MARIETTA — A Marietta business aimed more at creating meaningful and influential art than turning a profit has nevertheless doubled its earnings annually since it opened four years ago.
In 2008, five Marietta friends with a knack for art — Molly Holm, Marnie Tanner, Laura Kirkland, Kimberly Brown and Angela Riess — opened Glory Haus, a wholesale business that allows people to order their products online or purchase them locally.
According to its mission statement, the company, located at 560 Webb Industrial Drive in northeast Marietta, is “a community transformation that glorifies the Lord and changes lives through our work, art and relationships.”
“We wanted to bring the glory of the Lord from our office to your house,” said Holm, who owns Glory Haus. “What we put in people’s homes is encouraging, meaningful.”
The idea for the wholesale company, which is one of GiftBeat’s Top Vendor Picks of 2012, started in 2007.
“When the five of us started, our husbands thought it would be a hobby until our kids started preschool,” Holm said.
But now, the children have all started preschool, and the so-called hobby has become a booming business, doubling in size each year since it opened, Holm said.
“We now have about 15 employees, and two of our husbands have joined the forces,” she said.
The company sells 700 products in their collegiate line and other faith-related products that are painted on ceramic, wood and canvas.
“Our collegiate line symbolizes our family and friends, and our other products are about faith,” she said.
Burlees, their newest product, became one of their most popular products. They are used to decorate doorways and replace a holiday or celebration wreath.
The company is located in a 30,000-square-foot warehouse, and Holm said they sell to about 8,000 retail stores worldwide and are adding accounts in South Africa and Canada.
The work is not manufactured in Marietta. Artists design the pieces locally, then have them made by hand in China or India.
Bill Tanner, the husband of founder Marnie Tanner and a former youth and worship pastor, helped launch the collegiate line in 2010.
“It’s more than just a business. It’s a company with a vision and a mission,” said Bill Tanner, who started with the company in 2009. “It’s not just about making money but making a difference in the lives of people. It’s a company that wants to see our artwork change lives.”
To extend Glory Haus’ reach, Holm and her husband, Trey, started Daughters of Hope in November. The 6,000-square-foot factory in India is a fair trade company that pays higher living wages to impoverished or exploited women.
“Many of them couldn’t count, use scissors or read. They are teaching them a lot of life skills,” Molly Holm said. “They get free lunches and day care for children. They love it. They have people every day coming to look for jobs because they have heard about the good things there.”
About 35 women at the factory make pillows, tea towels, holiday banners and table runners, mostly out of burlap materials.
Two missionaries supported by the church, RiverStone in Kennesaw, gave the Holms the idea for the factory in 2010.
The motto of the factory is “Let hope arise,” and as the company grows, Holm anticipates increasing the numbers employed there, she said.
To find out more information about Glory Haus or Daughters of Hope, check out the business online at www.gloryhaus.com.