If Chief Workplace Stylist and Principal Designer Ronda Jackson isn’t Wonder Woman, then she definitely has very little competition for the title. She was named one of Enterprising Women magazine’s 2018 Enterprising Women of the Year, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council’s (WBENC) 2018 Women’s Business Enterprise Star, and Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council’s 2017 Supplier of the Year, just to name a few (you should check out her LinkedIn page…it speaks volumes). She’s managed to accomplish all of this while managing a 26-person staff and intentionally carving out quality time with her two handsome sons. She really is Wonder Woman!
When she entered college, Jackson’s “plan” was to become a pediatrician. It was a safe career that would provide stability and prosperity. It was a noble profession and the expected path—one that would make her parents proud. However, sometimes the best laid plans often change and lead us down a different road.
While Jackson was working her way through college at a retail home goods store, a woman came in, tapped her on the shoulder and told her she was wasting her craft. She politely suggested that Jackson consider interior design. “At the time, my goal was to become a pediatrician so I was very conflicted about writing home and telling my parents that I wasn’t going to become a doctor. Socially and culturally, interior design as a career path didn’t have the acknowledgment, fame or celebrity behind it that it has now. It was a really tough choice,” says Jackson.
In 1992, Décor Interior Design was born. Specializing in happy work places, Décor creates environments where the brand, the employee and the company can thrive and be profitable. This is all accomplished by delivering beautifully designed, customizable, productive and personalized interiors.
Through a comprehensive process, Décor walks clients through the procurement process and gives them that white glove installation. The company also has a cycle set up for rejuvenation; they’ll come back and maintain those interiors as well. “We’re truly a facilities partner with that client,” says Jackson.
Getting the Business Off the Ground Wasn’t Easy
Jackson recalls the challenges of starting her interior design business. “I had no point of reference. I sold multipurpose cleaner door-to-door so the only thing I knew about delivering service or bringing a product to a market was either scan it and pay for it at a cash register or knock on doors and collect money in exchange for something. Having such a raw ‘failed’ experience left me in a professional deficit for how to start a business,” she said.
Smart enough to realize that she needed to establish a solid foundation, Jackson began navigating through community, federal and social resources that were available. She participated in programs like the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SCORE resource partner and the Goldman Sachs Small Business Program and also furthered her education with the executive development programs at UCLA, Tuck School of Business and the University of Washington. Upon completion of the Goldman Sachs program in 2012, her company’s revenues increased 400 percent after implementing the developmental strategies she learned. Décor continues to experience at least some level of growth year after year.
Like most entrepreneurs, Jackson is constantly thinking about her business. She used a sports analogy to describe her day. “My day is like running across a football field. And making it into the end zone is like pulling into my driveway. I start out at the scrimmage line and I’m ready; I’m all suited up and padded up and then I’ll get a foul called or we’re off sides, whatever is happening throughout the course of the day.” She tries to stay agile and not to settle into a routine that limits her, but rather remain flexible and open to what the day may bring.
Jackson attributes the person she has become today to her father. “He’s the one that challenged me. He was a very optimistic person and had me thinking limitless(ly). If I said I want one of something, he’d say ‘Why not five?’ He’s the one that instilled in me that anything is possible. If it doesn’t exist, you make it.”
To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Expected
Jackson is motivated to leave a legacy for her sons as well as impact lives and create jobs. “I consider myself very philanthropic and like supporting organizations that help young women or kids who want to become entrepreneurs or need a little guidance with their career paths. What motivates me is when I can touch someone’s life and they’re doing better than they were because of some interaction or engagement that we had,” she says.