We had the good fortune of connecting with Donna Moss and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Donna, how do you think about risk?
I have never been afraid of taking risks and doing so has been what jettisoned my career from the beginning. In 1995 I decided to do a Kaliscope of Homes showhouse for the first time, I was fairly new in the industry and took on a 9,000 sq ft home by myself. I knew it would either get my name out there or ruin my career. I only had a few months to make all the selections for this new construction project that another designer had backed out of. Not only that I had to get all the interior & exterior furniture loaned for the 6 week show. My connections at the time to many furniture companies was few and far between but I took the risk anyway. I worked night and day and the hard work paid off! I won multiple awards got lots of jobs from it and the builder ask me to do his showhome the next year. One of the biggest risk later in my career again was when I was selected to be on the first season of HGTV’s design compatition reality show Design Star. I was thrilled to have been selected out of thousands of designers from across the country to be on this show, but since it was the very first season I had no idea of what to expect. I turned 50 during the airing of the show and was the oldest contestant so I was very worried. Editing in these reality shows can be brutal. Again I knew it could be detrimental to my career but I jumped in with both feet, sink or swim, lol! Out of the 10 contestants I was the 5th to be kicked off the show. So my fear of being the first kicked off was over! I was sad I didn’t win, the winner got their on TV show on the network but as it turned out I got my own show on HGTV 2 years later.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have been designing homes for over 30 years and have loved every minute of it. My firm is Donna Moss Designs and I do everything from ground up construction & design to one room makeovers. Both of my daughters work with me on most of my projects and I am know as the Queen of Bling in the design industry, so I guess they are the Princesses. I am a self taught designer and retail business owner so there have been many struggles along the way, but I have always loved this industry and the fact that there are so many facets to it. If one thing doesn’t work out there are many areas of design to keep you motivated. You have residential, commercial, restaurant, hospitality, fixer uppers the list is endless. Hard work and a never give up attitude and you will get rewarded. In the design business there have been many changes over the years, some good, some bad and some totally unexpected. One of the most unexpected is the design and DIY boom on television and social media. I was one of the fortunate ones to have had the wonderful opportunity to be involved at the start of this phenomenon. In 2006 I was one of 10 designers selected out of thousands of hopefuls from all over the US to be on HGTV’s first season of their hit design reality show Design Star. Fast forward a few years later, I opened a boutique in Texas called Thats Haute with my daughters. We specialized in home decor, womens fashion & jewelry and I ran my design business from the store. We decided to send a sizzle reel to HGTV about my design business, store & family & before I knew it I was back on TV and the Queen of Bling was back on her throne with a show called “ Donna Decorates Dallas”. The fun part was that my whole family was part of the show for over 2 years and 30 episodes. You can still watch the shows on reruns on TV or on my website. Since then I have focused a part of my design business into building, designing & producing Showhomes in both Texas & Las Vegas. That segwayed into a new venture, a shoppable TV network and Josh Mills owner of Desert Wind Films & I jumped on board to begin HDTV, Home Design Television, a web based TV network with short segment shows that run about 10 minutes each. We decided that filming a show about the showhomes I was producing would be a great start to our show line up and “Best of Show” shooting began. So far we have shot 3 showhomes, 2 here in the DFW area, one we partnered with Traditional Home Magazine and that fabulous modern Mediterranean home was a 10,000 sq ft home that my husband built, What I am most thrilled about is that through ticket sales and part of the sale of the home we raised almost $90,000 for the Alzheimers Association. The next home was a modern farmhouse that we partnered with FWTX magazine I also produced & designed another multimillion dollar showhouse in Las Vegas and are planning on debuting them all on the TV network as well as a CoffeeTable book I am authoring by the same name Best of Show in Spring 2021.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I have friends come to visit they always want me to take them to the Dallas Market Center & The Design District where I do all my shopping for clients homes. Dallas Market Center is located off Stemmons Freeway in Dallas. This is home to hundred of wholesale only showrooms for the trade. You can find everything from lighting, furniture & home decor to fashion, jewelry & toys. Everything my shopaholic guest can imagine. One of my favorite places to eat after a long day at market is a restaurant just down the road on Market Center Blvd and that is Town Hearth. A swanky restaurant in the Design District that is right up my “Queen of Bling” alley with 68 sparkling chandeliers as well as a fish tank in the middle of the restaurant that has a vintage 1950 yellow submarine (remember the Beatles) in it. It’s unexpected decor is fun and the food is fabulous so it’s a must to bring my in town guests to. While I am in the Design District I have to go to all the wonderful art galleries. One of my favorites is The Ferrari Art gallery, Debra and her husband have so many amazing art & sculptures you will be dazzled! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow, there are so many that I have to give a shout out to!! I guess first would have to be to my husband Paul for putting up with all the insanity I bring to our lives. It’s been a fun ride but a crazy one that I have taken him on since 1977. My daughters Tiffany Moss Jenkins and Ashley Moss Black for alway being a part of my design business and especially for the 2 years of your lives you gave to Donna Decorates Dallas, I couldn’t have done it without you! To Josh Mills and Joshua Colson thank you for working your butts off to get Home Design Television up and running And a Shout out to my publisher Doug King for the many many hours put in to my book. Lastly to all the incredible designers that were a part of the showhomes and the book.