We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Russell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Crystal, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have always been known for touting the phrase “no toe-dipping,” and that mentality has been deeply relevant to my thoughts around risk. Historically, I’ve been what I would consider a risk addict. I used to joke to friends and family that where others may be adrenaline junkies, I’m a risk junkie. I love the thrill of jumping into something that may not work, where the possibility for failure is present, and the odds are more or less against me. To me, it always felt that much more rewarding to conquer the challenge. The last two years, though, we’ve experienced a lot of failures, and we have had to struggle through the consequences of making huge, risky moves and not having those things pan out successfully. It’s been incredibly trying for me as an individual and for us as a business. I’ve learned to balance my passion for risk and newness with the understanding of impulsiveness vs. planning and intent. I’m learning every day how to create unity between a well-calculated plan and a risky maneuver. It’s inherently part of who I am, and it ultimately has led me to impressive milestones and humbling accomplishments.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I own and operate TVL Creative here in Denver. We are an interior design + build firm that focuses primarily on renovation work in both the residential and commercial realms. We are 7.5 years old and have grown immensely since our founding in 2013. We started out as a super-small design team focused on design-only solutions for clients and grew to a multi-million revenue company that manages every phase of a project from conceptualization to construction management. I founded TVL (This Visionary Life) with one primary goal in mind: to change the entire design experience. In a market that historically presented itself as unapproachable and out of reach for most, we set out to redefine the way design was given to the public, offered as a service, and understood as a science. Collectively, TVL has successfully developed a streamlined process that takes clients from concept to completion with minimal frustration, endless support, and the trust that only comes from a wildly passionate group of visionaries. The process has never been easy. When I founded the company, I was only 26 years old; a young female attempting to break through the post-recession design and construction industry. My team was small and comprised of young (and briliantly talented) designers. It took hard work, persistent delivery of quality, and intentional reputation building to rise up in the ranks of Denver’s intense market. We had a wildly difficult year in 2019 as we navigated the introduction of a fully in-house construction team system. Through the hurdles, failures, and frustration, we learned and refined over and over again. The challenges presented us an incredible opportunity to really evalute our process and procedures, and we emerged from that better for it. This year, COVID has created an unparalleled dynamic for us, but we continue to innovate and strategize at every turn. I am deeply proud to still be here, and I am eager to see what we do in the coming months and years as a dynamic and matured team.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
UGH. Denver is so wonderful, this is difficult to answer! I am a supremely biased native, so I think that every corner of this city and state are lovely. If asked for the perfect weekend getaway, I’d say Crested Butte: the small town vibes and stunning views are a wonderful way to enjoy Colorado landscape without the touristy chaos seen so often in other mountain towns these days. Downtown, there are many wonderful opportunities. I’m still a huge fan of our Golden Triangle district: it houses several important architectural moments including Daniel Libeskind’s addition to Giovanni Ponti’s original Denver Art Museum, the public library designed by Michael Graves, and the Clyfford Still museum by Allied Works Architecture. I live in the Highlands neighborhood and can’t recommend enough the many wonderful dining + drinking opportunities here. Namely, drinks at The Family Jones and breathtaking dinner views at El Five.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The last two years of my life have been the most trying and turbulent I’ve ever experienced. I have been forced to face realities about people that have been uncomfortable, and through the clearing of it all, I am left with a small and powerful collection of influences and accomplices to whom I feel I owe everything. To my family: thank you for never wavering in your love and support of me, through thick and thin. My persistence and my belief in myself has sustained because of your devotion to my work and my being. To my TVL team: there are no words to describe the gratitude I feel for a team that has never stepped down during the battle. Your continued dedication to this Visionary life and belief in the brand as a force in this world is something I will never forget or take for granted. Thank you all.
Rebecca Miller Photography, Jessica Blackwell Photography