June 30, 2014
By Patricia Sheridan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For the past four years, Donny Osmond and his wife, Debbie, have been thinking about launching a home furnishings line. They finally did it during the winter Las Vegas Furniture Market. Working since he was 5, the 56-year-old has no intention of retiring. A teen idol who went on to wow television audiences with the “Donny and Marie” variety show, he is once again co-starring with his younger sister at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. He and Debbie have five children and six grandchildren.
Was getting into the home furnishings business your idea or Debbie’s?
It was one that actually evolved by itself. The nice thing about it is once all the children are raised, this gives us an opportunity of being together and traveling the world together. The way it is now, Debbie decided to stay home and raise the kids. It’s been very difficult, I won’t lie to you, for me to go out on the road and be away from my wife and children. But when I came home, it was just like a breath of fresh air, the way Debbie decorated. That is why we adopted the phase “Making Home and Family Number One.” It’s our mantra, so to speak. It eventually evolved to the point where it was, “Honey, we could do this the rest of our lives together.”
And have a reason for traveling.
Absolutely. I will give you a perfect example. We were in London last June and we were walking down Regent Street. We walked past this store, and there was this beautiful lamp, chandelier. It was a lighting store and it was funny because we both stopped and said, “Wow, that is really cool.” I took a picture of it on my phone, and the system we have come up with is that it immediately goes to a drop box for our design team. They take it to the manufacturing teams. So the communication is immediate.
Has Las Vegas influenced your idea of design?
That’s a very good question. I think it has, because my taste is because of my surroundings. I’m not a very bling-y person, but I like to walk around with flashing lights around me all the time [laughs]. I carry a spotlight with me wherever I go. We are coming out with a line of spotlights [laughing].
Is show business addictive? Can you ever imagine walking away?
I never will. I’ll always be on stage. I’ve been doing this since I was 5.
So is the home furnishings line a sort of retirement plan like when the hips go?
Uh, no, I’m not changing my business at all. I don’t even want to call it a side project because it means a lot to us. If I said it was kind of a side thing then it would be, “Oh, whatever happens to it happens to it.” We are not approaching it that way. This is a huge part of our lives now. I’m never going to stop singing.
When you look back at your long career and your life, are you content or restless?
Not anymore, no. Everything is just adding upon what I have done in my career. I am so blessed. I mean, I am so content. There is always an aspiration. There is always a mountain you want to climb and a goal. You never want to get to the point where you are satisfied with everything and you stop. Then you might as well just turn around and die. There is always another plateau. Launching this company, there is always a new design. Watching the trends, that is what is exciting. What can we create? And that’s part of show business. For instance, the show we are doing right now at the Flamingo is completely different than when we launched it six years ago. So, I’m constantly in a creative mode.
Will you use the same techniques to keep the collection fresh as you use to keep your act new?
Let’s approach it this way: People’s attention span is that of a gnat nowadays. They want something new and fresh all the time. We see it in the design industry. The color palette is changing all the time, but I love that. Our living room is beautiful. We have some very nice furniture in there, but the rest of the house is like — let’s live in it! It’s not a showpiece. Let’s have fun as a family in our home. My grandkids come over. If you want to jump on the couch, go right ahead. I love the way Debbie has put this together. It’s neutral with splashes of color.
When you first got the opportunity to do Vegas this time around, having a family of your own, did you have any reservations?
I’ve been playing Vegas since I was 7. You know, you can find anything you want anywhere nowadays, just get online. It’s all about how you raise your children, how you conduct your life at home. We have certain values and standards that we stick to, but free agency belongs to everybody. If you teach children correct principles, wise decisions will follow. You have to be selective with what you see.
Do your children have an influence on the designs you select for Donny Osmond Home?
It’s her taste [Debbie’s].
So she is the designer and you are the name.
Well, that’s an interesting way to look at it, but there’s a little bit more communication than that. It’s not just two separate roles. It’s a partnership.
Not a little country, a little rock ‘n … sorry, I tried to stop myself.
[Laughing] I saw you were holding yourself back and it finally came out.