The Design Dialogues {Sue De Chiara}

She has a charming blog, a fabulous home, an adorable family, and a bustling e-commerce site. As far as I’m concerned, Sue from The Zhush is living the dream! Here she dishes advice for aspiring creatives and dreams for her budding business.

Five words to describe yourself:
Dreamer, curious, open-minded, loyal, lucky.

How would you describe your aesthetic?
Traditional with a glamorous twist. Though I should probably add “fickle” to the above five words because I also love a bit of boho, 70s vibe, preppy, trendy… I guess eclectic sort of covers it all, right?

Who are your style inspirations?
Kelly Wearstler, Tory Burch, Jonathan Adler, Mary McDonald, Rachel Zoe, vintage Ali Macgraw, and Mary Tyler Moore. I also love to pop into New York City and soak it up — the people watching, the window gazing… now that is some serious style inspiration right there!

A coffee table vignette in Sue’s ski house.

 How did you decide to launch an e-commerce site?  
My affinity for “zhushing” with both home decor and fashion accessories had me looking for another outlet outside of the blog. After briefly researching leases for nearby store space and getting a dose of reality over the cost, I decided getting my feet wet online with less overhead would be a good way to start up a shop and see how it went.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your work?
Getting great feedback from customers in emails, tweets, and photos or seeing the shop mentioned on blogs and in magazines seriously makes my day, sometimes my whole week! I also love to source great new products to add to the store.  

The pool house at Sue’s suburban home.

What advice would you offer aspiring entrepreneurs? 
Don’t spend too much time worrying about all the “what ifs” because those can stifle you.  Make like the Nike slogan and “just do it!” The “what ifs” may or may not pan out, but you’ll never know if don’t just jump on in. In other words, don’t over think it. Starting something new can seem so daunting and intimidating; ask yourself simply, “What do I need to get started?” Later you can break everything down into smaller tasks. Once you actually get started you can always ask yourself, “What’s next?” and grow things from there.

Where would you like your business to be in five years?
Ideally, I would love to have my own line of accessories and carry some of my own items — maybe even some of my own artwork — and possibly in a brick and mortar store as well.
   Oh heck, why not dream big…several brick and mortar stores! 

Have you ever seen a mudroom more fabulous? Note the compass painted on the floor!

Three items on your to do list:
1. Get the site ready for the holidays.
2. End-of-year inventory (dread).
3. Book dentist appointment for my kids.

Three items on your wishlist.
1. The new iPhone.
2. Python Miu Miu sandals.
3. A Canon G-12.

Three tasks on your bucket list.
1. Travel to Europe with my family.
2. Finally learn to play tennis.
3. Start painting again.

– – –

Thanks so much for participating in the series, Sue! I can’t wait to see where the future takes her: designing her own line, opening a brick and mortar store (or several!), and selling her own artwork! Now hop over to her shop and start making that holiday wishlist!

26 thoughts on “The Design Dialogues {Sue De Chiara}

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  1. Sue is a sweetheart and very stylish! It is a pleasure to see her shop grow and her taste is fantastic!

    Thank you for a brilliant interview. So much fun to get to know friends a little better.

    x Charlotta

  2. Thanks for the great interview! I love Sue. Love her style, her blog, her shop, her house and her way of thinking and DOING!

    I totally agree that you can only live the dream if you stop dreaming and Just Do It!! That’s actually my personal motto. Though I still have to remind myself of this when little fears and doubts creep in–or mistakes happen! I think it’s especially hard for us all of us perfectionist designer types–right ladies and gents? That’s why it’s so priceless to have this wonderful blog community for inspiration and support.

    Thanks again for the great interview, Mackenzie and Sue 🙂

  3. Mackenzie thank you so much for featuring Sue. She has been an inspiration from the start. What a super, classy young woman!

    Please Come and enter the 1st of Twelve Days of Holiday giveaways! It is stunning!

    Art by Karena

  4. Fantastic post. I so enjoy learning about others, this was a great format. Every single thing about her home(s) is just perfect, so beautifully and tastefully done.
    And as far as the advice for budding entrepreneurs…loved it, we can get hung up on the “what ifs” and I much prefer the “just do its”. Need to practice what I preach:) Nice job to both of you!

  5. Mackenzie, Thanks so much for featuring me here today. I loved reading all the sweet comments. This was extra special for me since I just adore “Design Darling”!Thanks again.

  6. Sue is soo great! I literally read this post and was prepared to comment on how great the Hermes table was and that it was the best part of the post, then I scrolled down and saw her pool house and thought that was the best part, then the mudroom….it just got better and better!