About Cathy Lee
The creative talent and public face of Hawaii’s hottest design/décor company, Cathy Lee is president and designer of RSVPstyle, CathysMarketplace.com and the upcoming Creations with Cathy Lee luxury bedding line. A born entrepreneur, she brings strategic planning, creative marketing and a signature flair to every venture she undertakes.
Cathy’s introduction to the home industry was more accidental than planned. The daughter of a police sergeant dad and babysitter mom, she had zero exposure to home design when the interior designer working on the house she and her husband were building stopped returning her calls. Cathy decided to tackle the project herself. A year and a half of intensive study, beginner’s mistakes and on-the-job learning produced a lush island/eclectic house with movie theater, meditation room and floor-to-ceiling views of the surrounding Hawaiian mountains. That home landed on the cover of Gannett’s Homescape magazine and launched Cathy’s career as a design diva.
Cathy continued to develop her unique style with luxury homes she purchased, remodeled, decorated in her signature style and sold. As her base of fans pleading for help with their own homes grew, she and sister-in-law Lissa Rodrigues launched RSVPstyle in November 2006 to inspire and teach people to add style to their spaces.
The new venture staged a series of sell-out workshops featuring inspiring, easy-to-grasp tips and decorating fundamentals. Audiences responded to Cathy’s high energy, fun-loving personality and her ability to span a broad range, from humble homes like her childhood one to gorgeous dream houses in Diamond Head and Kahala. Those workshops brought invitations for smaller events at Macy’s, the Navy Exchange at Pearl Harbor and aboard a Crystal Cruise ship.
RSVPstyle.com, an interactive website, packaged Cathy’s fun, practical lessons in style videos and articles, and the company began selling its 3½-hour Learn to Decorate with Style DVD sets at Hawaii outlets of Borders, Barnes and Noble, Sam’s Club and Costco.
As demand for RSVPstyle’s DIY style tips grew, Cathy in 2008 began regular appearances on Honolulu’s ABC affiliate as its exclusive homestyle expert. Her columns have appeared on the Oceanic Time Warner website, and her work has been featured in magazines and on HGTV’s House Hunters.
Cathy’s next business idea was an outgrowth of RSVPstyle’s teach-and-inspire focus. Launched in May 2010, CathysMarketplace.com combines weekly video tips from Cathy with items from a beautiful new online marketplace featuring quality new and gently used home furnishings, accessories and art. When demand for a real-world version soared, the company opened Cathy's Marketplace, a 4,100-square-foot retail showroom in Honolulu's Moiliili district. The showroom combines new and high-end consigned furniture and accents, displaying them in designer-created vignettes for elegant, eclectic effect. Open six days a week, the CM showroom occupies the entire ground floor of the landmark Varsity Building at 1110 University Ave.
To accommodate rising demand from consignors, the Cathy's Marketplace warehouse was opened a few months later. Located at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako, its quality overstock furniture, accents and art are available for viewing and purchase every Wednesday.
The company is currently working on Creations, a new line of luxury bedding currently in development and being designed by Cathy.
A hands-on mom, Cathy involves herself in school and community activities. She has brought her fresh ideas and energy to fundraising for the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, American Red Cross and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her philosophy is that as with creating and learning, giving back should be fun.
About Lissa Rodrigues
With 20 years of expertise in information technology, Lissa Rodrigues is the company’s connection to the virtual world. As executive vice president of technology, she drives the slick, layered websites of RSVPstyle.com and CathysMarketplace.com, oversees video production and has a hand in the company’s overall strategic direction.
Lissa and Cathy Lee have been friends since high school, and the two eventually became sisters-in-law. When Lissa returned to Hawaii after stints in California’s oil, retail and newspaper industries, she and her husband bought the home of their dreams. In stepped Cathy and guided her through each step of the remodel, interior design and decorating. Both realized the same thing: With inspiration, fun tips and key lessons, anybody could learn to decorate a space. The time was right for an online home décor community.
As RSVPstyle has grown, spinning off the CathysMarketplace.com home furnishings website and soon, a new site to retail the Creations with Cathy Lee bedding line, Lissa has overseen development of each online function. The resident techie, she also takes the helm on producing all retail and online videos and managing online advertising.
When she’s not working on some form of technical wizardry, Lissa whips up delectable baked treats in her kitchen or prowls craft stores to supply her holiday passion of decorating Christmas trees. You can find her tree-decorating tips in the Articles section of RSVPstyle.com.
About Kara Wagner
A people person with formidable organizational skills, Kara Wagner is vice president of operations and development of corporate relations of RSVPstyle, CathysMarketplace.com and Creations with Cathy Lee.
Kara’s varied experience includes training at the California College of Arts and Crafts, teaching and administrative roles at a nationally acclaimed primary school and stints as office and HR manager at large advertising and law firms in California prior to moving to Hawaii in 1997.
She has her daughter, Keri, to thank for her introduction to Cathy Lee. Friendship between Keri and her classmate Nicki, Cathy’s daughter, translated into a friendship between their moms, and Cathy asked Kara to join RSVPstyle in its infancy in February 2007. With a background in design and extensive business management experience, she quickly became the company’s go-to person for business management, event logistics and cultivating strategic partnerships in local and national business circles.
Kara’s integral role was formalized in 2010 when she joined the management ranks as vice president. She oversees office operations, production schedules and community relations.
An advocate for children and education, Kara serves on the board of the Children’s Alliance of Hawaii, which provides caring environments for abused children. She volunteers at Keri’s school and other community events and loves traveling, outdoor activities and going to the movies with her family.