We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhonnika Clifton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhonnika, how do you think about risk?
Without risk, there is no reward. So, when it comes to my business, I live by the motto of…Big Risks, Bigger Rewards! With that, I also try very hard not to put a time stamp on when those rewards should be received. God is the head of my life, so I utilize the faith I have in Him to remind myself that as long as I put in the work that He’s assigned me to do, the reward will come…right on time! Taking risks and having faith will always be my go-to agenda and has worked out very favorably during my decorating & design career. Once I realized that I can’t ask/pray for it AND stress about it at the same time, I began to see opportunities show up. I believe, wholeheartedly, this is so because I give each situation to God who knows my heart and needs.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The first thing that I’m most proud of, in regards to myself & my business, is that I am a native Houstonian who loves serving clients in and around my city. I’ve been decorating, designing, and organizing residential spaces for local and nationwide clients for over ten (10) years. My passion and knowledge of space planning, color theory, and textures are the basis of my bold, unique designs, and the main drivers for the growth of my businesses over the years. Which started with my decorating company, Decorator Diva, LLC. My journey into interior design hasn’t been easy at all. It has been one of many curves, hills, and valleys. To start, interior design is my third career. My first career path began in 1993 while in high school studying Health Professions. My goal was to become an RN, but when chemistry began to become a problem in college, I quickly made a decision to pursue Arts. It wasn’t until about halfway through my 12-year career as an Administrative Assistant, that I realized I wanted to start my decorating company. So, I worked full-time, ran Decorator Diva part-time, went to design school part-time, and worked at a home decor retail store for 4 years before graduating with my BFA in Interior Design in 2013. I believe this versatility has allowed me to build client relationships over a broad spectrum of the industry all while continuously growing the business side. Furthermore, I enjoy volunteering in the Houston community which I believe strengthens the core of the value-added services I offer each and every client.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow, this is hard because Houston is so big and is literally growing and changing by the day! We are best known for the many delicious & diverse food choices throughout the city, so I would definitely start with food. Instead of choosing a spot I’ve been to previously, I would search and find new places for us to try together. Then, I would probably spend one evening listening to live music at one of the many Black-owned lounges in the city. If my friend is an art enthusiast like I am, then I may look into the exhibits happening at the MFAH or the HMAAC. Lastly, I would probably take a day or overnight trip to one of the surrounding cities (i.e. Galveston, San Antonio, or Austin) to enjoy more food and scenery.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to three very special women in my life. The first, is my oldest sister, Carla Jones. Carla is a serial entrepreneur who has owned & operating her own businesses for over 25 years. She was the first one to plant the seed for me to ever begin studying interior decorating and, subsequently, interior design. The second, is my mother, Camilla Gilbert. Without her willingness and support, I would’ve never had my very first home to create in. She allowed me to showcase my talents without inhibitions and completely trusted me to use her home to grow & learn. Thirdly, I would like to give credit to my best friend & Creative Conversations, LLC co-founder, Shandra Ward. Shandra and I have known each other for 15 years and she is the creative Ying to my Yang. She is also an interior designer as well as an event and product designer, so we collaborate very well together. In 2019, we worked together to produce Creative Conversations’ inaugural event, the Texas Black Interior Design Symposium for design professionals of color in and around Texas.
Headshot Photographer: Krytondra Mamou