Episode 81: Best of Show with Donna Moss
Hey, y’all, today is a very special episode. We are recording live at the Interior Design Business Success Summit in Dallas, Texas, and my guest today is Donna Moss, the Queen of Bling. With an eye on high fashion and 30 years of luxury design experience, Donna continues to stay true to her brand and proves that you can bling it all - while being bold, gold, and glamorous.
Donna is known worldwide as a finalist on HGTV’s show Design Star Season One and the host of her own HGTV series Donna Decorates Dallas, which celebrates over 30 episodes and several seasons as a leading television series. She also authored the book, Best of Show and is one of the most sought-after and successful designers in the great state of Texas.
In this episode, Donna shares her experience working on many show houses, why they are a great way to get the word out about your work, and how being on a reality TV show changed her life and her career.
To learn more, visit Donna Moss online at donnamossdesigns.com, and follow Donna socially on IG @donnamossdesigns and FB @donnamossdesigns.
Mentioned in this episode:
Donna’s book, “Best of Show” on Amazon
Decovita porcelain tiles
Text UPDATES to 214-380-1969 for all our DFCM updates.
Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award-winning, full-service interior design firm, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.
In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now engages in private coaching and leads an in-depth, 12-month group coaching program, both options focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies, and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.
Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.
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Michelle Lynne: Welcome to Designed for the Creative Mind, a podcast for interior designers and creative entrepreneurs to run their business with purpose, efficiency, and passion. Because, while every design is different, the process should remain the same. Prepare yourself for some good conversations with amazing guests, a dash of Jesus and a touch of the woowoo, and probably a swear word or two. If you're ready to stop trading your time for money and enjoy your interior design business, you are in the right place. I'm your host, Michelle Lynne.
Michelle Lynne: All right, welcome back to the podcast, y'all. This is Michelle Lynne and the Designed for the Creative Mind podcast, which is a business podcast for creatives. But today is a very special episode. We are recording live at the Interior Design Business Success Summit 2022, we're in Dallas, Texas. And my guest today is Donna Moss, the Queen of bling. I'm so excited you're here.
Donna Moss: Well, I'm more excited, Michelle, it's such an honor to be a part of your podcast, especially your first live podcast.
Michelle Lynne: I know it's so fun.
Donna Moss: This is so cool.
Michelle Lynne: I know. So if you guys hear any sneezing or anything in the background, we've got a crowd around us. It's just so much fun. And I'm honored to have the opportunity to kind of explore Donna's, your background and your history and your experience. And I want to hear all about it. But let's start because this is an audience of interior designers. How did you get into interior design? And for those of you who don't know who Donna Moss is, let me just back up a little bit. So she's HGTV personality. Okay, so you were a finalist on Design Star, if I remember correctly.
Donna Moss: Yes, the very, very first episode of Design Star I was on. I didn't win but I was part, David, everybody knows David Bromstad and his show, so I was on that season.
Michelle Lynne: Amazing.
Donna Moss: I think I was like the fifth one kicked off. And I was like, somebody please kick me off. Because I want to get out of here, I want to go home, but it was so fun.
Michelle Lynne: How long were you on that set?
Donna Moss: About six weeks.
Michelle Lynne: About six weeks.
Donna Moss: So yeah. So they flew us, it was, we were filmed in New York. So there were 10 of us, one set of twins. And so we all went to New York and we were secluded in a hotel room because they didn't want us to meet each other till the very, it was when, it was like the first reality show. One of the very first out there. And so it was kind of new to everybody. Because nowadays, reality shows are everywhere. But back then it wasn't. So it was like we were the guinea pigs, kind of for, especially for the interior design kind of reality show.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely.
Donna Moss: So that's what it was, the ten of us, we went to New York, we lived in an itty-bitty townhome. And our first project was to each get a space and the townhome. Like one of the bedrooms, I think had six beds in it, you know, and it was five guys and five girls. So we all kind of shared bathrooms in it.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, wow.
Donna Moss: It was weird. But it was fun. It was like being at camp without being at camp. But yeah, so first episodes, whoever won Design Star got their own television show.
Michelle Lynne: But they had to stay through the entire show.
Donna Moss: Yes, yeah. And we came back. I think I was actually there about five weeks, got to come home and then go back for the final episode. But yeah, so I didn't win and get my show. But two years later, I proposed a show to HGTV and next thing I know
Michelle Lynne: Donna Decorates Dallas. Yeah. And how many episodes did you have?
Donna Moss: Two years, over 30 episodes. And it was exhausting.
Michelle Lynne: Really?
Donna Moss: It was. I mean, it was literally seven days a week, probably 12 to 18 hours almost every day. Because when, and then for two years. So we were, nowadays they usually have ghost designers. We didn't have ghost designers. We did it all ourselves. And both of my daughters worked with me. But you know, I was doing the brunt of everything.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, my gosh.
Donna Moss: Plus, you know, filming all day, Monday through Friday, but then doing the design. The next episode, what am I going to do? And the clothes.
Michelle Lynne: Yes.
Donna Moss: You know, I had to have clothes, lots of clothes. In the first season they didn't give me a budget for clothes. But the second season
Michelle Lynne: And because you had that persona of the Queen of Bling and Donna Decorates Dallas and everything's bigger in Texas. You have to create this
Donna Moss: So we'd get done filming and I'd run to like TJ Maxx or Macy's or wherever I could find an outfit, go home, plan the next day, get a little sleep, and then do it all again.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh.
