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Ottoman Empire

Up close and personal with the queen of the fifties footrest

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This story appears in the November 2000 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine.

From their perfectly situated Los Angeles showroom, Veronica Koltuniak and her former partner erected a design studio simply known as Mildred in 1991. There, they kept themselves busy, producing high-end window hardware and draperies for Hollywood types like Madonna and Matthew Perry. But one life-altering day, while driving through the alleyway behind their workroom, the intrinsically observant Koltuniak came upon a crusty old vinyl ottoman that had obviously been uprooted from its posh living room of 40 years and finally put out to pasture.

Inspired by its fun, cylindrical shape, Koltuniak went to work fashioning her own line of retro ottomans. With three sleek designs in tow, she hit the trade-show circuit, where the pieces outsold her drapery designs.

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