Local business owner Thom Baker seeks to leave Columbia a gift when he retires. Tucked away in his equipment-lain home office, Thom Baker of...
President & Co-Founder, Scout & Nimble
14 years after spending five years attending MU.
I was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri. I have always been creative and had a passion for design. Even at an early age, my Christmas wish lists were filled with bedding and furniture instead of toys — this was certainly a sign of what was to come. In 2011, I started a blog as a creative outlet for myself and a place to share my love for interior design. My readership soon grew to 300,000 unique visitors a month, and I was hit with a long list of clients wanting me to help them with their own homes, including remodels and new construction, all across the country. This client work allowed me to turn my passion into a business, and I soon discovered many issues that both designers and their clients faced. Realizing there was a lack of tools in the industry for both designers and consumers, I joined forces with my husband to create a solution. In 2014, we launched Scout & Nimble, an online home furnishings e-commerce site where designers across the country build shoppable designer rooms utilizing Scout & Nimble products. I also still take on client work and have been involved on over 100-plus projects, including luxury new construction all over the US, and full-service design.
I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by several female business owners that have been influential in my career. I’m in a mastermind group with three other women who are all business owners, and each one of them has been essential in my growth as a business owner: Liz Tucker, owner of Poppy; Kristen Brown, owner of Hoot Design Co.; and Beth Snyder, owner of 1canoe2. We meet on a bimonthly basis and talk shop. Surrounding myself with women who take risks, push limits on what’s possible, and continue to want to grow and stretch themselves is refreshing, powerful, and one of the biggest motivators to do the same for myself and my business.
Most people in Columbia only know me as a designer & decorator. While they know S&N as specializing in local interior design for remodels and new construction, they have no idea that we’ve built a national e-commerce site and help designers all over the country. The site has allowed me to expand S&N’s design work beyond just the Midwest and participate in e-design work for luxury homes nationwide. Running two different facets of our business can be difficult. There’s a lot to juggle everyday. I have a team that helps me with local design and a team that pushes our website forward. They do overlap in many ways, but I think it comes as a surprise to most people that I do both.
We’re accomplishing goals everyday, which is an incredible feeling. One of the last larger professional goals was to grow our Instagram following to 150,000; we’re now at 196,000. We engage with our customers everyday!
Helping others and adding value to other people’s lives. We’ve created a solution to a problem at Scout & Nimble. Knowing that people are out there struggling with the problems we can solve motivates me to push the boundaries of S&N and get it in even more hands.
I love helping other business owners who are just getting started in their businesses. To give back and be a support to others is one of my favorite things, especially in the world of social media. There are so many people that helped me in the start of my business, and if I can do that for someone else, I’m all about that.
Embrace the uncertainty and enjoy the process. I think so many of us who set goals hustle hard until we hit them. We think short-term sacrifices will be worth it when we get to the “goal.” But goal-setting is an ongoing process, and if we can’t learn to enjoy being “in the process,” we will look back and regret how we spent our time.
There are so many great ones it’s hard to choose. I just finished “The Big Enough Company” and “You are a Badass,” which were both amazing, but if I had to pick a favorite, the one that immediately comes to mind is “Hug Your Customers.” This hits on one of my passions — it’s all about personalizing sales for customer retention. In today’s challenging retail marketplace, it’s a must, and even though the book is based off a brick-and-mortar store, the takeaways can be applied and are crucial to have in the e-commerce world.
I want to successfully launch our All Access Program, which we’ve built for designers to help them improve and grow their own businesses. We’ve been developing the program for about a year, and it’s a direct result of the obstacles I’ve encountered in my own design business. Our goal is to help as many interior designers as we can find manage their businesses with the use of S&N’s project management software.