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Karen Powell - CEO of Decor&You

1. Tell us about the beginning of Decor&You

Josie Cicerale I and founded Decor&You More, Inc., in 1994, as an interior decorating business made up of home-based independent decorators. After perfecting our systems and training programs, we began building a structure for a business that would respond to economic trends in the 90’s and the nature of the changing workforce in the decorating industry.

We concluded that our new business concept would best be implemented by a network of franchisees, who as full-time entrepreneurs, would be committed to growing and developing their individual decorating businesses to their fullest potential. On that basis, in January 1998, we launched the Decor&You® Inc. Franchise Program.

2. What is the interior decorating market like?

Sales in the home furnishings industry are over $200 billion and growing. Particular opportunities exist in remodeling and home additions, as homeowners customize the home to their particular needs, spurred in part by home improvement television. Some of the growth trends continuing are entertaining at home and use of “The Outdoor Room.” This decade will see a record level of second homeowners according to American Demographics.

3. What made you decide to franchise your business?

We decided to franchise Decor&You to create the opportunity for our franchisees to combine their passion with a rewarding career. We have developed a replicable system of opening, operating, and building a successful interior decorating business, and/or managing a successful interior decorating business. Franchising is a proven track
record as the best way to grow nationally and internationally while protecting and building a brand and securing the integrity of the system.

4. How successful is your franchising business today?

By the benchmark or tipping point in franchising of 100 units, Decor&You has achieved top success. Today, the Decor&You franchise has grown to a nationwide network of 155 units in 29 U.S. states and has served thousands of satisfied clients who recommend us to others. Decor&You has appeared in the “Top 500 Franchises”, as ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine, for the past three consecutive years.

5. What sort of qualities or qualifications should a Decor&You Franchisee have?

People can choose between two principal paths to become a Decor&You franchisee. The DecorDesigner path is for those who feel passionate about a career in decorating, have a strong inclination for business and systems management, feel comfortable using applied technologies, such as internet distance learning and QuickBooks, and possess outstanding listening and project management skills. This will prepare them for the training required various online resources, and software capabilities that make it possible to run a successful, streamlined local business.

A second path offered is the Regional Developer opportunity, for those who appreciate the industry and growth potential, and who are have the skills, personality and motivation to manage a team of decorators, as well as a talent for sales, marketing, and public relations.

In general, franchisees should have some college background that gives them a strong educational foundation and a desire to learn. They should have the personality that prepares them for the rigors of managing a small business independently and the demands of one-on-one customer service accountability.

6. Any plans for growth that you would like to share with us?

Decor&You aims to become a household name in furnishing and refining America’s homes and businesses. In 2007, the franchise made a move to obtain professional certification for all of its decorators, signing a first-of-its-kind agreement with Certified Interior Decorators International; nearly half of all decorators have qualified in just the first four months. The franchise will also introduce a landmark innovation in the fabric industry through a private-label, soft window treatment program – The FabricClutch. The franchise also aims to introduce a new way for consumers to think about the value of living in a fully decorated space – a DecorRoom.

8. Do you believe that women can have it all?

Decor&You is founded on the idea that women (or men) can be their own boss, which gives them the freedom to create a structure for their lives where they can pursue their dreams – whatever they may be. As it happens, 98% of franchisees are women, most of which work very hard to manage priorities correctly so they can balance their time among the demands of career, family, health and spare time pursuits. While it’s not easy to run your own business profitably, and balance these other compelling interests, it’s profoundly rewarding when it’s done well.

9. Your advice to women who are looking to be their own boss?

From a young age, American women are taught to “follow their dreams.” “Bring extraordinary determination, remarkable self-discipline and unshakeable self-confidence with you,” is often left unsaid, yet these qualities are vital for success. With Decor&You, women have a team of professionals – trainers, coaches, marketing, sales, PR and technology managers – who stand behind the scenes to support our franchisees. We offer the basic tools and systems, and we also offer a constant source of encouragement, innovative ideas, and new resources, to help keep you on the path and focused on achieving success in independent business ownership… and in life.

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