FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN
VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING
VICE PRESIDENT CREATIVE DIRECTOR
SALES / STUDIO
CEO & President
T. J. Gentle is the President & CEO of SmartFurniture.com, a venture backed Internet retailer and pioneer of Design on Demand®. SmartFurniture.com's Design on Demand Platform empowers customers to design and customize furniture. Since becoming the CEO, SmartFurniture.com has developed SmartProfile a Prescriptive Personalization application that uses proprietary technology to match furniture products to each customer's unique profile and characteristics; launched SmartSpace, an innovative web application that empowers customers to see how customized furniture will look like in the context of their homes before ordering; and Smart Furniture has won numerous awards and industry recognition while experience a five fold increase in sales.
Before SmartFurniture.com, T. J. was a corporate attorney with Miller & Martin where he worked with high growth technology-based companies in raising venture capital and related financing; structuring mergers, acquisitions, strategic alliances and joint ventures; and protecting and licensing intellectual property. He serves as an advisor and mentor to entrepreneurs and serves on the board of directors for several community organizations, including the Business Forward Business Advisory Council in Washington D.C. where he regularly meets with Senior White House Officials regarding small business policy matters. T. J. was a scholarship athlete at MTSU where he played linebacker for the Blue Raiders, and he was on the Editorial Board of the Tennessee Law Review while at the University of Tennessee College of Law. He is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys reading and writing. T.J. lives in Chattanooga with his wife Greta and their four boys.
Founder & Chairman
When Stephen founded Smart Furniture, he set out to change an industry. Working in a Stanford professor's garage in the late 90s, Stephen designed the first patented Smart Furniture® and pioneered the now familiar "Design on Demand®" model of personalized, web-based product design. With the help of an incredible team, his goal has been to put design directly in the hands of consumers, and bring custom design to a whole new market -- everyone.
Stephen is a former Peace Corps Volunteer, U.S. Navy Reserve Officer, NCAA Division I athlete, attorney, and believer in entrepreneurism (both for-profit and nonprofit). In addition to Smart Furniture (his first love) he is a co-founder of Delegator.com, PriceWaiter, the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, and Causeway, a nonprofit supporting civic entrepreneurs.
He studied at UNC-Chapel Hill, Stanford Law School, the Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation, the Université de Paris VII, and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques, where he produced a photo and audio journal of the revolutions in Eastern Europe as the Berlin Wall came down. In third grade, dressed as a horse, he presented what was likely the worst book report of all time.
Most importantly, Stephen is a devoted husband and father, and is working with researchers on a unique project to develop novel treatments for cystic fibrosis.
Vice President of Marketing
A quiet, subdued fixture lurking in the back offices of Smart Furniture, Gil helps keep the peace and get projects rolling between the marketing and development teams. He's been hanging around since April 2007, being a bit of a nomad by dipping his toes in sales and customer service to working on front-end development of this here website. At any given moment you may see Gil reviewing code, cleaning up the kitchen, or refilling his gum stash to help keep folks minty fresh throughout the day.
Gil and his fantastical wife, Jen, enjoy getting outdoors, running around after their 3 boys (read: cats), and having a good cup of coffee with friends. Though not an avid fan of top-40 radio, Gil loves to make music and has quite an affinity for playing guitar – whether that's pickin' and grinnin' on stage or ripping an impromptu, hair-bending air guitar solo in the shower.
Vice President Creative Director
As Creative Director of Smart Furniture, Karen has dedicated her creative eye, boundless energy, and design experience toward building a leading world-class brand for Smart Furniture. During her 9 years, Karen's passion has enabled her to assist in developing other departments, from balancing the role of Creative Director and managing Special Accounts, to serving as interim Studio Manager for Smart Furniture's flagship store. She is primarily responsible for helping define the company's brand through its visual design and communication, and to create the best shopping experience for Smart Furniture customers.
Karen is also co-founder of CF Smackdown, a research effort to help end Cystic Fibrosis this decade. Karen also used her 3D expertise to co-found Chattanooga 3D, a community-wide initiative to build the Chattanooga region in 3D for the benefit of businesses, government, tourism, the arts, the environment, and local residents.
