When I first started in the design business, I just helped people one by one. I would shop for inventory at other retail stores and purchase the things we needed. If the pieces didn’t work out, I would have to return the items to each store. This process made my work harder and longer.
The Early Years
I remember a time when I was working on a project at the beach. I was buying a lot of furniture from other retailers, and I thought, “Why am I doing this, I need to have my own furniture”. During this time the economy started going down and I thought, “Well I will just buy furniture”. It was harder to get the furniture from our vendors. They were cutting back on producing inventory, since stores were cutting back on buying the inventory. With the economy declining, I thought it might be wise to invest in furniture because it will never go out of style. So, I did. As time progressed and our inventory grew, so did my need for space. I started working out of my attic. Then I rented a retail space in a small strip mall location. That one space turned into two spaces…then expanded to three spaces.
One day I was asking God what I should do next. Our retail space was full of inventory, and He told me to fish out of the other side of the boat. And I thought…what does that mean? I started looking around and seeing that our design business had grown along with our inventory. I realized He was leading me to embrace the retail business not just the design business.
In 2008 we opened our design business. By 2010 we were outgrowing our space. In 2011 the opportunity came for us to move to the Shoppes at EastChase in Montgomery, Alabama. This move has given us more floor space, an open showroom, and a retail presence. We now have a retail business AND a full-service design business. We really have two businesses. Now people can come shop our furniture to use for their projects.
Our Retail Showroom
Customers can come in and buy furniture right from our showroom floor. When I shop personally, I like to touch, feel and select the exact item and take it home with me. I wanted our customers to have the same opportunity when selecting their furniture. They touch it, sit on it, and pick out exactly what they want, and we deliver those selected items.
When they want to special order items, we can assist them with that as well. I select our furniture vendors based on the people and the quality of their furniture. I try to find family owned businesses, and people that share the same business ethics as I do. Ultimately, it’s about the person with whom I am working. If the person is right, the product is going to be right.
When selecting upholstery, I customize the fabrics, choose the frame, and design it with a project in mind or what I know would really work in the majority of people’s spaces. So, there is nothing that is bought that is not customized. We are not a big box retailer. Many of our clients are looking for quality and individuality.
Meet Our Team
Our business is unique. My team consists of different individuals, ones that like to go on jobs and ones that like to stay at the store. It’s fun, because it’s both. Some shoppers may come into the store thinking they want to purchase a sofa and a chair, but what they really need is our design expertise.
They might need their room arranged so that the right pieces of furniture are selected with the proper scale for that room. We offer our design services to anyone. Taking advantage of this service can save the client time, money and stress. We are not only selling high quality furniture. We are also selling our knowledge, our service, and we are selling our expertise.
The only down side with having both the design and retail business is that it does not afford me the time to stay in the store every day. Many days we are out installing a project. I oversee every project. I am a hands-on designer. I have a great team that stays at the store. They are very talented and gifted. We ALL work as a team so everybody knows what’s going on. This is very helpful when we start the process and pull for existing projects. Since we all work as a team, there are no commissioned sales. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, everyone is a part of the project and is eager to serve. We call it the Mathison Experience!
We are a full-service design firm AND a fully stocked retail showroom, ready to complete your project!