Kendall Ansell Podcast

Kendall shares her thoughts on how she manages her money and some of the lessons she’s learned. 

LYNN:    Hello and welcome to the Cherry Blossom Café podcast. I’m your host, Lynn Williams, owner of The Lifestyle Protector. This show is all about uncovering life’s mysteries about money. If you’ve ever wondered how other people manage their money or the money mistakes they’ve made, well, that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about here. We’ll uncover these mysteries and more.

LYNN:    In this episode, we talk to Kendall Ansell. Kendall is an award winning design expert. She has provided insight and tips on seasonal trends and easy renovation projects in Western Living, BC Living, the Vancouver Sun, and others. She’s designed a capsule collection of pillows, with Joue Design. She has also collaborated with such brands as HONOMOBO, the Vancouver Home + Design show, the BC Home + Garden show, and Floform Interiors. With a growing team of passionate creative individuals, Kendall has continued to develop her business in a leading interior design firm that creates dream spaces for her clients. But today, she’s going to share with us how she looks at money, and we’re excited to have her with us today. Welcome Kendall.

LYNN:    Okay, great, it’s great to have you here today, Kendall. And we like to get kicked off with the first question being, what was your first job?

KENDALL:            Yes, this is a really interesting one. My very first job was at A & W.

LYNN:    Woo hoo! That’s great.

KENDALL:            Yeah. Fast food. It was great. And I think I started, I feel like back then you could get your parents to sign for you to start working, so it was before 16.

LYNN:    Oh, good for you.

KENDALL:            Yeah, and it was only because it filled time, life was a bit boring.

LYNN:    It wasn’t your lifetime ambition to be working at A & W.

KENDALL:            Well, no, it was fun. My friends worked there, and it was great.

LYNN:    I was going to say, were your friends working there, because that’s …

KENDALL:            Yeah.

LYNN:    Little known secret about me, is I started at McDonald’s because my friend said, “Do you want to work?” And I said, “Sure.” So that’s how I got started at McDonalds, so that was great.

KENDALL:            Totally.

LYNN:    It was great grounding because they’re great training grounds. That was good.

KENDALL:            You’ve got to be on time, and look professional, and you have to handle money. It’s good. It’s good all round.

LYNN:    Oh, great. But then how did you get started in your business and your profession? Of interior design?

KENDALL:            So, if, I’m sure, if you’ve read a bio about me, you can see my dad was in construction, so my brother and I, as I say in most interviews, were the cheap labor at the end of the broom, or digging holes, or helping to lay baseboard, those kinds of things, so we definitely grew up in the building and construction industry. And then coming out of school I was, like, “I want a profession that’s going to make me some money, so I’m going to become an accountant,” which I failed miserably at, and ended up taking a few nighttime drafting classes and fell in love with that. That’s kind of the gateway of how I ended up at [Quatlin] for drafting and then soon interior design after that.

LYNN:    Oh, great. And then what was your first job in interior design?

KENDALL:            Yeah, that’s a good question. I think my first job would have been at Olympia Tile.

LYNN:    Okay.

KENDALL:            And I really enjoyed working there, because you kind of got to see bits and pieces of everybody’s project, and got to meet a few people in the industry. Kind of really figure out what was going on in the building community from that side of the industry.

LYNN:    Excicitng. And you would have seen some beautiful things, too, with … tiles can be absolutely stunningly beautiful.

KENDALL:            Yeah, and the cool thing about Olympia is, it sort of sits in the middle ground price to low price point so you do get … you have stuff for people that is affordable, but you can also go a little upscale with them as well, which is cool.

LYNN:    Great insight for your own business, too.

KENDALL:            Yeah, for sure.

LYNN:    So then once you started gaining momentum in your career, then how did you handle your money?

KENDALL:            Great question, Lynn. As my financial advisor, [inaudible] getting …

LYNN:    Yes, I know.

KENDALL:            So, the word, wealth, I guess to me, is not necessarily in the actual money, but it’s more in the team.

LYNN:    Very good point. Um-hmm.