She received her BFA in Graphic Design, graduating with Honors and Distinction, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she lettered 4 years as a scholarship Division I tennis player and maintained All Academic Team standing all 4 years. Her tennis career also took her all the way to Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean where her parents were born, to represent Mauritius in the 2003 Jeux des Îles (Indian Ocean Island Games).
Karen's hobbies include photography, music, cooking, cycling, and (yes) tennis. Originally from London, Canada, Karen is married and has a two-year-old daughter, Lily, and expects her son Charlie to arrive in a few weeks. She is the first (by two minutes) of a set of identical triplets.
Vice President of Operations
Christie graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Packaging Science and had dreams of changing the world one cardboard box at a time. It was her degree in Packaging that brought her to Smart Furniture where she spent her first months designing boxes and then finding ways to destroy them (testing of course!). Her work in packaging quickly evolved into supply chain, purchasing, product development and customer service.
When she's not working with customers, suppliers or plowing through 600 emails a day, Christie enjoys being outdoors, searching for treasures on Craigslist and making forts with her 18 month old, Sam. Christie really loves furniture, enjoys chocolate with every meal and still talks to her mom once a day (yeah, I know).
Christie's alter ego and nickname is Frank. Frank is the yin to Christie's yang. Frank can be sour and surly. Christie is generally nice and pleasant. Frank can be impatient. Christie not so much. Together, Christie and Frank work to put an end to unruly shippers and to give customers the best experience possible.
Vice President of Sales
Meet Melanie, a self-proclaimed "dirty hippie" and our extraordinary V.P. of Sales. When she's not on the phone talking through office chair comparisons or writing useful content to help shoppers decide which option to select, she's out and about in downtown Chattanooga walking Kona, her uber-awesome Alaskan Malamute. She rocks a hot mullet and judges non-recyclers and speeders in the Whole Foods parking lot alike. Despite her preference to drink copious amount of craft beer, due to triathlon training coupled with old age she can no longer handle her alcohol and is typically in bed before 11 P.M. Which works out well because she's a lot nicer in the morning with more sleep. And lots of coffee. Lots. Born and raised in Hawai'i and with her masters degree in the archives, she is actually sweet and semi-smart. Her sharp wit can make you cry laughing - or just plain cry (it's a crap shoot). She brings a gun to a knife fight, will tell you if you look fat, and enjoys self-deprecating humor. Lover of travel to new places (not prison), old men's plaid shirts (the really soft ones) from thrift stores, and The Red Green Show.
Customer Service Manager
Meet Adam, a rockstar when it comes to customer service, and always willing to lend a hand with absolutely anything. If you have a question about assembling your furniture, Adam will take the time to explain each step over the phone. If that doesn't work, he'll record a video to show you. If he could be there in person to assemble it for you, we're pretty sure he would. He's pretty handy.
Adam brings his mad tennis skills to the ping pong table, but is always a team player when it comes to company goals His reason for joining Smart Furniture? "It seemed like a fun place to work, one that was filled with talented people, that had a genuine business concept."
Favorite Quote: "Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." - Samuel Ullman
Natalie works in the sales department at Smart Furniture, loves talking to people, and has a cheery personality - so sales is perfect for her. Every time the phone rings she gets to help a different person find what they're looking for. Whether it's picking out a new sofa, the best office chair, or a new bedroom suite, Natalie loves helping.
When she started working here, she was one of our 3D Rendering Specialists. Today, she still does all the renderings for her customers' retail stores and tradeshow booths - and loves every minute of it. Natalie's loved Smart Furniture for years; she even based her senior design project on the concept of Smart Shelves. When in college, Natalie spent a semester in Ireland - traveling, studying design, and having an amazing time.
Natalie has a degree in Industrial Design from Auburn University and moved back to Chattanooga after some post-college fun in Atlanta. She's engaged to be married and super excited about the fun years to come. Danny is a hard working man and they push each other to be better people. They are accompanied by one sweet little kitty, named Calisi (nicknamed Kiki). Nat also enjoys spending her free time making jewelry, and she created Purple Wire and goes to tradeshows around town as well as selling her jewelry in a few stores around downtown Chattanooga. She loves to travel and really loves live music.
