From the March 2002 issue of Startups

Karen Powell wasn't making very much money as a high school teacher, so she looked for a side job to bring in extra income. She worked for an accessory company, selling artwork, pillows and other enhancements to homeowners. After adding a few accessories, many clients became interested in redecorating whole rooms, so Powell began offering full interior decorating services.

After 10 years with this company, it went out of business--but instead of going back to the classroom or working for someone else, Powell decided to start her own decorating company. "We had some ideas of enhancements and embellishments that we wanted to make," she says, "so when [my employer] went out of business, it was our opportunity to do it the way we really want it done."

In 1994 Powell and Josie Cicerale, a former nurse who worked for the same decorator as Powell, founded Decor & You. The Southbury, Connecticut, company, which began franchising in 1998, helps clients change the look of rooms by changing lighting, color, furnishings and accessories. "You really provide a service to clients by doing [this] because you make their space more functional," says Powell. "You make it enjoyable instead of something that nags them."