Design business exceeds expectations

ajames@newsobserver.comJuly 13, 2013 

Susan Masengill, left, and Sarah Murphree, who have known each other for five years, display some of the items they personalize and then sell.

AMANDA JAMES — ajames@newsobserver.com

— Two stay-at-home moms who met five years ago are now business partners, selling personalized cups and dishes online.

Their business, PY Designed, has already garnered international customers on the design website Etsy, with orders being shipped to Puerto Rico and Scotland.

But the partners’ real motivation is local.

“We saw these personalized cups and mugs at cheer competitions, and it was so expensive, we wanted to be able to provide things like that for our community but not make it so expensive,” said Sarah Massengill, one of the co-founders.

Items for sale include tumblers, Kool-Aid jugs, wine glasses, beer mugs and key chains. The partners say their most popular item has been personalized tumblers for bachelorette parties and bridal favors.

Despite their humble beginnings working out of a home office, the pair has already linked up with a design firm in Raleigh that has asked them to personalize all of its to-go wine tumblers.

Massengill is a mother of four children. Sarah Murphree, her business partner, has two children.

“We are moms during the day and workhorses at night,” Massengill said with a laugh.

They do not have a storefront but are taking orders online through their Facebook page, which links to their retail site, and through Etsy.

Murphree’s background is in history, but the business has allowed her to use her creative side, which didn’t had an outlet before. Massengill is in charge of purchasing and handles the business side of the venture.

For them, the business is a way to simultaneously be home with their children while maintaining careers.

“It keeps you out in the working world but in your pajamas,” Murphree joked.

The business has already made enough profit to offset the cost of start-up, making $5,000 since launching in March.

The plan is to get their husbands involved too.

The men will make wooden cornhole boards, and the women will decorate them to sell.

For example, one might say “Bride” and the other “Groom,” or they could put sports teams or initials.

So far, the partners hired three employees to help them with the business, and they say they’ll be hiring more as they continue to grow.

James: 919-553-7234

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