Christine and Walter Chapin had a hunch that consumers would like less traditional-looking options in Oriental rug designs, so they launched Company C, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of hand-crafted area rugs, textiles and home furnishings. That original hunch has led to Company C rugs in 600 stores worldwide and in several major catalogs, their own 8,000 square foot retail store, and a distribution center. As the company took hold, the Chapin’s learned about RugMark and signed up because its mills across the world in India hired only adult weavers.
Christine and Walter launched Company C in 1994 with the dream of one day designing, manufacturing and distributing their own products. From their home-based office, they began selling handmade area rugs to interior designers across the country. Serving as an alternative to traditional Oriental rugs, Company C quickly won the hearts of designers, furniture stores and consumers across the country.
Within two years, Christine and Walter Chapin established a relationship with an Indian rug manufacturer and went to work designing their own rugs. Using bold, vivid colors and casual designs, they created the foundation for the first Company C catalog, which made its debut at the New York Home Textiles market in 1997.
Walter’s introduction to the world of small business and entrepreneurship began in his early teens, working weekends stocking shelves and wrapping glasses in his family’s retail store. Later he worked for the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, helping a range of businesses to identify and solve problems. These early experiences in business proved formative, exposing Walter to hand-crafted products and the techniques required to sell them in creative ways. Throughout his Masters in Business Administration experience at University of New Hampshire, and every job since, Walter dreamed of starting and running his own company. He is now President of Company C.
Christine’s passion for textiles began when she was a young girl, spending countless hours learning how to knit and sew with her mother. Her interest stayed strong through high school, and she went to work selling clothing and home furnishings fabrics at a large New England fabric store. While attending college at St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vermont, Christine earned extra money selling knitting supplies at a yarn store, knitting sweaters and making hats for the ski team. After college, she worked for 10 years as a manufacturer’s representative at a major home furnishing industry. All the while, Christine knew in her heart that she would one day have her own textiles business. Today she is living her dream as Company C Design and Product Development Director.
As Christine and Walter’s dream quickly becomes a reality, they realize they’ve created more than just a business--they’ve created a lifestyle of colorful living. To Walter, Christine and more than 35 employees who work with them, colorful living is about feeling inspired and refreshed through the use of color and texture.
For more information on Company C, visit www.companyc.com.
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