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The Motivation Behind RBR Interiors

As I reflect on the driving force behind my decision to helm RBR Interiors, a multitude of thoughts regarding my "why" flood my mind. Why did I chose to re-start a business at this point in my life is a good question. My professional journey has been diverse, encompassing roles in human resources, sales across various industries, non-profit management, bookkeeping, and most recently, a 15-year tenure in real estate while working alongside the esteemed Richard Round.

Each chapter of my career has contributed to the rich tapestry of experiences that uniquely prepared me for this pivotal moment—the birth of RBR Interiors.

From an early age, my passion for fashion and home trends was evident. I can vividly recall sketching and designing my formal dresses during middle and high school, a creative outlet encouraged by my mother who was a seamstress and brought my visions to life.

My educational journey led me to Angelo State University, a small institution in my hometown, where I initially pursued a degree in Marketing with the intention of later transferring to Texas Tech for interior design. However, life's course had other plans, and I completed my Marketing degree at Angelo State University while dedicating my electives to the Home Economics department, studying textiles and interior design.

Post-graduation, I embarked on a diverse business career beginning in sales. In 2000, I met my husband, Brad, and together, we shared a commitment to our careers and the creation of a nurturing home for our family. Both hailing from families of hardworking individuals—entrepreneurs, farmers, ranchers, and police officers—we were no strangers to the value of hard work, our families were truly salt of the earth people. 

After our second child was born, my travel for work became more difficult to manage.  I obtained my real estate license and started selling residential properties and juggling more and more home responsibilities. Real Estate has allowed me to work and have more time for our family.  It has been great marriage allowing me to be happier in my role as a working mother. 

I met Richard Round because I was handling his bookkeeping. At the time, Richard had two part-time ladies working as his design assistants. I loved visiting the store, and I was acquainted with both ladies as I had grown up with their children. One day, Patty called me and expressed her desire to retire, asking if I knew of someone who might want to take her place. I remember yelling through the phone – I DO!

Subsequently, I began working for Richard while simultaneously engaging in real estate sales. He appreciated that I held a real estate license, and we frequently ventured out to explore houses on the market, conceptualizing plans for their new future. I served as his assistant for the past 15 years, and it's impossible to quantify how much I've learned from him. He played a pivotal role in expanding my taste, teaching me to study color, master the art of room arrangement, understand the importance of making time for friends and travel, and encouraged me to grow in ways I never knew were possible. By the way, I still maintain my real estate license and continue to actively sell real estate.

Richard became more than a mentor; he was a guide who nurtured my design sensibilities, emphasized the importance of color, room arrangement, and the significance of time spent with friends and travel. 

In 2021 we started discussing about my role and the shop and how it was time for it to change.  He was wanting to stop decorating and just designing houses.  The discussion really began to pick up the pace in 2023, and we were actively talking about the future of Round and Gillis.  Then in April of 2023 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

I have a family history of breast cancer, but NOT the BRCA gene mutation. I had had several scare over the years.  My cancer was caught very early, but I decided on a double mastectomy with reconstruction.  I had surgery May 22, 2023.  I spent 12 weeks recovering.  

After my diagnosis, and while I was waiting for my surgery to be scheduled, I had the love and support of many friends both breast cancer survivors and those that have not had that journey.  One of those survivors told me something very profound. She told me she didn’t know how to explain it, but my family would grow stronger and my bond and love for my husband would become stronger. She said you and your family will be stronger!  Boy was she right!  My husband and I were challenged by my physical limitations like we have never been challenged before, but my love for him and the support and care he gave me were unfaltering.  My kids traveled in to help, my son who is home learned to do more things for himself, I learned I am stronger than I thought.

I returned to work with Richard on August 17, 2023, and was definitely playing catch up.  He was busier than ever with many jobs going.  We again started to talk about the future of the business and started dreaming about its future. Richard unexpectedly passed away on October 5, 2023 at the age of 82.

His unexpected passing in 2023 left a void, initially making me hesitant to assume the reins of the business without him.

However, as the days unfolded, it became apparent that there was a need, and if ever there was a time to try, it was now. Some questioned why I would embark on this venture at the age of 50, almost 51. Through reflection, I've come to realize that God has been preparing me for this adventure throughout my life—a culmination of skills, knowledge gained from a dear friend, and the unwavering love and support of my family, friends, and community.

As a designer, my joy lies in creation—whether it be a beautiful room, an upholstered furniture piece, or the perfect gift. Similarly, in life, crafting a comfortable and beautiful home for my family has become my passion. This venture isn't just about work; it's about setting an example for my children—demonstrating hard work, the pursuit of goals, stepping out of comfort zones, and hopefully, achieving those goals.

In essence, RBR Interiors isn't just a business; it's a culmination of a lifetime of preparation, passion, and the unwavering belief that every step of my journey has led me to this point—where creating beauty and comfort in homes becomes a vocation, a calling, and a reflection of the love that fuels my heart.

- Mercyla