Our March SuperMom Lesa Buckler, owner of Details Furniture Gallery and Design, does not remember a time when she wasn’t interested in design. And when her two beautiful daughters came along, “I took on motherhood like a career,” she says. Lesa was born in Lebanon, Kentucky and her upbringing was “pure Americana” as she characterizes it. She was the Homecoming Queen who dated the football player. “You can’t get much more ‘Jack & Diane’ than that!” She laughs, referencing the 1982 John Cougar hit song. Lesa continued her studies at the University of Louisville and Sullivan University, earned a Master’s degree from Campbellsville University, and married her high school sweetheart, Richard.
When Lesa was 26, her daughter Julia was born, followed a couple of years later by daughter Jacqueline. She was fortunate to be able to let her career take a back seat for a while during that time. “I never stopped learning, reading, and studying,” Lesa says, “to be all the girls needed me to be.” This was the same dedication she had given to studying design. Beautiful environments always fascinated Lesa, from interiors to landscapes to fashion. Her mother taught her to sew; and by junior high Lesa was designing and making her own clothes. She recalls trips to Baer Fabrics and department stores in downtown Louisville, shopping for fabrics and fashions. Lesa also remembers telling her daughters that she would one day have a brick-and-mortar design store. She manifested that dream, opening Details in 2001. It was here that she taught her daughters the importance of having fun, working hard, and how to deal with the public.
Details has been steered successfully, even through tough times like the 2008 recession. “Richard and I are constantly working on growing the business and educating ourselves through all the changes. We never rest on our laurels.” Their guiding principles are “kindness, happiness, understanding our customers, and loving what we do.” They are most proud of their growth, retaining a huge client base, and continued education to maintain their high quality and level of design. Even on vacation in Florida last month, they made time to tour the 3rd Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Palm Beach for more networking and design inspiration. “The business takes every effort. We never leave anything to chance.” Lesa and Richard were both raised to understand the value of a dollar. “We value our clients’ money like we value our own.”
Both daughters work in the family business, with Julia also co-owning Vogue Pilates in Louisville and Jacqueline having previously worked in design in Greensboro, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee. Lesa is most proud of her daughters and the “kind, smart, loving, amazing women” they have become. “I love them immensely.” As they grew, Lesa transitioned from a “teaching Mom” to more of “a friend Mom, open to their opinions, thoughts, and lifestyles.” The fact that their friends still want to come over to “Mama Bear’s” house, even now in their early thirties, is a good indication of the strength of that relationship.
Balancing work and personal life is the classic struggle of the working mother. In Lesa’s case, those lives are intertwined. Her friends are also her clients. And her clients become friends. In turn, Lesa does her best to frequent and support local businesses. Outside of work, Lesa enjoys golfing, reading, studying history and design, and traveling. Still, her travels mix business with pleasure and include visits to design shops, markets, and open houses. Lesa’s highest priorities are honesty, relationships, having a good time, and working at being the best that she can be. Lesa’s innate ability to relate to others and put others first, regardless of perceived status, was a trait her father told her he recognized early on and helped to nurture. She prides herself in understanding people and human nature, and puts those skills to work.
Lesa’s advice for her daughters is to be real, honest, and always evolving in their careers. “Relationships are a by-product of continuing to grow.” Richard always trusted Lesa’s business decisions. “Still today after 40 plus years together, Richard is the absolute best supportive husband I could imagine. He thinks I can do anything! He set an amazing example of what a Dad and a husband should be.” Lesa explains that every woman has a different definition of “having it all” that they have to decide for themselves. And that they can “approach every day with the attitude of working towards having it all.” For Lesa, that means setting aside some time each morning to name three things for which she is grateful and to set an intention for the day, which in turn sets the tone for dealing with the world outside. “When you love your home and your family life, you’ve already won the battle.”