Every year, the UGA Alumni Association recognizes top businesses owned by UGA graduates through the Bulldog 100 program. These outstanding businesses range from financial firms to barbecue restaurants and even interior design companies.
This year, Women of UGA Council Member Amber Gizzi (BSFCS ’14) from Pineapple House Interiors in Atlanta and Charlotte Lucas (BSFCS ’05), owner of Charlotte Lucas Interior Design in Charlotte, NC made the list.
We had the opportunity to talk with Charlotte and Amber about their time at UGA and their experiences with Bulldog 100.
Charlotte and Amber both graduated from the furnishings and interiors program in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS). They described the program as influential to their development as interior designers and as business owners.
“They required summer internships so I was really able to kind of get my feet wet for two summers in between school,” said Charlotte. “That really helped me to understand and get some experience.”
Charlotte’s company, which specializes in “providing perfectly proportioned rooms and one-of-a-kind, customized designs,” made the Bulldog 100 list for the second time this year, coming in at spot number 15. Her company placed fourth on the list last year and was the first time a graduate from Family and Consumer Science made it in the top 10.
“I was so thrilled and so excited to be included and so excited to have a connection back to Georgia again,” Charlotte said. “It makes me proud that I have grown my business the way I have and that I am being recognized by my school. I think that just being on it is a thrill and an honor.”
Amber, whose business Pineapple House Interiors made the 2018 list at number 56, shares that sentiment.
“I was so excited and proud when I found out we made the Bulldog 100 list,” said Amber. “We work really hard, so it felt good to get some recognition and validation amongst impressive peers. Being honored by UGA feels like something I love loving me back. I want to make my school proud and represent it the best I can.”
Pineapple House Interiors works globally on projects ranging from decorating, to renovations, to new construction. Amber credits her UGA education with preparing her to take on a partner role at such a young age. Still, she says nothing beats real world experience.
“School gave me a great foundation in design, but I couldn’t have told you where to buy a sofa when I graduated, let alone pulled together a cohesive design plan,” said Amber. “Even if your goal is to eventually start your own company, you need to go work for an experienced designer or business owner first.”
Nominations for the 2019 Bulldog 100 are open through May 31, 2018.