I spend a lot of time at De-Cor in Pasadena shopping for the perfect pieces for my design projects. Deepali, the owner, and I have had a relationship for many years now. It all started nearly 18 years ago when De-Cor used to be located on Mission Street in South Pasadena in their treasure chest of a shop.
De-cor has now moved to a large showroom in east Pasadena. They are a “Vendor I Love” because of the rustic and beautiful carved pieces I can find there, especially ones that are truly upcycled. We use their beautiful and unique pieces in many of our projects.
I spoke with Deepali to get a sense of what she loves about her business and what challenges her the most.
What is the concept for the store and what offerings do you specialize in?
The concept for De-cor revolves around showcasing an intricate collection of antiques from traditional parts of the Indian subcontinent and many other countries with rich histories. We specialize in carved daybeds, benches, and develop our own line of reproduction furniture inspired by 17th-19th century designs. We also offer a vast collection of textiles, and create one-of-a-kind pillows by repurposing vintage and antique fabrics into modern designs.
How do your travels influence what you have in the shop and how do you make the time to travel?
My travels greatly influence De-cor in many ways as the culture and history from each country I visit inspire what we carry here in the store. Many of the motifs used for our daybeds and other carved pieces are inspired from architectural patterns from buildings. Even the colors and designs on garments I see on my travels influence the types of textiles we have in stores. Traveling is a very fulfilling experience because there are so many things each country has to offer that seldom make it here. Being a full time mother, making time to travel can be tough. I find the best time to make my trips is during my son’s winter and summer vacations, where we can all travel together as a family.
What challenges do you face in your industry?
Challenges are inevitable when running any business, but keeping an open mind full of new ideas is what helps us overcome them. This is why traveling plays an important role for De-cor. There are times where we see our designs being reproduced in the markets. Being able to travel and find more inspirations for new pieces is what allows us to refresh our designs every few months. However, when sourcing pieces on my trips, there are times where it is difficult to find good quality items. We are also known for our antique architectural collection of beams and panels as clients use them in custom pieces. Sometimes the demand on these pieces can be really high, and our inventory isn’t enough to supply them with the amount they need.
What is the most rewarding part of running De-Cor?
We feel an immense sense of pride when a designer or customer takes one of our architectural pieces and customizes the piece to fit into their own home. Many of our architectural pieces come from old buildings, so when the piece is repurposed, life is breathed into it once more.
I think the most rewarding part of running De-cor is being able to help Indian artisans by creating a market that showcases their traditional craft. We source and carry a vast collection of handcrafted furniture and textiles where the techniques used for these pieces are passed down from artisan to artisan through the generations. An example of one of these crafts is our collection of Jaipur Blue Pottery. It has a tedious creation process, and because of that, it is becoming an art form that newer generations of artisans are not partaking in. It’s rewarding knowing that their craft and artistry will live on and is not just available in their native countries, but here as well.