How Jeff and Cindy Molosz found success in the home sweet home.
When Joan and Paul Sawyer moved to Belvidere, Ill., and into their custom-built home 15 years ago, one of the first people they met was Cindy Molosz. The interior decorator helped the couple to enhance nearly every room in the house. From picking out fabric, choosing flooring and selecting accent furniture, Molosz assisted the Sawyers with every step along the way. And she did it again three years ago, when the Sawyers decided their home needed some freshening up.
“When it comes to interior design, Cindy is top-notch,” Joan says. “She does a great job of combining old and new. Everything she touches looks so classy, and she knows our taste. I just love to work with her.”
Molosz knows interior decorating. She and husband Jeff are owners of Interiors, a home décor store located at 5950 E. State St. in Rockford, Ill., which opened in May 2009. The showroom is bright and colorful and chock-full of accessory items for any room. There are lamps, vases, mirrors, frames, plants, centerpieces, accent furniture, art, candles and much more.
“I like using my gifts to help others,” Molosz says. “It’s neat to know that I can have an impact on people and help them to enjoy their homes.” In addition to Interiors, Molosz, 43, stays busy with Interior Vision, a home-decorating business that provides services such as design concepts and room makeovers.
Customers don’t always know what they’re looking for when they walk through the front door. “The most common comment I get is, ‘I know what I like and don’t like, but I don’t know how to incorporate it,’” she says. “Others have a good eye and know just what they want.”
Often, they’ll bring in photos of the rooms and pertinent measurements, so Molosz can offer helpful suggestions at no charge. “I don’t always have to be in the home to be able to help and pull it all together,” she says. “Visuals are everything to me.”
Molosz didn’t start out as an interior decorator. For several years, she worked in the accounting field. After a time, she started exploring other career paths. A friend suggested interior design work, which intrigued Molosz. She signed up for design classes and soon found a part-time job at Lindman’s Carpet Manor, where, a year later, she shifted to full-time and said goodbye to accounting for good.
At Lindman’s, Molosz found a mentor in Nancy Hoppes, who was a willing teacher. “I learned everything from Nancy,” she says. “She taught me the sense of scale and balance, and what to look for when you’re in a home.”
Molosz spent the next two decades working at Lindman’s, and for herself, as a decorator. Then, the couple decided to take a leap of faith and opened their own place more than a year ago. They made this big decision after the passing of three loved ones in the span of a few years. “We started evaluating life and how short it really is,” says Molosz. “We decided to do something together.”
Given the weak economy, it was a risk, Molosz admits, but one that worked to their advantage. “People are staying home more, so they want their homes to look nice and be comfortable,” she says. “Maybe people aren’t investing in major furniture, but they’re willing to add an accent piece or two.”
So far, so good, for a business whose name is simply stated. It helps that they’ve started conservatively. For example, Jeff and Cindy have yet to hire any staff. Instead, they take turns running the store.
“We’re still learning about our business,” she says. “We want to be hands-on, and really be able to service our customers. I really believe that the success of Interiors is our partnership, and what we both bring to the business. We believe success is never achieved alone. Jeff is very good at anything hands-on, from the remodeling of the store, to the assembly of every piece of furniture that arrives, to keeping the books. This, coupled with my years of design experience, gifted sense of what clients enjoy and knack for display, means we’ve had the opportunity to fulfill our desire to provide honest, affordable value in home furnishings.”
About 90 percent of the clientele are women, who range in age from 30 to 60. “Older customers come in and say, ‘I need to bring my daughter in here,’ and younger customers say, “I should bring my mother in here.’ It’s pretty neat,” Molosz says. She believes the business has been helped by the recent craze of HGTV, the cable network which features home improvement programs to help homeowners, many on a budget.
Speaking of cost, that depends on the scope of your project, which could run anywhere from $200 to $2,000 or more. “You don’t have to spend a fortune on it,” Molosz says. “Things can be done if you use a little creativity.”
No matter the price, when deciding what’s right for your home, Molosz recommends keeping it simple. “I’m not really big on following trends,” she says. “When making the decision to decorate your home, make selections that are comfortable, and choose things you really love. The timelessness is really going to pay off.”
To make any room cozier, the details matter – color, texture, pattern and tone. Buy a few simple items to help get you started, such as scented candles, throw rugs and pillows. “Small pieces, such as lamps and artwork, can go a long way,” Molosz says. “You need to start with inspiration, whether it’s bedding or art.”
Prioritizing an area is essential. “People are so overwhelmed,” Molosz says. “Maybe your home just needs to be updated or refreshed. Don’t try to tackle too much at one time. Focus on one area, make a long-term plan, and then move on to the next area.”
Big and small, Molosz has tackled just about every type of project. But the greatest satisfaction she gets from her work is getting to know her clients, like one couple she helped early in her career while pregnant with twins. Molosz got close to the couple, who delivered roses to the hospital and sent along baby gifts. The husband passed away five years ago, but Molosz stayed close to his wife, and soon helped her move into a condo. Now she’s decorating their daughter’s new house, which happens to be her parents’ former home.
Says Molosz, smiling, “This is how friendships are formed in this business.” ❚