Donna Moss: And then on the weekends, you know, I really didn't rest in either because I was still planning
Michelle Lynne: Thinking about the following week.
Donna Moss: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: And didn't you have retail stores at the time?
Donna Moss: We did, we had two retail stores called That's Haute, H-A-U-T-E. And my daughter's and I ran that. And then we opened a little kids store. So we had retail stores for about 10 years.
Michelle Lynne: In your spare time.
Donna Moss: Yeah. And I said, when we got out of that I said, I'm done with retail. It's exhausting. I think it was harder than filming just, you know, getting the employees and making all the decisions and everything.
Michelle Lynne: And inventory, financials. And yeah, yeah.
Donna Moss: And I said I would never do it again. But I might be.
Michelle Lynne: Isn't that the truth.
Donna Moss: That's another story, later in the show maybe.
Michelle Lynne: Exactly. And I think our audience understands that as an entrepreneur, you always have these ideas. And you're like, oh, I'm never going to do that again. But then you're like, oh, I could do it, but a little bit differently this time. And of course, it'll be different.
Donna Moss: Yes. Well, and you learn, you know, the 10 years, I look back now and think, oh, if I had done this different or that different, you know, and so I would do it different.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. Well, and heck, the whole market has changed from retail and so forth. So yeah, you've got a whole bucket there. So it sounds like television is not all that sexy.
Donna Moss: No, it's not. So Design Star, that was that was not sexy at all. And there were so many weird things that happened during filming. And I was so, I was scared to death that what might be shown on TV, because one of the episodes, because you're exhausted, and so we all had our little desk, and we were planning for something, you know, and they never, they always film. I mean, you're always, unless you're in the bathroom, you're always getting filmed. So I fell asleep on my desk, and woke up, all these beer bottles were all around me. I'm sure I was asleep. I fell asleep. I'm sure it was drooling. I wake up and I've got, it looks like I'm drunk.
Michelle Lynne: Did they show that?
Donna Moss: No, but I didn't know if they would or not. So when that episode was getting ready to air, I called the producer. I said, you know, I'm scared to death. Are you going to show that? They're like, no, don't worry about it.
Michelle Lynne: But they had you worried for a while?
Donna Moss: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: That's hilarious. I love that. A bunch of beer bottles, you wake up. Oh, so with that, like, I'm curious about the experience on television. Do they create characters? Like, she's the villain, and he's the Romeo or whatever the case may be?
Donna Moss: Well, they kind of do that with the casting. I think that's why they chose the people that did, you know, I was the diva, the Queen of Bling. And then my arch enemy was a beauty queen.
Michelle Lynne: Do you stay in touch with her?
Donna Moss: No.
Michelle Lynne: What she really your archenemy?
Donna Moss: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: Oh.
Donna Moss: Yeah. But the producers, you know, and you're tired. And you're just, you know, they didn't allow alcohol or anything like that. But they do now, they do now, but back with our episode, we barely got food. But they take you off to the room and say, can you believe that they're doing that to you? Oh, my gosh, you can't put up with that. And I'm like thinking, oh my gosh, yeah, I shouldn't put up with that. I'm gonna go back in and tell her what I think. And so they put, they create things. They don't tell you what to do but they put these thoughts in your mind, and you're exhausted and you're mad.
Michelle Lynne: And hungry. And sober.
Donna Moss: And hungry. And sober.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh, that's interesting. Interesting. So knowing what you know now, would you do the same thing again?
Donna Moss: Nope.
Michelle Lynne: No, no. So that's done. Been there, done that, got your T-shirt. You've really moved into a lot of show houses now.
Donna Moss: Well, yeah. But to back up a little bit. I say no, I wouldn't do it. But, you know, it did segue into my own television show. So that part of it was really good. And it did change my life. And what I love about what happened to me is, I had my 50th birthday party during the airing of Design Star. So I was like, the oldest one.
Michelle Lynne: What? So that was, like, four years ago?
Donna Moss: Yeah. So I always felt like being an older woman, you know, I always wanted to be the inspiration for women out there, you know, life doesn't end at 50. That's where my TV career began, was at 50. So and I've never had an aspiration to be on TV it just, you know, I've been very blessed, and it just, I kind of fell into it. So it was awesome in that, you know, so maybe I would do it again if, you know, everything kind of fell
Michelle Lynne: It all happens for a reason.
Donna Moss: It does.
Michelle Lynne: And, you know, the trajectory that it did change your career.
Donna Moss: It did, it changed everything, and it just made life more exciting.
Michelle Lynne: Lynne
Donna Moss: And you're depressed about turning 50, and then you're like, and I think that was the episode though, my birthday happened during the airing of the show, and I think it was the episode that I was drunk, but I wasn't drunk. I mean, they set me up, they set me up.
Michelle Lynne: The one you were worried about. That is so funny. So you've moved on to a lot of show houses. In fact, you and I met in Chicago for the Interior Design Society Designer of the Year award ceremony, we actually sat next to each other.
Donna Moss: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: Thank goodness I had some bling on my dress.
Donna Moss: Well, if you didn't, the sequins kept falling off of mine, so you can see a trail of my dress all throughout the
Michelle Lynne: I didn't even notice. Yeah, but I didn't realize how many show houses you had done. So you took home the Designer of the Year Award for outdoor spaces, you and
Donna Moss: Kimberly Joi McDonald, out of Las Vegas.
