Designing A Creative Career

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - September 27, 2006
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Tiare Cowan-Broad at work while her furry friend supervises
Tiare Cowan-Broad at work while her furry friend

Rearranging the furniture, buying new curtains or adding slip covers can give your home a fresh new look. With all the television programs that feature home make-overs, there are many options available. Award-winning interior designer Tiare Cowan-Broad can help with any type of decorating.

For 18 years, she’s owned SlipCovers Etc. Her work is very tailored, often featuring tropical designs that incorporate palm trees, pineapples or exotic flowers.

“I love all the fabrics,” Cowan-Broad, a Kailua resident, says. “I usually pull together most of the fabrics.”

She fashions slipcovers, pillows, drapes, bed skirts and tablecloths. Cushion covers and bedding are also part of her repertoire of designs. Fabrics she often incorporates include bark cloth and chenille. One of Cowan-Broad’s favorite slipcovers to make are sets for the large Hawaiian couch (punee or hikee) with matching pillows.

When the Kailua High School graduate just started out, she’d go to clients’homes to take the order, and she’d return to her Kaimuki laundry room to cut and sew the slipcover. She then returned to put them on for clients. Her clients include vacation rentals, interior designers and her neighbors.

These days, she focuses on customer service and design. She has two people who sew for her, including the previous owner of SlipCovers Etc.

Most people find out about Cowan-Broad’s business through word of mouth, and she appreciates that.

“You don’t have to go through the whole process of proving yourself,” she says.

Cowan-Broad has two more design-related businesses that she owns.

“I love what I do; it’s not like work,” she says.

She started an interior design company, TCB Interiors, in 1996. And three years ago she, her husband, William, and her brother Rick took over the kitchen design business, Studio Becker, located on the ground floor at the Gentry Pacific Center. She is a certified kitchen designer.

Cowan-Broad notes that all three businesses work together.

“It’s a back-and-forth kind of a job,” she says. “Sometimes I go into a slipcover job, and come out with an interior decorating job. Sometimes I go into a kitchen job and come out with a slipcover job.”

One of the challenges she faces is achieving balance, and one way she may deal with it is to combine her interior design and kitchen design businesses by January. She plans to keep Slip Covers Etc. separate.

She admits Hawaii struggles with delivery times, whether it is for her fabrics or her furniture. To deal with that problem, she says she has learned that “there is no such thing as an interior design emergency.”

Cowan-Broad enjoys spending time with her husband and their 10-year-old son, Kainoa, and 8-year-old daughter, Nai’a. Cowan-Broad says her daughter considers herself a bathroom connoisseur.

Cowan-Broad is in her element doing anything creative in home decorating.

“I love the clients and getting to know people,” she said.

For more information, call 262-1171.

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