We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Kara Gordon. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Kara below.
Kara, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Let’s start with a story that highlights an important way in which your brand diverges from the industry standard.
Historically, most interior designers are only hired by the wealthy and affluent clientele base since our services are considered a luxury. But, when I began my business, I intentionally decided my business model would be set up in such a way that middle-income families would be able to afford my services. It is a very large target market that has been underserved in the past. My company exists to bridge the gap between the DIY-ers, and the wealthy. I structure my pricing in an a-la-carte fashion, so that anyone can pick and choose which services fit their budget. I also source furnishings, materials, and products that fit their specific budget price point. I am also willing to let the clients manage some of their own ordering, in order to cut down on designer fees. Building my business with this in mind has proven that my concept can work and be successful, because I am never short on clients, just like I’m also never short on profit! It’s literally a win-win for all parties!
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I am a business woman at heart, and truly enjoy the work that I do. I am married to the love of my life, Anthony, for 20 years now. We are the proud parents of 2 sons. Our oldest is engaged to be married, and our youngest is in elementary school. Age gaps are fun! I’m also a dog mom to 2 beautiful fur babies, a Frenchie and a Bassett. I had decided at a very young age that I wanted to be an interior designer, so when it came time to get my degree, I intentionally sought out the best school in my state (at the time, late 90’s) for interior design. I never changed my major, and graduated top of my class with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Stephen F. Austin State University. My company offers mostly residential design services. We do everything from general consulting, to furniture, decor, custom drapes, paint color consultations, and even outdoor living designs. But my own strength actually lies in remodel designs. The bulk of my workload is creating beautiful new remodel designs and overseeing the projects from beginning to end. An interesting fact about my business is that we were featured on a reality TV show in 2017. We were on the season finale of season 2 of Billion Dollar Buyer, and we ended up being awarded a hotel renovation project by Tilman Fertitta, the Houston-based billionaire entrepreneur, and owner of the Houston Rockets. Even though it was a high-stress experience, I don’t regret participating at all! It was so much fun, and it really grew me as a designer. What I am most proud of Sleek to Chic Interiors for is how I pride myself on customer relationships. I literally bend over backwards to make sure my clients are taken care of, checked on, and I really make it a point to get to know them as people. After all, they’ve invited me into their homes, their own personal sanctuaries. It is a very important role I have, to make sure the client experience is not only a good one, but an excellent one! I have turned many a client into a friend.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
2017 was one of the best years in my company’s almost 10 year history. We were on TV, we landed a huge sorority house project, I had to hire staff to keep up with the workload, and it was our most profitable year to date. But, in December of 2017, a mysterious and unusual headache began, and nothing helped. I began to have neurological issues alongside the headache, and it took 3 specialists to determine that I had a spinal fluid leak. I had to be hospitalized for a month, and spend months in bed recovering from the procedure to correct the leak. I completed 2 rounds of physical therapy to regain my strength. As you can imagine, my work came to a screeching halt. I took 10 months off to devote to healing and recovery. Over the last 4 years, I’ve also had to shift and adjust to a lupus diagnosis, as well as changing the way we work because of the pandemic. Despite all of this, I’ve been able to build my business back up almost to where we were in 2017, which I call our Mountaintop Year. It has taken a lot of grit to make the changes necessary to continue meeting design needs all over Texas, as well as remotely with e-Design.
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
I started my business with birthday gift money. I was given $250 for my birthday, and I used that to get my DBA established, and hire a friend who was a graphic designer to create my original logo. I am very proud of where that $250 has gotten me today! I always tell my youngest son not to waste the gift money he’s given. I tell him to stop and think of ways his gift money could be used to make the world a better place. I can’t wait to explain to him when he’s older that mommy’s company was built from birthday money!
- Website: sleektochicinteriors.com
- Instagram: @sleektochicdesign
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sleektochicinteriors
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kara-gordon-243ba693/
- Other: Houzz https://www.houzz.com/pro/sleek2chic/__public
Daniel Martinez Photography Unique Exposure Photography