Times are tough these days. The markets are down and the economy is in a pinch. As a result, we’re all watching how much cash we spend these days.
That’s where the “Thrifty Decor Chick” comes in! Her name says it all, and Sarah devotes an entire blog to decorating with your hard earned dollars in mind. I even discovered that she has the exact same master bed that my husband and I have (we love you, Bombay Company!).
Not only that, but Sarah recently decided to make interior decorating her career. We applaud her courage to live out her dream, and kudos to her husband for supporting her decision along the way.
Sarah was very excited to do this interview with us, and we’re excited to have her as well. Please enjoy this priceless interview with the Thrifty Decor Chick!
1. Hi Sarah, thanks for taking time out of your busy holiday season to grant us an interview. Please take this chance to briefly introduce yourself and tell everyone about your blog: “Thrifty Decor Chick.”
I’m so honored you’ve asked me to participate! I am 33-years-old, married, with an 18-year-old stepdaughter and a two-year-old son. Both of our children are amazing and make us so proud! My husband, who is my biggest supporter, is a band director and music composer.
My blog is all about decorating in all forms — painting, crafts, woodworking, window treatments. When I see decor I love, it fulfills me to no end to be able to do it with my own spin, for a fraction of the cost.
That’s why I started the blog. Initially it was to show my girlfriends how I do what I do, and then I got the blog “bug” and it’s become what it is today.
2. You recently did something many of us are not brave enough to do: quit your day job to pursue a career in interior decorating. What led to this decision and how has the transition been so far?
You know what’s funny – I toyed with the idea of majoring in interior design back in high school, but my love of writing won out.
I ended up pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Public Relations. I always had a love of decorating though, and throughout the years, I tried to get into the decorating field a few times with no luck. I made phone calls, met with designers…I even made up business cards to start my own business!
But all I ever heard over and over was that I needed another degree to pursue this dream. There was NO way I was going back to school again! So I continued in my marketing career and loved that work, but then something big happened – pregnancy. All the sudden the only thing I could think about was leaving my baby for 11 hours a day (the commute was up to two hours a day). The thought of it made me ill. I know every pregnant/new momma feels this way.
The only reason I was brave enough to make this move was because my amazing husband encouraged me to do it. He knew we’d be losing a substantial income and he still pushed me to follow my dream. So with his support, I made one last effort to try to find an “in” in the business and finally did it! The transition to my dream career was easy – the change in income was NOT. But I would not change it for anything. I work part time, so I get the best of both worlds – days with my son and work and a schedule I really love.
3. We all dream of getting paid to decorate people’s homes. Now that you’re actually doing that, how has it lived up to your expectations? Are you living a dream, or has “working” as a decorator taken some of the fun out of it?
I have to say yes to both parts of this question. I have a dream job – working with beautiful products, fabrics, furniture and wonderful, creative people. My clients are fantastic and I’ve even become close friends with some. I am lucky to work for a firm that has laid everything at our feet and makes it SO easy for us to please our customers. My schedule is to die for — I set my own appointments, I am my own boss.
It is like any job though — there are little annoyances. On exasperating days (the client is stressing about the price of window treatments, they didn’t like the paint colors you suggested), you are so wiped out, it’s not fun at those moments. The good far outweighs the bad though. Seeing how happy a client is, hearing how they bragged about what their decorator did…it fills you up. And I have to say, even on annoying days, I still feel more inspired than ever about our own home. This career has sparked my creativity like you wouldn’t believe.
4. Just as important as quitting your job was convincing your husband to let you do it.
For women out there who want to take the plunge but are meeting resistance from their spouses, what advice do you have for them to convince them to let them follow their dream?
I have to say again how fortunate I am to have such a supportive husband. We are lucky that his income can support us both, with a few spending changes. (Although the amazing things I see on blogs sure doesn’t help financially!!)
My first piece of advice would be for the women to make sure their husbands know it is not a fleeting idea – that they are serious and passionate about it and it would be a dream come true to pursue it.
Secondly, they need to show how they will make sacrifices. Especially if the dream means losing income, or adding expenses like day care. How can they make changes to help the money situation?
Third, they need to make an effort to learn everything they can about their dream–network with a ton of people, e-mail people, do research on the Internet. This will show that they are prepared and how passionate they are about it.
5. We’ve interviewed a lot of experts on thrift shopping and decorating, and each person has her own perspective. Where are your favorite places to hunt down bargains, and do you shop mostly online or at bargain shops?
I am a bargain shopper through and through!! Let’s see – in the past couple weeks, the best places I’ve shopped are the dollar store, Hobby Lobby and the Flower Factory (a wholesale store). It’s gotten to the point where I can’t honestly tell you the last time I bought an accessory at Target. (Even though it’s one of my favorite places to shop!)
My favorite stores lately are our local consignment shop and Goodwill. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure – how true is that?! I always encourage people to look up their local consignment shop – not only to purchase, but to sell. I haven’t spent more than $15 total at the shop I love because of the credit I have from all of the items I’ve sold there.
I don’t shop online often but when I do, ebay is the first place I go. Overstock.com is another favorite. Between the two, I can usually find exactly what I’m looking for.
6. You explain a lot of arts and crafts projects that you do personally at home.
Where did you learn these skills, and how would you advise someone who wants to do some of these things but isn’t particularly handy?
Trial and error. You have to do it to learn. I didn’t used to be crafty. I’ve always been handy (I have my Dad and Grandfathers to thank for that) and creative — but it’s really been the past year that I’ve really gotten into craft projects.
Some of them are MAJOR flops – my readers don’t see most of those. Sometimes the idea sounds great and it just doesn’t work.
Sometimes it works in a different way, but better! You just have to try, have low expectations at first, and have fun with it.
7. We noticed the “We say Merry Christmas” sticker on your blog that Bill O’Reilly sells. Anyone who loves decorating loves the holidays. What is your personal favorite holiday (mine is Halloween) and why?
Christmas is by far my favorite. It’s not about the decorations though – it’s about the traditions that surround that holiday. The decorations are just a bonus for me. My mom was so great about instilling traditions with us, and those are what I remember best. I am practically giddy at the thought of enjoying those same traditions and more with our son. And I am a sucker for giving gifts – I just love it. 🙂
8. Sarah, thanks again for the interview. For the last question, please let us say how impressed we are with your enthusiasm for decor. You’re obsessed with decorating (in a good way) and it shows. What is it that first made you interested in decorating, and what is it that keeps you interested all these years?
Great question! I’m not sure what it first was — it’s just innate in me. I believe it’s a part of me and always will be. I love that just when I think there’s nothing else I can do in our home, I get a bright idea, which leads to another, then another…and the BEST feeling is completing something I see in my head and it turns out better than what I imagined. That’s what keeps me interested and always will. I hope my blog inspires that in others as well.
Now that’s how to do an interview! Sarah really put some effort into her answers and we very much appreciate that.
We want to thank Sarah for sharing her life and home with us, and be sure you check out her “Thrifty Decor Chick” blog for some great advice on how to beautify your home with out bankrupting it. Thanks Sarah!