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Hidden Gems: Meet Shandy Arend of Collected Living

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shandy Arend.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My business partner, Abby Humphreys, and I both owned our own interior design businesses when we met on Instagram through a mutual friend. We met for drinks at Piropos and discovered we had so much in common. From learning we were both from small towns in Southwest Kansas only an hour apart, to funny family similarities (our dads are both named Randy, Shandy has the same birthday as Abby’s sister Jandy) and even a shared love of the French culture, an amazing friendship started that night. We also learned we lived just one exit apart!

But our business was born out of our shared love of vintage rugs. We began collecting a few and setting them aside for client projects, but one thing led to another and it wasn’t long until we had a collection of 60 rugs. Even we knew that was excessive, so we reached out to Bella Patina in the West Bottoms about becoming vendors. We started out as “The Rug Ladies,” but from the beginning, we knew we wanted to create a full retail experience blending our very different aesthetics. The name Collected Living is born out of the idea that our homes are curated over time with pieces that speak to us and that layering in different styles of pieces feels more authentic to how we live. After about three months of working our retail business together, it became clear that we should merge our interior design businesses as well and become 50/50 partners. It’s been amazing to see how our business has exploded since we made that decision. Fast forward two years and one month to today, we just moved into our design studio and we have a staff of three. We specialize in creating a collected, curated, #reallifebeautiful home for families all over the Kansas City area.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No, it has not been a completely smooth road. We all tend to put our best foot forward on social media and our job looks really fun, and it is! But running your own business can be really draining and exhausting. Just about every week, something comes up that you haven’t dealt with before; there is a lot of learning as you go, which can sometimes mean losing money or losing sleep or both. Working with your best friend is both incredible and difficult at the same time. Learning to communicate, work together while also utilizing each other’s strengths and supporting our weaknesses takes time and practice. Ultimately we fell in love with being business owners, and it’s all worth it, even on the days it doesn’t feel like it.

As you know, we’re big fans of Collected Living. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We are a full-service interior design firm and we specialize in creating a collected, curated, elevated and #reallifebeautiful home for families all over the Kansas City area. Interior design is about you feeling like your best self in your home. We know that your surroundings have the power to affect your wellbeing (both positively and negatively) and we design spaces that incorporate who you are and how you want to feel in your home. Function is huge for us; we have three kids and a dog each, our designs need to be able to hold up to messes.

As full-service designers, we work closely with our clients to design spaces personal to them, and then we take care of the rest. From ordering all the way to a full installation and reveal HGTV style, we are handling all the behind-the-scenes details. Now that we have our design studio, we also offer the opportunity for people to schedule an appointment to come in and work with us to select individual pieces for their homes. Not everyone needs a space done from scratch but still wants to work with a designer. We can now show you samples and do sit tests on our favorite upholstery lines, help select window treatments and rugs, design custom pillows, and show you our favorite art pieces right in the studio.

One of our favorite parts of our business is our growing team. We could not do what we do without them, and each of them brings so much energy, fun and creativity to our brand. Championing women and encouraging them to pursue their dreams, whatever that might be, is really important to us. Watching our team find their unique niche within what our business does and seeing then be successful is so powerful to us.

What’s next?
It’s been a dream of ours for a long time to have studio space. We still feel like it’s barely real that we come to work everyday in the studio. Due to covid delays, we are still waiting on some pieces to arrive, and so our big plans we are working on right now are prepping for an open house so we can share the space with the community. We are also developing a digital catalog to make it simple to share our favorite pieces with clients and customers. We have some really exciting design projects we are working on and love sharing the behind-the-scenes on our Instagram stories (@collectedlivingdesign.com).

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Nick Allen

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