And it all started with old cigar boxes and discarded wooden spools. In early 1969, Habersham founder Joyce Eddy was a single mother struggling to support two young sons in the small North Georgia town of Clarkesville. After working as a clothing factory accountant for a few years, a family friend gave her the opportunity to operate a small antique shop located above an old laundromat.
Just as things began to look up for her family, Joyce experienced a series of setbacks. First, her antique shop caught fire and half of it was destroyed. Not one to give up easily, Joyce refurbished the shop only to have her own uninsured home catch fire and burn to the ground. Even though times were tough, Joyce's faith never faltered.
Looking for a way to make her antique business more profitable, Joyce soon began crafting small, decorative pocketbooks from vintage wooden cigar boxes. They were an instant hit with customers and Joyce decided to name her new venture Habersham Plantation after Georgia's Habersham County and the plantations for which the area was known.
Not much later, Joyce drove by a local textile company where she spotted a large pile of discarded wooden spools. Struck by an idea, she purchased them and set about crafting them into candleholders, towel racks and other practical folk art items. Like the cigar boxes, these delightful designs sold extremely well. With the help of her sons and other family members, Joyce soon expanded Habersham's offerings to include handcrafted furniture pieces reflecting the American Country design styles of the early 17th and 18th centuries.
Word of these unique furnishings spread quickly. To meet growing production demands without sacrificing her commitment to the handcrafted quality of original American Country furniture, she enlisted the help of individual woodworkers from her North Georgia region. Because the region had been a center for cabinetmaking since the early 1800s, the area's master craftsmen were quite familiar with the time-tested woodworking and joinery techniques Joyce demanded for her growing line. In fact, she even designed her factory to work just as the 18th century cabinetmakers did, with individual artisans hand-finishing, signing and dating each piece of furniture they crafted.
It wasn't long before Joyce began receiving national recognition. Her acclaimed designs appeared in leading magazines. Inquiries came in from across the country. And in 1984, President Reagan hosted Joyce when she was named Georgia's Small Business Person of the Year.
The Fine Art of Furniture Design Continues
Now, as then, the Habersham name is synonymous with the fine art of furniture design. And over the years, the line has grown to include furniture, custom cabinetry and accent pieces in an array of rich, opulent finishes and delicate, hand-painted designs.
Yet despite its rapid growth, Habersham has never wavered from Joyce Eddy's core business philosophy – that the creation of fine furniture is a true art form demanding that each piece be individually crafted, painted and finished by hand.
Today, Joyce is still very much a part of the company she founded more than 30 years ago. As Chairman of the Board, she works closely with Habersham's artists and craftsmen to develop new designs, styles and finishes. Son Matthew is now the company's president. Together, Joyce and Matthew are committed to bringing their customers true works of art that measure up to the Habersham mission:
To create beautiful, high-quality furniture and cabinetry that will satisfy our customers for generations to come.
To conduct our business with the highest level of integrity and respect for our customers, associates and vendors.
To honor God in all that we do.