MY HERO’S JOURNEY
LOVE TO SEW
Donna Cash, owner of Designs by Donna, doesn’t remember a time in her life when she did not love to sew. As a child, Donna watched her mother sew and create beautiful things. Seeing this, Donna also began to sew, making clothes and even furniture for her dolls. Donna eventually started making clothes for herself to wear to school, and then many years later, to wear to work as she began her career.
In 1981 when Donna and her husband, Greg, bought their first house, Donna’s desire to sew led her to make window treatments for their home. Never having worked with that much fabric before, Donna broke the process into manageable steps in order to create floor to ceiling window treatments with yards and yards of ruffles. After making these first window treatments, Donna decided she would stick to dressmaking and leave the making of window treatments to someone else.
As friends and neighbors saw the window treatments Donna made, they began to request window treatments for their homes. But Donna refused, at the time, her passion was not in sewing window treatments. Nor did Donna feel she had the experience or expertise to design and make these for anyone other than herself.
Donna’s biggest cheerleader, her husband Greg, suggested she give it a go and at least try to help one of their friends who had contacted Donna on several occasions. Donna had already quit her corporate job to stay at home and raise their two young sons. However, now that she wasn’t traveling back and forth to Atlanta, GA every day, she decided to help this client, but only this one time! Greg was behind her 100% of the way!
A NEW CAREER IS BORN
Agreeing to work with this client, Donna began helping the client to select fabrics and window treatment styles for her entire home. A lover of dressmaking, Donna added many dressmaker details to the window treatments. The client loved her new window treatments and Donna found that she absolutely loved working with the client and making custom window treatments! Donna enrolled in design classes to become an expert in advising her new clients. She has a new passion and the beginning of a new career for Donna is born!
Always being up to learning new things, Donna also agreed to install the treatments for this first client. This new experience gave Donna an appreciation to the importance of taking good measurements at the beginning of a project and how to properly fabricate for a ‘no unhappy surprises’ installation. After installing all of her treatments for 8 years, she met an installer at a workroom association meeting and hired him to be a part of her team. They have been working together ever since.
Designs by Donna started as a home-based business and quickly grew. After feeling the pain of having client work expanding beyond the workroom to other parts of their home, Donna and Greg realized the need to move into a larger space as demand for custom window treatments, bedding, and other soft goods increased. They found a house, not too far from home and close to the schools their children attended and purchased it in 1997. They moved the business out of their home and into the new location allowing Designs by Donna to continue to grow and provide high-end custom treatments to businesses, restaurants, hotels, homeowners, and executives desiring custom products but didn’t have the time or the desire to create these for themselves. And Donna realized she loved going to work in the morning and locking up and going home each evening. And Greg loved having the house back to themselves and their children.
A few years later, Donna began writing step by step articles for trade magazines. Some of her favorite topics are writing about adding custom embellishments and dressmaker details to custom soft furnishings. Having the articles and her photograph in these magazines, made people in the soft furnishings industry take notice of Donna and the fine quality of her work. When people saw Donna at industry conventions, they would say, “Hey, aren’t you Donna Cash”? This led Donna to be invited to speak at workroom association meetings across the United States, and she was asked to teach Professional Bedding Fabrication and Pillow Fabrication at the Custom Home Furnishings Academy. Donna was also invited to produce and present webinars on many industry topics to workroom professionals looking to learn the skills she had perfected at Designs by Donna. At this time, Donna realized her passion for teaching others looking to take their sewing skills to the next level.
Designs by Donna grows again and now Donna has the pleasure of teaching skills to other industry professionals so they can increase their product offerings and add additional profits to their businesses. Donna also added a Saturday Sewing School, one Saturday morning each month, sharing her passion for sewing to children.
SHARING JOY AND BEAUTY
Teaching not only adults, but these young children as well reminds Donna of her humble beginnings as she sewed at home with her mother. Feelings of wonder, excitement, curiosity, eagerness, and a willingness to create anything with fabric. The ability to share joy and beauty to the lives of others through exquisite design, teaching, and sharing is what life for Donna is really all about.
With the desire to help the next generation grow up in the custom soft furnishings industry, Donna spent countless hours in thought and consideration on this idea. She thought about things such as, was she good enough? Could she be a blessing to others in her style of teaching? Was this where the Lord was leading her? Was this in line with her mission and vision statements for Designs by Donna. Was this in line with the WHY for her business. A quiet voice in her head kept saying yes and don’t keep your knowledge within your head! Share it! Do it! And don’t wait!
Donna is excited to now offer not only exquisitely designed and fabricated custom soft furnishings for homeowners, designers, hotels, restaurants, and offices, but now offers educational opportunities to children and offers, private, group, and online learning opportunities to those looking to learn a new skill and add to their love of sewing, designing, and fabricating.