FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES are the
backbone of the American economy, comprising 90 percent of all business enterprises in North America. That’s right…90 percent! And women are increasingly participating in the leadership of those businesses. Robyn Ford of Lilly & Grace—a furniture boutique, with gifts, a full design center, and renovation services located in Mooresville—is one of those entrepreneurs. Her two daughters, Madison and Emma, work with her, as does her son, Brock, when he is home from college. And her husband, Eric, who Robyn refers to as “the brains of the operation,” helps out behind the scenes, although his favorite job is going on deliveries and driving the Lilly & Grace delivery van. Even the family fur babies have a role, serving as the inspiration behind the name of the business.
Being a part of a family business isn’t new to Robyn, who grew up working in her family’s home-building business in Indiana. And it was her family, especially her interior designer mother, who inspired her to open up Lilly & Grace. “My sweet mom taught me so much of what I know today,” explains Robyn. “Even though she’s not physically here anymore, I feel her with me every day. I often find myself saying and doing things that cause me to stop right in my tracks and announce, ‘That was so my mother!’” Losing her mother suddenly a few years ago has given Robyn a renewed appreciation for not only the talent for design that she inherited from her, but of the joys working with family can provide. “It’s such a wonderful blessing to have the opportunity to work so closely with my family” she explains. “Life is so very fragile! Of
course there are negatives as well as positives when it comes to working with family, and I’m still learning how to navigate both, but I am also loving every minute of it!”
And the focus Robyn also loves on family is every not forgotten minute when it that she can help comes to the a client artistry that create a goes into dream the designs home Lilly & Grace for their offers as well. family. And the focus on family is not forgotten when it comes to the artistry that goes into the designs Lilly & Grace offers as well. Robyn works with a number of specialized craftspeople who help her fulfill her clients’ visions for their homes by using the excellent workmanship WRITER DANA JORDAN
passed down to them generation after generation to create the customized pieces. In addition, Robyn has strived to make the process as streamlined as possible, knowing that busy families will benefit from a one-stop shop that can accommodate all their home needs: “I want my customers to be over the moon happy with their experience with us.” One way Robyn creates superior customer satisfaction is by building the same sense of authenticity and transparency with them as she does with her family members. “We want people to walk into Lilly & Grace as customers and to leave feeling like they’re part of our family,” she explains. “We have met so many wonderful people throughout this journey who have become our dear friends. We are so very thankful!” w
PHOTOGRAPHER TONI LOVEJOY