Student Success - Dot Greenlee
NYIAD students are out there in droves decorating clients' homes, serving as consultants in department stores, and re-designing everything from metropolitan penthouses to lakeshore cottages. If you've started your own business, if you've been hired by a decorating firm, or if you've achieved success in some other way in the field of interior design, we want to hear from you! Click here to let us know about the waves you're making! If you missed earlier installments of this series, here's your chance to read more about the accomplishments of NYIAD students. Just visit our NYIAD Student Success page.
Some of the graduates of the NYIAD School's Complete Course in Interior Design enjoy joining an already-established design firm; some find employment with a home furnishings store, as the in-house designer. Others like the independence their new profession gives them, and they strike out on their own, hanging their shingle proudly.
Dot Greenlee, however, went into business with a perhaps surprising partner: her mother.
Dot's mom, Mary Robinson, is also an interior decorator, and once Dot completed the NYIAD program, they launched their own company, called My Decorator. They started in business on May 1, 2006, working on residential and commercial decorating and design projects.
They've found it fairly easy to get and keep clients, as word of their work keeps spreading around their home base in McKinney, Texas.
"We have been very blessed and have received nearly every job from referrals of past clients," Dot told us.
The largest design job the pair received was from a referral in late December of 2006.
"Our new client had just purchased a large one million dollar home, and was moving from out of state. She had sold her previous home completely furnished and decorated, so she needed everything and we got it for her." Dot and Mary found everything from accessories to furniture to window treatments for the client.
"We were thrilled to be able to work on this project," Dot said. "She is a very stylish sales executive and she wanted all the bells and whistles as far as window treatments, beading, trims, and the rest. It was so much fun and so rewarding!"
That kind of reward is what keeps Dot going in the business.
"I love making clients decorating dreams come true. I think everyone should have a "home" and not just a "house." They need the decorating pieces that will help them live and feel the way that is the best for them. What seems so easy to me like coordinating colors and fabrics to picking the right furniture pieces is so challenging for some people. To be able to create that and see them so happy is the greatest gift and we cherish those moments."
Of course, being an interior decorator is filled with challenges, as is any field. "We wear so many hats during the course of a project, from creative artist to project manager to business professional, that there's definitely never a dull moment."
Dot and Mary pay particular attention to the unique needs of each individual client.
"No two clients are alike and we believe that no two designs should be alike. We prefer to add one custom piece in each room that we know can't be just purchased off the shelf even if it's just a piece of art or a furniture piece."
In her business, Dot finds that the measuring and drawing skills she learned at NYIAD are most helpful. "It has really saved me in some cases, especially when we are doing window treatments and we are calculating those measurements and what hardware will actually fit and work in the space."
The NYIAD Complete Course in Interior Design helped Dot launch her business, and still helps her do her very best work.
"It is so worth the investment and the time. The attention to detail part of NYIAD's course is so important. It's what can set you apart from others. Build your portfolio and network everywhere you go. You never know who someone else knows."
Like many decorators in today's tight real estate market, Dot and Mary plan to expand their business to include home staging for real estate, as well as more commercial office decorating.
We're sure that between the two of them, this mother-daughter design team will continue to have smashing success, while keeping it all in the family.