Women in Business
Building & Design
Lauren Huard grew up in a family well versed in design. Huard’s father, Peter Malone, created Seaport Shutter Company and her mother, Marsha Malone, is the maven behind Nautique, a premier retail shop for home furnishings and interior design. Both businesses, which are based in Brewster, have been providing style and impeccable design for homes across the region for 25 years. Huard, a Boston College alum, was exposed to the inner workings of Seaport Shutter and Nautique from an early age. She recalls helping her mother on interior design projects and accompanying her father on sales calls to measure for shutters and doors at some of the most iconic properties on the Cape and Islands. In 2012, Huard, having worked for TV news and public relations in Boston, left her career to join the family business full time. Today, Huard handles customer relations, sales and is the face of Seaport Shutter and Nautique to many clients.
“What are the elements that make up thoughtful design? In this business you need style, flair and panache,” Huard says. “With my public relations background, I’ve been able to connect with customers on the business side, but also on the personal side. I truly love people and enjoy listening and learning about their family demographic which ultimately drives the design of the products.”
Seaport Shutter’s collection of products, and Nautique’s eye-catching design have been so widely accepted in the marketplace that Huard found it necessary to make the transition to the family business.
For Seaport Shutter, their mahogany screen and storm doors have become the brand. From Provincetown to Chatham on through to Falmouth, Nantucket and the South Shore, the Seaport Shutter brand is recognized by homeowners, builders and architects. “It was a natural, easy transition for me. I watched my parents develop both businesses from an idea on a paper napkin. I remember as a little girl my father would sell shutters at night after his corporate finance day job, all to try to prove the concept of a shutter company,” Huard recalls.
As the idea of their daughter joining the business developed, Peter and Marsha didn’t realize how good she would be. “Although I had great expectations, I was surprised at how quickly Lauren became effective in mastering the details of the business and how she created great rapport with our customers,” Peter says.
Nautique also provided an opportunity for Huard to showcase her own colorful style through fabric and paint selection. “Lauren is a natural in this business,” Marsha says. “The clients love her personality and spunk, but most importantly she listens to their needs, helping to create a space that is functional, but cheerful.”
Seaport Shutter and Nautique operate their showrooms out of the same historic building on Route 6A in Brewster, which was one of Cape Cod’s original gas stations. The advantage of the businesses being housed in the same building, is that customers may come in for interior design and realize they haven’t given consideration to how their front door or their shutters contribute to the overall flow of their home. On the flip side, they may have decided to update the exterior, and suddenly when they enter Nautique, everything is in play. People enjoy the options and the connection of the two businesses.
Huard says it is all about the intersection of wonderful craftsmanship and flair, coming together for that dashing look. “We are in the business of quality, but we are also in the business of style,” Huard says.
Irina MacPhee, owner of Pastiche of Cape Cod, an interior design firm in Dennis Port, and its subsidiary Water-Mark Cabinetry, also knows what it is like when your daughter discovers an interest and a talent for the career that you’ve spent your life building. MacPhee’s daughter Adin Weatherley joined the team at Pastiche in the summer of 2019. Weatherley says she didn’t have many expectations when she first jumped in. “I didn’t know what I would be doing, I mostly just wanted to help,” Weatherley explains. “I have grown up with design my whole life; as kids we were surrounded by fabrics, and samples, and design boards, so it’s pretty much in my DNA.”
Since 2019, Weatherley and MacPhee have worked side-by-side on over 20 projects across the Cape. Interior design, project management, kitchen design and general contracting are just some of the major responsibilities the team at Pastiche take on and with each project MacPhee says her daughter has become an invaluable member of the organization. “It is wonderful to not only have the confidence in Adin to accomplish the tasks and critical steps of any project, but it is really something special to step back and observe your child mastering any situation,” MacPhee shares.
She goes on to say that it was gratifying to see how quickly Weatherley is able to develop a strong working relationship with the clients, “She really develops a great rapport with the clients and they just love working with her.”
The shifting sands of families and where people are able to choose to work during a pandemic brought more of MacPhee’s brood to the nest. Ania Weatherley, MacPhee’s eldest daughter, lives in California where she pursues her passion for finance as a financial analyst for a high tech company. Accompanied by her toddler daughter, MacPhee’s first grandchild, Ania moved home to the Cape since she had the freedom to work from anywhere. “It has been great to be back home with my family, and I never expected this, but it has given me an opportunity to apply my expertise to my mother’s business,” Ania explains. “I have watched her through the years not finding what she needs from various accountants of business managers, and I thought she deserved so much more.”
Now Ania has added responsibilities of financial forecasting and management for MacPhee’s busy operation to her busy life as a bi-coastal finance professional/new mother, and the whole family couldn’t be happier. MacPhee, who counts her blessings every day, realizes the rare opportunity she has as her business continues to grow. The myriad of projects and responsibilities she and Weatherley have added to their growing portfolio has inspired MacPhee to expand the offerings of the company with a new kitchen showroom, design/build and construction management service from the former West Barnstable location on Route 6A.
“We’re busy, but we are also so fortunate,” MacPhee shares. “I can’t believe my daughters are here and that I get to work with them every day. I am obviously proud, but I am mostly in awe. We are so lucky.”
Samantha Nikula grew up in the building business. Her father Dale Nikula began his business as a contractor on the Cape the same year she was born. Today, 35 years later, the father and daughter team work side-by-side at Encore Construction in Dennis Port. Dale, a co-principal with Kathy DeMeyer, brought his daughter on board in 2013 when he sat her down and told her he wanted her to have the opportunity to someday take the business to places he could only imagine.
“Through college and after, I always knew I wanted to be a business owner,” Samantha shares. “I didn’t know what kind of business I wanted to own. When my Dad told me what he hoped for me, I was a little confused because I told him I didn’t know construction like he does. But he said, ‘You know people.’”
Clearly Dale knew his daughter. A self-described people-person, Samantha recognizes that it is paramount in the construction industry to have competent, knowledgeable individuals executing your project, but also says, “It is such an investment and is actually a very intimate business because you are building shelter for people’s lives, the thing they value most, so you have to trust that person as well. My father saw those qualities in me that could work closely with the clients.”
Dale set Samantha on a path of learning and accomplishment within the organization as he suggested she start from the bottom and learn the business. “I started at the front desk for a while, and then I handled all of the books which led to some financial forecasting,” Samantha recalls. “I did some project management, and then I took some design classes. I never expected it, but I really loved designing. It’s funny because my journey of discover led me right to where my father hoped I would end-up.”
Dale understood that. given the opportunity along with a supportive and fostering foundation, Samantha would find something new in herself, in addition to her outgoing personality and organizational skills. Today, Samantha handles much of the forward momentum of the business: the marketing, the business development, the client management and yes, the design process.
When asked what the future may have in store, Samantha says she is where she is supposed to be, and someday, she will be part of the senior management team.
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