Having founded IDG almost 20 years ago, Cara Saladino has helped develop the local interior design industry in the Cayman Islands by repeatedly upping the benchmark for her designs’ quality, creativity and individuality. 

From creating custom designs for her clients to sourcing, shipping and installing the final finishes, Cara has always found a way to make the seemingly impossible happen and do it with a style all her own. 

We sat down with Cara to chat about the challenges and changes to the local design market, what it means to be a part of the IDG family and one of her latest projects: the rebrand of IDG as Interior Design Group.

As one of IDG’s female founders, what inspired you to start something new in such an underdeveloped market?

IDG was born out of a true passion for design and a deep appreciation for creating personalized living environments. Back then, we weren’t seeing the individual represented in most homes in Grand Cayman. Instead, there was a general preset or typical design style that had little uniqueness. 

With IDG, we saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between what Cayman was currently offering and what the global design industry was excited about. We started sourcing materials that hadn’t been introduced to the island yet and using exciting and different products. We broke the mold and moved the Cayman Islands into the global site-line. 

While it can be safe to stick with what you know best, IDG has always focused on understanding the individual needs of our clients to craft designs that are as unique as them. We strive to help our clients push the boundaries of what they thought possible in Cayman.

What are some of the biggest challenges in running an interior design firm on a Caribbean island?

Being on an island means that you have limited resources at your fingertips. Simple fixes can quickly become complicated, and problem-solving on the fly is a bit trickier. Over the years, we’ve learned to adapt to these hurdles to deliver high-quality products and experiences consistently.

To ensure we achieve our clients’ visions, we have built trusted partnerships with international freight forwarders and qualified local trade workers interested in expanding their knowledge. Over the years, we’ve developed strong relationships within the community here. I genuinely believe that finding trustworthy partners has been the key to creating our success. 

How has the industry evolved today?

Technology has been a massive driver of change and made interior design available to everyone. The internet’s global marketplace has allowed us to source furniture and finishes from across the globe, making it possible to match our clients’ visions more precisely. 

Advances in tech have also changed the way our interior design team works. We now have access to 3-D printing, virtual reality and revolutionary software. These innovations have increased productivity, simplified the design process and helped us to keep our clients more informed.

Technology has also resulted in an awareness of global trends, which we use to create a client’s ideal environment. Keeping tabs on societal shifts is also crucial. For example, eco-friendly and sustainable design is now at the forefront of our industry, causing us to be more mindful of how we are sourcing our materials.

More recently, COVID-19 has also brought changes to the design world, especially in pricing and supply. Production facilities will become leaner with smaller teams, and design companies will depend more on the communities they serve through business-to-business relationships. 

In a nutshell, can you define the ethos of IDG? What are some of your differentiators in the local market?

Our foundation is built on trust, integrity, substance and approachability. The strength of this foundation has allowed us to withstand many changes over the years, including those to our industry and island.

We strive to offer thoughtful and holistic designs and give our clients the best personal experience with IDG, whether through our design team, warehouse team or personal shoppers. 

What are you most excited about with regards to IDG?

I’m really excited about what is happening in Cayman right now. The island is blooming, and IDG is currently involved in so many interesting and creative projects, including residential developments and commercial spaces. We are also excited to have our online shoppe available to our local clients, to help make it easier for people to live a #LifeInspired. 

Do you have any words of wisdom for someone looking to find success in a new market?

I think it’s so important to build from a solid foundation. Learn the market you’re breaking into, know who you are as a company and understand how your business will fit.

Establishing trust is also key to the longevity of your business. Build strong relationships and hire people who believe in your company. Encourage relationship building and the discussion of new ideas. Your goal should be to create a respectful and supportive environment. 

It’s also important to understand that you will make mistakes along the way. Take responsibility for your errors, learn from your past and implement changes to prevent them from happening again. 

Lastly, don’t chase your competition because competition will always be there. Do you and do it very well. Live by your ethos. Give back to the community around you and build a business you’re proud of. 

What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?

Create your life, don’t let others create it for you. 

What inspires you on a daily basis?

I’m inspired daily by our team. They are all creative, passionate, talented and believe in our brand’s ethos. Our company’s dynamic, wide range of projects and mix of local and international clients are also an endless source of inspiration. 

If you had to choose an interior design style for a home and life in the Cayman Islands – what would it be and why?

I’d choose quality, high-end design that is relaxed, refined and easy to live in. 

What are five things you can’t live without, excluding the obvious and the existential?

  1. My dog
  2. Luxe bedding
  3. Coffee
  4. Lazy rainy days
  5. Designing beautiful spaces


How can we learn more about IDG?

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