by Sheryl Young
Decorating Den is an interior decorating franchise known for its “traveling offices.” The company’s interior designers bring their decorating stores to the customer. Local franchise owner Debbie Demboski is no different. Her lovely van is packed full of all the colorful samples needed to pick out a new look for anything from single a room to your entire house.
Debbie also is Decorating Den’s regional director for New Tampa, Wesley Chapel and surrounding Tampa Bay-area neighborhoods. As a designer, her shop-at-home service has saved clients countless hours of shopping for the perfect items to beautify their living spaces. As a director, she also searches out new designing talent and helps to award new franchises. Perhaps the best thing you can say about Debbie is that you can tell she loves what she does.
“I wanted to get into fashion design when I was younger,” says Debbie. “I worked in retail, and ended up doing design details for a large company. Some friends started a Decorating Den franchise and encouraged me to do the same, but I resisted stepping out into my own business.”
After Debbie had her daughter, she wasn’t working and those same friends asked her to help them part-time. She was convinced to take the next step after seeing how relaxed the rapport with their customers was, outside of a corporate office environment.
That was 23 years ago. Debbie has built her Decorating Den franchise in the New Tampa area through networking and by advertising in media like the New Tampa Neighborhood News. Then, she started helping others with the franchises they were awarded.
Although Debbie has worked with some of her clients throughout these many years, she took a break to assist the franchise owners in her regional director role, before returning to designing.
“About two years ago, I reactivated my own love for interior decorating and helping people with their homes,” Debbie says. “I live in Seven Oaks and started participating in community events, like the Taste of New Tampa. I drive my van around everywhere, and so many people I know asked me to start helping them with their decorating again.”
In addition to single-family houses, Debbie has helped design retirement homes and businesses. She even helped a 100-year-old lady in Dade City reinvent her entire mobile home.
“This lady was so precious and lively,” Debbie says. “She wanted me to do everything from top to bottom, including a trailer she had bought for guests. Then, I ended up doing her daughter’s house.”
Free Consultations, Too
With new customers, Debbie always does a free initial consultation.
“The consultation can last up to two hours,” she says. “I’ll take a tour around the area they want to work on, talk with them about their tastes and budget plans, and then discern what samples I need to bring in from the van to show them.”
Debbie unselfishly advises her customers about services that might be less expensive without going through a middleman. She recommends paint colors, trends, materials and types of surfaces in order to help the client pull their rooms together. She works with a large number of suppliers to find what suits the project, and will inform her customers about vendors that aren’t well known to the public.
“No job is too small,” she says. “I will help someone with small things like just choosing window coverings or changing a room through new touches like pillows and pictures. In fact, 70 percent of my new clients come from people who simply need ideas for window designs.”
She notes that doing small tasks and one-room projects usually helps her form new relationships that can eventually allow her to do bigger decorating assignments for the same customers. Just ask her client, Jane Mrus.
“I had just moved to the New Tampa area,” Jane recalls. “I wasn’t familiar with the neighborhoods and didn’t know anyone. I just wanted to redo my kitchen cabinets and carpeting. But there was so much to consider, I realized I was spinning my wheels and wanted help.”
Jane found Debbie’s website and was thrilled to locate a decorator who was so close to her new home.
“Debbie came over, got a feel for our tastes and price points, and really listened,” Jane says. “She personally took me places to select things, and helped me decide just about everything. Through our interaction, Debbie even got my husband excited and involved and we eventually just began doing the whole house. Plus, Debbie follows up after every step.”
Helping Others Start A Decorating Den Franchise!
Ever see those Decorating Den trucks and wonder would it be like to have a rolling interior design business? Debbie can help you realize that vision.
“This is a great opportunity for people who love design,” Debbie says. “Our economy is a roller coaster, but carrying the entire business in a van like this helps avoid the overhead of a storefront and other complications.”
This allows the company’s decorators to give customers great prices.
“While owning their own franchise, they still have the power of a big company behind them,” she says. “We’re each in business for ourselves, but not by ourselves.”
Today, Decorating Den has about 500 business owners/decorators who have tremendous purchasing power to set the best prices with merchandisers. Created in 1969, the concept behind this traveling interior design business was to “Make the world more beautiful one room at a time.”
“We have an intense ten-day designer training program,” Debbie says. “This includes product knowledge, appointment steps, how to help with budgeting and conduct a house tour, and of course, the principles and elements of design.”
Then, directors like Demboski give local training to those who end up in their districts. “This includes ongoing training in industry changes and trends, supplier meetings, sharing experiences with other designers, and hands-on projects for which even newcomers can win awards.”
She notes that some Decorating Den designs have even ended up as award-winning photos in magazines like Traditional Homes.
Although Debbie has a design and business degree from West Virginia University, the designers don’t need previous formal training because of the intense training they get when they become a Decorating Den franchisee. “And it makes a great second career,” Debbie adds. “I helped one lady start a franchise who had been a bank owner.”
When not busy helping her clients, Debbie believes in giving back to her community. She raises money for her company’s support of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, participates in Local Habitat for Humanity events, and provides design seminars free of charge to local groups and organizations.
To have Deborah Demboski bring Decorating Den to you, call 817-2264 or e-mail email@example.com. Her website is Local.DecoratingDen.com/debbied/, where you can downloaded a brochure by clicking the “I Come to You” link.