Traywick Starting Design Firm

Former Chateau Exec to Focus on Higher-End Retailers

Midwest City, Okla. — Saundra Lee Traywick, formerly vice president and head of the design department at Chateau Home Furnishings, officially started her own design company on Feb. 6.

Traywick, whose last day at Chateau was Jan. 7, said the new company would most likely bear the name Open Door Designs. The firm, she said, would be focused on higher-end retailers, such as Neiman Marcus and Horchow, looking to differentiate their offerings in the market.

“Everyone is simply out there tweaking what has already been done,” Traywick said. “I want to give them unique product and design, then they can manufacture it wherever they want. No one is going to buy for $200 what they can get for $29.99.”

Traywick said that she could act as liaison with the client's manufacturer of choice, managing the process.

The company will design product such as stockings, tree skirts, mantle cloths, round tabletoppers, runners, decorative pillows and window panels. Traywick said she also plans to branch out into purses and furniture such as storage benches with the help of her husband Walt, a builder who will construct prototypes.

“I really want to branch out into all areas — not just textiles, which is where I was in the past. I feel like there is a big market out there for unique products,” she said.

Traywick said she wants to focus on exclusive arrangements, selling a design once and allowing buyers to do with it as they please. She would like her name to remain on the design, however.

In terms of business on the horizon, Traywick said she is in talks with Phat Tram — the owner/designer of a Thailand-based company of the same name who works with silks — about designing lines of purses and tabletop.

Traywick does not plan to open her own showroom or exhibit at any shows, preferring to stay away from any scenario that might have her competing for business against her clients. “That would be a conflict of interest,” she said.

The entrepreneur added that she is considering bringing on a second designer. Though she declined to name the still-elsewhere-employed candidate, Traywick said it was someone she has worked with in the past.

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