Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Oaks.
Hi Samantha, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself Hey there! I’m Samantha. If you hang out with me long enough, you can call me Sam.
After being in the fashion industry for 20 years, I found myself on construction sites and fell in love with all things dirt and design. I had spent my career hunting for high-end fashion for a fraction of a price, and I quickly recognized a gap in the residential design industry. A high-end look doesn’t have to mean a high price tag. So, I traded my Pradas for a hammer and started Lucien Porter Design Co.
I know you want to know where the cool name came from, right? My current business partner was swimming in a swamp in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. No, he’s not my ex-boyfriend. He’s a dog! After living through Katrina, I needed a little light and hope. Lucien in French means “light”. Our path lead us from NOLA to Nashville where he met his BFF Porter. And with that, I had a business named Lucien Porter Design Co.
Many years of fashion-savvy combined with a contractor’s license means I’m able to use a bespoke approach to new construction, a custom home build, renovations, and commercial build-outs – all while being mindful of a budget.
Although I’m based in Nashville, TN, our projects can be found from the East Coast to the West coast.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When I decided to get my contractor’s license, I knew I was heading into a male dominated field, and I might just have to pull myself up by the bootstraps every day. After passing the licensure test, I gathered all the required paperwork and went to turn in in.
While there, I was asked if I’d ever picked up a hammer. I was also told that my paperwork didn’t look like it was good enough to be accepted and that the Tennessee State Board interview would more than likely find me not qualified.
Sigh. Not only was I qualified, but the board didn’t have to interview me because I had more than enough job-site experience. This job is a continual reminder to keep putting one foot in front of the other and not be intimidated as one of the few girl contractors in Nashville.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m an architectural designer. I’m known for my intricate tile designs and layouts and for adding character throughout a project by using a bespoke approach and maintaining a budget.
I set up my business to not just select all the pretty residential design elements but to also use my contractor’s license to walk my clients through an entire project from dirt to door. This, along with working in the field on job sites and my keen design eye, has set me apart from others in my field.
I’m proud of winning the Nashville Historic Preservation award for the first custom home I did and for being selected as a Woman of Influence as an Entrepreneur for the Nashville Business Journal.
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
I’m a huge animal lover and am a founding board member of a local animal rescue called the Tiny But Mighty fund. I’ve also recently been matched with a little sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I’m looking forward to sharing with her, learning from her, and watching her grow. I hope that I’m a living example for her that women can succeed in male-dominated fields, follow their dreams, and achieve any goals they set.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.lucienporterdesigncompany.com
- Instagram: lucienporterdesignco
- Facebook: lucienporteodesignco
Ashleyhylbert, Garrettbuell, Victoria Pewitt, and Willvastine