By Lindsey Adkison The Brunswick News, Ga.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) When entrepreneur Gina D' Amico realized there were no local stores where you could buy designer fabrics, she jumped at the opportunity to open her own business aptly called the "Home Fabric Studio"
The Brunswick News, Ga.
There's no place like home. And much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Gina D'Amico Lever has found a sense of peace in returning to her roots.
The home decor expert turned entrepreneur had her own interior retail store in Redfern called Gina D'Amico Home Interiors in the early 2000s. But she stepped away from that to focus on being a mom while working part time out of the house. She later decided to focus her efforts on her favorite part of the industry -- fabrics, opening her own business -- the Home Fabric Studio.
A while back, Gina was able to reconfigure her business to focus on that aspect of design, filling a niche that simply wasn't being met.
"I love fabrics," she said. "There really are so many options and we didn't have any place locally where you could buy designer fabrics." And now she's brought that passion back to her first home, the site of her very first business. Gina's studio is now up and running at 220 Redfern Village, St. Simons Island. Prior to opening her new shop, Gina had rented a small office space, located at 546 Ocean Blvd, St. Simons Island. But it was not her first rodeo, even back then, her family has been into interiors since her father owned a local business in Atlanta and on St. Simons Island when she was a child. "I grew up here (and Atlanta) where my father, Larry D'Amico, owned D'Amico Business Interiors. It was an interior design firm and then retail store in Redfern Village. ... he worked hard until retiring, so I grew up with (the business)," she said. As an adult, Gina continued to explore her love of colors, patterns and the way the two could revive a room. And it has paid off, she's had great success helping her clients through the fabric selection process -- not to mention, having fun while doing it. Whether it's just recovering an old chair or completely re-fitting a home, Gina can offer as much guidance as is needed. "What I was finding is that people really want to do things on their own and, since Pinterest has come out, things are much easier. They can see it and do it on their own but they shouldn't have to drive to Jacksonville or Atlanta to find what they need," Gina said. "It's right here." And instead of heading to a large city to shop in a big box store, Gina offers each client personalized service. She meets with each one at her Home Fabric Studio and walks them through the selection, making the entire process as easy as 1-2-3. "I can guide them ... whether it's a price range they want to stay between if there is a color, if it's indoor/outdoor or a specific material. I can help them with that and then I order all the samples," she said. Not only can she point them toward colors and styles, she can also direct them to new and emerging trends in home decor. "Right now, for instance, gray or greige is still popular. But metallics are also getting big, whether it's a foot stool or pillows that metallic vibe is big," she said. "Although, timeless and traditional are always on trend and fabrics plentiful." While her design background is incredibly helpful, perhaps the biggest advantage Gina's services offer is convenience. She's amassed an enormous collection of fabrics and can easily guide clients to a look that they will love. "It really shouldn't be a struggle to freshen up your home. I like to make it an easy process with just three steps," she said. "I always say, 'it's as easy as one, two, three.'" The first step is deciding what color scheme or color family a person favors. From there, Gina can guide customers through hundreds of lines of designer fabric. She always remains mindful of a budget and is able to offer a wide variety of options to fit a person's needs and tastes. "I have hundreds of fabrics and samples. Some of the designers also do clothing lines, like Trina Turk. She has her own in-door/outdoor fabric line," she said. There are certainly recognizable names among the stacks of books found on Lever's shelves. Some of her favorite brands include Schumacher, Kravet, Stroheim, Duralee, Bailey & Griffin, Highland Court and S. Harris. Some of her fabric designers include Jonathan Adler, Charlotte Moss, Mary McDonald and Nate Berkus. Lever also has access to a variety of outdoor fabric, like Fabricut and Thomas Paul. "These designers are really helping build the awareness of fabrics and the importance of how they are made too ... the quality. You really do get what you pay for," she said. And by going to Gina, clients not only get top quality, they are also able to get designer direct patterns and looks, not available to the general public or found in large retail stores. "I custom order all of the fabrics. These are not bought by the yard so you know when you order the final product, it won't have any defects. You also know that they are current and you can get as much as you need," she said. "A lot of the box stores can't offer that ... once it's gone, it's gone and they can't order more." After a client has selected the type of fabrics they like, Gina then orders samples for them. She says that having those pieces of fabric in hand and accessible is key in determining which pattern to choose. "They can take the samples home and see how it looks in their house. That way, they don't have to lug a bunch of books around," Gina said. "It makes it easy to narrow it down." From there, Gina orders the amount of material needed for the project. Many of her customers are in the market for new pillows or chair coverings while others want enough material to craft new curtains or bed treatments. But, whatever the need, she can deliver. "Then once they have the material, I can either follow through with the design plan and I can handle all of the upholstery, drapery, bed treatments ... whatever they are wanting or they can do it," she said. "Some people have specific people they like to use. One woman came in for fabric for pillows and her mother-in-law was going to make them. So all she needed was the fabric. But if I need to follow through, I can do that." ___ (c)2016 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.) Visit The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.) at www.thebrunswicknews.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.