Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Press Release: From the ashes rises an eco-chic furniture designer and manufacturer

Paul Jeffrey knows about struggle and reversals of fortune. He’s faced both on his way to becoming a respected eco-chic furniture designer and manufacturer in metropolitan Phoenix. View his work at .

After graduating from the prestigious College of Creative Studies with a degree in Industrial Design, Jeffrey worked as a concept car designer at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. The salary and benefits were good, but Jeffrey felt stifled by the safe and corporate-sanctioned designs he was asked to do. So, at age 28, he quit his job and went with his new wife to Los Angeles. He intended to start his own company that would use his knowledge of design.

“Within a year, I’d lost $100,000 of start-up savings,” Jeffrey says. “I partnered with someone who I thought would cover the business side, but this person didn’t have the knowledge or judgment that I thought he did. It was hard explaining to my wife that I’d lost the money because half of it was hers. I was devastated.”

After several difficult years in L.A., Jeffrey decided in 2002 to move to Phoenix. By then his family included a two-year old son. “Phoenix seemed like an easier place to start a business and raise a family,” he says. “And we had relatives here who could help us.”

In need of income, he took a managerial job at Walgreens where he tried to convince upper management of the sales value of creating more visually exciting end-cap displays of pain relievers and toilet paper. The drug store crowd wasn’t impressed. “Predictably, my employment was terminated for poor performance,” he says with a laugh. “But I did get good experience managing all aspects of a business.”

His unemployment could not have come at a worse time—he and his wife were expecting their second child. “I felt like a loser,” Jeffrey says.

Eventually he found a custom closet designer job. Soon he was measuring the closets of the Valley’s rich and famous. His ability to transform their closets into beautiful pieces of furniture sparked questions from customers about his past. As he answered their questions, he sensed a way to finally create a successful design business. After talking with a friend who was a wood craftsman, Jeffrey started Sublimehome, an innovative custom-made furnishings company. Before long, he was making furniture for Valley notables like Michelle Mace-Basha, daughter-in-law of the grocery store founder and Mesa’s Jeff Whiteman, owner of EmpireCat.

In September 2008, with long time Scottsdale interior designer Jeanie Lusk of Interior Difference, he launched his own line of limited production eco-chic furniture using rapidly renewable materials mixed with FSC certified exotic hardwoods. The luxury green line is sold exclusively at Nyla Simone Home, an upscale Tempe furniture store.

Jeffrey explains his success this way, “The success of Sublimehome is a sign that the public is growing bored with retro design. Early clients took a risk with me because I could design aesthetics that they’ve never seen before. I could deliver the authenticity and exclusivity they desired.”

Twelve years after leaving Ford, Jeffrey found the self-expression he’d been looking for.
He persevered because of his passion for design. “My work is to fulfill my customers’ need for something new and lofty through the physical things they furnish in their homes.”

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