I was ready for a change! I had owned and operated a retail shop in Atlanta for 19 years. The store featured my artwork on original watercolors, prints and pottery.
The retail business was getting old and I really wanted to move on, but was scared to close down the shop, thinking I would regret it. Change is hard, but I was bored and needed a new challenge. My husband Eric and I decided that I should close the store, but we didn’t set a time frame for doing so. That is until Sid Sukloff walked into my store and told me about his new project. I was sold! What’s the movie line from Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello.”
I had known Sid as the owner of The Heeney Company for many years. Heeney was always my “go to” place for store displays and new ideas. I had also worked in the same showroom with Sid and his wife, Janie, when I was selling my line of pillows.
Sid sold me on his new project to design and manufacture high-end melamine serving pieces that looked and felt like pottery. For several years, I designed tabletop pottery for Present Tense, a division of Herend China, and quickly knew this was the challenge I needed to move on and cure the boredom. Soon after, I closed the shop and have not regretted it one bit!
Our first endeavor was to meet with David Richardson, owner of DHR Inc., a very successful manufacturer’s rep showroom in the Atlanta Gift Mart for many years. David has seen everything in the home décor industry. We picked his brain for ideas and looks for our new melamine company, Encore Concepts. We got great feedback and David invited us to participate in the January gift show in his showroom.
Sid and I were fired up and ready to start creating! We knew there were other melamine companies out there, and we really wanted to distinguish our brand from the others. I knew I had the designs that would make our items unique. The question was where and how do you get them made to ensure the high-design quality we had in mind?
Serendipity!!! By chance or good fortune serendipity came our way. A friend of Sid’s introduced us to a little melamine company that believed in our product and shared our vision for quality designs.
For me, the circle was complete and for Encore Concepts, it was time to go to market.