The journey from an idea to a realized dream, challenges along the way, periods of change and growth—every business has a unique story. In this interview, Angie Carroll tells the story of her Knoxville furniture store, Amish Elegance. She discusses the history of Amish Elegance and the relationships, values, goals, decisions, and experiences that shaped it into the successful small business it is today. 

What inspired you to open Amish Elegance? 

Following a 30-year career in human resources, it was time for me to follow my passion and desire to open a small business. I have always believed that beautiful spaces and inspiring relationships lift the spirit and punctuate true happiness within. I explored ideas for businesses that aligned with this sentiment. I decided to open a furniture and décor store with a business model that focused on people, superior quality products, exceptional customer service, and a commitment to honesty and integrity. 

Tell us about the early days of Amish Elegance. What was it like getting your business off the ground? 

With opening any small business, it is imperative that one learns the ‘ropes’ very quickly. We opened on a shoestring budget in a 1900 square foot showroom with minimum inventory to offer.   

Thankfully, we had a few clients who believed in us and gave us an opportunity to build beautiful custom items for their homes early on. Before our doors were open, we sold a custom dining table to one customer and a dining table and hutch to another. We had those first two customers sign a piece of the ribbon from our ribbon cutting ceremony. We keep that piece of blue ribbon in the showroom to remind us of our humble beginnings and our gratitude for those who supported us in the beginning.  

Why did you choose to work with Amish furniture makers? 

I conducted thorough research to find furniture suppliers that aligned with my vision for the business. I wasn’t just looking for great products, I was looking for great people. The wholesome lifestyle, work ethic, and commitment to excellence that I observed from the Amish communities in Northeastern Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania checked all my boxes.

Tell us more about what stood out to you about Amish furniture. 

The decision to offer exclusively Amish furniture was easy. The craftsmanship and variety of styles exceeds any other product type on the market. What is important to note is that our furniture is made to order by hand. We have relationships with several Amish craftsmen who have small shops that offer premium quality products and exceptional customization options. Unlike factory made and mass-produced items, our clients receive exactly what meets their space requirements and aesthetic preferences.  

Tell us about your experiences doing business with the Amish. 

Learning the difference in Amish craftsmanship and their commitment to quality takes multiple visits to their homes and shops. We travel backroads and buggy-worn paths in Amish Country to meet our builders. Most of our craftsmen have been with us from the beginning. They consistently produce a high-quality product with minimal issues.  

We know the individual craftsmen by name, we’ve visited their homes, met their families, our grandchildren have met and learned from their children. Forming these relationships has truly been a remarkable experience. We have hosted Amish craftsmen in our home as they have graciously hosted us in theirs. They are very genuine people who know the names of our customers and are committed to providing the highest quality product for every one of them.   

Let’s talk about the Amish Elegance team. 

We are proud of our team at Amish Elegance. Two of our staff members have been with us since the beginning and are now senior members of our logistics team. Our design and sales team are well-seasoned and knowledgeable about current designs and custom options. Our team and craftsmen have the skills to design and execute just about any piece you could imagine.  

Does Amish Elegance have a mission statement or core values? 

As I mentioned before, I believe beautiful surroundings and inspiring relationships lift the spirit and punctuate true happiness within. Our goal is to connect with our customers and create beautiful pieces and spaces that exceed their expectations and bring them joy. We strive to offer a superior quality product, enjoyable shopping experience, and exceptional customer service. Our staff members are committed to acting with honesty and integrity in every interaction.  

What does Amish Elegance “bring to the table” that other furniture stores do not? 

Amish Elegance is drastically different from the majority of furniture stores. The first thing that sets us apart is that every piece is custom. Sure, there are other furniture stores that offer customization options, but we offer entirely custom furniture. Customers choose their own materials, stains, finishes, dimensions, and style. If it’s not in our design catalogue, our design team and craftsmen can create a piece entirely from scratch. 

Secondly, our furniture is handcrafted in the USA. Handmade furniture has a level of quality and detail that surpasses mass-produced furniture made in foreign factories by leaps and bounds. Our pieces are made to last a lifetime or even become heirlooms that are passed down for generations. Plus, shopping with us supports the American economy instead of massive corporations with factories overseas. 

Mass-produced “fast furniture” is a major contributor to landfill waste and pollution. Our furniture is sustainable and natural. The Amish are insistent upon building furniture in an eco-friendly way. We use 100% American hardwood and for every tree that the Amish harvest, 5 are planted. Imported furniture is treated with toxic chemicals that shouldn’t be brought into a home. They are treated because imported wood may contain insects, fungus, and other undesirable substances. Amish woodworkers use a kiln drying process instead, so our furniture is chemical-free. Click here to find out more about how Amish furniture is eco-friendly. 

How has Amish Elegance changed over the years? 

In 7.5 years, we have grown from 2 customers to over 4,000. Our team has greatly expanded from one self-starter to a full team of designers, logistics professionals, operations and administrative support professionals, and delivery personnel. The Amish furniture industry has also changed a lot in recent years, offering all styles imaginable. Our inventory and projects have become increasingly diverse, with everything from traditional shaker style pieces to eclectic and modern pieces.  

Are there any specific projects that stand out to you? 

There have been numerous memorable custom projects over the years. We designed and built a wall unit that fit perfectly on either side of a stone fireplace that included storage space, serving space, a beverage bar, and a swivel element for a flat screen television. We have worked with our craftsmen to create several custom bookcases and display cases to house Civil War relics, replicas of war-time ships, fossil collections, depression era glass ware and all sorts of other interesting items. 

How is Amish Elegance involved in the Knoxville community? 

The Knoxville and Farragut communities are very important to us. We have sponsored charity golf tournaments benefiting the Boys & Girls Club. We are part of the Chamber of Commerce and have worked with Farragut Tourism. We do our part to support the youth in our area, we’ve sponsored Farragut Soccer, local baseball and football teams, and the Hardin Valley Aeronautics Team who were recently crowned National Champions! 

As a small business owner, why do you think it’s important to support small businesses? 

Small businesses care about their customers and truly appreciate their business, they provide a level of customer service and personal connection that large corporations don’t. Small businesses are a big part of what makes our community unique, and we feel blessed to be a part of that. When you support a small local business, like Amish Elegance, you’re supporting the local economy. Our employees and most of our clients have chosen East Tennessee as their home. Our tax dollars contribute to community, roads, infrastructure improvements. It is important to maintain the quality of life we enjoy in East Tennessee; therefore, we encourage everyone to shop small and shop local. 

Thank You for Supporting Amish Elegance 

Whether you’re a current customer, shopping around, looking for style inspiration, or just wanted to learn more about us, we appreciate your interest in Amish Elegance. It has been a wonderful journey so far and we look forward to every new person we meet and every new custom furniture project we take on! If you’re looking for the highest-quality furniture in the Knoxville area or a design team to bring your dream to life, stop by the Amish Elegance showroom or contact us today!