Meet James, the big cheese of our IT/Development team. When not discussing sports or politics, he's writing SQL statements, coding up a storm, and conjuring up new ways to make our website run smoother, faster, and more efficiently.
James is always looking to make things better, not wanting to sit around the dinner table of complacency, stating "The idea is that we can always do it better. We are always looking for improvement, even when it ain't broke." (or "isn't broken" to all you northern folk).
A former college baseball player, James has found a new passion in the sport of running. Having now completed two half-marathons, James is beginning to contemplate the prospect of competing in a full marathon, and eagerly welcomes anyone interested in joining him for a mid-afternoon run.
Meet Luke, one of the stalwarts of our IT/Development team and all-around nice guy. Hailing from Hot Springs, Arkansas, Luke is a 4th-degree black belt in the art of Tae Kwon Do, and was once the National Board Breaking Champion with a personal best of breaking 15 boards at one time. He's not what you call "great" at catching things, but we don't really give him a hard time about it ... for the most part. Okay, maybe a little bit. Honestly, we give him grief almost every day. Luke loves the relaxed working environment here at Smart Furniturea, saying, "What's not unique about working here? I can come to work wearing shorts and flip flops and not get sent home. I have had my dog (a Great Dane, mind you) pull over my desk and not gotten fired. Yet even with all of that, everyone will buckle down and do what needs to be done to not only meet, but exceed, all expectations."
Catharine is one of the Graphic Designers here at Smart Furniture, and has been with us for close to 3 years. She spends her days designing away and working with our amazing Marketing team to make the SF website and brand the best it can possibly be - and then some. She enjoys Pinterest, Polyvore, and ogling the fine designs on our site. When she's not jamming out at her desk to Jazz, Electronic, or Classical music, you can find Catharine out on the Ballroom floor. Her free time is spent at the local Fred Astaire ballroom studio dancing and teaching or spending lazy time at home with Muz (her diva of a cat). In addition to these things, Catharine loves spending time with family and friends, cooking, and traveling wherever possible in this wide world. She has a passion for all things pretty and well designed, and more than enjoys being over-the-top festive for every holiday. If you took a peek inside her room, you'd find way too many shoes, a meticulously made bed, and a stack of unfinished books. Catharine is also a firm believer that she has the potential energy to become a DIY enthusiast - but isn't sure that she, her bank account, the world, or her roommates are quite ready for it yet.
B-ashful at writing about herself
R-eady to have a good time
I have an old dog (Garfunkel) and a fat cat (Magic Rainbow). I begin most mornings with an apple and a walk. I recently moved back to Chattanooga from Portland, Oregon. Favorite pastimes would include sock-looming, baking, reading, laughing, hikes (on flat terrain), and a good cup of hot tea.
Web Content Specialist
Back in 2007, we needed a SketchUp Rendering Specialist to give our customers 3D views of the custom shelving systems that we were designing for them. We took a chance on Mark (who didn't have any experience but really, really, really wanted to work here) and ended up with a perfect fit and some really great renderings. Sadly, all things come to an end - and the Rendering Specialist job description eventually reached the end of its usefulness.
Fortunately, before cutting him loose, we found out that Mark was a gifted writer. As we moved more towards selling "furniture" in addition to the Smart Shelves for which we'd been known, Mark happily moved to Marketing and has been our Content Specialist ever since. His days are full of writing copy for our emails, website, marketing banners, blog, and social media outlets. In addition, he helps with product entry, routine data entry, and site maintenance.
At home, Mark is a very fortunate husband, proud daddy to three girls and one boy, and despises the Kudzu that his neighbor has been cultivating. (If you've never experienced the blight that is the Kudzu vine, count yourself among the lucky ones. Your Saturdays are longer, your back hurts less, and your outdoor maintenance might actually be relaxing.) To keep his mind off the ever-encroaching Kudzu menace, Mark's children dress up in ridiculous outfits and sing very silly songs. They call him "motorcycle monkey." His dog heels on command, cleans up all the dropped food, and never barks unless there's a bad guy at the door. She's also faster than your dog.
As a way of blowing off steam, Mark plays bass in a local band. That's not his main instrument, though. He's been playing cello for over 25 years now, and it's like an old friend who understands him perfectly. Mark is known for making obscure jokes, wearing the same sweater for days on end, riding his motorcycle to work, eating healthy food that disgusts T.J., and unrepentantly using the Oxford comma.
