10 Minutes With: Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling

Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling had an early start in the world of blogging. From her college years to present day, her site has developed into a full-fledged source for topics ranging from fashion and interior design to favorite books and travel destinations. Mackenzie's passion for American style (including a love of all things navy and monogrammed) will convince you to visit her blog again and again. But Mackenzie is far from a one trick pony - she also runs a fabulous online boutique with an expertly curated selection of accessories, art, decor and desk supplies. We recently spoke with Mackenzie about her blog, boutique, and engagement, so read on to get the full inside scoop! 

Can you tell us a bit about your blog - how did it all begin? 

I started my blog as a junior in college in 2009. I was reading a ton of blogs at the time and love the idea of having a creative outside of class. I posted everyday for the next two years (even during my study abroad semester in France!) and slowly developed a readership beyond my own family. It will be seven years in November and I love it as much now as I did then! 

You also have a fabulous online boutique (we're major fans of the tortoiseshell jewelry!). What has been the most rewarding part of being a small business owner? 

Thank you! The most rewarding things are meeting readers and customers at pop-up shopping events, seeing customers Instagram our pieces in their homes, and of course finding a new product that just flies off the shelves. There isn't a single item I wouldn't wear or use in my own home and it's a constant (but fun!) challenge to source products that my customers haven't seen before and that I'm excited to incorporate into the mix.

What is your process for finding new products and other designers to showcase in the Design Darling store? 

I go to trade shows, discover new designers on Etsy and Instagram, and am fortunate to get contacted by lots of independent designers by email who want to see their work on Design Darling!

In the past year you moved from New York to Texas. Do you find yourself missing the Big Apple?

I'll always maintain that New York is the greatest city in the world but to be honest I rarely miss living there myself! I miss my family and friends, of course, and we love to visit on weekends but I couldn't afford the office space and employees I have in Dallas if I lived in New York. I definitely miss my favorite restaurants though — a great reason to visit a few times a year! 

What has been the best part of planning your wedding so far?

Getting to collaborate with my family and fiancé and figure out what's important to all of us! Our engagement party in Dallas was such a special night and I just can't wait to have all my favorite people under one roof (er, tent) for one night. 

What has been the biggest challenge?

Planning a destination wedding on an island that shuts down for the winter — I'm finally kicking things into high gear now that vendors are back on Nantucket for the summer.

Where have you found inspiration for your wedding? What recommendations do you have for our readers who are in the process of planning their weddings?  

I love looking at Pinterest and I've been picking up wedding magazines when I travel. But honestly my biggest resource has been my own readership on Design Darling! I love my Wedding Wednesday series not only because it lets my readers in on my wedding process but also because they're always full of recommendations on everything from bridesmaids' dresses to wedding bands.

How did you pick Nantucket for the location? 

My parents were married on Nantucket thirty years ago and I've visited every summer since I was born — I just can't imagine being married anywhere else! I think I held my breath when I brought Will to Nantucket for the first time — I was so relieved when he loved it as much as I do! 

We've noticed you are all about making your wedding as personal as possible, so what are some of the things you've had custom-made?

We still have fifteen months to go so I haven't done much yet! I'd love to have my wedding dress embroidered with our wedding date and have a custom crest made for our invitations that we can use on party goods at the reception. I live for a well-placed monogram!

Are there any wedding planning updates you can share with us? 

We're hoping to have our puppy Rory be our ring bearer! He's got some training to do. :)

Was it difficult picking your bridesmaids? And do you have any plans for a bachelorette party? 

Not at all! My sister will be my maid of honor and then I'll have three of my cousins, three girlfriends, and my best guy friend as bridesmaids. The bachelorette party is very TBD!

We have to ask - does your fiancé, Will, share your love of monogramming?

If he didn't before I came along, he definitely does now! ;)

What are you most looking forward to when you imagine married life?

I can't wait to see Will wearing a wedding band. And I can't wait to see where we'll be ten, twenty, fifty years from now. I hope there are lots of babies and lots of puppies in our future! 

What do you have in store for the future of Design Darling?

Well I'll be sharing our wedding so that's a big one! And hopefully more interiors and travel stories on the blog. As for the boutique, I hope we'll eventually get into bigger items like furniture and lighting. And I'd love to buy a new monogramming machine so we can embroider pillows, napkins, etc.!

-Stacey Schimmel & Aliana Heffernan

 
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