Wilbourn Exclusives' is the design team of sisters, Carolyn Wilbourn and
Janice Wilbourn-Woods based in Atlanta,
are two of seven designing sisters who learned our craft under the loving
tutelage of our mother, Elizabeth Chism-Wilbourn.
We were born and raised in Jackson,
Tennessee. Shortly after
college in 1980 we moved to Dallas, Texas and began to work at Xerox Corp.
and a year later we began our first business away from home, we called it Wilbourn
Exclusively Yours. We were very successful for 3 years, designing and
manufacturing one of a kind designs for people of all sizes and races . We decided to travel to Europe (Heidelberg, Germany) to visit family and of
course we loved it so much, we decided to live there and do business. We
met a beautiful German lady by the name of Renate Borneman,
she was interested in going into business with us, we became designers
exclusively for her, we opened a lovely designer
boutique downtown Heidelberg called New York
Designs. There in the boutique were very Exclusive Designs for
Women who loved to look Sassy, Elegant and Original. All of the designs
were designed and manufactured there on the premises by Carolyn and Janice,
and also our German assistant Schneiderings. We
were doing business on a regular base for 3 consecutive years, of course we
would travel throughout Europe enjoying every moment being away from our
country, including other cities in Germany,
and enjoying many other beautiful surrounding sites.
After living there
for 3 years we decided to move back to our hometown to spend more time with
our family and do business there and throughout the United States.
We set up another successful business in Jackson, Tennessee.
Designing and Sewing during the week and traveling to Trade Shows and Expos
on the weekends to cities such as: Atlanta, Ga. Chicago, Illinois,
Washington, D.C. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Missouri,
Indianapolis, Indiana, San Francisco, California, to name a few. We were
very successful showcasing our designs and selling them all over the United States.
It was time for us to
move again after doing that for at least 3 years, we decided to stay in the
south near home. So we chose to move to Atlanta, Ga.
The people in Atlanta
loved to dress, the city also drew people that
loved to make a statement and were very receptive to Black Owned
Businesses. Shortly after moving to Atlanta
in 1991, we met a dear friend by the name of Jean Murphy who was a personal
shopper for the Rich's Department Store in Greenbriar
Mall in Southwest Atlanta. We set up a
private Trunk Show with Rich's and they loved every design in our
collection. Shortly after that meeting we began to showcase our designs
there in the department store. We observed 500 sq. ft. of leased space with
racks throughout with all of Wilbourn Exclusives ' Original Designs on
them. We met customers from all over the south loving the creativity and
originality of designs. We sewed and designed all of the designs in our
design studio in our home in Lithia
Well we worked hard everyday for 4 years. It was truly time for a break, so
we moved out of Rich's in 1995 and decided to rest for at least a year,
then we opened up a small boutique in Virginia
Highlands in Atlanta, Georgia.
It was a very quaint and slow artsy area, so it didn't work for us at all.
The next opportunity
came up for us, to move into the Galleria Mall. We were there for 7 years.
It was successful for 5 years, then business started to change in the
Galleria, we persevered for 2 more years. At the Galleria we met people from
all over the world coming for conventions, vacation, the
movies or just to visit. Word of mouth has been one of our best ways of
advertising, we always would advertise in the Atlanta Journal Constitution
and the Atlanta Daily World throughout the Holidays. In the boutique in the
Galleria we showcase Wilbourn Exclusives' Originals, Designers Hats by a
dear friend "Harriett Rosebud" of New York City, designer Jewelry and
costume jewelry, handmade Dolls, Oils, Christian CD's and Tapes, Figurines
and many other fine collectibles.
range from soft, flowing ensembles in Rayon, Linen, Jersey Knit, Popcorn
Knit, Crepes and Silks to Avante Styles in Faux Fur. We design for all
occasions including: Weddings, Cruises, Fancy Balls and much more.