We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhonda McDonald and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhonda, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
That’s an interesting question that I’ve never fully explored or provided a real compressive response. First, I’ve never wanted a business or thought of myself as a business owner, I was comfortable with my well-paying civil service career path. But during the pandemic, I was glued to social media and the cable news outlets that were reporting on job losses, with families not having any income and losing their homes. At that same time, there were so many Instagram guru’s encouraging followers to start their own businesses to have a layered income stream. It was not until that point that I decided to monetize furniture upcycling. While on IG, my feed was full of boss business ladies upcycling furniture for profit, so I decided to do the same. My exposure to picking up discarded pieces that were clearly salvageable began as a child with family and I’m now carrying on that experience with a bona fide LLC. Starting Macworks Furniture Painting was never scary; from the very first thought to monetize, it has been pretty smooth due to my background in federal acquisitions, support from family/friends, taking bits and pieces from Instagram self-proclaimed business gurus, and taking action.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Macworks Furniture Painting design is centered around afrochic, afri-modern, bohemian, and eclectic styles. All with bold colors, raw wood aesthetic, mud cloth, cane, safari themed paper, and metals. Many furniture painters focus on the light pastel colors…because they sell. Sometimes my pieces will sit for weeks because many designers and customers are not looking for a burnt orange buffet table. But, I know that my customer will come along and pay full price because they love the bold colors & patterns, redesigned style, and unique material used. For furniture artist the money is in customizations, but the trade-off of making the quick money is not having the creative freedom on someone’s furniture piece. Although there are clients open to my suggestions and recommendations; some clients requesting a heirloom piece customized typically know exactly the colors, hardware, details, and designs – and that does not allow the same creativity I have on the Macworks owned thrifted or salvaged pieces. Whether it’s a customization or Macworks owned furniture piece it will always be high quality, sustainable, and beautiful.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of course, Texas is known for its tasty BBQ and savory Tex-Mex food, but the first place I would take someone visiting is @kitchekocktailsdallas; I’ve eaten here four times since February 2022. The food is fantastic, and the cocktails are excellent. Kitchen and Cocktails is a must on the itinerary while visiting Dallas. For a soulful Sunday brunch @soireecoffeebar @trinitygroves is the best way to kick off your Sunday with a mimosa, live music, and great ambiance. If children are visiting, we will add theme parks, museums, and the Dallas Zoo. Many family and friends visiting love to shop at malls across DFW for deals they’d never find in their city. All my family and friends love to cookout and have a really good time at home. We always spend a lot of time enjoying our full house renovation, eating in, playing games, laughing, dancing, and having a really good time. Most importantly, we (men & women) will go thrifting; I take advantage of guests coming into town and always go to my normal antique malls and thrift spots like @knickknack_tx and we also visit new spots I’ve heard about through other furniture artist in the area. Anything that brings our families and friends together and that can become a new family tradition.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
But for the pandemic, I would have never started a business. My civil service position was comfortable, I love my job, I had nights and weekends to myself to shop, travel, and hang out with family/friends instead of painting or re-designing furniture. The Instagram Guru’s played a big part in educating me on business practices and guidelines. Three (@ellistalksmoney, @cierra_esq, @keziamw) in particular would go on LIVE constantly and drop gems and I was just soaking it up and scribbling everything down on my notepad. The encouragement and support from family and friends was critical in my success. My family and friends never said it’s a bad idea; they have always been my best cheerleaders. Actually, my sister was my first customer, she purchased a nightstand from me and constantly passes out my cards to teachers at her school, church members, and folks in line at Walmart. My boyfriend is also a huge support, patiently teaching me how to correctly re-build and refurbish vintage or antique furniture so that it can last another 100 years.