By Laura Layden
Naples Daily News, Fla.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A couple of years ago a few women from Florida came up with the idea to put their unique photographs on chairs for a gallery exhibit in downtown Naples. After the whimsical chairs quickly sold out, a business was born.
Naples Daily News, Fla.
Face Chairs in Naples will get some face time on CNBC’s “Billion Dollar Buyer.”
Partners Jennifer Graylock, Katy Winn and Lisa Spruill will appear on the TV show at 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The show gives promising entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their products to one of America’s most successful businessmen: billionaire hospitality mogul Tilman Fertitta, chairman, chief executive and sole shareholder of Landry’s Inc. His empire includes Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Rainforest Café and The Aquarium.
Graylock and Winn are a pair of celebrity photographers who take pictures of movie stars, presidents, queens and kings, fashion designers and models. Spruill, the company’s manager, describes herself as their “voice of reason.”
A few years ago, Graylock came up with the idea to put her photos on chairs for a gallery exhibit in downtown Naples. After the whimsical chairs quickly sold out, a business was born.
Together, Graylock and Winn, who met at Fashion Week in New York at least a decade ago, have more than 2 million images in their personal archives, and they continue to add new ones as highly sought-after photographers for the rich and famous. Their subjects include everyone from Princess Kate Middleton to President Donald Trump.
“We always have fresh materials. We look at the chairs as frames, and that is how this whole thing came about,” Graylock said in a phone interview.
In the episode, Fertitta will consider buying one-of-a-kind stools from Face Chairs for his restaurants.
“I spend $10 million on restaurant furniture every year. So if these ladies impress, they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank,” he’ll promise before meeting Graylock and Winn at Bruno’s Boutique in downtown Naples.
Bruno’s sells the chairs, and they can be purchased online at www.facechairs.com.
After learning that Face Chairs did about $30,000 in sales last year and that an average chair sells for $2,000, Fertitta will challenge the owners to get their costs down and to make something that will wow him for one of his restaurant chains.
Graylock won’t discuss the outcome of the show before it airs.
“They saw some chairs that we created, and they thought it would be fun for Tilman and a great fit for his properties,” she said. “We were just so happy and so excited, and we did the episode. It was cool.”
Graylock described the show as a fantastic learning experience, saying through it she and her partners have proven they can tackle larger commercial jobs.
If the episode leads to more business, that would be an added bonus, she said.
“We’ll see what happens. But we’re ready to fulfill orders for anyone who wishes to order our fantastic creations,” Graylock said.