Lee makes mark: Laura Designs

Laura Lee is making her own mark in business with Laura Designs, which she launched Sunday, Jan. 1.

This Farragut resident creates gifts and home décor items — such as handmade wreaths, garlands, candleholders, gift bows and Christmas ornaments — and sells them at The Shoppes at Homespun, in Village Green shopping center, 11523 Kingston Pike.

Before starting her own business, Lee partnered “in a small room with two of my friends” with a business called Party of Two, also at The Shoppes at Homespun. “It’s right here where we live,” she said. “And, we began last July.

“Karen Gonzalez, in that group, is really good at putting gifts together,” Lee added. “Our other friend suggested that we should start a business, where we are buying gifts to put together gifts.

“We tried it for a friend and we just wanted sort of a storefront; but with myself not having much business experience, we wanted a little vendor market where we could have a little more foot traffic to sell items.”

With the third friend stepping aside, Lee and Gonzalez took the reins and began Party of Two.

However, at the same time, Lee said Gonzalez started working at Two Rivers Church when Lee started thinking about making her own merchandise by hand.

“Just something unique that people don’t see anywhere else,” she said about making her own items. “It started selling, so I was encouraged.”

Moreover, “Karen got busy (at the church), and in November she decided she needed to step out,” Lee said.

Still, Lee wanted to continue the business because “I’m having fun.

“Making something of my own that came out of my head, things I’ve seen that I can put together, was gratifying,” she said. “Thinking ‘hey someone has this in her home or his home’ made me feel good.

“I feel like I was bringing a little bit of joy to people’s lives,” Lee added.

“You buy things that you love, that you identify with, that’s your style.”

In addition to the foot traffic, Lee said the time she spends on her space at Homespun “is very flexible.

“I can go in either during our vendor work hours, which is twice a month, after the store closes or I can go when the store is open to restock my shelves,” she added.

“It’s been so pleasant with everybody who works there — the vendors, the owner — they are just good to work with.”