Michelle Lynne: Kimberly Joi put that together. She's amazing.
Donna Moss: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: But back up, how many show houses have you done? And you've hosted, like you've been not the sponsor of it, but you have been the creator of some of the show houses.
Donna Moss: Yes. So show houses are really near and dear to my heart, because that's really where I got my start in design. I didn't go to school. I'm an interior decorator. I'm self-taught.
Michelle Lynne: Me too. Cheers.
Donna Moss: Yeah. You know, and I think a big portion of the design community is like that. And so my husband and I started building homes right after we got married. And, you know, so I would just help him out. I'd pick out the flooring and the lighting and things like that. So I learned, but my career really didn't take off in the design world until I did a show house. And I did the Kaleidoscope of Homes, I don't know if any of y'all remember that. So I did a Kaleidoscope of Homes with a different builder, not my husband, but it was like a 10,000 square foot house. And, you know, a realtor had seen a home I had just done with pink marble in the bathroom. And this was back in '94. So you know, it was like
Michelle Lynne: But it was really fashionable back in the day.
Donna Moss: In the day it was. Yes, she saw what I'd done in that, so she recommended to this builder that he should contact me to help him with his show house. And so with that I was the single designer, it was 10,000 square feet.
Michelle Lynne: For the whole house?
Donna Moss: The entire house. Draperies, furniture, and everything was on loan. Every piece of furniture.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, wow.
Donna Moss: I lost 15 pounds. It was so amazing.
Michelle Lynne: I'm gonna do a show house.
Donna Moss: That was the best part of that. But it was very fulfilling. And it made a name for me. So I did the show houses in '94 and '95 again for the builder, and then kind of stopped. And so Fort Worth Magazine, they do show homes every year. And so they had reached out to me about doing one, and I'm like, oh okay, and so you'll see the show house I did for Fort Worth Magazine. And then Traditional Home Magazine reached out to me about producing, we built the house, we produced with Traditional Home Magazine, produced that show, and brought in 30 different designers.
Michelle Lynne: That was a beautiful, it was the one in Southlake.
Donna Moss: In Southlake, yes.
Michelle Lynne: So funny story. Funny story, it's like, when I heard that we were doing one here in Southlake, I'm the biggest dork, right? And I'm like, I get on the website, and it says coming soon. I'm like, hi, I'm a designer in Dallas, Texas, and I'd love to be considered.
Donna Moss: Oh my gosh. Who did you send it to? Because Ruthie Staalsen reached out to me. the same way. She said, I'm local here, is there anything I can do?
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's awesome.
Donna Moss: So we met up. I said, yeah, you can have a hallway.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, so it's kind of worked?
Donna Moss: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: So I probably just contacted and it went into the spam.
Donna Moss: Yeah, I'm so sorry.
Michelle Lynne: I'm just making fun of myself. But it worked for Ruthie. So that's cool. I'm not that big of a dork.
Donna Moss: Well, the way that show house worked is, Traditional Home Magazine, they had some designers that they were like show house, what do you call it when somebody chases after like movie stars? Groupies, groupies. There you go. Yeah, so there are certain designers that did a lot of their show homes, so they wanted to bring their designers in but we each got to kind of pick and choose who we wanted. Because I wanted a lot of local designers too. And they wanted more that were, you know, out of the state of Texas and stuff.
Michelle Lynne: A good combination.
Donna Moss: So we went through the list, and I don't even know how we ended up with a hallway that Ruthie got, but she did a really, really good job in that hallway.
Michelle Lynne: Isn't that funny when you stop and think about decorating a show house, because we had a panel on show houses. But you don't think about a hallway, you get what you get.
Donna Moss: Yes, yes.
Michelle Lynne: That's genius.
Donna Moss: I did a show house in Miami, Florida, and I did the laundry room, and it turned out so amazing.
Michelle Lynne: How fun.
Donna Moss: Yeah, it was one of those, they kept having people drop out. I don't have that one in here because it was just one room, but they kept having people drop out. And it was for a really good cause. And that's the other thing I love about show houses,
Michelle Lynne: The charitable aspect of it.
Donna Moss: Yes. But so, you know, I flew up to Miami, Coconut Grove, and I did this laundry room, and it was just really cool.
Michelle Lynne: And you didn't even have to do laundry, just the room.
Donna Moss: I know. I don't even know if you could do laundry in it. But yeah, so, you know.
Michelle Lynne: So how many houses do you think you've done? Because I've got this book. So for those of you on the podcast can't see it. But I've got Donna's book called Best of Show. And it is a lot of beautiful spaces, and the shows houses you've done.
Donna Moss: So there are only four that I've showcased in the book.
Michelle Lynne: But you have your personal home in here, as well.
Donna Moss: Yes, so what I did with the book is, with each show home, I would feature the show home and the designers that helped me with it, or some of them, I couldn't do all 30 in the Traditional Home show house. But the first show house was the one that is featured is the one in Fort Worth. So both of my daughters worked with me on that house. So I had them with their family in their home, kind of featured in the book. All the other designers, I said, this is what I want you to do, I want you to take a picture of you, I want to get a picture of you in your home, in your surroundings. So in the beginning of the book, you'll see my daughters with their families, but none of the other designers sent me anything to do that in the book. So they're the only ones that are kind of feature like that.
