; Michelle Tennen; The Story Exchange; Home and HouseholdYour Name: Michelle Tennen

Business Name:, a designer of drapery fabrics

Type of Business: discount high end decorating fabrics

Business Location: El Paso, Texas, United States

Twitter @iluvfabrix

Reason for starting
After graduating as a designer from The Academy of Interior Design instead of making a career the conventional way for interior designers I decided at the age of 22 that I wanted to somehow specialize in High end design fabrics. I was very lucky through contacts I had in the industry to be able to make contracts with a number of the high end European Mills to purchases their overstock fabrics, and the website began.

How do you define success?
I feel very fortunate to be able to provide jobs in a great laid back work place. I also know that we are helping people get fabrics for their homes that they would not normally be able to afford.

Biggest Success
Getting phone calls and pictures from clients all over the world thanking us for our wonderful product & services. We also donate fabrics to schools for children to experiment with / disabled children to do crafts with and also some homes for the aged.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My biggest challenge is day to day, trying to manage a busy business, raising 5 young children, caring for an ill husband and all while being ill with a chronic illness myself. (I have MS)

Who is your most important role model?
I admire Elsie De Wolfe. She was known as ‘The Chintz’ lady. She used wonderful colors, gorgeous fabrics that were so beyond her time. She was considered a trendsetter and her rooms were timeless. She had great taste and her work would look just as gorgeous in today’s magazines. She really paved the way.