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Designing Women: Designing Solutions with Chloe Bradley-Meyers and Melissa McMillan

October 10, 2012

Chloe Bradley-Meyers & Melissa McMillan of Reform-Creative

Interview by Jennifer Markas; Photography by Amy Lee

Reform-Creative is a collaborative architecture and interior design practice spearheaded by two young women who are nothing like the black-clad architects you see downtown. Pleasant and approachable, Chloe-Bradley Meyers and Melissa McMillan met while working at a high-end design firm and eventually bit the bullet to establish their own practice centered on innovative design, technique and process. Damsels in Design sat down with the two of them to learn more about their collaboration and how they are thriving on their own.

DID: What were you doing before launching Reform-Creative? Why did you start Reform-Creative? What was your “aha!” moment?
CMMM: We worked as project managers at the same design-build firm, as we asked each other for design advice on separate projects, we found out we had similar sensibilities.  The economic downturn gave us the extra push to take a risk on our own and to take control of our careers.  Our “aha” moment was definitely realizing that even after spending all day, all week together at work, we still had things to discuss and wanted to be in each others company!

DID: What is your favorite project you’ve worked on at R-C?
CMMM: Because our projects are so lengthy, having nice clients and contractors and all working well together makes the process so much more pleasant.  A recent apartment renovation on the UES is a favorite of ours. We really got to see how our design input elevated the project!

DID:  How do you manage all of your daily to-do’s? Have you adopted morning/evening rituals to help you get through the day? If so, which ones have had the greatest impact on your career?
CMMM: Our main luxury is exercise in the mornings, which also gives structure to the weekdays.  We informally meet each Monday to create lists, plan the week and to “divide and conquer”.  Because we both work on most projects, it takes careful planning and lots of communication to work efficiently.

DID: What drives your passion? How do you measure success?
CMMM: We love the design process. To understand a client and their needs, and to be able to cater our very specific knowledge to their problem is satisfying. Happy clients = success!

Chloe Bradley-Meyers & Melissa McMillan of Reform-Creative

DID: If you could travel back in time and offer yourself one piece of advice what would it be?
CMMM: Tomorrow is a new day!

DID: Name three skills that helped get you where you are today.
For Missy, it’s her confidence in speaking to absolutely anyone whether it be clients, contractors or vendors.  Together we pride ourselves on being able to read people, their environment and their style to better design for them. Clients often don’t know their own design taste.

DID: How do you boost your confidence at work?
CMMM: We are always complimenting each other on good work. We also try to recognize tasks that are more difficult for each other and help each other out.

DID: What are the advantages of working as a team? Do you both push each other in different ways? How do you “treat” yourselves after a big accomplishment-dinner/new outfit/vacation?
CMMM: Our skill sets complement each other. Design is subjective, so it is good to have a second opinion. Our mutual respect for one another and our abilities is motivation for us. We don’t treat ourselves enough, but the nature of our business allows us to be mostly out of the office. We enjoy our lunch meetings, visiting design stores, and walking around new neighborhoods. It’s all so inspiring.

DID: If there is one thing you could change about the industry you’re in what would it be?
CMMM: We’d like architecture and design to have more social importance. We hope that craft, attention to detail and personal design will be more prevalent.  Substance-less design is sad.

DID: Where do you picture Reform-Creative one year from now? What are you looking for? What do you offer that is unique?
CMMM: Peer recognition. We’re proud of our work and would like to share our designs with more people. We’re looking to achieve a balance between smaller, more intimate projects and larger scale projects and it would be a huge compliment if clients and vendors were willing to wait to work with us.

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