Michelle Lynne: Well, I guess that works though, because you couldn't have just one designer and the other 29 going, what's going on? Or however many.
Donna Moss: Well, yeah. So Kimberly's featured in the book, because, so the first house in the book is The Fort Worth house. The second one I think is the Traditional Home, and then I don't know what's in between. But anyway, one was in Las Vegas with my friend and fellow designer, Kimberly Joi. And so that was a gorgeous, very modern house. Each house has a different flavor. And that's what's fun about show houses too. But it's a great way to kick off your career and get the word out about who you are and what you do. Because you usually get to do whatever you want in the rooms, with limits.
Michelle Lynne: That makes sense, you don't have to deal with your client's preferences, you can get crazy.
Donna Moss: Yes, you can do it your way. Sort of, there's still limits. But
Michelle Lynne: Was that the same when you were on HGTV? Did you have creative like, authority? Or did you have to follow a recipe?
Donna Moss: On my show, no, I had total creative control. On Design Star, you know, they give you a budget and send you to the automotive store to
Michelle Lynne: To make it work.
Donna Moss: Yeah. Or the beauty parlor or you know something. But yeah, with my own show, that's what I think why it was so hard because just trying to get everything looking beautiful for the show, working within the client's budget, because they don't pay for those makeovers, your client has to pay for that. On my show, anyway, that's the way it worked. And so you know, there'd be hundreds of thousands of dollars that, you know, we were using for just the one room, so I had to make it work for the client, but also make it work for me.
Michelle Lynne: And something interesting on television for people to watch.
Donna Moss: Yes. But back to the show houses, with the Traditional Home show house that we did, we raised over $90,000 for the Alzheimer's Association with that one show house. And that's really why I love show houses so much. Because you don't always make that kind of money with the show house. But there's almost always a charity involved, whether it's Wish with Wings, or the year that we did the Traditional Home show house, my mother-in-law had just died from Alzheimer's
Michelle Lynne: So that was near and dear to your heart.
Donna Moss: during the show house. And so, you know, so we were already living with it. So it was like, a no-brainer as to, you know, who we wanted the charity to be.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, what a blessing.
Donna Moss: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: What an absolute blessing. So did, you might have already said this, and I wasn't paying as much attention thinking about my next question. Did, so Traditional Home approached you and said, hey, will you do one?
Donna Moss: Yes. So what they did is they flew my husband and I to, what's at the end of Long Island, New York? The Hamptons. They were doing a show house in the Hamptons. And so they were looking for a builder/designer team to do their show house and they wanted to do it in Texas because they've never done it in Texas before. So they reached out to us. They said, you know, we'll bring you out here, you can see what it's like and how we work and meet our people. And so we had several meetings with them and they said yet.
Michelle Lynne: Dude, I have been trying to manifest being flown to the Hamptons for a job. I mean, how nice would that be? Yeah, I'm gonna work on that.
Donna Moss: But it was nice to just go to the party, you know, so we went to their VIP party, and it was beautiful. And it was fun.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's fantastic. So what else do you have in the pipeline these days?
Donna Moss: Well, let me think. Okay, so we've talked about the show houses and the book
Michelle Lynne: And we've just barely touched on the book. So looking through this, so for those of you who are here at the summit, we're going to do, we're gifting you all a copy and Donna's gonna sign it. It's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. For those of you who are listening, you can get this on Amazon, I looked, yes, it's called Best of Show by Donna Moss, and it's stunning with all of the variety of interiors. Like this is one that you can actually flip through and enjoy.
Donna Moss: Yes. So you'll see features from some of the designers, you know, we get a lot of inspiration. And then there's some pictures from my HGTV days from That's Haute. So I kind of put a little, and a couple of my grandkids are in the book, you know, when it's your book, you can do what you want.
Michelle Lynne: And it's your brand. Your brand is very family centric. So Queen of Bling still has children and grandchildren and all the things that you enjoy. But that's the joy, I mean, that's the most fun, as interior designers, like, we’re serving families, and we're creating a space that's the backdrop for their memories.
Donna Moss: Exactly, exactly. You know, so family is, for me, the way I work, is God first, my marriage, my family, and then my business, you know, in that order. And you know, God has blessed me so much that, you know, I have to give him the credit first. But everything we do, every design we do is for, usually for a family. I mean, sometimes it's a single person, but we want it to be something that they can go home and just relish in the beauty of what we've just done for them because they couldn't do it for themselves.
Michelle Lynne: Absolutely. And they wake up every morning in beauty and they go to sleep every night in beauty.
Donna Moss: And it's good for your mental well-being to being able to wake up in these beautiful spaces.
Michelle Lynne: One of the speakers this week was it Robin? She was talking about Maslow's hierarchy of needs. And since I learned it back in like 1902, they've added aesthetics to it as one of the hierarchy of needs. So I thought that was very cool, because it truly is an important facet of everybody's life and experience.
Donna Moss: Exactly.
Michelle Lynne: I like to say that, as interior designers, we create a space that feels like a hug. Right?
Donna Moss: But you know, the trends coming up, one of the things I love is the bouclé fabrics.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, so cozy.
