SHERRI SWASS – She used to dress mannequins, but now she dresses homes. And her confession? She hates shopping. Whether or not we believe her, we won’t say, but this we will: Sherri Swass knows a thing or two about design.
Owner and founder of Swass Interiors, Swass left the world of fashion and department stores to pursue her own company—which has now been thriving since 1983. “My background was never interior design! I wanted to be a clothes buyer, so I was totally petrified when I first started,” Swass said. Swass’ experience began right after college graduation, when she was recruited to work at Weinstocks (think Macy’s lovable grandmother who has since passed on), managing departments and dressing mannequins. Laughing, she remembers, “All of them had issues! Broken arms or broken legs; I always had to overcompensate when
Soon after, Swass transferred from Weinstocks (may it rest in peace) to a competing department store, where she trained as a professional window designer—foreshadowing, perhaps? She spent a total of 10 years in the corporate structure, and although window designing was a big business at the time, she was still ready for something different. “I read the book What Color Is Your Parachute and learned about having a ‘transferrable skill,’ so after careercounseling, I decided it was time to start my own business,” Swass said.
Although Swass didn’t anticipate switching from fashion deign to
interior design, the years she spent analyzing fabrics and studying templates were beneficial—she developed an eye for what worked…and what didn’t. “I really believe that we are all blessed with certain
qualities—and mine just happens to be design. People can buy anything and everything (especially after the introduction of the internet), but they can’t necessarily piece it together. That’s what I do,” Swass said. After her initial leap of faith, Swass gained confidence by doing model homes. Through those opportunities, she built her reputation and slowly but surely her esteem rose with it. “Most people find a mentor when they first start. I went from the corporate world to my own world, with no one holding my hand. But I jumped with both feet. And I still have the tendency to do that,” Swass said. One of her specialities is the 2-hour consultation. She meets with clients in their homes, analyzing what they have, and then helps create an overall feeling based on the items provided. “I always ask how someone wants to feel in their home. That’s what determines how we move forward,” Swass said. The plan that results is flexible from there. Swass takes personal responsibility for everything that comes into the home, meaning whatever products the client does or does not want, she takes care of. Swass works directly with the manufactures for that sole purpose.
She believes planning is key; no planning prior to purchasing equals wasted time—and she wouldn’t dare do that. Swass Interiors has survived (and thrived) for many years since its debut, and that’s the direction Swass intends to keep going. “I get exposed to so many things on a daily basis, and I learn from my clients more than they learn from me. The business has changed and grown a lot, and that’s key. Bottom line, I love what I do,” Swass said. And if we haven’t made it clear already, we’ll echo it just to be sure—we love what you do, too, Sherri. Written By Alyssa Severin
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact Sherrie Swass at (209) 477-7703
or please visit swass.com