7W Designer Day: Donna Sharp – The Popular Revival of Style Inspired by Artisanship

By danielle


Kristin Heaney attended yesterday’s 7 W’s Designer Day. Here’s her report…

Today has definitely been a day of firsts for me. It’s my first time blogging on Design-Calendar, my first time going to the to-the- trade designer resource building 7 W to attend “Designer Day” and my first time meeting entrepreneur and talented home décor/fashion designer Donna Sharp.  “Designer Day” is 7 W’s popular series on topics such as trends, design, style and living.  This installment put the spotlight on Donna Sharp.

So everyone could learn about Donna’s life and career, Charlotte Barnard, lifestyle expert who has worked with Country Living, This Old House, and Martha Stewart Living, sat down and chatted with her and gave a background on quilting in America. It was such a pleasure to hear stories from Donna, her husband, Dean, and her regional manager, Teri Atkins. They talked about her company and her journey from being a 5th generation quilter to owner and designer of her own successful company. Donna Sharp certainly has no shortage of things to celebrate. She has now been running her thriving business for thirty years and Giftbeat Magazine recently named her handbag collection the #1 cloth handbag collection in the NorthEast – testaments to   Donna’s determination and industriousness.

We heard about so many remarkable aspects of Donna’s life and products (especially her quilts) that it would be difficult to share all of them here. To give you a little taste of what I learned, I’ve jotted down some highlights from her inspiring story:

  • Donna started her multi-million dollar company from the ground up.
  • She and her husband sold their carpet store in Kentucky so she could pursue her passion for quilting.
  • With no long-term plan and little capital, she hit the tradeshow circuit with her mother, using all proceeds to buy the materials to produce more quilts for future shows.
  • Over the past thirty years, her business has taken off and she has expanded to producing wildly popular quilted bags, and other home accessories.

The audience was very engaged and many people said they never fully appreciated how much hard work and careful attention to detail goes into making every single quilt before. She meticulously chooses which patterns to use until “the fabrics play well together,” which takes a great deal of time and talent. Congratulations to Donna for all her success!

Designer Day at 7W

Su Hilty, VP of Marketing for 7W introducing Donna and Charlotte

Donna Sharp shares her story with Charlotte Barnard

Donna Sharp talks about the intricacies of one of her made-in- Kentucky quilts

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