Donna Moss: And I feel like, you know, you've seen that fabric everywhere. And I just feel like it's your, when you sit in a chair with that fabric, it's like you're getting a big hug. Like you're sitting on a teddy bear.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, or cozy slippers. Yes, absolutely. A big teddy bear. I love that. Yes, it totally does. Alright, so we jumped around. What's next for you? Oh, no apologies. I'm the one who did it, I'm like, squirrel, oh, let's go down this direction.
Donna Moss: So I'm not doing any show houses at the moment. taking a little break from that. The pandemic kinda did away with that for the time being, but working on possibly, like I said, a new retail space in Southlake, just a little. We're putting in a salon suite, a med spa, in a building we own there. And so I'm gonna have a little boutique inside there. So if any of you live in the area, you know, that's coming up probably next year, sometime.
Michelle Lynne: You said what, Q1 maybe?
Donna Moss: Yes. Yeah, in the middle of it.
Michelle Lynne: Fun. Do you have a name for it yet?
Donna Moss: Well, don't laugh, but the med spa is called Blown Away, so it's Blow Your Mind Designs.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's awesome. That is so fun.
Donna Moss: That's still in the works. But I'm like, Oh, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: You're keeping in the brand.
Donna Moss: Yes.
Michelle Lynne: And especially if you're going to go get your hair done, you're blown away.
Donna Moss: Yeah. Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Fun. Or some Botox.
Donna Moss: All my wrinkles blown away. But yeah, so doing that, I'm actually in the middle of building my own home right now.
Michelle Lynne: That's right.
Donna Moss: Yeah. So my family, I have two daughters and a son. And so we all work together and, you know, whether it's real estate or the building business. So we've just kind of launched my son's building career, Beckett Graham Homes. And so through him, we're building several homes in Westlake. We finished one house, we're building my house, and we got three new ones getting ready to start in Entrada and then 15 across the street with a big, across 114 in Southlake. So all kinds of stuff coming up.
Michelle Lynne: Holy cow. No wonder there's show houses coming up. You've got your hands full. So do you work with them on all of them?
Donna Moss: Yes, yes. Yeah. So we're all one big happy family. Sometimes. That's what I was going to say about families. It's like, I love them to death but sometimes I just want to choke them to death too.
Michelle Lynne: That's so true.
Donna Moss: Because you can be more honest with your own family.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah. But you also have to take care not to take them for granted and be too much of a jerk to them. At least for myself.
Donna Moss: That would be more my husband. You know, not that he's a jerk. But, you know, there's
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, just the straightforward conversation of this stuff needs to get done chop, chop.
Donna Moss: Yeah. And you know, we've, like I said, I got my start doing, we started building homes back in the early '80s. And, you know, just little houses, he doesn't really like residential, he does more commercial. So like the med spa we're putting in, that's what he's focusing in. So my son's focusing in on the residential part of the building. And then one of my daughters runs the business and the other is in the real estate part of it.
Michelle Lynne: You've just got this little empire. That's amazing.
Donna Moss: Yeah, kinda like, who was it Dallas? The show.
Michelle Lynne: Southfork.
Donna Moss: Southfork, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: That is so fun, though. But it makes sense. You know, when you have that talent, and you have the trust, because that's a good thing about working with family, though, is that there's a different level of trust factor, even if you do get a little more snippy with them.
Donna Moss: Exactly. But you know, that's what I also love about the design community, we live with the knowledge that, you know, I've really slowed down on my design work for clients, I have a few, a handful of clients I've had forever, and I will keep them forever. But I'm also doing brand ambassadorships, I'm doing a new line of furniture with InStyle Gallery up on the ninth floor. So we'll really be launching that fully, probably in the January market. But there's so many ways that you can, you know, take your design, your talents, and put them into other areas. You know, I don't want to keep myself where I'm at, I want to always want to keep growing and building and changing and doing fun and exciting things. So, you know, that's one thing everybody here could explore. The first lighting line I ever did, I went to the manufacturer, who I had a relationship with, and I said, you should hire me to do lighting. Next thing I know I'm in China, working on a lighting line. And so you just never know where this career can lead you. Because there's so many opportunities out there.
Michelle Lynne: Donna, did that lighting line, your first line, did that come before you created this brand? Because you've become a brand.
Donna Moss: Right.
Michelle Lynne: So did the lighting come from developing this brand? Or did it come from the relationship that you had and the potential they saw on you and so forth?
Donna Moss: I think a little bit about You know, it was after my show, but it was already a relationship that I'd had with them forever.
Michelle Lynne: That makes sense.
Donna Moss: But yeah, so I'm working with the brand ambassadorship for a tile company right now too.
Michelle Lynne: That's exciting.
Donna Moss: Yeah, we're gonna work on my own line of tile. I've got my own collection. And so the next thing is my own selection right now from their tiles, which Decovita tile is so awesome. You guys should speck it in your job. They're all large porcelain, large format porcelain tiles, 24 by 48. But they've got, talking about textures like the bouclé, they have a finish that's kind of exclusive to them. It's called sugar effect. And so they've got their gloss finishes, they've got their matte finishes, but then certain tiles have what's called the sugar effect. And it's like, little bitty crystals. It's like not shiny, but it sparkles. And yeah, it's just an amazing product. So little plug there.
Michelle Lynne: So does this sugar effect, if you put this large format on the floor, could you put it in the bathroom and you're not going to slip?
Donna Moss: Yes, exactly.
Michelle Lynne: So it gives you that little grippy.
Donna Moss: It's got a little bit of traction there too soon.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, how fun. Yeah.
