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 Entrepreneurs StartUps Magazine. 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.

loading...
More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors will guide you through the entire franchising process, for FREE!
  1. Book a one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Take a survey about your needs & goals
  3. Find your ideal franchise
  4. Learn about that franchise
  5. Meet the franchisor
  6. Receive the best business resources
Discover the franchise that’s right for you by answering some quick questions about
  • Which industry you’re interested in
  • Why you want to buy a franchise
  • What your financial needs are
  • Where you’re located
  • And more
Make sure you’re covered for physical injuries or property damage that occur at work by
  • Providing us with basic information about your business
  • Verifying details about your business with one of our specialists
  • Speaking with an agent who is specifically suited to insure your business

Latest on Entrepreneur