SmartCows release their creative selves

Dee Dashwood
Dee Dashwood
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Women, on the whole, don’t like being called cows, writes business editor David Tooley.

The word cow is usually associated with being daft or stupid, but Dee Dashwood aims to change all that.

Dee, 52, of Sevens Close, Berkhamsted, has started a business called SmartCows, which aims to help people unleash their creative side through workshops and get them to feel great about themselves and their homes.

“I’m not on a mission to reclaim the word ‘cow’ for women,” said Dee. “Some women have said they don’t like the name until I explain the idea.”

The business was named after a ceramic cow ornament wearing a Chanel tuxedo.

“On the whole, women tend to be self-deprecating about their own ability. When we mess up we tend to say ‘stupid cow’ or ‘daft cow’. However we are smart –SmartCows.”

Dee was trained in interior design after she took redundancy as a City-based events and PR executive. She is building up the business at the same time as holding down a part-time job managing a property portfolio for a Berkhamsted estate agent.

She says her “really great concept” has been very well received. She holds SmartCow workshops to nurture and develop creative skills.

She said: “It is so satisfying for me when I’m working with women on one particular workshop. op how to create a ‘moodboard’

“To see how they react to what they create is really great, but what’s more they feel empowered, it boosts their confidence and off they go to embark on their redecoration project.

“There are times, of course, when I work one on one with my students, because they lack time and ability; a recent project I completed was for the head of PR for a global fund manager.

“She really wanted to redecorate her home, was reticent about using a traditional interior designer and was looking for an alternative. Having discussed her needs, we worked together creating her moodboard in her London home and then she instructed her decorator to do the work, with a little hand-holding from me. She is astounded with her achievement.”

For more details about SmartCow workshops visit