The native Texans met at the University of Texas before moving to Atlanta for Trey to attend seminary at Emory University. Molly, with a degree in interior design, landed a job as a designer for Home Depot’s first Expo Center.
Following seminary, Trey obtained a law degree and the two began a family. Retired from Home Depot, Molly was doing interior design on the side while caring for three young children.
In 2008, Molly, with friends Marnie Tanner, Kimberly Brown and Angela Riess, embarked on an idea to take their friend Laura Kirkland’s whimsical pottery and artwork hobby to a broader market.
“She and I were in her basement and she said, ‘I can’t keep doing this — you need to do the business and I need to do the art,’” recalls Molly.
“I felt like I had a vision of how it would work out,” she said. “When the five of us started, our husbands thought it would be a hobby until our kids started preschool.”
Using the Holms’ dining room table as their office, the team faced their first hurdle — how to manufacture the hand-painted pottery on a mass scale. Molly traveled to China and hired a manufacturer, but quality quickly proved to be a problem.
The Holms took a life-altering risk — they cashed out their 401(k) accounts, sold their Home Depot stock and borrowed money to start their own manufacturing plant in China. Trey temporarily relocated to purchase equipment, set up and train workers on how to hand-paint the items.
“I learned a lot about how things are done there,” he said.
Molly said “Our learning curve has been straight up … It takes money to make money. In the early days, people didn’t get paychecks for months.”
Launching in the Atlanta Gift Mart with one 10-foot display for their first show, Molly said their goal was to sell $25,000 worth of product.
“We walked away with $150,000 in orders,” she said.
In 2010, Trey left his law practice and joined Molly in the business.
“We were growing exponentially,” he said. “We asked ourselves, ‘what if we work together as a team?’”
Today, Glory Haus has a 14,000-square-foot showroom in the Atlanta mart, and showrooms in Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis and Denver. The company will open in Las Vegas later this year.
The products are in 8,000 retail stores worldwide, and 2012 sales topped $7 million. The company is based in a 30,000-square-foot warehouse off of Webb Industrial Drive near Cobb Parkway.
In 2011, the company launched a burlap line and partnered with Daughters of Hope, a fair-trade company in India that employs impoverished or exploited women. At a 6,000-square-foot factory, 45 women make pillows, tea towels, holiday banners and table runners. Day care for the employees’ children and lunch are provided.
The Holms said that while their holiday line accounts for 60 to 70 percent of their sales; their collegiate line has grown tremendously and is now licensed with 30 schools.
Marietta resident and entrepreneur Owen Prillaman said he is impressed with what the Holms have achieved in such a short time.
“More important is how they have treated their employees and supported their community. … They have helped their friends when they could by providing jobs and support and have donated their time and money to improving Cobb County.”
“We wanted to do something bigger than ourselves,” said Molly. “We have been blessed beyond measure.”