Ballard Designs is a retail company that operates via a omni-channel platform. They are best known for their creation of European style furniture and home decor accessories. We wanted to know a little more aout them and were surprised to learn some interesting new facts. We thought that you might also enjoy learning about these 10 things that you didn’t know about Ballard Designs.
1. They were founded in 1983
Ballard Designs is not a new company. They’ve been in business for over 35 years. The founder of the business was Helen Ballard. She had a flair for decorating and she entered and won the Metropolitan Home magazine’s home decorating contest. This is how she first got her start in the business.
2. A magazine article sparked interest in Helen’s work
After photos of the Ansley Park condo were made public, there were over five hundred of the magazine’s readers who got a hold of the company to ask where they would be able to find the furniture and accessories that Ballard featured in the photographs that won the contest for her. They were a big hit with the readers and they were in the market to purchase Ballard’s products.
3. Winning the contest led to Helen Ballard quitting her job
After she won the home decorating contest, Helen Ballard only continued to work at her job for one more year. Her designs were so popular that she was able to quit her day job to focus totally on her new venture, which was Ballard Designs.
4. Ballard also hold her home
In order to raise the money that she needed to start up her new business, Helen Ballard sold he rhome so she would have the financial backing. This was truly an all or none situation and although she was taking a big gamble, in the long run it certainly paid off. She was a bit of a risk taker but she knew that her products were high in quality and a demand for them had already been established.
5. The first catalog was small
The first catalog for Ballard Designs was tiny. It was just two pages and it was in black and white. It was really more of a brochure that highlighted the most asked about piece of furniture that she had made. The piece was a table with a dolphin style that had been a part of the collection in her home. She had made replicas of the table that everyone was clamoring to have. It’s worth noting that the Dolphin Table was the first huge seller for the company.
6. The company merged with Cornerstone Brands
Cornerstone Brands was a large home and apparel company that published multiple catalogs under its umbrella. It included, Smith + Noble, Garnet Hill and Frontgate catalogs. It merged with Ballard Designs in an agreement that concluded in 1996 when a deal was struck. This was their first official merger with another company and it strengthened both of the companies who joined their forces together.
7. Ballard Designs changed owners a series of times
Nine years after Ballard Designs merged with Cornerstone Brands, the Cornerstone company was acquired by the IAC/InterActive Corporation. The company would later become on of HSN Inc.’s subsidiaries. Ballard Designs was still going strong and thriving under its management. They expanded in 2007, just two years after the acquisition by HSN Inc, to open their first ever retain store location in Tampa, Florida. This was followed by a second store opening in Jacksonville within a year.
8. Helen Ballard remained on-board until retirement
Ballard Designs was the realization of a dream for Helen Ballard. She was the founder of the company and she stayed with it through several major changes. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of her company until she decided that it was time for her to retire in 2002. In addition to being the CEO of Ballard Designs, she as also a member of the Cornerstone Brands Board of Directors.
9. Their first designer collection was released in 2010
After several years in the furniture business, Ballard Designs finally developed a partnership and collaboration with Suzanne Kasler, an award winning designer. Their first ever designer furniture collection was launched and was well-received. In 2017, they partnered with another expert named Miles Redd who lent his expertise in creating a line of furniture that embodied the essence of old Hollywood. Bunny Williams also collaborated with the brand to offer her signature collection which was offered under the Ballard Designs brand.
10. Ballard Designs ownership is complicated
As of now, Ballard Designs is officially a part of the Cornerstone Brands company, which is one of HSN, Inc.’s subsidiaries. The Qurate Retail Group is the owner of Qurate Retail portfolio brands of which HSN Inc is a part of. It’s interesting how large corporate ownership of publicly traded companies can become so complex.