Her Business Story: Catherine Cornelissen, Founder of Decor A List Ltd

Catherine, tell us what Decor A List Ltd is all about

Decor A List is a curated online boutique for home decor, art and design based in London and we ship worldwide. From luxury candles to cashmere throws and designer lamps, all the pieces are independently sourced by myself as I liaise with artisans and designers across the globe to offer a variety of styles for customers to choose from.

Rather than embodying one specific style of furniture, art or design (which many shops do), we promote everyone’s innately stylish flair, whatever that may be.

Not only do we feature artists and designers we handpick, but are also able to help source pieces for clients and help with interior design projects as we offer interior styling for anyone wanting to spruce up their home a little.

How long did it take for you to put your idea into action? What prompted you to act?

I initially wanted to launch an interiors blog, but then I knew that so many people were doing this and wanted to stand out and help people on a customer basis achieve the homes they wanted. It probably took me the whole summer of 2016 to conceive the initial concept  — so roughly three months — and I then actioned my idea in September 2016 with a view to launch as soon as possible (I was SO excited).

What prompted me to act was to just do it really! I am fairly ruthless when it comes to decision making and avoid sitting on the fence whenever I can. I knew I was passionate about what I wanted to do and the designers I was working with, so just thought to myself ‘it’s now or never, Catherine.’

What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?

Failing. I have been faced with numerous and endless problems — which have often seemed incessant an inescapable —  especially technical problems with the backend of the website. I was unfortunate to have worked with some unreliable developers for a period of time and I got to the point where I wanted to give up. But that would be the easy route out.

My first customer could not have come at a better time and my spirits were completely lifted because I knew, “I was doing something right.” So the scariest moment is feeling that you could lose everything you worked for, all the late nights until 4am and saying ‘no’ to people’s parties all because you believed in what you were aiming towards. It is an awful feeling, but I do believe that persistence, faith and confidence within yourself are the best remedies for these types of fear.

What has been your proudest moment?

Easy: when I had my second customer. Initially, it was my first customer that should have been the proudest moment for me, but I felt 100 times more excited and accomplished because there was consistency. After my first customer, I felt that it could have been a fluke, or a lucky day for me, but the second customer that emailed me was the best boost of confidence I could have ever asked for; I knew I was doing SOMETHING right.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?

Simple – do your research first. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. In hindsight, I should have done FAR more research into the platform I wanted to build. I was definitely more excited in starting to build the website and it’s branding rather than the core functionalities that go into a platform such as mine. But from all mistakes, are lessons to be learned, and all I would say, is to always do your research first, more than you think you need to do ideally!

Which women inspire you?

Tory Burch is one of my biggest inspirations. Not only do I LOVE her clothes, but I also avidly follow her Tory Burch Foundation which aims to support the empowerment of women entrepreneurs with various programs revolving around capital, education, networking and mentoring. My Mom is also an inspiration to me as she has consistently supported me throughout my endeavour as well, as she has such an admirable work ethic in running a business too.

Which men inspire you?

My Dad inspires me because he has such an admirable work ethic which I hope I have in me too. My boyfriend Adam is also a huge part of my journey because he followed the entrepreneurial path too at a young age and it’s only when you do it yourself do you understand more clearly the mental and emotional challenges you face. I have the utmost respect for both my Dad and boyfriend; they’re such inspirations — when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

What does success mean to you?

Success for me has nothing to do with money. Of course money is important, but ultimately, at the end of the day, I want to wake up every morning and feel excited and passionate about what I have to do that day. I love the industry I have chosen to enter into and people aren’t lying when they say ‘do what you love.’ It’s incredibly true and success for me is to make a living that stems from love and passion.

What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?

‘Haters gonna hate.’ There have been a massive network of people that have been extremely supportive of my venture, but there are also a few that have wanted to tear me down in various ways. I wish someone had told me to remain positive and not let negativity in other people affect me.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Yt Photography

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