Why Small Businesses Matter in Darien: JG O'Neil Designs

Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT JG O'Neil Designs!

Three questions with Joanne O'Neil, founder of JG O'Neil Designs.

Why did you start your business?

I have always loved art and design. In college, I double majored in economics and art. I never thought I could make a career out of art so I went with the obvious job out of college and worked on Wall Street - but my passion was not there. After having kids, I decided to stay home but quickly realized I missed being creative. I started volunteering at a non-profit gallery in Greenwich where I helped curate art exhibits.  After a few years, I decided to go back to school for Interior Design.

I am now a member of the American Society of Interior Designers. I worked for/with a few different designers while going through school and shortly thereafter but realized I had my unique vision and strengths. With my background in art history and studio art, as well as some time spent curating shows at a gallery, I knew I could help with art purchasing which I felt was an overlooked part of interior design.

Space planning is like a puzzle to me. I love playing with how things fit in a room. I am constantly asked what my style is. I always answer that I don't have one style that I love; if I had 3 houses, they would all be completely different.  I like to get to know the homeowner(s), what their needs and lifestyle are, and work with them to make a home that is unique to them. I don't want to stamp out interiors. I want to make it a home.

What is your best-selling product/service?

I have a full-service interior design firm, which means I am involved in projects from new construction to renovations and decorating. I work with homeowners, architects, and contractors as a team to bring the client’s vision to life.  My service and product focus for clients usually starts with visualizing and then purchasing furniture for space and making it work with existing items in a house.

What I am seeing (and therefore working more on) is the reimagining of spaces... the living room turned into a "Ladies' Lounge”, a guest room turned into a home office, billiard rooms, outdoor living spaces, and spa-like bathrooms. Ever since COVID, people want to make the best and most efficient use of their homes which is a wonderful thing.

How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?

I work with a lot of local tradespeople. My business is all about relationships.  I need to trust who I am recommending to a client. From the plumber, painter, and electrician to the construction company. I also use a local workroom to make custom furniture for clients (bathroom vanities, seating) and make custom window treatments and pillows. I use a local rug vendor. I am always looking at local artists.

Joanne would like to nominate Ben Grunow to be featured next!

Visit JG O'Neil Designs online here, and make sure to check out their Instagram page as well!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!


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