pretty much wired like me. They can juggle a lot and don’t drop the ball.” Initially, Waguespack ran Fig & Dove out of her home, but now works out of a space at the Louisiana Business and Technology Center, which she says has solved numerous problems like high shipping costs, prototyping and even product photography. Still, some challenges remain, like prioritizing her countless ideas and finding reliable, high-quality manufacturers, particularly in the U.S. Waguespack says she’s had more difficulty with her domestic manufacturer than those in India and Peru. With her sights set on developing more exclusive collections for high-end department stores as well as private resort collections, she hopes to streamline production and continue to innovate to keep her interior styles and Fig & Dove products looking fresh and timeless.