Lisa Carlquist, President of Artisan Custom Closets, is well known in the industry for her business prowess and also for her efforts on behalf of the industry as a whole.
Carlquist founded the Georgia-based company in 2011, and under his leadership it grew in size and scope. Artisan Custom Closets designs, manufactures and installs custom closets and storage systems. Its designers are certified by the Association of Closet & Storage Professionals, and the company uses environmentally friendly products made from 100% reclaimed or recycled wood fibers.
In May, Artisan Custom Closets was named Small Business of the Year by the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce. “Cobb County is huge with over 20,000 businesses, so it was quite an honor,” she said. The home organization specialist is also ranked 254 in the FDMC 300, a list of North America’s largest wood products producers based on sales.
More growth is expected. “We’re looking to grow, but take it nice and slow,” Carlquist said. “We have a site in Atlanta and one in Nashville, but our next site will need to have a manufacturing facility that replicates the one in Atlanta.”
Carlquist continued, “Success comes not only from hard work, but also from industry contacts. I had been in the industry for almost 15 years, so I knew many vendors, competitors, and who were the best of the best in our market. »
It was a chance encounter that brought Carlquist into the industry 26 years ago; previous jobs included an administrative position at a nuclear weapons factory and selling meat and seafood. “As with most great things, I ended up in the woodworking industry because of a chance encounter with a man at the dry cleaners. A conversation led to a job that led to me owning my own business!”
She added: ‘I worked for a local bespoke closet company, and they ended up selling the business to a bigger company and then retiring. After a few weeks I knew this new business wasn’t for me and started the journey to open my own business.
Artisan has been recognized for its outstanding customer service and community service, Carlquist said, adding that the company has donated and volunteered with Must Ministries, an organization that helps the homeless. “We also participate in Christmas giveaways and activities for a children’s home each year, and we collect toys for Christmas in Cobb County for the children.”
Outside of work, Carlquist enjoys boating and travel. Additionally, she added, “I would like to take my husband to Italy soon!”
- Education: Powell High School, Powell, Tennessee
- Number of years in business: 11 (opening of Artisan Custom Closets in March 2011)
- Number of years in the industry: 26
- The word that best describes you: Motivated
- Business mantra: Nothing changes if nothing changes.
- Best advice: don’t take things too personally.
- Who did you try to imitate: I worked for a company when I was 20, and the owner was very nice. Performance was high in the business because the owner didn’t just care about the bottom line, but cared about people. It was a great place to work and that’s what I wanted for Artisan.
About the market leaders in the wood industry: This marks the 14th year that Woodworking Network has honored exceptional men and women who have made an impact, not only in their businesses, but within the various wood products industries. Since 2009, more than 90 industry professionals have shared their influencers, ideas and strategies. Learn more about the 2022 Market Leaders and past winners at WoodworkingNetwork.com/Market-Leaders.