KENDALL:            The team, being able to build a team, being able to have an office space that can handle growth. My first office space was a desk in a communal, shared workspace, where I ccould have no samples, no binders, I just had a work surface. So I think my version of wealth is definitely being able to have a home base that is consistent and have great staff memebers. That’s how … the way I’ve done with the wealth part of it.

LYNN:    That’s great. I think that’s a really good point, too, that you’re positioning yourself for further growth.

KENDALL:            For sure, and now, people are getting to know us, so we have some sponsorships going on with Urban Barn and we’ve been working with those guys, so that’s again building that wealth, that inner wealth.

LYNN:    And building relationships as well. So, over the years, were there any big money mistakes?

KENDALL:            No, there’s never any mistakes, there’s some accidents, but never mistakes.

LYNN:    And maybe some lessons.

KENDALL:            I think that early on I didn’t iinvest greatly enough in photography. I didn’t invest enough in website development, overall graphic design, overall presentations. I think a big thing people, young business owners, is their contracts aren’t looked over by their lawyers or a lawyer at all. So those are just little things that I feel like … having a good accountant, having contracts that are solid and actually pertain to your business instead of something off the internet. Those are all mistakes, I would say, early on and that’s just from lack of knowledge.

LYNN:    And it’s seeking help where you may not have strengths, is a really good point.

KENDALL:            Totallly, and I think it’s knowing I’m never going to be good at that stuff and just letting that go. Letting someone else do it.

LYNN:    And that’s really good, too, just being honest with yourself about where your strengths are, what you have time for, what you really want to do, what you really want to learn. And pass other things off to other people, who, it’s their streingth.

KENDALL:            For sure. So I would say those are my big mistakes, but I feel they’re learning mistakes, unfortunately not something that’s talked about a lot in business, what people … I think this is a great question, because what did you do wrong early on? I think we’re all still doing things incorrectly in different areas, but those are just some things about growth that you kind of clue into.

LYNN:    For sure. That’s great. So do you have an investing philosophy?

KENDALL:            I think my biggest one is just investing in the people that are around me, and because they are the most important thing that the business has, and treating them fairly and respectively is the most important thing.

LYNN:    That’s awesome, and that will help you to grow, too, for the future. Do you have a take on philanthropy? Of giving back?

KENDALL:            I do. It’s something that’s actually come up a lot lately, what are you going to be involved in, what are you going to be doing? You always need to be giving back, and recently taking part and being on the LOUD foundation was a big thing for me, and kind of involving myself in community, kind of what makes Vancouver and the lower mainland being in the GVHBA … all those things, it’s kind of my giveback. I’m going to be looking at some things in the future, because I went through a bout of post partum with my child, so we’re looking at a few different avenues for the Post Partum Society as well.

LYNN:    And so, for people who don’t know about the LOUD foundation, what’s that? What is the LOUD foundation?

KENDALL:            It’s the business foundation for the LGBTQ community and it is based in Vancouver, and they have really great business events. They have really great community events, you can find them at PRIDE. Surrey PRIDE is actually coming up. You can find them participating in LGBTQ community events, and it’s a really great organization for people in business, especially young professionals in business, because you can really get some great connections.

LYNN:    And then you mentioned GVHA?

KENDALL:            It’s the Greater Vancouver Home Owners Association.

LYNN:    Okay, great. So, that’s-

KENDALL:            We take part and try to be involved in what they’re up to, as well.

LYNN:    Okay, great, that’s awesome. So now that you have children, how have they factored into your financial planning?

KENDALL:            Yeah, for sure. I think that this is, again a question that kind of, is one of those money mistake things. Is again is investing in people to help me do my day-to-day so that’s I’m able to spend more time with him. I think there was definitely a give-up of some of the things I used to do for the business, I’m just not able to do anymore, and that obviously is giving up some of my hours spent on the business and things like that, but I think it’s about finding a healthy balance between home and being with my kid, and being with my other kid, which is my business.

LYNN:    And that’s a really good way of putting it. It really is, becomes a baby but then grows up a little bit and so is demanding as a toddler, and as a young person and then as a teenager. Yeah.

