It all began many moons ago, my name is Sherica Maynard and my business partner and mom is Sharon Falcher. We are Interior Designers who independently own a franchise named Decorating Den Interiors based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Sharon comes from a Caribbean background (Trinidad and Tobago), and she grew up in Toronto, Canada. Growing up surrounded by a creative family (an Artist, Fashion Designer, a Hair Stylist, and many professional singers) allowed her too easily express her creative side. Design is truly part of her DNA. The love of amazing architecture, colors, unique lines, and textures undoubtedly influenced her decision to become an Interior Designer. What she loves most is that she gets to work with so many different people to help each one achieve their own personal style that reflects their likes, values and culture.
In 1992, she migrated to Lithonia, Georgia, after working for a local Interior Designer making window treatments, she started a window treatment fabrication workroom then added design consulting in 1996. Always seeking knowledge to better serve her clients, she attended The Custom Home Furnishing School in Swannanoa NC. After many years in business, she still felt that she needed more knowledge to better serve her clients. Sharon decided to go back to school where she earned her degree in Interior Design. It was during a presentation to her class in her last semester of school that she was introduced to Decorating Den Interiors. She knew this was the right fit for her. After graduation, she worked for a Decorating Den Interiors franchise, which exposed her to new skills that would help to reinforce what she learned in school and reignite her love for design. So, after nine months of working for a Decorating Den design team Sharon birthed her own franchise.
I (Sherica) was born in Toronto, Canada and I grew up in Lithonia Georgia. After graduating at the top of my class, I moved to New York City where I immersed myself in its eclectic culture. I did some modelling from Fashion Week and magazines, while modelling I also earned my BFA in Architectural Design from Parsons The New School of Design. I decided to move back to Atlanta after ten years where I joined my mother as an Interior Designer. While growing up, architecture and design had always been a big influence in my life and throughout school, the arts were always my high point. Having grown up in a household where you had to make something out of nothing, this simple skill has seeped into my design philosophy and has taught me to see things in a way that others may not have thought of. Multipurpose and innovation are two things that hold high prominence in my design process.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
“I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but what made me step into a venture with the Decorating Den franchise was the immense amount of vendor connections and industry relationships which allowed me to fast track right into the industry. Before I was a solo designer and vendor relationships back then were harder to build since my buying ability wasn’t able to fit their high minimums which also meant I wasn’t able to obtain Trade pricing.” - Sharon
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
“Kind of the same thing that started the spark to buy into a franchise. I was tired of shopping from store to store for clients, the process was taking way too long and clients were spending a lot for my design time since I was charing by the hour during that time (late 90’s early 2000’s) So when I got the opportunity to expand with a brand that already had a developed name and industry relationships in was a no brainer.” - Sharon
What books are you currently reading?
“To be honest neither one of us are big readers so if we do find ourselves reading anything it’s definitely the Bible or our Daily Word.” - Sherica
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
“Our family is full of entrepreneurs so when we decided to do this business we were already doing interior design to some capacity, so it totally made sense to expand and make it a real fully functioning business.” - Sherica
What would you do differently in hindsight?
“I would have went to school earlier” - Sharon “Knowing that I would end up working for myself along side my mom, I would have never went to Parsons. It is an Amazing school and I learned a lot but the tuition is not worth it looking back now.” - Sherica
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
“Never giving up. Constantly challenged my self to grow, by planning I was able to see what I needed to do and making it happen. I think in every step just going for it really helped me to get where I am now.” - Sharon “Moving back to Atlanta to work alongside my mom, it just made sense at the time the modelling industry was changing a lot with social media, from the types of girls they were booking to the rates. I knew It was time for a career switch, it was between trying to work with firm in NY or move back to Atlanta to build a business with my mom. That was the best decision I made, not only has our relationship grown but so is our business and I am very excited about where we are going!”- Sherica
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
“That it was going to be a lot of work!! Not that I thought it was going to be easy or had I known it was a lot of work I would not have done it. I still would have picked this route but at least I could have mentally prepared myself lol! When you are running your own business there’s a lot that you don’t think about: website, marketing, social media, office work, PR, actual client projects and brining them to life, etc. you have to wear so many hats as an entrepreneur so you must be very passionate about what you decide to do as an entrepreneur because they’ll be many reason to quit out of frustration so you have to remember your “why” every day to keep you going.” - Sherica
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
“Pick something that you truly love to do, formulate a “why” (to help others, to break the spirit of lack over your family, to not have to answer to anyone and have time freedom, to be the first millionaire in your family, to be able to create grants and scholarships so other entrepreneurs can get a head start…etc) you will need a strong “why” along the journey. Create a business plan and line up your 5 and 10 year goals and map out steps that you can take to get you closer to those goals. We know life happens but at least you know what you are working towards. Create a great team, doing it alone is a lot. Try to have at least one other person that can at least help with social, marketing, office task, etc. so that you can spend your time building a company doing what you love. When Sherica came down she was able to take on some of those task which was great, I never knew I needed someone because I always just got it done on my own but it is definitely needed for our business platform because their are so many moving parts in interior design. And finally take time for yourself and spiritual growth. Too often as entrepreneurs we find ourself going and going and we understand there will be times when that needs to be done or to get a project completed. But make sure that you are taking time to let your mind, body and soul rest. If it’s no work on the weekends or no work after 5pm daily then stick to those boundaries, you will thank yourself later because you know what… the work always gets done!” - Sharon