Jammie, aka Wonder Woman for her ability to do anything and everything she is asked to do when it comes to products details, inventory, and anything else to ensure that customers receive exactly what they want. When not answering questions regarding measurements, shipping quotes, and shipping deadlines, she can usually be found in her super cool game room or playing that old man sport called golf in her spare time ... well, that was before she decided to get married. Now she spends her time with her fiancé planning the wedding. Originally from Kentucky, Jammie calls Dalton, Georgia her hometown. She has been the Warehouse Manager for Smart Furniture for nine years and loves her job in more ways than one.
She loves sports, nerds, and even the tree huggers (Mel). She drinks beer, eats fried foods, and thinks exercise is overrated. She will be known as the crazy old cat lady due to her love of cats, but her cats are not the usual cats that like to lie around and avoid being petted or loved on. She has four of them, but they are actually dogs in cat suits - because they're very loving & HUGE. As soon as you walk in the house they are there to greet you. And if you dare sit down, all four will be begging for your attention. Jammie loves karaoke and will sing a Patsy Cline song - and make you think it's actually Patsy singing - although she would never admit to being that good. She has a great sense of humor and loves to make others smile. When Jammie leaves a room she'll most likely exit saying, "love your hair, hope you win..."leaving you confused.
Deb Martin wakes up every morning feeling like John Galt, and she can't thrive without an analytical challenge weighing on her INTJ mind. With a Master's degree in Accounting and after six years as a staff accountant at Smart Furniture, she had automated the accounting process to the point that it was time to pursue some fresh challenges in the Marketing department. Now after a year as a Marketing Analyst, Deb has built a custom reporting system that aids in many of the analyses and refinement of on-site features that make SmartFurniture.com so usable and efficient.
As a self-described introverted recluse, Deb would save an Excel spreadsheet before she'd save a puppy, but she reserves the majority of her limited affection for her husband and two sweet boys at home. In her free time, she likes to pwn n00bs, eat chocolate, watch Swamp People, and bask in her own awesomeness.
Cyndi Brackett, one of our two Accountants, has held down Smart Furniture's financial "fort" with her superpower accounting skills for the past nine years. She also is known as the Human Resources phenomenon. She's memorized all 22,202 pages of the new Affordable Care Act and can recite it perfectly backwards while juggling lemon drops and catching them in her mouth. She likes to refer to herself as having the personality as an ordinary accountant, but you'll find her putting to shame any karaoke fanatic if you walk into her office on a good day. If Apple Bottom Jeans plays, you can bet your bottom dollar she will be getting low, low, low at her desk.
Cyndi is married to her wonderful husband of 21 years, Mark, and has two children, two dogs, and one cat. Her two kids Olivia and Logan are the apples of her eye. You will find her with them at sporting events, being their biggest fan. Olivia is her Mini-Me and reminds all of her mother. Logan is 16 and about to drive his first car alone. Cyndi hopes the day comes later rather than sooner. She enjoys home projects and can put any Pinterest pinner to shame. Every day is a constant battle between good and evil as her animals try to foil her plans. Her cat Daisy walks across newly painted decks; her dog Luke - with a torn ACL - follows right along. Her other dog, Layla, mostly watches. Overall, Cyndi uses her superpowers in about every area of her life and is extraordinarily humble about it. She's the kind of person you'd want to share coffee with at one of the cozy coffee shops down here in Chattanooga.
Meet Leslie, manager of our flagship Smart Furniture studio and showroom here in downtown Chattanooga.
Being a big part of the face of Smart Furniture on the local level, Leslie enjoys working with anyone and everyone, from casual strollers to power shoppers, saying, "Working with the general public every day is extremely rewarding. Starting with the customer's space, collaborating ideas, designing and adding our products to their space always ends with an enjoyable experience."
When she has downtime, Leslie's favorite hobbies include gardening, hiking with her dogs, cleaning (yes, she enjoys this), running, and managing, with her husband, their family-owned restaurant on the Chattanooga Southside..
Meet Karen, a free-spirited and fun-loving soul, and an integral part of our sales team here at Smart Furniture. Never one to let a challenge get the best of her, she's always striving to be at the top of her game and keep her bright, shining smile going all day long.
