In the beginning, Rosanna Inc. operated as a home-based, one-woman enterprise: Rosanna set up at trade shows and oversaw production by herself. As head designer and CEO, she took no salary for the first three years and then paid herself only $300 a month. Her first big break came in 1988, when Pottery Barn placed a $300,000 order. Finally, Rosanna could draw a living wage.
Today, Rosanna Inc. is headquartered in Seattle's stadium district and has 19 employees. The company anticipates $10 million in sales this year and produces more than 40 collections. While the overall look is indisputably feminine, individual tabletop lines range from the Baroque black-and-white damask pattern of Parisian Wallpaper to the clean silhouettes of American Bungalow.
Despite the strength of Rosanna's vision, it hasn't always been smooth sailing. In 1995, the mammoth Federated Department Stores (now Macy's Inc.) told Rosanna they would be placing an order. In anticipation, she stocked up. "Federated did order," Rosanna recalls, "but nowhere near as much as they'd said. It left me seriously overinventoried." Her only recourse was knocking on doors of closeout retailers. She managed to recoup enough of her investment to avert financial collapse, and soon after, another significant Pottery Barn order came in, putting the company solidly back on track. But Rosanna still warns aspiring entrepreneurs to start small: "Getting an order from a big store can be a turning point," she says, "but it's a dance with the devil too; if they don't like the final product and return the whole thing, it can ruin you."
Mexican artisans make the Darjeeling line of recycled glass ($96 for six tumblers or six votives; hurricane shade, $80).