When you meet Holly Lemoine-Raymond, you feel her vibrant personality even before she greets you. Her energetic presence is contagious, and it’s no wonder why she’s highly successful and widely known.
As owner and operator of HL Raymond Properties, a boutique real estate brokerage representing buyers and sellers along the Coast, Lemoine-Raymond is no stranger to hard work and tenacity.
“You get out of life (business), what you put into it. The old saying of, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ is great, but you can’t build it and wait for it to happen. You have to work hard to get people to notice.”
Real estate is something Lemoine-Raymond always knew she wanted to do. She recalls her mother encouraging her to get her real estate license, just as she had. However, it was not until her mother passed away that she followed in her footsteps and pursued this career, opening her own brokerage. “It was kind of neat to be able to finally do something that she always wanted me to do.”
Before choosing real estate, she was an assistant marketing director and operated a restaurant.
She started the brokerage in 2016 with two agents and has grown it to 19 agents/employees.
Lemoine-Raymond has experienced many setbacks and knows that with success comes many obstacles. Her biggest challenge was actually her business growing too fast. “It’s a great problem to have, but success has come much faster than I ever thought it would. I am humbled by this business every day and I am so thankful for all of our clients, who allow us to help them with the process of buying or selling.”
When faced with obstacles, Lemoine-Raymond pulls from the wisdom of her late mother. “My mom always told me to follow my dreams. So, I would (also) tell others not to give up. Keep pursuing your dreams.” It is this very relentless pursuit that has aided Lemoine-Raymond in building a business she loves doing and showing up for “130 percent” each day.
Family not only lends itself as a legacy in Lemoine-Raymond’s career, she also draws much support from them. “I have a great family. My husband, Leo, is always there by my side, encouraging and supporting me no matter how crazy he thinks my ideas may be. He is patient and loving. My son, Landry, is my biggest inspiration. This kid never ceases to amaze me.”
Her son was born with major foot issues, and doctors told his parents he would not be able to participate in many sports because of this. Now he is running in track meets for St. Stanislaus and placing in the top 10 percentile in the state, Lemoine-Raymond says. “When I look at him run, it encourages me to keep pushing forward.”
Her support system also includes her dad, an accomplished musician, who works alongside her, lending a hand in day-to-day operations.
Holly is very excited about what’s to come for her and her business, and continues to urge other women to work hard toward their dreams.
HER BEST HOME TIP!
“Keep it simple!” Don’t overcomplicate things in your home. If it isn’t something you’ve used in a year, have a garage sale and get rid of it.
KEEP UP WITH HER
You can find Holly Lemoine-Raymond featured on HGTV and Great American Country Network (or GAC) on the shows, such as, “Beach Front Bargain Hunt” and “YOU LIVE IN WHAT?”
When speaking to Billie Comeaux, you can quickly sense that the standards she holds in her business are also ones she aims to uphold in all that she does. Her elegant posture and thoughtfulness in her words frame a woman of flowing in wisdom.
Billie Comeaux is the CEO and corporate designer of American Factory Direct, a third- generation family owned and operated furniture store. As Comeaux often remarks, she married into the furniture business, considering her husband, Robert, grew up in the business. Her father-in-law began selling small appliances and furniture in 1937 and operated the business for 54 years. A few years later, in 1996, Billie and Robert started their own endeavor, opening American Factory Direct Furniture Outlet in Mandeville, La.
The concept was simple. “A designer look, affordably priced.”
What started out as a 10,000-square-foot showroom has been expanded into three locations, with a new addition just being completed at the Covington, La., location.
Comeaux attributes all of her business’ growth and opportunity to God. “In the spirit of service and caring, our mission will contribute to the economic well-being of our employees, our customers and community and will honor God in all we do,” she says.
With such an established legacy and brand, one would think success was inevitable. However, Comeaux recalls potential setbacks early on. Billie and Robert were rejected multiple times when applying for financing. Through faith, the couple applied once again for a loan. This divine meeting with the banker that approved their loan is what Billie describes as “God’s business … . He has been the source of the growth and where we’ve grown.”
Turning the corner on 22 years in the furniture business, Comeaux shares what she’s learned. “I have been in the design field and trends come and go so quickly. Stay focused on timeless designs and use the trends for the frills.” Staying focused on core design and core values is undoubtedly what has kept American Factory Direct successful for so long.
Comeaux views the business mission as a team that serves. “We are in a service business, and that is what we try to encourage our staff. No matter what area of the business you are in, we are there to help the clients.”
When it comes to setting up a plan for success, Comeaux’s key practices are simple: Put God first always, lead by example, never expect others to do everything you are not willing to do yourself, and build upon a foundation of reliability and integrity.
HER BEST HOME TIP!
• “Pictures are worth a thousand words.”
• Your treasures and keepsakes will create your own personal style.
• Layering is important in creating your room.
• You should have one thread of design that gives balance and harmony throughout your home creating your style.
When you think of hand-painted, gold-rimmed wine glasses and personalized celebration box gift sets, you might naturally think, “Nella!” But, do you know the creative, business beauty behind the unique home-interiors decor and gift shop?
One of the important things you quickly learn about Nella owner Katie Cusick is that family is at the heart of what she does. This family focus can be seen and felt throughout her business, and Cusick strives to extend this same feeling to her customers. Many of the items sold at Nella are handmade, and her mother’s (Kathy Allen) original paintings are available at the stop. “If you go in my shop, you’ll see at least one member of my family. They are very involved, very supportive. They are the reason why I do all of this.”
Cusick says even the name of her boutique speaks of her family’s importance to her. Katie Cusick’s maiden name is “Allen,” which is Nella spelled backward. “I could not think of a more fitting name for this business than this. Without these special folks, Nella would not be here today. I am not successful; WE are successful. I am loved more than I could ever imagine and will never be alone in this crazy life!”
A sweet moment in getting to know Katie Cusick happened when her daughter joined her on the set of the cover shoot. You could tell she was very proud of her mother. When asked about the moment and their relationship, she replied, “I love it!
She gets a chance to participate and see everything that’s going around. Most importantly, she gets to see that goals can be accomplished and you can do anything you want be.”
Cusick’s personal mission statement is, “Do what you love, and do it often” and she’s doing just that through Nella. She always wanted to open her own boutique; something original and a fun place to shop. “In life, you have to follow your heart and do what you think is right. Business is no different, we have to focus on the positive and let go of the negative.”
When handling obstacles, Cusick says doing something you love is essential to finding courage to keep going. She adds that having a strong support system is a key element in business. And, lastly, she encourages women pursuing their dreams to stop and celebrate your successes and accomplishments. “Be proud of who you are and the company you have built.”
HER BEST HOME TIP!
There are no rules. Do you what like, and love how you do it! Your home is your story and each chapter is a memory. Enjoy the book you live in!