Kate Dawson, The Decor Whore {Our NJMOMpreneur of the Week}

0
Share the love

Sh$t happens, as we all well know, and no one knows that better than our NJMOMpreneur of the week, Kate Dawson, owner of The Decor Whore. When her big dreams of being on Broadway took a detour, her passion for decorating and scoring bargain treasures led her to a starring role as an interior designer. With a motto of being affordable, available and accessible, all while having a whole lotta fun, this is a one-woman show that’s she’s been rehearsing her life for. NJMOM sat down to dish about making your home look like a million without spending it, words to live by (they include cursing!), her son, and that other man in her life, who’s initials begin with TJ.

featured image via Mallika Malhotra

Founder of The Decor Whore & NJMOMpreneur Kate Dawson

NJMOMpreneur Kate Dawson via Mallika Malhotra

NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Kate: With Decor Whore, I specialize in making homes look like a million bucks, at a fraction of the cost. I do that by working with what people already have, and then bringing in accent pieces from places like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, HomeSense, World Market, Wayfair.com, Vintage Stores, estate sales, Craig’s List, flea markets, Ebay, garage sales, the curb… shall I go on? Basically, I’m all about hunting down the perfect pieces at great price points. Any decorator can take you to Restoration Hardware and show you a $12,000 couch (and I can too if you want me to)—but yawn, where’s the fun in that?

Find something that nourishes you, something that feeds your soul, something that keeps you connected to your innermost self. For me, that’s meditation. But whatever it is just make sure you’re taking care of yourself – not just your family.”

– NJMOMpreneur Kate Dawson

NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Kate: Actually, it was never my dream to be an interior designer. I moved to NYC in 1996 with dreams of becoming a Broadway star, and while I did end up on Broadway along with a bunch of voiceover gigs, things didn’t quite go as planned (do they ever?). In 2015 our family went through a devastating financial loss, and I needed to find work and it needed to be ASAP. I worked in corporate America but I really didn’t like it; I wanted to do something I loved that was creative and that contributed to other people and their lives. I really wanted to focus on bringing more beauty, love and laughter into the world, but it also had to bring in some money. I had always been passionate about decorating and had done my own home to the nines, so when I was contemplating my next step, a friend asked me to decorate her office, and I said yes! A few weeks later, I posted before and after pictures on Facebook, and people just went crazy for it. And suddenly it all made sense. I filed my paperwork, trademarked my name (I love a good play on words and it made me laugh!), and officially started Decor Whore in January! In a way, it was all a big accident, but in another way, it was kismet. I had been unknowingly training myself for this gig my entire life.

NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Kate: Going to TJ MAXX and Home Goods practically every day in search of treasures! I am all about finding the hidden gems and then putting them all together. In a way, it’s like a scavenger hunt, and a puzzle: Go out into the world, search and scour through stores and sales, find the perfect pieces and bring them together to make a beautiful picture. It makes me happy to know it will change the way my clients experience their home, thus changing the way they experience their life.

Hunting for treasures via Mallika Malhotra

NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Kate: Well, I don’t have a degree or anything and I’ve never taken any classes on design, so I guess my background is somewhat simple: I follow my design instincts and listen to my gut (and I listen to my clients too of course!).

NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Kate: Probably that I just did it—even though I had no fucking (I like to curse) clue what I was doing.  And I was petrified that I was going to screw it all up, but I saw this quote from a friend of mine —“Successful people start before they are ready”—and it stopped me in my tracks. You know how there are those moments in life when you see or hear exactly what you need? Even though you didn’t even know you needed it? Well this was one of those moments. It just hit me like a bolt of lightning, and so I wrote it on a post-it and hung it on my wall, and it became my mantra. And every time I started to feel like I was drowning in the “hows”, I thought of this quote. I still go back to it today.

NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Kate: Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I’m not very good about being quiet about anything so I’m not sure! Oh wait! I know—I did the voiceover of Faith Hill’s orgasm in the movie The Stepford Wives.

NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Kate: Next year I want to launch a YouTube channel and create episodes for each project I’m working on from start to finish. I love those before and after shows on HGTV, but they’re also a little unrealistic, am I right?  First of all, I don’t know that many people with a $100,000+ budget, so what about the people who have a budget of $10-$15K? I mean obviously it’s not going to be as dramatic of a change, but you can certainly freshen up a space with a few thousand bucks. Another dream of mine is to write a book about home décor.

Transforming spaces once piece at a time via Mallika Malhotra

NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Kate: The Young Survival Coalition. I lost my dear cousin Jill in 2006 to breast cancer. She was 45. I’ve worked on and off with YSC over the years and I co-produced a children’s book and CD to raise money for them and BCRF.

NJMOM: Who is your role model? Why?
Kate: I don’t know if I have just one, there are a lot of women out there that I find inspiring. But what always inspires me the most is when I see a woman risk her likeability to be her authentic self.

NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom (or parent/role model) ever gave to you?
Kate: Stay true to yourself.

NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
Kate: I have two.

 Comparison is the thief of joy.”

It’s true.  Whenever I’m feeling blue or frustrated or down, it’s usually because I have started comparing my journey with someone else’s.

 Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

Whenever I’m starting to feel really nervous or scared or overwhelmed, I remember that growth only happens in the “uncomfortable” zone. It sucks, but it won’t kill you. Now I see discomfort as a positive thing. I mean, I still don’t enjoy it, but hey, it means I’m pushing myself.

Reading a “badass” book for inspiration via Mallika Malhotra

NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Kate: Eat! I love to go out to eat with my family and friends all year round. And I especially love going to Alstede Farms in the Fall and having apple cider and donuts.

NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Kate: The best part for me is watching my son discover the world, and then hearing him tell me about it. He delights in so many things that we grown-ups take for granted. Everything to him is playful and fun and I want to live more like that. He reminds me to just relax and enjoy.

NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Kate: Well as I said above, I love to eat! My favorite spots are Arturo’s in Maplewood and Red Cadillac in Union. Their tacos, OMG! More, please!

Ready for action! via Mallika Malhotra

NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Kate: We just moved to West Orange in June and we love it! We’re right behind Seton Hall Prep and I just love our little house. I love being on the side of a hill with big old trees everywhere. And when we want a weekend away, we love to go up to Lambertville and stay in a little B&B (our favorite is the Woolverton Inn in Stockton). It’s only an hour away, but for some reason it feels so far. It’s the perfect little escape and great for antiquing.

NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Kate: Find your tribe. Join a women’s group. Join three! Find your empowerment posse. And if you can’t find one, start one because nothing will change your life and your business more profoundly than a group of women who love, support and cheer each other on.

NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Kate: Yes – take time for yourself. Find something that nourishes you, something that feeds your soul, something that keeps you connected to your innermost self. For me, that’s meditation. But whatever it is just make sure you’re taking care of yourself – not just your family.

For more information about The Decor Whore, follow along on the website, Facebook, and Instagram.


Share the love

About Author

Erika is a yogi, writer, coffee enthusiast, and world traveler. If she's not at the beach or chasing the sunset, she's looking for the best iced coffee she can find and planning her next adventure. Her favorite NJ spots include The Saint, Island Heights, and Lava Java House.

Leave a Reply

CLOSE
CLOSE