Georgia Bulldogs gameday national sibling day. Lela Burris In the New House Designs
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National Sibling Day *Exclusive Interview*

Happy National Sibling Day! For those of you who don’t know, my brother Brad joined the In The New House team last summer, and he plays a big part in my new website as well. Brad manages our social media campaigns, affiliate promotions, press, and guests, as well as providing blog posts and keeping all the business aspects in check. He’s usually behind the scenes, but sometimes I like putting the spotlight on him because I know he shines.

In honor of National Sibling Day, I wanted to give you a little insight on who Brad is, who I am, how we work together, and what we have planned for our future. A few readers have written in some questions over the last week and we’d love to answer those. If you’re curious about something else, we’d love to answer your own questions in the comments section at the bottom of the post.

In the meantime, it’s about to get real!

Lela Burris and Brad Gandy of Lela Burris Inc.

Abbie from Georgia asks: Do you have any siblings?
Brad- Yes, I have a twin brother named Mark who is nine minutes older than I am. He never lets me forget it, either!
Lela- I have no siblings, but I have two grown men who are still my baby boys. Sure, my mother carried them, but as soon as they were born they became my babies.

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Casey from Florida asks: Brad, how is it having your sister as your boss? Was she bossy when you were kids?
Brad- Lela is a wonderful boss who knows me sometimes better than I know myself, and we have always been extremely close. In fact, I tell people that Mark is my real twin, but Lela is my twin by interests. We like the same TV shows, music, books, you name it. Lela jokes that our parents had Mark and me so that she could have two real-life baby dolls. I hate to get all mushy on you all here, but the honest truth is that because of the severity of my cerebral palsy, I currently can’t live on my own without assistance from someone else. She and Nigel help me whenever I’m at their house, so I guess I’m still her baby doll, in a way. I was considering going for my library science degree last year, knowing that I probably would have a hard time getting a job here and couldn’t work from home (I don’t drive), so when Lela offered me my current position, I jumped at the chance to, for once in my life, help her. I didn’t finish my Bachelor’s so that I could focus on the blog full time, but I do have an Associate’s Degree in History from Hiwassee College here in Madisonville. So yes, she thought I was her baby, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Lela- Let me cut in as I’m currently wiping tears away from my eyes. Brad’s being sweet because I pay him. Yes, I was a very bossy child. That’s why he attempted to run me over with his chair multiple times. #ideservedit

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Amanda from Illinois asks: How do holidays work? Is there business talk at the Thanksgiving table?
Brad- During the holidays, we do not talk about work unless one of us brings it up, which is pretty rare. In that case, we go to another room and talk about it. We both realize the value of having fun with friends and family, and I think being siblings definitely makes our work-life balances easy to maintain.
Lela- We try not to let that happen. We know not everyone cares about our affiliate stats or who we booked as a guest, so we try to discuss those on our own time. Also, we take holidays really seriously in our family. We don’t always celebrate traditionally, but instead, holidays are more of a time to just be together and be present. Business talk may get us sent to the kid’s table…

Lela Burris and Brad Gandy of Lela Burris Inc.

Kelly in Tennessee asks: What to you two want to grow up to be when you were kids?
Brad- At first, I wanted to be an ESPN play-by-play announcer, but in middle school, I wanted to be a history teacher.
Lela- I flip-flopped between a wedding dress designer and an HGTV host. I would draw wedding dress designs in notebooks upon notebooks, but the minute my best friend Ginni came over, we were outside playing with my dad’s camcorder pretending to be hosts on all kinds of shows. Nerd alert, most of our “HGTV shows” were based on the Carol Duvall Show and Room By Room. 90’s classics.

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Alex (no location) asks: Do you work together in an office? And do you prefer to work together or alone?
Brad- We don’t work together often. I live about an hour away from her, so we mainly talk through email and text, but she sometimes comes over if she is nearby during the day. On most days, I work alone, but we like to feed ideas off of each other if we’re together, either at her house or mine.
Lela- We don’t have an office [yet!] but we do get together sometimes. Mostly it’s via chat online, but sometimes I hijack him for the weekend and host him at my house. For the most part, we both prefer to work alone so we can focus better, but during our weekend brainstorm sessions, we end up getting a lot of our to-do lists knocked out.

Lela Burris and Brad Gandy of Lela Burris Inc.

J from California: What’s the craziest business venture to date?
Brad- Definitely the Country Living Fair last October! It was freezing cold that day, and the wind chill made it feel about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. While we were doing an Instagram Live video, all I got to say was “Hi!” before I saw Lela sprint away from me with the phone and save the tent we were under for a workshop from flying into about a 40 mph wind. It felt like we headed to Oz during the tornado, and we joked later about her completely ignoring me.
Lela- I completely 100% agree with Brad. That event was wild! It was colder that weekend than any winter day I’ve ever experienced. And the wind was ready and willing to swoop us all up in that tent for my DIY demo. We actually had to huddle in our vehicles between my speaking sessions to stay warm and my teeth were chattering like a wind up toy through my whole presentation.

Lela Burris and Brad Gandy of Lela Burris Inc.

Rapid Fire Q’s

Current City?
Brad- Madisonville,Tennessee
Lela- Cleveland, Tennessee

Unlikely Hobby?
Brad- Watching game shows (and making PowerPoint versions of them)
Lela- Rock Climbing

Favorite Book?
Brad- Chosen by Sara Hanson.
Lela- Same! Chosen is mine too! I read it and just had to share it with Brad because I knew he’d love it too.

Last Thing You Ate?
Brad- Grilled chicken with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.
Lela- Caramel Dove Candy Bar Squares (Don’t ask how many…)

Weirdest Thing On Your Desk?
Brad- Noah’s orange wind-up dinosaur toy, which I have named Alfred.
Lela- A stuffed alpaca that Noah keeps stealing from me and hiding in his room.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Brad- Marketing Coordinator of an amazing blog, and maybe doing an HGTV show with my sister (You never know! We could be the next Steve and Leanne Ford!)
Lela- Man, we’re like one stinkin’ brain! In five years, Brad and I will for sure have a television show. We’re too cool not to.

Want To Know More?

Have more questions? We’d love to answer them below in the comment section! And happy National Sibling Day from us to you and your sibs!

2 Comments

  1. Sandy Gandy

    Wow! what an amazing interview. I am so proud to be your mom, and It brings me such joy to have raised 3 wonderful children. I know that your dad would say the same.

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