What do we want to say about us?
We are a partnership; A partnership between Laura Walker-Baird, Paul Baird and Kent Schneider. From the hyphen in Laura’s surname it is safe to assume that Laura and Paul are married. When they tell people that they are married and work together, it is usually met with a reaction somewhere between awe and horror, but it works for them. Open a home furnishing’s business approximately a year prior to the 2008 recession and everything else, including marriage, doesn’t seem all that difficult.
It helps that Laura is a designer of extraordinary interiors. After finishing her degree in Art History from Wake Forest, Laura formed Laura Walker, Ltd and pursued a career in antiques and interior design while living in London and Milan and eventually returning to Atlanta in 2001. Laura’s experience and expertise buoyed Verde Home through the choppy waters following 2008 and, in return, she gets the big office.
Kent and Paul met in 1990 in their first semester at Boston College, in a freshman English class, in which Paul received an A-minus. Kent’s grade remains undisclosed but apparently it led him to pursue a business degree and an eventual MBA, with a focus on entrepreneurship. It is good to have someone with bona fides, to avoid any speculation that Verde Home was some type of Plan B career. No, this was Plan A.
And like all good plans it has evolved over the years. We must admit that Sleeper Sofas by American Leather, paint from Farrow & Ball and Commercial rugs designed and produced by Verde Home were not in the original business plan, but we have grown as Atlanta has grown. We learned that if you listen close enough, customers will tell you what they really need, even if they don’t seem so sure themselves. Then, at its core, this is what we do; listen, provide and encourage individuality.
The method works, but we have also been fortunate to have wonderful clients, exceptional and supportive vendors and a great, growing team, highlighted by Christa Pirozzi, our showroom manager and Jill McKenzie, our director of interior designer outreach. Christa has been with us since 2015, has an interior design degree from the University of Georgia and has spearheaded the Verde Home design services program. Jill started with Verde Home in 2018 and has drawn on her experience catering to the Atlanta design community to help expand Verde Home’s product offerings and increase our accessibility to designers. We are lucky to have them both.
And we would be the first to admit that it takes some luck to build a business; Along with preparation and persistence and probably some talent helps too. But most importantly, move next to a busy restaurant. Which definitely was not in the business plan, by the way.