KENDALL:            Yeah, for sure.

LYNN:    Yeah, very similar.

KENDALL:            So I would say that definitely with my type of business, financial planning is just mainly moving the responsibilities that I have to the business and delegating them to other people so I can spend more time to Fraser.

LYNN:    That’s awesome. So down the track, one piece of advice you’d like to give Fraser …

KENDALL:            I think that the biggest thing is just to follow your passion and your dream, and I think following your dream and your passion, then you’ll always be wealthy, and you’ll always be happy.

LYNN:    That’s good. There’s also the burden of choice, which can be very difficult to try and choose what that future path, or that future dream might be.

KENDALL:            Exactly, and I think a lot of people have a lot of passions, and they can probably use their passions in different ways, but as long as you’re doing that, then he will forever be happy. Even if, right now, he looks like he belongs in a circus, because he’s a toddler, but … he would be very happy in the circus.

LYNN:    That’s fantastic. So is there any advice that you would give to your younger self about money?

KENDALL:            That’s a really good question. I think I didn’t financially plan and budget enough as a younger person. At one point I was working a few different jobs. I worked at Roger’s arena, I worked selling lighting and plumbing, so I was doing Roger’s arena at night and working full time during the day, and I really should have been putting aside more and budgeting better. That’s just something that I didn’t really clue in, in my early 20s and I kind of wish I would have put some of those foundation pieces in place for later life.

LYNN:    That’s a really great observation, because we start to earn money, start to feel like we’re flush with cash, we start to feel like we’re going to live forever as well, and this is just going to be the way it is, but then we start to get responsibilities, or like yourself, you start a business. Things ebb and flow, that we don’t necessarily plan for, when we have a steady cash flow.

KENDALL:            Yeah, for sure.

LYNN:    Good point.

KENDALL:            I think that I did start putting away when I was younger, putting away a little bit of money into my RRSP every month, and that’s just something I read in a “How to be rich by 30” book, or something like that. So that definitely helped in purchasing my first house, but it’s something I think, not everybody gets that advice, and they don’t think, “Oh, I should only be going out for dinner twice a week, not three times a week. And if I did this with this money, I could get this.” I just think there’s not enough guidance. And that … first you move out of the house, you think you need everything. It’s just a snowball thing.

LYNN:    Those are some really good points. Yeah, Kendall. So now, thinking forward to the near future, what advice would you like to give your older self about money?

KENDALL:            I think this is kind of the flip of this, and I think it’s more about budgeting and future planning. You and I have talked about extensively, but kind of coming up with a plan and goals, and planning for Fraser’s future as well. And just kind of understanding where we want to be in the next 20 years, and what we see ourselves doing. I think that’s something, my husband and I have come to the realization of once we’ve moved … we’ve moved to a few different places and we’ve lived right in the middle of the city. One thing we noticed is, what do we do on weekends. Basically, we like to cook meals, and we like to go for walks, and that doesn’t necessarily need to happen in the city, which is why we don’t live in the city anymore. But I think in the future … what does the future look like for us, activity-wise. What do we want to be doing and just kind of planning it out a little bit better.

LYNN:    That’s an excellent point, because we often get so caught up in our day-to-day, that we don’t step back and say, “What is it that we really like to do? Where do we really like to spend our time and where do we see that, being able to do that best for us and our family.” It’s sometimes hard to take the time to do that and see that, which is fantastic insight into setting a future compass and then working towards it. Which is awesome.

KENDALL:            Yeah, I think if you love to hike and you’re in North Van, that’s the place for you. You know, but if you like to hike and you’re … for example, in Richmond, well, maybe you should consider to move. So I think it’s just …

LYNN:    Really great points. Awesome. I’ve just loved chatting to you today, Kendall. It’s always great to hear from you and thank you for taking the time, and I look forward to chatting very soon.

KENDALL:            Thanks so much, Lynn, this was great.

LYNN:    Well, that’s it for today. Thank you for listening to the Cherry Blossom Café podcast. You can check out the notes below for links related to this podcast. If there’s someone you’d like us to interview, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our website,, for contact information and more episodes.


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