Sarah Cyrus is a testament to anyone looking to branch out of the professional box they’ve built and connect to their creative side. Sarah moved to Atlanta in 2007 for a corporate sales position and ended up finding her calling in the world of interior design and consignment furniture, eventually opening up her own store, Sarah Cyrus Home, in the West Midtown Design District. Get to know this young entrepreneur and our newest FACE, who’s looking to make Atlanta more beautiful, one home at a time.
You moved to Atlanta in 2007. Why did you make the move? What’s your favorite part about living here?
I relocated to Atlanta for a job with Cox Media. Growing up in Chattanooga, TN, I visited Atlanta all the time, so I was very excited to become a resident.
I love the diversity and opportunity Atlanta offers. I’ve always felt like Atlanta is a big city with a small-town feel. There are so many pocket communities to explore. Since Sundays are our only day off together, my husband and I are big brunch goers. Some of our favorite locals are Cafe Jonah and Highland Bakery. Date nights are usually at our favorite sushi restaurant, Umi. For grab-and-go gifts, I love Boxwoods, Star Provisions and Festivity .
You started out in corporate sales and then started work as a manager at Atlanta’s Decorative Arts Center. Why the industry switch? What do you love about interior design?
I started my career in the corporate world and very quickly recognized it was not for me. I always dreamed of owning my own shop — during business flights I would sketch designs for the storefront.
When I look back at how all the pieces fell together, it still amazes me. My move to Atlanta forced me to sell some of my favorite pieces of furniture because they wouldn’t fit in my new apartment. I unintentionally became a furniture dealer overnight. While selling my own items via eBay, Craigslist, etc., I fell in love with the process of finding great deals, as well.
This process brought me to the conclusion that my dream store was,,in fact, a furniture store. I resigned from corporate America to start pursuing jobs that would help me learn the industry. When the opportunity to manage a showroom at ADAC presented itself, I knew I had found my start. I met some of the most talented designers and made great friends in the industry. It was the launching pad of my business.
Why go into the world of consignment? What are some challenges you face that other retailers don’t run into?
Consignment shops often have the most interesting, affordable and unique items. They also have new product arriving all the time, so there is always an exciting element to visiting over and over again. We’ve been so lucky to have great consignors partner with us from day one. My store manager and I make up our staff of two, so moving furniture can at times be a challenge. We jokingly say that we canceled our gym memberships when we opened the shop.
What’s your favorite hidden gem in the city (and will you be willing to divulge it to our readers)?
I love visiting the Historic Vining’s Jubilee for brunch and shopping. While it’s not particularly hidden, it’s a charming, quaint alternative to the mega-shopping malls.
How did your husband get involved in the business? What advice would you give other couples working together?
My husband is my biggest supporter. When we were dating, I shared my dream with him to open the store, and he’s never been anything less than ecstatic. He is a dentist, so he doesn’t run the shop with me, but he has a great perspective on business in general and calls me out when I’m shying away from things I need to address. Oftentimes, you’ll see him at the shop on Saturdays helping customers.
For couples pursuing a business together, I would say practice communication above all else. Identify the role you’ll each play in the business and be open to hearing each other’s feedback. Do what’s best for the business.
What’s your favorite meal in Atlanta?
My husband and I could eat at Umi every single night. The food, atmosphere and overall experience are bar none.
What’s been the most surprising part of your consignment furniture business?
When we were in the planning phase of opening the shop we never imagined what a huge demand the film industry would have for unique home décor. We have a great customer base of set designers who shop with us when they are decorating for a film. We sold a pair of red Chinese chests to the designer working on a movie with Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts — I offered to deliver them myself, but no luck.
What lessons have you learned along the way that you would tell your younger self?
Trust in God and He will give you the desires of your heart.
What is the one design piece every Atlanta home should have?
Original art. A great piece of art makes a room. You can find the most interesting pieces of art at the most obscure places. They don’t have to be expensive at all, just unique.
Which books are you currently reading?
The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric. This book stays on my nightstand. It’s a perfect, quick read that always speaks to me.
What is your best piece of advice?
Ask for help. So many people who are where you want to be would love to offer their advice or support.
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding family, friends and faith?
Coffee, coffee and coffee! But really — my dog Chloe, coffee and SPF.
Sarah Cyrus, it has been a pleasure getting to know more about you! We are excited to see how you’ll continue to help Atlanta lead the charge in stylish interior design and consignment furnishings.
And, as always, we could not do our FACES without the incomparable talent and hard work of Cat Max Photography!