When she finally came up with a plan to meet the market's needs, a light literally went on for this interior designer.
"I could never find lampshades," said Cynthia Beebe, of Westport, who decided to start a business aimed at providing professional designers with the options for original quality lampshades needed to fulfill their creative missions.
Twenty-two years later, BB Custom Lampshades is a specialty house that creates custom lampshades for the best designers throughout the country.
"It's a very specialized area," said Beebe, who both creates and markets her products. "There are very few people in this business."
BB offers a plethora of designs in a range of materials -- fabrics, including silks and linen, leather, ribbon, woven paper, hand-painted, embroidered and more. Beebe consults directly with designers, often visiting residences to study permanent fixtures and offer input on practical and creative solutions.
"We'll do on-site work, and the designing and the scaling of the lighting." she said. "Then we'll do the drape style and pick the fabrics. We're not a retail store. We're a design company."
James Petersen, an interior designer and decorator, whose J D Petersen is based in Norwalk, has worked with Beebe for five years.
"What I love about Cynthia is that there's nothing she can't do," he said.
Given photos and/or descriptions of any kind of shade, he said, she's able to create or recreate a product to meet specifications.
"She's also excellent at making very traditional, hand-sewn lamps," he said.
Beebe began her journey in both corporate advertising and new product work for companies including Avon and Revlon. She likes her business, which primarily comes through word of mouth, because it enables her to combine her creative energies with her talents for marketing and business.
"My company has accounts with most of the showrooms in the D&D building," she said, referring to the Decoration & Design Building on Third Avenue, near 58th Street, in New York City, which serves as the design industry's international hub.
"Cynthia's the only one that I know of in the Connecticut area that does that kind of highly specialized hand-sewn work," Petersen said. "That's really a dying art."
For information, visit http://www.bbcustomlampshades.com/.