What attracted her to Smart Furniture? "Really, it was just dumb luck that I was lucky enough to become a part of the SF team. The happy working environment combined with the opportunity to do the thing I love best - which is to work with customers - makes it a pleasure to go to work every day. And where else can you find dogs and baby ducks at work?"
Caroline was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana (she's a Hoosier at heart) before moving to Chattanooga. Now she sells awesome furniture and works in an office with a bunch of crazy, fun-loving people. We'll never forget Caroline's first day here a little over a year ago ... April Fool's Day 2013. Knowing what she did about Smart Furniture, she expected some kind of prank. So she wasn't surprised when we told her that the person who hired her, Melanie Silva, had been fired for stealing Kartell Gnomes from the warehouse. Luckily, it wasn't true but it must have been some kind of premonition because Mel does steal stuff off Caroline's desk sometimes.
When Caroline's not here in the office, she's usually at home with her boyfriend and two sweet, darling, little girl cats (Caroline's a little bit of a crazy cat lady). Or you'll find her outdoors checking out the awesome views in Chattanooga, gardening, soaking up some rays, reading, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends. She also travels back to Indy pretty often. All around, Caroline just wants to have a good time!
Christian Roemer, born September 10th, 1986, isn't your average office professional; in fact, he's not professional at all. Instead, he's totally pro. As an avid karaoke singer and performance extraordinaire, he captivates the hearts and minds of everyone at Smart Furniture with his flamboyant antics and insatiable desire for attention. He began working for the company in March of 2012, and the office has never been the same since. As is the case with most artists, his artwork is sometimes misinterpreted--he's often regarded as a clown, and people tend to misconstrue his random songs as jokes, often failing to grasp the deeper connotations of the words he carefully molds and puts to melody. For example, his song, "I like drinking coffee, hey, hey, hey, hey" was approached as a celebration song when he really intended it to be a cutting remark on the pains of aging and the duplicitous nature of dependence and caffeine addiction. Sometimes the songs are pretty funny.
Christian is married, has no kids, and rock climbs on the weekends. Because of his egotistical outlook on life, he assumes that any rain on the weekend is a direct and personal affront to his passion of the outdoors, and he an often be seen cursing the gray skies in the case that the unthinkable transpires. He usually assumes that bad drivers are "terrible people," and our CEO, TJ Gentle, often calls him a communist. Christian urges people to not be intimidated by his 5'7" stature, and instead insists that folks understand he's a romantic, often striving to find the deeper understandings in life as well as acquire comfort in this "mortal coil" we call human existence. If you're looking for Christian, there's a good chance you'll hear him before you see him because he's mostly gregarious, somewhat pompous, and always loud. He has no choice but to reflect his personality in everything he does, and he's unable to be anything but himself. He also enjoys kitten gifs, aged whiskeys, and carbonated water, and he likes to think he's the anchor that keeps the CSR office from absconding into oblivion.
Chris' bio is coming soon! Stay tuned for some awesome factiods about this guy.
Meet Kenny, one of our staff's newest customer care enthusiasts. Kenny graduated with a degree in Marketing from the University of Tennessee in 2004 and joined our team in April, 2013 after six years of working in the mortgage industry. He couldn't be more thrilled to put his communication skills - and other business skills - to the test at Smart Furniture, and he's psyched to learn all he can about online retail.
When he's not working hard to serve up platters of delicious customer solutions at work, Kenny enjoys competitive cycling, reading Hunter S. Thompson novels, fixing up his 100-year-old garage, and sampling whiskey. He's also getting back into a former passion, rock climbing, after a 7 year hiatus.
Kenny and his wife Hannah reside at the base of Lookout Mountain in St. Elmo, where you'll find them walking their dogs every single day, rain or shine.
