Introducing Judith Mackin
Judith Mackin is a pioneer of interior design in the small, industrial city of Saint John, New Brunswick. Her message: “You don’t have to be from a big city to be sophisticated, educated, and to know what is going on in the world.”
In 1999, Judith started Punch Productions which was a marketing agency. Ten years later, the success of Punch Productions led to a sister company, Punch Inside, which was an interior design company specializing in commercial and residential interior design. Then in late 2012, Judith opened Tuck Studio, which is a decor and design studio featuring modern furnishings and decor. Keeping it personal, Judith placed Tuck Studio on the bottom level of her home which is located on a cliff, right in the middle of Saint John on 2.3 acres of land. The modern home was built to not only her satisfaction but as a serene destination for her clients. The choice to have her business and home at the same location keeps her client relationships intimate; Judith often lets her clients tour the upper levels of her home for design ideas because she lives by the motto that she lives what she sells.
What makes Judith unique is that she is creative, understands brands in new ways, and self taught in interior design. We believe that Judith is an educator for her industry, but she is much more humble. She sees herself in a conversation with her community on the topics she has a passion for. Judith spends just as many hours working for her company as she does talking and creating content about it. Forty hour work weeks don’t exist for the entrepreneur who is building their company, so she spends the extra time talking about why design is important creating a passion for design in others.
Many would believe that a blue-collar town wouldn’t have much time for things like beauty and design, but Judith trusted in herself and her community. She knew that if she had an interest in interior design, others in her community must as well. It turns out she is right; creative and thoughtful people are everywhere. Judith doesn’t see creativity as an artistic endeavour, but as an expression of courage and the willingness to do something uniquely. Judith is the embodiment of someone who wasn’t scared off by adding a new industry to a city that didn’t exist before. She knows it is a blank slate, or a void in need of filling.
In this episode
Judith explains her path to success. She tells us that she knows she is not the greatest at everything she gets wrapped up in, but she surrounds herself with a sub group of people that can help her. Many entrepreneurs would scoff and say they can’t afford help, but Judith is quick to point out that there is always a way. If you can’t afford a service, then barter. She tells us that communicating to your community, giving every customer the same attention, and a general attitude toward customer service. It’s also about knowing your customer, developing a niche, and treating that customer really well.
Greg sees a running theme in Boiling Point that in this flat world we can make international ripple effects from small cities. Dave is inspired by Judith’s brilliant way of expressing things concisely and intelligently. Dave also notes that he is motivated by Judith’s passion for telling not only her stories, but the stories of her clients and others in her community.
Greg points out that Judith, Dave, and himself are fortunate to be able to be risky in a smaller market. He mentions that in a large community there isn’t the same safety net of friends and community to back you up. Dave mentions, however, that some people may be scared to “fall on their face” in front of their friends and that being an entrepreneur is about the willingness to be vulnerable. For people like Judith, going for it is not an option.
Also, Greg gets scolded by referring to the Karim Rashid chairs that Judith placed in his office as “plastic chairs”.