My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Design Time

Expecting parents welcomed two bundles of joy: a new baby and a design business.
- Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

Vital Stats: Emma Gardner and Patrick McDarrah, 38 and 39, respectively, of Emma Gardner Design LLC

Company: Litchfield, Connecticut, company that designs and develops fine contemporary interior products

2006 Projected Sales: $1.5 million

Maternal Bliss: Expecting her first child, Gardner knew she wouldn't have time outside work to focus on her love of art, so she took her creative energy and started a business. "It dawned on me that designing area rugs would be a perfect fit," says Gardner. So she spent a year researching the market and created a portfolio of designs.

Business Travelers: Excited by his wife's idea, McDarrah left his job in 2002, and the couple set out to find showrooms in big markets, positioning their rugs for the high-end, contemporary set. After meetings at five trade showrooms and retailers, four agreed to carry the line.

"I Knew I'd Made It When...": After the initial meetings, "We knew we had something on our hands," says McDarrah. Three months later, they embarked on a seven-city road trip and received offers at every stop.

Warm Tidings: Emma Gardner Design has introduced throw blankets and pillows and is targeting the hospitality market, with Starwood and Steve Wynn Hotels as clients. Under consideration: product developments such as wall coverings and lighting, as well as licensing options.

How Do You Choose Just the Right Niche for Your Ecommerce Business? A Checklist