Lifestyle Furnishings and Accessories at Your Fingertips

When CEO Melisa Dorney Anderson was a corporate general manager, .she often worked mora than 10 hours a day. leaving her with little time to indulge in her hobby of interior design. Recognizing her natural talent for this craft, Anderson left the corporate world to launch her own home interiors web site which allowed her to transform her passion into a career. is an e-commerce site offering high-end. yet affordable, occasional furniture and decorative accessories. “I wanted to create a simple shopping environment where people could take time to browse and see only quality pieces- all on a user-friendly site.” she says.

What sets apart from other e-commerce sites is the way Anderson built and maintains the company. It is entirely self-funded and debt-free. Anderson crafted the business this way so only she sets the rules. Knowing that people use the Internet to hunt for good deals, one rule she’ll keep is offering quality products at a fair price-usually 20 to 30 percent below suggested retail prices.

“I’m not in the e-commerce business to make millions of dollars overnight,” she says. “That’s not what is about. A successful e-commerce business bas to grow slowly, like any other business.”

Anderson knows this isn’t a widely shared belief among e-commerce business owners, but she doesn’t care. In fact, the desire to be different is what got Anderson started in this business. At 29, Anderson has owning interests in various thriving companies and is among a small portion of young female owners. When Anderson graduated with a political science degree from The University of Texas, she wanted to combine her desire to create with her savvy business skills. The Internet was her solution.

Now that Anderson has her dream career, she works hard to make it a success. She is very hands-on at her company and oversees all areas of the business. She personally answers every e-mail receives. “I prefer not to use auto-responders to e-mail.” she says.

“! want my customers to have a personalized experience when they visit my site.” is quickly catching on. In just seven months, it has received orders from as far away as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia .Anderson is currently expanding her staff since she will have lier hands full manning both the web site and The Zebra Room, a local showroom and retail store expected to open in 2001 that will cany the same products as “I want to reach both markets-those shopping on the Internet and those who still Like to window-shop on a Saturday afternoon.” she says. Anderson is also adding a ’’gifts for $ 100 or less” showroom on the web site that will offer a same-day local delivery service-an innovative alternative to sending flowers on special occastions.

For now, Anderson’s goal is to continue making lifestyle furnishings and accessories available at your fingertips. ’1 definitely believe Internet shopping is becoming more than a trend,” Anderson says. “It only takes one successful e-tail experience, and you’re hooked!”


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