Plush with Success: An interior decorator who keeps clients comfy

Reuse, Recycle and Reupholster
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Laura Moore, owner of Image One Designs, not only offers her customers new lines of contemporary furniture, she reupholsters old and antique furniture items preserving a piece of family history.

Laura Moore is well known in Northwestern Ontario for the stylish and comfortable sofas and chairs she designs, produces and upholsters at her shop in Kenora. But, as the owner of Image One Designs, Laura rarely has time to sit around and relax in any of her custom-made furniture. The demand for her products and services by home and business owners keeps the interior decorator busy in her showroom and workshop in beautiful Lake of the Woods.

Having worked at the company under its original owners for 10 years, Laura jumped at the chance to buy the shop in 2006. After all, when you’ve gained experience in all aspects of the business, from sales to design and fabrication, how difficult could it be running your own operation? That’s when she went to see the folks at the Lake of the Woods Business Incentive Corporation (LOWBIC). “First off, they gave me a heavy dose of reality about becoming a business owner,” Laura recalls. “Thankfully, they also gave countless hours of advice, talked me through the process, helped develop a practical business plan and eventually provided loan assistance. They helped to make it happen.”

Ryan Reynard, the Executive Director of LOWBIC, takes the successful relationship with Image One Designs in stride. “Laura is a very talented and creative entrepreneur offering a unique shopping experience,” Ryan says. “She was also willing to listen to ideas and advice on how to diversify her business and make it grow.”

Ready to Sail
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Laura Moore, owner of Image One Designs, sits on the bow of a boat she reupholstered inside before adding a custom-fitted canvas top she fabricated to cover the craft.

Since 2007, Laura Moore has eagerly tackled the challenges of growing her operation from updating the company’s logo and marketing extensively, to introducing new brands of furniture and blinds in the showroom she has had doubled in size. “Shortly after we got running, the economy shifted as well as our client demographic,” says Laura. “So we made the adjustment to be less labour heavy and more sales oriented, which has paid off with a broader base of younger customers.” In fact, homeowners who are also boat owners in the Great Northwest come to Image One Designs for custom made canopies and interior cushions for their watercraft.

LOWBIC is one of 24 not-for-profit Community Futures Development Corporations in Northern Ontario supported by FedNor. It offers free business advice, workshops and commercial financing to entrepreneurs looking to develop or grow a business in the Kenora area. For Laura Moore, it was exactly the support and advice she needed to make Image One Designs succeed. “Banks see risks differently,” says Laura. “Fortunately, CFDCs see the challenges of small business and enterprise in the North much differently and in a positive way.”

LOWBIC’s Ryan Reynard is mutually praiseworthy. “Laura has become a model of business success here in Kenora who inspires new clients to come to us to find out more about LOWBIC’s programs and services.”

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