Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Alicia Osenenko and I’m the Owner and Creative Director of DRAPES & DÉCOR. I have over 20 years of experience working in the interior design and window covering industry. I’m bilingual in English and Polish and I have a degree in business management and marketing.
I started my early career with Delta Airlines, pursuing my passion for world travel. As a result, I was fortunate to live in several countries with my family. Some of these countries included Poland, Belgium, Hong Kong, and the United States.
Nowadays, I’m thankful to combine my unique international experience with my creativity and passion for design!
How did you get into the world of professional design?
I’ve always had an interest in design, as well as a good eye for it. In my early twenties, I purchased my first apartment in Poland. From there, I reconstructed it – and the final result was nearly unrecognizable! I’d moved walls, added a bathroom, and even created a new, open floor plan.
While I did not have any professional background in home design, I kept reading and learning more about it throughout my twenties and early thirties. When I was eventually living in Florida, I developed a new passion for textiles and soft furnishings.
So, I pursued every educational opportunity possible in order to learn about the trade. This led me to opening my business, DRAPES & DÉCOR.
Prior to enrolling with QC Design School, you got certification training through the Custom Home Furnishing Academy. Tell us a little about this certification!
Several years ago, CHF Academy was “the place” to learn the window covering trade. Their certification course, Certified Window Covering Professional, taught all the different aspects of window covering, from the design to the installation. A few years later, the Academy evolved and moved into online education. Thus, they were able to make it more affordable and accessible to a broader audience.
Why did you want to further your education and why did you choose to do this through an online design school?
I try to take every opportunity to learn something new about the design industry. Staying up-to-date with new design trends, as well as strengthening my knowledge about design principals, is the key to success. It makes me a better designer. In turn, this benefits our clients and our overall business as well. Taking classes through an online design school enabled me to study at my own pace while running my business full-time.
How did you hear about QC Design School? What was it about QC that made you decide to enroll?
I had done an extensive amount of online research. QC Design School seemed to be the best program for me, both in terms of quality and flexibility. Based on the graduates’ testimonials, I felt reassured that this program was a good fit.
You’ve since graduated from QC Design School’s Color Consultant Course. As such, you are now a certified International Color Consulting Professional (ICCP). Congrats! How did you like this course? How valuable were the learning materials, tutor feedback, and assignments?
I was pleased with how well this program was put together and how user-friendly it was! The study materials were thorough and the assignments required good effort. That being said, my tutor, Christina Kittelstad, was there whenever I needed any help. I appreciated all the comments and feedback she left after reviewing and grading each of my units.
You’re also currently enrolled in the Feng Shui Course. Why do you want to add Feng Shui training to your qualifications? Do you intend to incorporate Feng Shui services into your business in the future?
Absolutely! I was first introduced to this concept while living in Hong Kong and I’ve interested in learning about Feng Shui ever since. Personally, I believe in energies. I want to know how they impact our daily lives. This course is opening my eyes on how Feng Shui defines these energies and reveals principals to keep in mind when designing spaces!
Your business, DRAPES & DÉCOR, offers a wide range of design services! Tell us about some of them! Which are the most popular?
My business offers full service interior design, including:
- Design consultations
- Re-design and re-decorating (with sourcing for all furniture, lighting and decor accessories)
- Kitchen and bathroom remodels
- Custom window coverings
Window coverings are our most popular service. They’re usually the starting point of our business relationships with clients. For them, it’s comforting to know that we can offer a wide range of design services. Should they require other design services, they can continue the relationship with a company they already trust.
Your business has won a number of awards over the years. Tell us a bit more about this!
We’ve been named the Best of Houzz eight years in a row for customer service satisfaction! Our clients’ positive reviews helped us earn these awards. In 2017, we also earned Best of Alpharetta for business in our category.
Your team currently consists of you and fellow designer, Rasha Francis. Did you and Rasha start DRAPES & DÉCOR together or did she join the team later on? In your opinion, what was the most challenging part of starting your own business?
In the past, I would design and decorate as a hobby for family and friends. It wasn’t until 2013 when I decided to open DRAPES & DÉCOR and pursue my passion for design on more professional level. The most challenging part of starting my own business was actually making that decision itself!
I’d thought about it for years, but the timing never seemed to be right. Being a dedicated mother of two young children, I preferred to focus on their upbringing. Additionally, I was hesitant and apprehensive. I knew this journey would require commitment. I’d need to invest my time and money, and there’d be no guarantee that my efforts would be successful.
However, with the encouragement of my husband, I decided to take a leap of faith… and I’m so happy I did! That decision has made a positive impact on who I am today. It’s empowering to know that anything is possible when you believe in and pursue your dreams. My business has opened doors to many opportunities and professional relationships.
A couple of years ago, I met Rasha Francis. Like me, Rasha has very broad international experience. She also has a well-established design career. Rasha helps us with more complexed projects, such as kitchen and bathroom remodels.
The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt had an impact on the design industry. How have you (and your business) adjusted in order to continue working with clients during a time of lockdowns and social distancing?
We’re taking all necessary measures to ensure that safety is the top priority during these challenging times. However, the COVID-19 pandemic did not slow us down. In fact, it was quite the opposite!
Now more than ever, homeowners are investing in their homes. After all, our homes now serve as both our workplace and our sanctuary. For example, we’ve done several outdoor projects wherein we help clients create an outdoor oasis. That way, they can relax and feel like they’re on vacation.
What has been the most rewarding moment in your design career so far?
Every time our clients express their satisfaction with our services, it’s incredibly rewarding. We’ve have been blessed with an award every year in our business. In 2017, I was even published in a local magazine, The Milton Neighbor, with a recognition to my business.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far from your QC Design School training?
I would encourage both aspiring and experienced designers to challenge themselves by training with QC Design School! Training keeps you sharp. The way that QC teaches this knowledge through interesting assignments is a great way to stretch your design practices.
What’s on the horizon for DRAPES & DÉCOR in 2021 and beyond?
Expand our services by incorporating the color consulting and Feng Shui skills I’m gaining in my QC Design School courses! Also, I intend to grow, continue offering good work, and keep getting better!