On a hunch that consumers would like less traditional-looking options in Oriental rug designs, Christine and Walter Chapin launched Company C Inc. in 1994, as a designer and manufacturer of hand-crafted area rugs, textiles and home furnishings. To realize their dream of designing, manufacturing and distributing their own products, they began by selling handmade area rugs from their home office. As an alternative to traditional Oriental rugs, Company C quickly won the hearts of designers, furniture stores and consumers across the country.
Within two years, the Chapins established a relationship with an Indian rug manufacturer and went to work designing their own rugs. Using bold, vivid colors and casual designs, they created the foundation for the first Company C catalog, which debuted at the New York Home Textiles market in 1997.
Walter’s introduction to the world of small business and entrepreneurship began in his early teens, working weekends stocking shelves and wrapping glasses in his family’s retail store. Later he worked for the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, helping a range of businesses to identify and solve problems. These early business experiences proved formative, exposing him to hand-crafted products and the techniques required to sell them in creative ways. Throughout his MBA education at the University of New Hampshire–and every job thereafter–Walter dreamed of starting and running his own company. He is now President of Company C.
“We share GoodWeave’s conviction that improving lives must start first with ensuring children are not forced to work. Children must then be given the opportunity for an education so they can make good choices for the best possible quality of life.”
Christine’s passion for textiles began as a young girl, when she spent countless hours learning how to knit and sew with her mother. Her interest stayed strong through high school, and she went to work selling clothing and home furnishings fabrics at a large New England fabric store. While attending St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vermont, Christine earned extra money selling knitting supplies at a yarn store, while knitting sweaters and making hats for the ski team. After college, she worked for 10 years as a manufacturer’s representative at a major home furnishing industry. She knew in her heart that someday she would have her own textiles business, and today she is the Company C Design and Product Development Director.
The Chapins have achieved their dream. Company C has its own retail store and distribution center, and sells its rugs through 600 stores worldwide and in several major catalogs. They signed up with the GoodWeave® certification program to ensure that its mills hired only skilled adult weavers, which is an integral part of their vision.
For more information on Company C, visit www.companyc.com.