Born in Jacksonville but raised in Washington, NC; Meyetta ”Meme” Grimes, owner of gold élan llc, always had an admiration for home decor and design. “Washington is a very historic town and we always lived in these huge houses that were five or six bedrooms that had a lot of character to them. A lot of times I would just sit there and draw the fireplaces” she recalls. As a teen, she’d spend her spare time sketching architecture, designing wedding dresses and developing as an athlete. Ultimately, it was athletics that earned the track and field star a scholarship to Appalachian State University where she studied Sociology.
Shortly after college, Grimes entered Corporate America. Meanwhile, her love and deep admiration for design aesthetics continued. “I’ve always loved unique things but I didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars for them and I wanted to provide that for other people.” As such, she began refurbishing items such as lamps and benches. While in Charlotte, Grimes entered a contest hosted by Black & Decker. As a finalist, her redesigned bookcase was featured on the company’s billboard in Times Square.
Shortly after, with encouragement from coworkers and friends, Grimes opened a small boutique. Utilizing finds from Good Will and Habitat for Humanity, Grimes filled her shop with refurbished gems. “It started out really simple, like painting and things like that. Then, I started adding different quirky things to them like modge podging wrapping paper on a bookshelf just to add a different spin to it.”
Eventually Grimes’ job afforded her the opportunity to relocate to Raleigh. In search of a new space and name for her business, she took to Facebook asking friends for one word that described her. Grimes beams “One of my good friends from college said “élan”. I looked it up and it meant panache, flair, confidence; and it stuck.” That was the beginning of gold élan llc.
Over the years, her eye for design has grown tremendously. Graduating from rehabbing small pieces, Grimes has developed a signature style that is present in each design. She refers to her home decor items as “statement pieces” because they easily become the focal point of any room. Adding everything from rhinestones to crystals, she’s managed to develop a distinct brand that has gotten her recognized by a major design network. “HGTV actually featured some Scandinavian teak chairs that I designed on their Instagram page.”
gold élan’s retail space currently features redesigned chairs, benches, tables and mirrors that can be found at Inspirations Home Decor and More on Glenwood Ave. Additionally, Grimes has become a walking advertisement for her brand by incorporating smaller pieces such as pearl or rhinestone embellished glasses. “I’ve actually had someone buy my glasses off of my face.” Additional items currently available are mannequin busts, shoes and mugs.
Taking advantage of every opportunity available to showcase her designs, Grimes’ participates in numerous vendor events and fashion shows throughout the year. She is currently preparing to be a vendor at the Raleigh Home Show. Consistently putting herself in position for exposure, she it quickly reaching arenas she never thought possible like having her glasses worn at the prestigious Kentucky Derby.
Ultimately, Grimes hopes to one day own studio space where she can get back to teaching classes. “I love to teach. Some people in the industry think I’m crazy for doing that but I had to learn. Although a lot of it was self-taught, there were people like “this is how you do this or that and this is the material you use.” Grimes is determined to give back the mentorship that she received when she first started.
Until then, she is actively working on developing a youtube channel and blog to post tutorials and further expand the gold élan brand. She credits God for the accomplishments she’s made thus far and with him as her guide, she is well on her way to accomplishing the goals set forth in her three year plan. Grimes is looking forward to the day that she can dedicate all of the time and energy into making gold élan a staple within the home decor industry.
Inspirations Home Decor and More
8601 Glenwood Ave
Raleigh, NC 27617