Whitney Kohlbus is the purchasing manager here at Smart Furniture. She hails from Augusta, GA (home of the Masters for all you golf fans) and graduated from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). Whitney's been with Smart Furniture since October of 2010 and she considers the company a part of her, literally. She acquired the "Smart" scar on her knee playing on the company's softball team her second day on the job. The skinned knee was her own fault, as Whitney is fairly clumsy and has no business actually playing a sport, by her own admission. Her athletic participation should be limited to that of a water girl, but the scar will always remind her of what a great team she joined. When she's not at work, her very busy 1-year-old daughter (Millie) keeps her and her husband on the run. They also have a black and tan hound mix (Sadie) who is teaching Millie exactly how to get her way already (big trouble!). Aside from playing with Millie, which is her favorite thing to do, Whitney likes to take Sadie for walks, visit her friends and family and loves trips to the beach.
Abby Follensbee is the newest member of the accounting department at Smart Furniture. She is originally from Wisconsin, so get ready for the, "hey der" and "don't ya knows" cause she is a cheese eating, beer drinking, sometimes classy lady. She may come off as meek and mild but once you get to know her, you're going to hope you have ears of steel because she will talk your ears off!!! This Yankee girl loves to sing as much as she talks and any given day you will hear her flex her golden pipes along side Cyndi in a melodic duet. She has a love hate relationship with the gym and can't say no to anything sweet! She loves to do anything outdoors and has an obsession for trashy romance novels.
Abby is married and has a 2 year old daughter named Charli. Thinking they should expand their family, she gave her husband, Will, the option of another baby or a puppy. They now have a 5 month old puppy named Cash. He is Charli's best friend and partner in crime. Abby spends most of her time trying to keep them out of trouble, which leave time for little else. At the end of the day, all she wants to do is sit on her patio and relax.
Marketing & Merchandising
Maggie Pate is a Southern born and New York City raised gal, so she understands the woes of urban living in tight quarters. She came to SmartFurniture.com after leaving the cutthroat fashion industry and quite enjoys the welcoming spirit of Southern niceties. An excellent curator, she aids the marketing department with her keen eye for style by merchandising our site. Though she is a self-proclaimed introvert, Maggie helps create our social media content. When sheyou's not at her desk, sheyou's styling and propping our photoshoots.
She describes her design sentiment as eclectic; sheyou'll match a vintage sofa with a modern lounge chair and a collection of rustic accents. Her dream living room would have the Toro Lounge Chair, the Fez Shag Rug and the Stilt Floor Lamp. She is a an avid carbohydrate enthusiast and has been known to bring cookies into the office on occasion. Maggie often comes to work with blue-stained hands because she creates textiles from her home studio. The first time her blue hands made an appearance elicited alarm from her co-workers. When she's not working at Smart Furniture or designing prints, she is hanging out at home cuddling kittens, gardening, and baking.
Jessica is the supporting Developer for the Operations team at SmartFurniture.com. Self-proclaimed as the Integration Specialist, she is usually figuring out some way to "make our system talk happily to your system." But what really makes her tick, besides a good challenge, is being able to make someone's job a little less cumbersome through technology. "After all, that's really what being a programmer is all about for me," she says.
When's she's not geeking out, you will probably find her hanging out with her daughter, Stella (pictured), her husband, Bert, and their two dogs, Penny and Louise. Though she's usually thinking in bulleted lists, she finds creative outlets in decorating with feng shui principles, gardening, and hoop dancing. She is a participant in a dart league, a kickball team, and was voted as the Most Unique superlative in her high school class.
A Chattanooga native, Laurie is constantly torn between her desire to travel the world and her renewed adoration of her home town. She enjoys learning the ins and outs of the shipping and logistics industry through her role in customer service, which is fairly new to her after spending more than six years in the nonprofit sector.
After living in Costa Rica for a spell, she discovered a passion for the Spanish language and culture. So, when she's not trying to learn the language of logistics, she enjoys pouring herself into her own baby, The Chattanooga School of Language, which she started in 2011.
She has high hopes of learning to play the dulcimer that her musician husband crafted for her (no pressure, right?!), to sew her own clothes, and to cook well. Things that make her happy include coffee, red wine, creative people, her best pup Hobie, cheese, trail running, and adventures outside.
Skeeter's bio is coming soon!
