Franchisor Profile: Jim Bugg Sr., Decorating Den Interiors

Decorating Den Interiors

Since 1969, Decorating Den Interiors has been making the world more beautiful one room at a time throughout the U.S. and Canada. Whether our customer enjoys being surrounded with time-honored traditional design or bespoke, modern, cutting-edge couture, it’s our ultimate goal to design spaces that reflect their taste and lifestyle.

Whether the project involves a living room, family room, dining room, bedroom or office, we have the products and ideas to satisfy every need.

Decorating Den Interiors is the largest interior decorating franchise company in North America. While most franchise owners are home-based, providing a lower overhead, we have more and more owners moving into an outside location as their business outgrows their home.

Decorating Den Interiors was originally owned by Jim Bugg, Sr., who began his successful business career selling Kirby vacuum cleaners following WWII and college. He then went on to found Fairfax Industries, co-founded the National Acceptance Corp., then became president of Merrill Industries and International Cosmetics. His franchise experience started in 1970 when he became a regional director of Century 21, where he guided the opening of 325 franchises. He subsequently became a consultant and, when he left 5 years later, Century 21 had over 5,000 franchisees worldwide. He passed away in 2015.

In 1979 he co-founded Partners Real Estate, helping sell 425 franchises in just 3 years.

In 1984 Bugg joined Decorating Den Systems, Inc. and a year later was appointed President and CEO. In 1988, Bugg and his wife, Carol Donyare Bugg, a renowned interior designer in the Washington, DC area and well-known author of several home decorating books, purchased the company from its founders and continued to pursue the dream of “Making the world beautiful, one room at a time.”

In addition to being one of Maryland’s most successful entrepreneurs, Bugg was an artist, writer, conservationist and photographer. He founded the African Safari Club of Washington, and was trustee and founding Director of the African Wildlife Foundation. In 1961 Bugg became a trustee and co-founder of the Chesapeake Heritage Foundation, in 1982, he founded the Grand National Wildfowl Foundation. In 2005 Bugg and a small group of his friends organized the Yellow Ribbon Fund, an organization that provides services to thousands of injured service members and their families.

Bugg was the recipient of the “Entrepreneur of the Year Award “in 1991 from Merrill Lynch, Price Waterhouse and INC Magazine. In 1994 he was named Chairman of the IFA and went on to champion opportunities of franchisors and franchisees alike. His philosophy was, “in franchising you win together or you lose together.” In 2009, he was inducted into the IFA Hall of Fame.

Throughout the years Bugg, taking the title of Chairman, assembled a talented, experienced team to help lead Decorating Den Interiors with his son, Jim Bugg Jr., who serves today as President and CEO. Bugg, Jr started with the company right after graduating from the University of Maryland, and had to start at the bottom as a franchise salesperson. He immediately became one of the company’s top producers. The management team today consists of Decorating Den veterans, most of whom have owned successful Decorating Den franchises themselves and who have been with the company up to 30 years.

Decorating Den Interiors makes the whole process of interior design easy and fun for our clients, with thousands of top-quality home furnishings product samples from which to choose: fabrics, window coverings, furniture, bedding, lighting, accessories, wall art, floor covering and wall coverings. And the best part? We bring our design ideas and samples to the most convenient showroom in the world – our client’s home or office. In this way, colors and products can be selected in the comfort of the customer’s own environment, with the lighting, space and lifestyle right there to guide design and product decisions. Our initial design consultation is always complimentary.

Decorating Den Interiors has been helping talented individuals turn their passion for decorating into a beautiful business. Our franchise concept is simple: we provide our Franchise Partners with all the tools necessary to run a rewarding interior decorating business. The training we provide to our franchise partners is comprehensive and ongoing, involving product knowledge, design, sales, marketing, and business systems. Whether someone joins us with just an “eye for design” or already has a design degree and experience, our trainers support the needs of every new business.

However, even the best designers and business owners need the phone to ring in order to be successful. A Decorating Den Interiors franchise comes with a tried and proven system for marketing and generating new clients. We feature ads of all sizes for newspaper and magazines, local TV ads, direct mail, and all forms of print advertising tools. We advertise nationally in magazines such as Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens, and Elle Décor. Our franchisees have also been featured in interior design articles in numerous newspapers and magazines across the U.S. and Canada. We have a talented graphic designer on staff to help our owners customize their own ad pieces if necessary. Electronically, we stay on the cutting edge of online marketing tools and social media. Check us out on our new website, on Facebook, or on Pinterest.

One strength of the Decorating Den Interiors system is our merchandising program, featuring over 100 of the best suppliers in the industry. This Preferred Supplier Program offers direct wholesale purchasing accounts to our franchisees, which means increased profitability. Our broad selection of products is meant to satisfy design and budget needs no matter where our franchisees target their marketing. So we offer a “Good/Better/Best” selection of products in “Traditional, Transitional, Contemporary” design schemes – virtually a “one stop shop.”

After an outstanding 2014 with sales topping $38 million and the addition of 18 new franchises in six states, Washington, D.C. and Canada, Decorating Den Interiors is poised for further success in 2015. “With consumer confidence on the rise, home sales improving, and remodeling gaining momentum, our business model is ideal for today’s busy homeowners,” explains Jim Bugg Jr., CEO. “Consumers are looking for convenience, and our full-service home furnishings model with no-fee, in-home design consultations enables our designers to pull it all together for clients.”

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For more information about IFA and franchising in general, visit the IFA’s website at

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