Did you ever watch the show Designing Women? You know, the TV sitcom that featured sassy Southern women with big shoulder pads and even bigger hair? The series ran from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, and highlighted four women working at an interior-design firm in Atlanta.
My favorite part of the show was the biting humor of these smart and cheeky women as they navigated tough situations. Today, let’s recognize those women in our lives who aren’t afraid to say it like it is, and encourage us to give a little sass right back.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 1925
One of the things Designing Women absolutely nailed was the kind of boldness it takes to be a career woman, especially in design. It wasn’t so long ago that women dared to enter the field and offer some groundbreaking design ideas.
In 1925, after starting her Architectural Clearing House design firm, Dorothy Draper was recognized as the first woman interior decorator to specialize in interiors for commercial properties. Her firm renovated apartment lobbies and swanky hotels, and she even had her own newspaper column in which she advised readers on design ideas, many of which were quite daring for the time. In fact, Dorothy’s work was so innovative—for example, her penchant for vibrant color combinations and patterns, like cabbage rose chintz set against striped blue wallpaper—that her designs were often referred to as “the Draper touch.”
WOMAN TO WATCH: Aneeqa Khan, Co-founder and CEO of eporta
These days, more than ever, design is everywhere. And thanks to today’s Woman to Watch, it’s also simpler than ever for interior designers to get what they need in an easy way through the website eporta. Co-founded and run by Aneeqa Khan, eporta is a one-of-a-kind wholesale marketplace for trade and interior designers and retailers. It’s basically a one-stop design shop that makes the trouble of tracking down the perfect furniture and design products from a variety of sources totally obsolete.
If that sounds like a genius of a business idea to you, you’re right! But anyone who knows Aneeqa knows that she has a history of seeking out big challenges and succeeding exceptionally. For instance, at the age of 21, she was hired as an investment analyst by a renowned private equity investment firm, becoming the company’s youngest hire in history. And by the time she was 26, Aneeqa was directing strategy at the United Kingdom’s top property-search site. Obviously, she’s quite a go-getter.
And as the challenge-seeker she is, Aneeqa was bound to take on the role of entrepreneur before the age of 30. Wise beyond her years, as she delved into entrepreneurship with eporta, she made sure to keep those connections with her former employers. In fact, one of her previous bosses is even an investor in eporta.
Aneeqa’s idea for eporta hit her when she was going through the painstaking process of redesigning her London flat. Her fluency in technology left her feeling seriously peeved when she couldn’t find what she wanted online: furniture that was more special than your average assembly-required stuff. If, as a shopper, she was frustrated, she wondered just how exasperated professional designers must feel.
After a lot of communication with those in the design field and fine-tuning the platform, eporta has become the go-to online shop for interior designers, and now works with more than 1,100 brands in 50 different countries. Even better: As a consummate high achiever, Aneeqa has serious designs on growing her entrepreneurial business into a worldwide design empire.
QUITE THE QUOTE
For Aneeqa Khan, becoming successful started with dedicating herself to something she’s passionate about. It’s like what fashion designer Eileen Fisher said:
“Life-fulfilling work is never about the money. When you feel true passion for something, you instinctively find ways to nurture it.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.