Katie Johnston was born in Chattanooga but lived the glamorous life of a military brat for her early childhood. She has traveled all over the U.S. and South and Central America playing soccer but her favorite place in the world will always be her grandmotheryou's farm in Wildwood, Georgia. A true southerner at heart, her meal of choice is a heaping bowl of turnip greens with a tall glass of sweet tea (with extra lemon, of course). She enjoys reading self-help books, eating spicy food, telling people at Starbucks that her name is Beyoncé, and shamelessly having personal jam sessions in her car for all bystanders to see. Oh, and Mojo Burrito! She LOVES Mojo. Her list of dislikes is rather short though, only including onions and velvet. In the future she hopes to build her own tiny house and travel the world.
Katie graduated from UTC in 2013, with a BA in Communication and a minor in Speech. She has worked in Marketing at Smart Furniture since April 2014 and has never enjoyed working anywhere as much as she enjoys working here. Melanie likes to call her the Paperboy (the resemblance is actually striking) but it's grown on her now and she's really embraced the title.
Kristen's bio will be here soon ... probably.
Brittany's bio is on its way....
Joe's bio got lost in the mail ... should be here soon though!
Christina is a designer at Smart Furniture and enjoys Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Originally a Los Angeles native, she is happy to have called Chattanooga her home for the last 5 years. While some people confuse her geek-chic glasses, flannel shirt and skinny jeans wardrobe for that of a "hipster" she would like to make it known that she, indeed, is not. Around the office, she can usually be found mumbling incoherent pieces of HTML and CSS while scrolling through a computer screen that is akin to a scene straight from The Matrix.
When Christina is not using her "webernet skills" to create web pages and the like, she can be found hanging out with her husband, Sam, and their four rescue dogs. She starts every day with a coffee beverage (although she says she can quit any time - for real) and enjoys creating a variety of home decor projects, sprucing up her 1920's house, illustrating, shoe shopping, and buying excessive amounts of grain-free, free-range, organic, whatever-the-new-trend-is dog treats. Her guilty pleasures include, but are not limited to: chick flicks, coffee, cocktails, re-watching all the episodes of Arrested Development, and thrift-store shopping.
As a transplant from Atlanta, GA, Nick has spent the last ten years living and working here in Chattanooga. After graduating from UTC in 2009 with a BFA he jumped into his career as a visual designer, working in different environments from small design shops to larger ad agencies and even a couple startups. Over the years, Nick has developed a penchant for great typography, UX/UI design, and tasty, craft beer.
At Smart Furniture, Nick collaborates with the creative and development teams to help customers connect with the brand in a meaningful way and improve their overall shopping experience.
In addition to creating brands and websites, Nick is on a constant hunt for new adventures. Whether it's travel, food, music, or art, he approaches everything with excitement and passion. When he's not searching for an opportunity to learn something new, he can be found hanging out with his wife and two dogs on their porch.
Meet Ashley, Interior Designer at Smart Furniture Studio. When she isn’t designing amazing spaces for residential and commercial clients and helping Studio visitors find the perfect purchase, she is busy chasing three kiddos all over Chattanooga. A perfectionist to the core, Ashley believes every good morning starts with a clean house and strong coffee. No exceptions to either. Bleach is her favorite scent and she is convinced she no longer has fingerprints from years of obsessive cleaning. She is native of Scottsboro, Al, can talk football with the best of them and plans her outfits in the fall around Auburn football (try to avoid her on a losing weekend.) She craves the color white and has somehow managed an all white color palette in her own home - a home shared with three kids under 10, two big mutts and a husband. Her biggest pet peeves are an unmade bed and expensive pillows thrown on the floor (her husband’s favorite pastime). She loves good food and trying out all the amazing locally-owned eateries Chattanooga has to offer. She avoids Pinterest and can get lost for hours shopping on Etsy. She prefers style over comfort and hasn’t met a Kartell piece that she isn’t completely in love with. Her biggest fear is boredom and you can typically find a written to-do list for every day of the week in her (super stylish) planner. She is a Pure Barre addict and can be found both on the mic teaching hardcore, not-for-the-weak-of-heart classes or front and center taking class and showing off her tricep pushups. Ashley believes that every good design starts with a core piece and that there is no “wrong” choice when it comes to styling your personal space. She enjoys digging deep and really getting to know the clients that she works with and looks forward to a long future with Smart Furniture.
Thunder did not give us a bio. We can only take this as a sign that he does not have an origin. We will be collecting data on him and trying to explain his existence. Thanks for bearing with us.