Donna Moss: So it's like you can get a gloss but not have to worry about
Michelle Lynne: Slipping and dying.
Donna Moss: Yes, yes. Although in my new house, my new bathroom is a high gloss, so I make slip and die. I don't know, probably.
Michelle Lynne: Don't do that. Please don't do that.
Donna Moss: But what's funny is on their floor tiles, the high gloss, I put it next to one of the wall tiles because they have a lot of book match tiles, which are really, really cool. So I stepped on the wall tile, and it looks exactly the same as the floor tile, it is as slick as can be, but the gloss in the floor tile is not. It's got a grip to it too in the finish.
Michelle Lynne: They don't want you to slip an die either.
Donna Moss: No.
Michelle Lynne: That's intentional. And what was the name of the line again?
Donna Moss: Decovita.
Michelle Lynne: Decovita. We'll have to make sure we get that in the show notes too. That'll be fun. So I asked what else you have in the pipeline. You're like, oh, not much. Brand ambassadorship, like all these houses, the med spa, no, salon suites, the salon suites.
Donna Moss: And we're working on, and this hasn't been announced or anything yet, but another line of
Michelle Lynne: It will be in a second.
Donna Moss: But kind of grandmillennial-style furniture. So your grandma kind of furniture mixed with, you know
Michelle Lynne: Grandmillennial.
Donna Moss: Yeah. So that's, you know, a little more traditional than probably what I normally do, but very pretty stuff.
Michelle Lynne: So wait, is this is gonna be a new line of furniture?
Donna Moss: We're working on it.
Michelle Lynne: That's exciting.
Donna Moss: So it's maybe in the works.
Michelle Lynne: Oh my gosh. Girl, I could sit here for another hour. Another hour.
Donna Moss: Has it been an hour already? Oh my gosh.
Michelle Lynne: Oh no, not yet. But I do have something up my sleeve. So I love to talk about like, I love hearing about all the business things that you've done and all the design stuff. But I also like to have a little bit of whimsical fun.
Donna Moss: Oh, no.
Michelle Lynne: I know. I didn't warn you about this.
Donna Moss: Uh oh, do I have to dance or sing? Where's that Chef at? He can do it for me.
Michelle Lynne: Well, thankfully, because there's no, there's no visual, it's just a podcast. We are safe. Even though we have this audience here. You don't have to dance. What we are going to do is a segment, it's a Q&A session. Just rapid-fire random questions just so we can get to know you a little bit on a different level. So nothing painful.
Donna Moss: Okay.
Michelle Lynne: So here's my first question. Do you have an innie or an outie belly button?
Donna Moss: I have an outie. Well, it's actually innie but I can pull it out. Does that make sense? When I was a kid, I'd always play with it. Sorry, I'm giving away too much.
Michelle Lynne: No. It's exactly what it's supposed to be.
Donna Moss: Do you want to see it?
Michelle Lynne: We will do video next time. That's awesome. Okay, so what was your favorite subject in school?
Donna Moss: Photography. Well, okay, I take that back. I took home economics for four years in high school. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a fashion designer. And my mother had a sewing machine, and I was obsessed with it. So I took sewing every semester, every year, for four years, because that's what I thought I'd be in. So I kind of feel like fashion design and interior design are kind of in the same realm.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, agreed.
Donna Moss: And, you know, I really probably love doing this more than I would have fashion design.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, just a different level. But it's true. It's all the creativity and it's the textiles and just the tactile aspect of touching things.
Donna Moss: Yes. Well, back in high school, when I was doing these sewing classes, I would go to Goodwill and buy all the denim jeans I could find. The bigger sizes the better, because I would take them, and I'd cut them up and I'd make blazers and I would encrust the lapels with rhinestones. And I would make purses.
Michelle Lynne: Even back then you were bling.
Donna Moss: Way back then. But back then it was so different because you had these little metal clips, and you'd push it and then that denim material was hard to get that stuff through, and I would just totally embellish, and it would take hours and I'd sell them to my friends.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's fun. Now they have that little gun. What is that called? The Bedazzler.
Donna Moss: The Bedazzler. Yes.
Michelle Lynne: Yes, yes, yes.
Donna Moss: Or you can glue them on like these pearls.
Michelle Lynne: Like on your skirt?
Donna Moss: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: Did you do that?
Donna Moss: No, this is Anthropology.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I had Anthropology on yesterday. Yeah, they're just so classic. Love them.
Donna Moss: Yes. Well, you might see pearls. You know, kind of like my sequined dress. Do you see? Oh, there is. I'll leave a little bit of everything behind.
Michelle Lynne: A little bling, yes. That's like fairy dust. Just sprinkle is here, sprinkle it there.
Donna Moss: Sorry.
Michelle Lynne: No, that is so awesome. Cheers on that one.
Donna Moss: You saw me falling apart under there, didn't you? Cheers.
Michelle Lynne: Cheers. I'm so glad you're here.
Donna Moss: Thank you so much.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. What is one piece of advice you would give your 20-year-old self?
Donna Moss: Oh my gosh. I don't know. Let me think. That's a really hard one.
Michelle Lynne: It's different than the innie and outie one, isn't it?
