Photos courtesy Tapis Decor
Jacqueline (Jackie) Cox opened her showroom Tapis Decor in International Market Square during the 2008 recession. “The market had just collapsed,” she recalls. “So, you can imagine the stress of starting a new business was high. For a while, I asked myself, ‘What have I done?’ But we stayed positive.” Weathering the current financial climate, with its social ills and health crises, then, has become just part of owning a successful business for the entrepreneur.
“Like most businesses, we closed for a while [due to COVID-19],” she says, “but since we reopened, we’ve been steadily getting busier. Designers are busy, which speaks to the ways in which people are focused on their homes right now.” Tapis is an 11,000-square-foot residential design showroom and, due to the pandemic, people are paying more attention to what’s in their homes and how things function.
“People aren’t coming home from work and spending just a few hours there at night,” she explains. “They’re working and playing at home, teaching their kids, having family dinners. People are starting to really notice how their home functions for them and are spending their money on the living environment they share 24/7 with their family.”
Drawing browsers into Tapis, which Cox has described as “Interior designer eye candy and inspiration!”, are items Cox carefully curates from a range of small, independently owned collections. “I like to focus on boutique collections that are a bit edgier in terms of aesthetic to bring differentiation into our market,” she explains. “Some of these lines aren’t carried anywhere else in the Twin Cities area.” For instance, Cox is currently considering a small company, not carried anywhere else in the Midwest, that does “cool wood cabinetry, occasional, and dining pieces. They have a great vision and construction technique,” she adds.
She also carries “bread and butter lines,” in part because “The market here is fairly transitional, meaning not contemporary and not traditional, but balanced in between. People here want furnishings that are functional, usable, and a little bit pretty because in Minnesota we live in and use our homes,” she says. “For that reason, I make sure the products we carry are beautiful and useful, while also serving those clients willing to cross into an edgier style and design.”
Born in East Africa, Cox and her parents moved to the Midwest when she was just one year old. She earned her BA in architecture from the University of Minnesota, and worked as an architectural designer with WOLD Architects before joining Weskuske at IMS selling handmade area rugs to interior designers. “I purchased the company from Wes in 2008, and from there I carried forth,” she says. “I love the design industry, and I wanted to bring more product to our marketplace. So, I founded the showroom.”
Tapis carries carpet, hand-knotted area rugs, furniture, lighting, and accessories in a range of styles and price points. As for current trends, Cox notes “a throwback to warmer colors, like terracotta and earthy purples, mixed in with the grays, which are warming up.” Texture in upholstery and accessories also continues to be popular.
However, Cox says the overriding trend she’s noticing is how homeowners’ personalities are really shining through as they make their choices. “To me, the trend is really your home is your home, and there’s no right or wrong. Whether you’re into boho, high-style glam, lots of bold and mixed patterns, or clean minimal design, whatever suits you is right for you,” she adds.
She encourages the curious, and those in need of decor, to visit. “Our showroom is for exploring,” Cox says. “You can learn a lot, and discover how to stretch your creativity, by walking through Tapis. We’re here to serve our industry and provide clients with fresh new products and creative solutions, while making sure you can find what you need. That’s what made us so strong for so long.”