Q&A 4Her – Deborah J. Carducci, President of Carducci Design Group, Inc.

Photo: Damianos Photography

Deborah Carducci decided to leave her corporate job and focus full-time on her passion: interior design. She started Carducci Design Group, a full service interior design company offering customers bathroom and kitchen design, contracting services, flooring and more. Carducci’s ambition even led to a product line for the business that features candles and body products–products that were included in the celebrity gift bags at the Primetime Emmys!

During a rare moment of downtime, Deborah answered our burning questions on success, her journey and best business advice. Read her full interview below!

Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?

Yes and no. I am a pretty determined individual. After many years of working in the corporate arena, I decided to return to college at night and study interior design which was always my passion. I began my interior design business with a specialty in custom window treatments. In those early days, I designed the treatments, selected and suggested fabrics and did the sewing as well. I continued this course of action for 4 ½ years while working my “day job”. One day I realized that it was now or never. I gave my notice at my workplace and pursued my design business full time. I never looked back.

As the business has grown over the past 18 years, it has evolved into a full-service interior design one-stop shop. I offer kitchen and bath design, furniture, flooring, contractor services, etc. It has been a true joy to see the business and myself as the owner evolve and change. Four years ago I dreamed of adding a product line for my clients. It was during the start of the drop in the economy. Again, that didn’t stop me. I created candle scents that would embody my passion for Italy and all of my travels there. Each candle (and now body product) was carefully crafted to invoke an experience in Italy. These products were included in the Oscar and Primetime Emmy celebrity gift bags. At the beginning of this continuing journey, I never would have imagined where I am today. But with my tenacity, no was not an option.

What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?

After working in the corporate world, I was always used to working as a “team”. As a business owner, especially in a competitive design field, I was definitely out on my own. I had to learn fast to be able to research what I needed and find the right resources. There is no preparation for this. It’s hard work. Until you have some experience under your belt, you can’t anticipate this part of the business. With the search engines available now through the internet, this isn’t as much of a problem for designers.

What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?

Actually, it was advice from a good friend. I was chatting with her about a problem with the business and she calmly said. “Drop it and move on!” Sometimes I think that we get so determined with where we want to go, we don’t realize that there may be another route. I was trying desperately to make something work with another individual. There had been many conversations, emails, etc. It was never going to happen. I realized that there was nothing wrong with dropping it and moving in a new direction. Unfortunately, I realized this after many sleepless nights! There is always another way.

What do you love most about what you do and why?

My company mantra is “love to come home”. I absolutely love it when I have designed a space for a client and at the completion of the project, they say “it’s exactly what I wanted.” My job is to create a safe and comfortable space with beauty and style for my clients. It is very gratifying when the space reflects their taste and gives them happiness in their home.

What if you knew then what you know now – would you do differently and why?

I can’t imagine a different route. I truly believe you have to go through all of the highs and lows in order to learn and create a sustainable business. Are there things I would have done differently? Sure. But I can’t think of anything in particular. One piece of advice I would give to new business owners, however, is to carefully think about your decisions. Will this decision enhance your business or achieve some business goal? If not, rethink.

When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?

I love to travel and experience new places. I am in love with Italy– the passion and the culture. I enjoy listening to the classics – especially Dean Martin, my favorite! I also love to figure skate. I have taken adult lessons in figures and ice dancing. It’s great to get on the ice and clear your mind. The beach is always another great choice for a total recharge.

My yorkie, Piccolino, is also a great stress reliever. I can be in the middle of the most stressful day when my four legged friend will choose a toy and come over and want to play. Sometimes I give in and take a little break. He’s probably my CPO: Chief Play Officer!

How do you define success?

People define success in a lot of different ways. Success means something different at different ages as well. At this point in my career and at my age, I feel this way: I really believe that if you can rest your head on the pillow at night and know that you worked hard and did a good job that day, that is success.

If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business – what would it be?

Someone once told me – “don’t get attached to the plan”. The more I thought about that statement, I realized it applied to everything. It was actually told to a friend of mine from her dying brother in law regarding cancer treatments. When she told me what he said, I realized that we go through life with a plan. Things change every day, every minute. You have to be able to adapt and change whether it’s your industry, the economy, your health, etc. It’s great to start with a plan, but be very open. You will see much more opportunity if you keep an open mind!

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