Divine Interview Hour: Deborah Dimare Founder of VeganDesign.org
Deborah DiMare is an accomplished vegan design expert, luxury interior decorator, founder of DiMare Design, published author, TV personality, educational speaker, mother of 3 (including fur baby Lucca) and global influencer for the vegan design movement. Deborah and her vegan design expertise have been featured on the Today Show, NBC, TLC and in the pages of The Huffington Post, Ocean Drive, VegNews and PETA's blog. Deborah and her family reside in Miami, FL and when Deborah is not writing or teaching, you can find her paddle-boarding and playing on the beach with her daughters and puppy, Lucca. She agreed to speak to me about cruelty-free design.
DG. Hello Deborah! thank you for agreeing to sit down with me to speak about Cruelty-Free design. I've learned so much from you and I am honored to be able to become a part of this movement with you and the many people that have decided to take a stand in the textile industry for the mistreatment of animals. Could you take a moment to briefly introduce yourself to those who might not know you?
DD. My name is Deborah Dimare and I’m the founder of Dimare Design & vegandesign.org I’ve been an interior designer for about 15 years, and I’m self-taught. I have two twin daughters who just celebrated their 23rd birthday. I was a full-time mom till they went to school, my career started when I decorated the home of a friend and, that turned into her neighbor, her cousin, her cousin's friends, and so on.
Before I knew it, I had this full-time business that I was running with zero experience. So, I made lots of mistakes over the years! but those same mistakes have gotten me where I am today. I’ve built a wonderful team around me, it’s all about building your team and surrounding yourself with positive, passionate people with integrity and who work their butts off. We love animals in our family, we are very involved with PETA and several animal rights organizations. Our dog Lucca is the star of the company, we call him Naomi Campbell (Laughs)
DG. (Laughs) Why do you call him Naomi Campbell?
DD. Because he gets very cranky and rude all the time when we're shooting. He's a complete diva, if Naomi Campbell was a dog, she would be Lucca.
DG. That's too funny! Was Lucca a big motivation to go cruelty-free? What motivated you to make your design firm 100% cruelty-free?
DD. I saw a video of the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China and it changed me, even now when I talk about it, I get eerie. It was a switch and I literally changed my entire business overnight. Vegan products are durable, a lot of times they are less expensive and they are not hurting animals, or people or the planet. Tanneries are one of the most toxic places in the world, 90% of tannery workers die under the age of 50. If you see the videos, they are literally barefoot without gloves sitting in a lake of toxic.
DG. So it’s not only bad for the animal, it’s bad for the environment and the people making it?
DD. Even if you’re not an animal lover, lets put animals aside for a minute, it’s just bad for the world in general. People are dying, you go to the farms in Canada and all over the world, the fur farms for example, there's toxic and feces, animals in farms produce more feces than humans, which is all running into rivers and streams and lakes and it's toxic. The cancer rate, if you see the sheet that these workers have to sign off on, they’re signing their life away when they work in these farms and these factories because they can get terrible diseases.
DG. Wow! I did not know that, do you think that there is a future for cruelty-free design?
DD. YES! I think it’s a fact, we were at the bio-fabricate summit in New York a couple of months ago and the future is bio-fabrication.
Why? because we can’t continue to do it anymore we’re destroying our planet. Plastic fibers are found in 83% of the world's water, we can’t continue on this route anymore because we’re cutting down forests, jungles & trees, we’re losing our bees, our waters and oceans are contaminated.
We are dying and we simply can't continue to live this way.
Bio-fabrication is the future, which is creating materials and textiles which can be used in all industries not only the textile industry. They are now making faux leather made from fruits and vegetables; mushroom, pineapples, tofu juice just to name a few! So yes, it is the future 100%.
DG. What is your favorite part of being a vegan designer? and least favorite part?
DD. My favorite part is knowing that every time I buy a pillow, it’s a down alternative. So, I save 12 geese from being live-plucked or dying, many of them die from the pain. That makes me happy because, as such an animal lover I feel like I’m making a change. I’m becoming a leader and I’m considered to be at this point, the expert. So, that’s a very fulfilling positive thing, that I am saving animals. and reaching people like you. The negative part is having to learn and see the awful parts of it, and that’s the really hard part because it sticks with you. But, that gives me more ammunition to make a change.
DG. What are the benefits of having a cruelty-free designed home?
DD. For people that have allergies clearly it’s very good because, there’s no down, no wool which are two materials that are extremely allergic. Even before I became aware, if I knew that my client had allergies I would never use a down pillow or down bedding, and this was way before I was doing it for humane reasons.
For children in the spectrum of autism, for example, many of them are sensory sensitive. Meaning that smells affect them very much, touching, their skin is very delicate. So scratchy wool is an issue for them, the smell of real leather is exasperating, it doesn’t smell like leather to them, it smells much worse. So, for people with any kind of sensory issue, it’s a benefit. As far as durability, you can’t beat it, it's more durable than the real thing because you’re dealing with real skin.
DG. What advice do you give to those that can't afford a vegan designer but, would still like to have a vegan home?
DD. Go to VeganDesign.Org and you can get all of your furniture, inexpensive, well priced and completely vegan. We have an array selection of items from Amazon that we have approved to be completely vegan. If you want to buy an inexpensive sofa, or chair, or any type of furniture.
DG. What is your Vegan Design For Dummies 101 course about and who is it for?
DD.The course is for everyone, however, it’s great for people in the design industry. It’s accredited which is wonderful, it’s only $40 and I promise you that it’s more interesting than all the other stuff out there that’s accredited. It’s a really fun course, it’s not just a powerpoint presentation. We have interviews with great people who made a change, we have interviews with companies and small businesses who have faux alternatives. We talk about branding, we have marketing experts, it’ a completely inclusive course. you take it in your pajamas eating a tub of vegan ice cream. It’s amazing! we have never received a negative review of the course and the course is taught globally.
I can vouch for that! I took Deborahs Vegan Design 101 course and I was completely in awe, at the atrocities that happen behind the scenes, and my life was changed forever. It's a must if you want to open your eyes and educate yourself in this industry. She is an inspiration to me and I hope for you too, if you would like to take the course or learn more about Deborah see the links below to her website and social media pages.