Sara Murray’s podcast Prospecting on Purpose interviews founder Holly Markham who is the driving force behind European Home, a remarkable company that brings stunning fireplaces and architectural solutions to homeowners and professionals alike. Holly shares her journey from high-tech sales to becoming an entrepreneur and building a brand with over 300 dealers across the United States and Canada.
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European Home’s history dates back to the 1990s when Founder Holly Markham discovered her interest in European design while traveling throughout Europe and Scandinavia. She found it fascinating how architecture preserved the historic nature of the city on the outside, all the while, the interior spaces she encountered were completely renovated and modern. These early influences inspired her to start a business of her own.
I started the business back in 1999, after discovering my interest in European design. While attending a trade show in London in 2002, I saw modern European fireplaces for the first time. I literally got goosebumps on the trade show floor. Good design moves you.
I find design to be emotional. Something visceral happens to you when you sit in a particularly well-crafted chair or hold the perfect hand-made coffee mug in your hands. I am largely self-taught in design so I feel fortunate to be a part of a thriving design community. We make exceptional products and then work with inspirational architects, builders, and designers who use them to realize their overall aesthetic. It really is a wonderful feeling to be a part of a larger design-driven community.
Fireplaces provide a gathering place and appeal to people because of their warmth and visual allure. They encourage conversation, relaxation, and it brings us back to our roots as people. There is simply an emotional and universal draw to fire.
As I’ve said I am in love with design and beautiful products. However, I also get a lot of pleasure out of putting things in order- Accounting, administration… in a way these things are a lot like design. All the little pieces have to come together to make a business work.
John is much more technically savvy. He has seemingly endless amounts of patience and is great at solving problems. Also, there’s nothing John wouldn’t do for this business and the people who work here.
I remember one time we had a young woman who was an administrative temp for us. She wanted to get her driver’s license but her whole family lived in China so she didn’t have an obvious teacher. In the middle of the workday and without hesitation, John grabbed his keys, and away they went for her first driving lesson!
“We have a great group of people, who all breathe the same passion every day.”