Donna Moss: Moss
I would be, my 20-year-old self, I would tell myself to be more confident. Back then, you know, of course in the design world, I was just feeling my way through it for so long. And I got, I was about in my 20s when I started doing the design. So I really never felt that I was good enough. And I think because I didn't go to college. But then I realized as time went by, it's more about your talent and your creativity. And it's not so much as, the education is important, I wish I would have gone to school, you know, and got the education. But,
Michelle Lynne: You know, I think that a lot of the people in our audience, both here live, as well as on the podcast, we all need to hear that sometimes. Like, we just need to know that we've all like, this is Donna freaking Moss and at one point she didn't have the confidence. We all have to start that way, or we all have to recognize that we're not so different when we have that level of anxiety, fear, imposter, all that stuff.
Donna Moss: Exactly. Everybody else, you know, just seems like so polished and put together and I'm just like throwing things here and there.
Michelle Lynne: But we all are.
Donna Moss: Yeah, but you know, that's the way I see me, but you might see me different and, you know, the same with you. You know, you might think you're just all over the place, but people see you and say, oh my gosh, she's so beautiful. And she's so talented or he's, you know. So, just don't be so hard on yourself.
Michelle Lynne: I think all of our 20-year-old selves needed to hear that. Most of them. Heck, sometimes my 50-year-old self still needs to hear it. It's like, get out of it, Michelle.
Donna Moss: Wait until you get 66. That's the scary part of it all.
Michelle Lynne: It's wisdom.
Donna Moss: It is. And I think we're wonderful whatever age we're at. And we're just living in a world that, you know, we're able to look and feel and act younger than we really are sometimes.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, age is just a number at that point. When you start acting old, you start feeling old.
Donna Moss: I know.
Michelle Lynne: I'm going to be young forever.
Donna Moss: And that's why I never want to retire. I want to do some way, shape, or form. I want to do this in some way for the rest of my life. I can't see ever
Michelle Lynne: Until you really are drooling on television. Then we will just finally say, I think we've run our gamut. I got your back sister.
Donna Moss: Thanks, Michelle. That was a good one.
Michelle Lynne: All right. So what is the best compliment you've ever received?
Donna Moss: Um hmm. From my granddaughter, telling me how beautiful I am.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, and that's from such a source of sweet innocence.
Donna Moss: A four-year-old.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, oh, yeah, so fun. Those four-year-olds, man.
Donna Moss: Just recently, yes.
Michelle Lynne: They will only tell you the truth. So her telling you you're beautiful is
Donna Moss: But then she did tell me the other day too, that I looked older than her pops. And I'm like, wait a minute.
Michelle Lynne: Well, so I have a daughter that's four. And she told me I looked like a cow a couple of weeks ago. I had a skirt on, and when you look at the skirt, it does kind of look like a cow print. But like, it was one of those mornings I'm getting ready, and I'm just not feeling sassy.
Donna Moss: From the mouth of babes, right?
Michelle Lynne: I'm not feeling sassy. I'm not feeling cute. I'm just feeling a little bit like a cow. I put the skirt on. I'm feeling a little bit better about myself. I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen, Mom, you look like a cow. Oh, thanks, honey. That's so sweet. So I think your granddaughter has got a better hint there. All right, Donna, what's your favorite book?
Donna Moss: Best of Show.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, there you go. High five on that one.
Donna Moss: Buy it on amazon.com. Or come to Michelle's podcast.
Michelle Lynne: There you go. Absolutely. We can put a link in the show notes for Amazon. Oh, I think I can do it and I can get an Amazon associate. Oh, note to self, another line of revenue there. We're gonna sell a lot. Okay, what scares the hell out of you?
Donna Moss: Being in front of a camera.
Michelle Lynne: No shit, really?
Donna Moss: Seriously. Yes.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, it seems that you were just like a total
Donna Moss: I always get the jitters. And, you know, I'm one of these that's like, I'm either really good or really bad. I can be really bad. You know, and it just, you know, if I can get over that initial thing, then I'm fine. But when the camera first hits you, it's like, oh, my gosh, this is terrifying. And I'm not an actress, and I will never be an actress. But I can be me on TV. But if they asked me to do lines and speak and things like that, that's hard.
Michelle Lynne: That makes sense. Right. Huh. I wouldn't have imagined.
Donna Moss: Oh and get this. Okay. So this is my newest thing I've been working on. I'm doing a line of commercials for Medicare. So I'm embracing this old age thing.
Michelle Lynne: So you're bringing glamor to
Donna Moss: I'm not gonna go gray. But you know, and it's only going to be aired in California.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, that's awesome.
Donna Moss: So be looking for it. It's a health insurance thing. But, you know, my husband and I are both on insurance. I'm like Medicare, and I'm like, It's mailbox money.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, you can speak for it. Good for you. And it's true though, we also have to, as women especially, and somebody who's been in front of the camera. It's like, we don't look 40 forever. And the bitches that do, they're not real.
Donna Moss: I'm gonna do something though soon. But yeah.
Michelle Lynne: That's awesome. I'm really, that's exciting.
Donna Moss: But there were certain things I had to learn to say in it. I mean, the retakes and retakes and the retakes. But it's all like it's just Instagram stuff. It's not, you know, like a television commercial. But I could not learn my lines. And it's like, I'd get through the whole thing and one little word, and with it being an insurance company everything has to go through legal, I'd say one little word off and I have to refilm the whole thing.
Michelle Lynne: What a trip.
Donna Moss: I know. It's been. Michael, I think I called you and I said, can I get into the Market Center on Saturday? And that's why I was using the 15th floor to film some of it.
