When you come across a designer’s work that you love, it’s pretty easy to spend hours on end perusing their work. That’s precisely what we did with Thea Home Inc. This mother-daughter duo founded by Thea Segal (mother) and Dorianne Passman (daughter) has quickly become one of our favorite teams in the biz. Their aesthetic is simply stunning, and they know a thing or two about running a successful family business. We are always so inspired by women who pave their own paths and take big leaps of faith to do what they love — and that’s exactly this dynamic duo.
We were lucky enough to chat with Dorianne Passman on all things business, motherhood, living without regret, and of course, design. Scroll down to our conversation, and we promise you’ll leave feeling inspired, educated, and adding a new ‘follow’ to your IG.
We love that you and your mom are in business together. You were in a totally different field before this — a chef in training at Le Cordon Bleu Paris! — and transitioned to design. How did this all come about?
After NYU, Paris, and cooking professionally for about a year, I realized the life of a chef was not for me. However, I don’t think that cooking and designing are that far off from one another. In both fields you create something comforting and inspiring for someone else to elicit happiness. I was living back in Los Angeles and told my mom that I wanted to work with her, I wanted to design restaurants, not cook in them. She was in a bit of a shock, and wasn’t going to just let me on board. She met with me once a week for a few weeks and had me write up a business plan as to what I would be adding to the business. I did just that and proved my commitment to our upcoming venture together. We are now six years in, and we love working together. It’s an inherently symbiotic relationship that gets to realize itself through design. Pretty special.
Tell us about the Thea Home Inc. journey. What have been some of biggest career highlights and challenges?
I didn’t go to design school, so all of the technicalities took a minute for me to learn. I’m still learning every day on construction sites, but after all my time by my mom’s side, I am capable of running and managing a job site, which feels like a big accomplishment for me, personally. Career highlights have to be being published in Architectural Digest and designing a Japanese Spa in Beverly Hills called, Tomoko.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about switching careers?
Life is short, and nothing is permanent. I believe that every path has its own course and there should be no regrets. Even if you feel like you made the wrong choice in career, there is a reason why you were in that job and it will help you / teach you something for the future. My knowledge of food and cooking makes Thea Home special in that I can assist in designing the most efficient kitchen. I designate where every pan, pot, knife, and spice goes when designing our kitchens.
We are such fans of your aesthetic. What influences your designs and aesthetics?
Thank you :) I come from a line of tastemaker women in my family. My grandmother, an artist who lives in Tel Aviv, is the chicest woman I know. She is the original “Thea Home,” if you will. My mom gets a lot of her taste from her, and I get mine from them both. We each have our own twist but I would say that it all comes back to that.
Any advice you can give on working with a family member? What have been some of the biggest rewards and challenges?
I think that this is one of those odd things that either works or it doesn’t. My mom and I, since working together, fight about design rather than fighting about every day things. We are so supportive of one another professionally that there is nothing competitive in our dynamic. The biggest rewards have been spending so much time together and the product that is delivered when our minds meet. The challenge is that there isn’t the most amount of formality so work and life can get blurred sometimes.
What’s the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
My husband lives by this in his work, he is also an entrepreneur and he told me to “work on your business, not in your business.”
You are also a mama! How do you deal with work-life balance? Is that even a thing?
Since I’ve had Leo, we have been more selective about what projects we take on. Both my mom and I love spending as much time with him as possible. It is pretty hard to get stuff done, though! I just have to plan ahead a bit more when it comes to sourcing / client meetings, but the nice thing is I can have him around a lot on the back end of what we do.
What advice would you give to a new mom, who is either considering starting a new business or is just plain ‘ol busy?
Set yourself up with a good support system. If I didn’t have the emotional and physical support from the people around me, I would have a really hard time doing what I do.
You just went through a renovation of your own. What are a few pieces of advice you would give someone before diving into the process?
We are done with the construction, but I haven’t even started furnishing the house yet. After pregnancy, delivering, moving twice, renovation, and running the business, I needed to take a breath and tell myself that it’s ok to not have everything done and perfect at once. I actually believe that if you take your time furnishing you’ll furnish smarter. I will know what I will really want out of all of my spaces before filling them. Plus, now that I have an empty formal living room, I can host baby music class once a week.
We know you love being in the kitchen, we do too! What are some of your go-to entertaining and hostess tips?
A large hefty cheese plate is a go to for me. It’s an easy thing to throw together and keeps people from being hungry while you finish up making dinner.
How would you describe your person style?
Simple, neutral, timeless (not so far off from our design aesthetic :) )