Sallie Duncan is a talented artist making waves in the interior design world with a line of luxury textiles. Her designs can be found on all types of indoor and outdoor home furnishings, thanks to a partnership with Sunbrella Fabrics. This summer, high-end design curator Perigold recognized one of Sallie’s pillows in their top 10 list, officially welcoming Sallie Duncan Designs into the exclusive world of Luxury retail.
Sallie was introduced to the interior design world after marrying into a multi-generational textile manufacturing family. She discovered that she could combine her artistic knowledge and creativity with the textiles surrounding her, to create a business uniquely her own. Her products can be found on her website, as well as e-commerce platforms and online marketplaces like Wayfair.
We sat down with Sallie to talk about her experience building her business, her plans for the future, and how she keeps her dreams protected.
How did you make the decision to start Sallie Duncan Designs? How has it grown from there?
I grew up in Key West, spending much of my time in the Caribbean sailing. Throughout my experiences there, I was exposed to great inspiration. I wanted my work to reflect the freeing feelings I had on the islands, combining vibrant colors and unique patterns.
After creating the fabric line with Sunbrella fabrics that reflected this, I knew the next step for my business was creating quality products that were both beautiful and able to keep up with all of life’s adventures. Sallie Duncan Designs now offers pillows, throws and rugs in a variety of shapes and sizes. The fabrics are also available to purchase on our website for customers who are looking to create something of their own!
As a small business, it is important to set yourself apart from other similar businesses. From exclusive designs to premier trims, we take pride in what we create. Keeping the products functional for customers is a key factor in Sallie Duncan Designs, integrating convenience with luxury.
What is the best part about building your own business?
I am an artist first. I love that my creativity can be brought to life in designs that are exclusive to the business, allowing each piece to be distinctly unique from the next. Customers often find the same pattern repeated over again while shopping at large corporate stores. With my knowledge as a painter and artist, I have the ability to create pieces customers won’t find anywhere else.
Aside from being an artist, I am a mother. With four children, having the flexibility to create and sell online is another advantage to owning my own business. I run my website to sell the products as well as partnering with larger wholesalers, giving me the freedom to set my own schedule.
Have you run into any difficulties along the way?
Although having the ability to sell products through wholesalers is beneficial, this is also a challenge I ran into. Many large corporations have more of an advantage with the online presence they have already built. With more buying power in the industry, it can be difficult for small businesses, such as Sallie Duncan Designs, to compete.
What has a helpful tool for growing your business?
The insurance policies that I purchased through Bunker help me sell the fabrics on larger platforms. Without proper insurance coverage, many platforms will not allow businesses to sell their products on the site.
One of the most recent platforms Sallie Duncan Designs has been part of is Wayfair. Bunker was able to provide us with the exact coverages to satisfy Wayfair’s requirements while remaining affordable. This was important to help Sallie Duncan Designs continue to grow while being able to afford what I needed.
Every day, Sallie demonstrates that hard work and passion can open doors for incredible opportunities. While owning and operating a small business presents new challenges every day, with inspiration, determination, and protection, anything is possible.
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