Michael Bauer: Oh, great.
Donna Moss: And some InStyles.
Michelle Lynne: At Dallas Market Center?
Donna Moss: Uh huh.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, how cool is that?
Donna Moss: Yeah.
Michelle Lynne: You need to send her an invoice, Michael.
Michael Bauer: It's in the mail.
Michelle Lynne: There you go.
Donna Moss: Me and my big mouth. Thanks, Michelle.
Michelle Lynne: So I don't remember what episode it was, but Michael, for those of you who are listening, Michael Bauer was a guest on the podcast, gosh quite a while ago. But yeah, if you're wondering who we're talking to, it's Michael Bauer.
Donna Moss: And Michael and I have a funny story that goes way back.
Michael Bauer: Yeah, we do.
Donna Moss: So my television show was called Donna Decorates Dallas. But HGTV wanted to name the show Donna Does Dallas. Oh, yeah. Yes, yes. That's what I said. I'm like, hmmm, I know they wanted a male audience and, you know, I was lot younger back then. But I said, no, this is a family show. I said, men are going to turn in to see porn and turn it off right away, so the ratings are gonna be tanked. Every time I'd see Michael, he'd say, hi Debbie. Every time he'd see me.
Michael Bauer: You were always so sweet, every time you would say, that's not my name.
Donna Moss: He'd say, hi Debbie, good to see you.
Michelle Lynne: That is hilarious.
Donna Moss: But I think, you know, I think people even though it was called Donna Decorates Dallas, they still
Michelle Lynne: Oh, it played off of that.
Donna Moss: Yes, yeah.
Michelle Lynne: For those of you who are too young, or possibly not even in the realm of knowledge, back in the 70s, was it? And the only reason, for the record, the only reason I know this is because I worked in a video store in high school. And it was the 60s, it was an X-rated show called Debbie Does Dallas.
Donna Moss: I learned a lot about Debbie Does Dallas. The scenario.
Michelle Lynne: So we're not gonna put a link to that in the show notes. But that's what we're referring to. And what's funny, y'all is Debbie, that works with me, that's her Instagram handle is Debbiedecoratesdallas.
Donna Moss: My gosh. That's hilarious.
Michelle Lynne: So yeah, it's a play on it as well.
Donna Moss: Yes. Well, Michael has learned my real name though. Over the years, finally.
Michelle Lynne: That's because you kept dropping pearls and sequins.
Donna Moss: When I'm around Michael, I drop earrings. Michael carries earring backs because, I mean, almost every time I get around him, my earring will just fall off. Unless it's one of these that just, you know? It's like he's got this magnetic charm. And it just rips my earring backs off my ears and they just drop to the floor.
Michelle Lynne: At least it's not your clothes.
Donna Moss: So true.
Michelle Lynne: That would be a little more awkward.
Donna Moss: Slightly.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, my gosh, Donna, thank you so much for being here.
Donna Moss: Oh, you're welcome.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah.
Donna Moss: Thank you.
Michelle Lynne: This has just been so much fun.
Donna Moss: I just love this beautiful group of people in your summit. They're just all beautiful. And I would love to hear the story on each and every one of you because I can tell that you're all so talented. And, you know, it's so fun to be around like-minded people. And I know they're learning a lot from you and this summit.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, it's not me. It's all the guests. I'm just the hostess. It's a beautiful thing.
Donna Moss: I don't know if they've learned anything from me today. But thank y'all for getting through this with us.
Michelle Lynne: Yes. It's so much fun. Now Donna, how can people find you, that are listening? Here, we're about to do a book signing. So you'll get to know each of them. But how can people find you? Are you on Instagram? Your website?
Donna Moss: Instagram, Facebook. Something's going on with my website. I gotta get that fixed. But yeah, Donna Moss Designs is my Instagram and my Facebook and my website, but I don't know, I've got to work on that.
Michelle Lynne: Yeah, I'm working on mine right now too.
Donna Moss: Do you have suggestions? I gotta get it fixed.
Michelle Lynne: Oh, I can give you a referral. They fixed mine. Because mine was, we're not going to talk about that. Because I will have too many swear words on that. So I'll make sure all of those details are listed in the show notes so that people can go and follow you. I'll also hopefully have a link to Amazon where they can buy your book as well. It's called Best of Show. And I'm so honored that you've shared it with us. And for those of you who can benefit from even more resources surrounding the business of running your interior design business, you can join the growing community on Facebook private group. It's called the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. And yeah, yeah, I know, it's Facebook. And it's not everybody's favorite, but it is the best place for a private group. We go live once a week with some free training. We've got some badass workshops, like once a quarter, and just all the things. So come on over to the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. So until next time, thank you. Thank you, Donna.
Donna Moss: Thank you, Michelle, and thank you, everyone.
Michelle Lynne: Hey, y'all. If you love the show and find it useful, I would really appreciate it if you would share with your friends and followers. And if you like what you're hearing, want to put a face with the name and get even more business advice, then join me in my Facebook group, the Interior Designers Business Launchpad. Yeah, I know it's Facebook, but just come on in for the training and then leave without scrolling your feed. It's fun. I promise you'll enjoy it. And finally, I hear it's good for business to get ratings on your podcast. So please drop yours on whatever platform you use to listen to this. We're all about community over competition. So let's work on elevating our industry, one designer at a time. See you next time.