The Design Twins

From a young age, twin sisters Heather Fujikawa and Heidi Andrews have done everything together, including professional enterprises. From lemonade stands to launching an accessories line out of college, the girls are undeniably serial entrepreneurs. They found great success throughout their twenties with various business ventures, but, in recent years, have been able to bring their true passion to life in their latest endeavor with Joyful Living, a successful interior design company. “Our whole lives, we were either designing our college dorm together or styling newlywed apartments or first homes and people started asking us to consult with them on decorating and where to find inspiration,” Ms. Fujikawa explains. “For all these years, we had been working on other stuff, but at the end of the day, my heartbeat and passion has always rested with interior design.”

Growing up in Salt Lake City as the daughters of a successful interior designer, they were constantly brought along by their mother on her various appointments, meetings, floral arrangement classes, remodel walkthroughs and more. Being constantly immersed in the industry, the twins developed an eye for design that grew to influence every step they took. 

After attending Brigham Young University to study communications, the girls moved to Los Angeles to pursue careers in the fashion industry. Ms. Fujikawa began at a startup hair accessories company, but quickly realized she wanted to take ownership of what she was doing and start a brand. “Heidi and I are very project-oriented. We love to always be creating something together, and at this startup, I fell in love with the idea of embellishing headbands or making jewelry. We made the move to launch True Birds, our fashion accessories business,” Ms. Fujikawa says. “Any time we do something, we really like to go big and scale it as quickly as possible … and there was a really hot market for hair accessories at the time.” 

Their pieces rose in popularity and were soon being worn by celebrities like Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift, which led to major retailers TJ Maxx® and Nordstrom carrying the line. Taking it one day at a time, they were always looking for what they could do next. For Ms. Fujikawa, that included an unexpected move to Italy with her husband, Tyson, for his job. While Ms. Andrews remained in San Diego with her husband, the girls still managed to continue working together, even continents apart. “I have always had a passion for writing, so I was always writing, whether it be through freelancing for Seventeen Magazine or Celebrity Hairstyle Magazine, and that led to us deciding to write a children’s book,” Ms. Fujikawa says.

As Ms. Fujikawa and her husband grew their family in Calif. and began having children, they faced infertility problems, something Ms. Fujikawa learned to work through by writing. “We loved doing fashion accessories, but we wanted to do something that had more depth to it, so we wrote a book all about fairy godmothers and where they came from. It teaches kids Christ-like attributes through these stories. Feeling like I was able to connect with children on some level really helped me cope with my fertility struggles at the time,” Ms. Fujikawa shares. 

After a few years in Italy, Mr. Fujikawa’s job brought them to Frisco, in 2013. After more than a decade of jet setting around Italy and keeping up with the fast-paced Los Angeles lifestyle, Ms. Fujikawa found she struggled to fit in to suburbia. “Everywhere I looked, there were pregnant bellies or mamas shopping with their kids. It was really hard for me to find my place in such a new setting,” she says. “One thing I did notice, though, is that there are houses everywhere. So many people were either moving here or building their dream home. I began to focus my energy on designing our dream home.” 

Ms. Fujikawa was able to connect with the community around her through design and started getting requests from friends and neighbors to help them design their homes. She immediately called Ms. Andrews and the sisters launched A Home Market, then Joyful Living, located in Celina, in 2018, the same year Ms. Fujikawa gave birth to healthy twin boys. “We had a pretty great immediate response! We were featured by Good Homes Magazine and Pottery Barn® did a feature with my family,” Ms. Fujikawa details. “I feel like Frisco is such a great area for any business because people are excited and supportive of small businesses. There is a really strong community. People talk about things online and share recommendations, so we just got so lucky to be in this area.”

Over the years, production companies had contacted the girls on more than one occasion to see if they might be interested in doing a television show, but the timing had simply never been right. That is, until they were approached by cable network UPtv pitching a show that was both family and design-oriented. “They were really entranced with us being sisters and entrepreneurs. Plus, not only are we twins, but my husband is a triplet! I have my twin boys and Heidi has twin girls!” Ms. Fujikawa exclaims. “Additionally, I have another son and Heidi now has three other girls. So, in total, we have eight kids, all under the age of seven.” 

Design Twins is a 10-episode series that premiered on February 14, with new episodes airing Thursdays at 7 p.m. central. The show is about designing for families. It is a mix of the families finding joy through their chaotic daily schedules, while also working on a project and managing clients. “Our entire brand is about inspiring people to have joy in their homes, through products, textures and interior design. The things you put in your home are really a story you tell,” Ms. Fujikawa says. “We are very different in our unique viewpoint that design is telling someone’s story. So, that is kind of where you merge our design and writing backgrounds together.” 

In addition to their show and design services, the twins released a new book in early 2019 aptly titled Joyful Living that is all about inspiring thoughts on joy in every aspect of your life. On their website, joyfullivingco.com, they also sell home accessories, candles, clothing, fashion accessories, art collections, custom pieces and more. 

“At the end of the day, we really just want to celebrate life to the fullest and encourage those around us to do the same,” Ms. Fujikawa says. “Being able to connect with others and help them bring joy into their homes is an absolute dream come true, and I cannot wait to see where Joyful Living goes from here.”

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Rachel Beaird is a recent University of Arkansas graduate, travel enthusiast and a public relations aficionado.