Positivity. That is the word that flashes through my mind like the sunny pastels of Rainbow Row when I think about Debbie DeLong. Everyone I meet has some sort of energy about them, and I pride myself on picking up on what it is…and hers seemed to say everything is going to be alright, actually more than alright….it’s going to be amazing.
When I first met Debbie, sitting at the bar at Ruth’s Chris in downtown Charleston, I immediately wanted to befriend her. Her face cannot help but smile without fail, and her natural warmth almost changes the temperature of the room. Her adorable style and spunky southern accent just put icing on the cake that is made up of natural charisma, hard work, and an outlook that I believe changed everything for her.
It was Henry Ford that said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t…you’re right.” This quote comes to mind when I think of the mother of three boys who started her interior design business a little later in life. Too often we convince ourselves, it’s too late, no one will take me seriously, or I don’t have the resources. Debbie had those thoughts sprint through her head too, but she realized they didn’t deserve her attention, and went for her dream anyway. She remembered the little girl who would set up tea parties on her aunt’s patio, and always loved decorating other people’s worlds with beautiful things to bring them joy. She wasn’t ready to let that child down yet. She had a whole second half of life to live, and chose to let her dream win. But, even with all of the self-belief and positivity in the world, her decision to pull the trigger came when her dear friend said to her, “you have the knowledge, and the creative talent. It’s what you do. Now you need to go after this.” A woman supporting another woman, with just a few simple words was the nudge over the edge that helped Debbie realize she wasn’t just a Mom, or wife, though she loves being those things…she was also a creative entrepeneur. How very powerful are the words we say to one another!?
Debbie says, “Women supporting women is the heartbeat of my soul. I see women on a day-to-day basis. I won’t let a day go by without giving them some sort of sense of value that they are important, that they are loved, and that they can do anything they set their minds to.”
Debbie soon founded the perfectly named, Designs by Imagine That. She now styles homes and events to create gorgeous atmospheres that express each client’s personal taste. She’s talented, innovative, and just plain fun to work with. I can’t wait to see what else she “imagines,” and how she inspires all of us to do the same.~
by Lorna Hollifield
For more on Debbie keep an eye on my instagram feed, @writerlornahollifield. I’ll soon be sharing videos of Debbie sprucing up my own living room!