How the catalog began: “Founding a catalog was the last thing I ever expected to do,” says Donna Salyers, president of Fabulous-Furs. During several visits to New York in the 1980s, she realized she was one of few people without a full-length fur coat. “Instead of buying a coat that day, I was inspired to create a luxurious alternative.” After a year of laying the groundwork, Salyers’ brainchild — a catalog comprised of faux-fur products — became a rapid success. “When customers began calling from Hollywood, I knew we were on to something.”
Grew up: Covington, KY
Experience: For 16 years, Salyers wrote a syndicated newspaper column on sewing and fashion, which led to a national cable TV show. “That was a great training ground for public speaking and being in front of the camera — ideal for a Fabulous-Furs evangelist!”
Business goals: “I feel like Cinderella every day! We’ve totally exceeded my expectations.” Salyers recognizes that many catalogs haven’t succeeded, and she appreciates her company’s growth and recognition. “Our success builds a better community and creates more jobs and a stronger economy. I love those aspects of building a business.”
• Helen Gurley Brown, founding editor of Cosmopolitan magazine: “She moved up the ranks, learning to write, and through resourcefulness.”
• Katharine Graham: “She stepped in to head the Washington Post when her husband committed suicide. I can so identify with her lack of experience for such a daunting task. But she had enormous grace and humility — things I really admire.”
Responsibilities: “I design the coats and accessories we make, and I work with outside vendors to develop fabrics and product.” In addition, she writes catalog copy. “It’s much like writing about my children.”
Self description: “Very, very lucky and blessed.” She also considers herself to be optimistic, tenacious and hard-working.