Monday Motivation from Sara Taylor-Demos, Founder & CEO of Cora Home
Mondays can be rough and, sometimes, we can all use some motivation. Our #MondayMotivation blog series brings you tips and life hacks from industry leaders and some of the most creative entrepreneurs out there.
This week, we chat with Sara Taylor – Demos Founder & CEO of Cora Home, which believes, “that you have the right to confidently and swiftly direct the design vision of your life.” For Cora, tech and furniture shopping go hand in hand and preparation for Mondays begins on Sunday nights.
What inspired you to start your business?
Furniture shopping has always been a painful process — What goes together? Will this fit in my space? Where can I find this? In addition, I love visualization technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). And, then…the day after conceiving of my business, Cora, my brother and sister-in-law’s house was struck by a tornado. The pain they experienced over the next year to rebuild their house — to feel settled again — has been a driving factor in me to create digital solutions to turn your home design vision into reality, and to reduce the time investment required.
For busy households who find furniture shopping overwhelming, frustrating and time-consuming, Cora is a B2C home furnishings e-commerce experience that provides digital tools to better find, pair and visualize your home design before purchase.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Focus. Out of the 1000s of things you could be doing as a founder, what are the key activities you can do as the founder to drive your business? For me, the challenge has been learning how to get out of my own way and recruit team members who are (obviously) way more talented (and amazing) than me, especially in specific areas. (Shout out to the Cora Team! Thank you so much!) My focus is shifting to sales, digital & company vision, fundraising, and recruitment — exactly what I should be doing and where my talent lies.
What’s been the greatest reward?
Building the team. I think of Cora as our business, not my business. I think about this talented group of people we’re forming and the joy that comes from our work, output and time together.
Every person on our team of 6 (soon-to-be 7) is bad@$$, and I’m grateful for their contributions and expertise.
What is the biggest thing you’d like to see changed in your industry, and how are you working toward making that change happen?
Each person has a unique, nuanced style they would like to see expressed in their home, but many times it’s difficult to explain your style to a designer. The vision is missed. We want to empower customers to control the design vision of their lives through our technology and to feel that they can work with a designer on their own terms if needed.
Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
Four things. (1) My deep passion to build a digital solution people love and that reduces frustration. (2) Knowing that I come from a family of business owners — that it’s in my blood. My Dad is an owner of a CPA firm and my grandparents (and generations prior) owned a farm in Iowa, my home state. (3) Our team and advisors. If it’s been a punishing day, I’m thankful to have their ear and advice. (4) My husband, George. He’s my rock in all aspects.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
Just when the going gets really tough, you have to hold your nerve and double down. You will freak out, but figure out how to channel that energy toward hustling and progress. Imposter syndrome is a real thing. It does creep in for me, and to combat this I will talk, act and conduct business as for how I see myself and my business in 3 years.
What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
I prepare on Sunday nights. I write my goals for the week, send out meeting invites, follow up with key stakeholders, lay out my clothes for Monday and think strategically about next steps. Monday morning is too late. 😉
For more #MondayMotivation, check out our interview with Abby Dubois, Founder & Creative Director of EACH Jewels, a company which believes that “small items and small gestures make our world a better, brighter place.”