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Scratch a Niche

Targeting a narrow customer base with a niche business could be your key to success.

This story appears in the August 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Interior decorator and small-business owner Deborah Wiener, 46, has carved out a special place in her Silver Spring, Maryland, market. She doesn't just help clients pick out colorful fabrics and comfy furniture--Wiener's work is much more specific and detailed than that. The entrepreneur's 4-year-old niche company, Designing Solutions LLC, specializes in creating family-friendly interiors for her clients' homes. This includes helping customers choose furniture that can stand the wear and tear of active children, stain-resistant fabrics, and lamps and accessories that are less prone to breakage.

Before launching Designing Solutions, Wiener did her homework to see if there was really a need for the niche enterprise she was contemplating. An interior designer by trade, she took various friends and acquaintances with children out to lunch in groups of three and four. She asked them what they thought of local interior decorators, and most said they were too "fancy," offering suggestions not practical enough for people with kids.

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