Throw pillows have never been known for their comfort or versatility, but a local specialty store is out to change people’s perceptions of the popular décor item.
Sisters-in-law Sarah and Jill Storm were shopping for home décor together when the idea for their business came about. Sarah knew what she was looking for—high-quality, comfortable, and stylish throw pillows—but nothing was living up to her expectations.
As a creative entrepreneur and owner of her own photography business, the idea of launching a company to solve her problem came naturally to Sarah.
“I’ve always been sort of entrepreneurial, and I’m always thinking of new businesses to start so I thought, ‘We could just make this ourselves,’ and a new business was born,” she said.
Find Harmony House
products locally at EllyO Home in Sioux Falls and White Barn Charm in Harrisburg.
So, in 2015, Sarah’s entrepreneurial spirit and Jill’s talent for sewing came together with the launch of Harmony House, an online retailer for specialty pillows. They started out slow, offering just a few designs, but the collection has grown substantially since then.
The shop is highly versatile because the decorative covers are sold separately from the actual pillows. Currently, Harmony House offers five different sizes of its comfortable down-alternative pillow inserts, or customers can use pillows they already have.
Sarah and Jill make a point to source fabrics that are strong enough to withstand the wear and tear that comes with a house full of kids and pets. Plus, each Harmony House pillow cover is hand-sewn by Jill or one of the company’s other two makers—one out of Sioux Falls and the other a remote worker in New York.
“We’re making it all ourselves so we’re there from the start, ordering the fabric, cutting it, and doing all the technical construction,” said Jill. “We’re very detail oriented.”
Read: these aren’t your mother’s throw pillows—the ones some scolded for actually, you know, using. Harmony House pillows are meant to be snuggled, napped on, or even brought to a pillow fight.
“We’re both boy moms, so we try to make them durable,” said Sarah. “We don’t pick fabrics that will be flimsy or wear down, and most of them are washable. We keep in mind that if we can’t put it in our house, most people can’t, and we want our customers to really use our product.”
This doesn’t mean the finished products aren’t stylish enough for an Instagram feed. (In fact, the business really began to take off nationally after a few social media influencers posted photos featuring the pillows.)
Jill and Sarah describe their style as classic, contemporary, and cozy. Simple designs and neutral tones allow customers to keep their pillows even as their personal style evolves over time.
Harmony House’s newest Designer Collection features pillows named after its owners’ grandparents: Willa, Irene, Arthur, and Elsie.
“We keep things really neutral, not because we don’t like color but because we want it to fit in any room,” said Sarah. “Our style could read modern, but it could also be traditional depending on what you pair it with.”
Harmony House’s newest collection features two prints made with authentic African mud cloth, also known as bògòlanfini. Sourced from Mali, the fabric is made with handwoven cotton that is hand-printed and dyed using leaves, branches, and mud. The end result is a beautifully textured, yet durable material.
So where does the textile magic happen? Sarah and Jill run the successful online store out of their Sioux Falls homes, which happen to be on the same street— Harmony Drive.
Design, production, shipping, and all other aspects of the business are handled from home, but Harmony House’s products are available at boutique retailers nationwide. They began wholesaling in January 2019 and now have close to 90 retail partners across the country.
“The wholesaling exploded unexpectedly, and all of last year felt like we were scrambling to keep up with orders, which was a really great problem to have,” said Sarah.
In the future, Harmony House hopes to expand further into the home décor space, and they recently added poufs to their product lineup.
“We have all kinds of ideas, and we’d love to venture into home goods, whether that’s making them ourselves or sourcing someone who can design and create them exclusively for us,” said Sarah. “We really like the small, handmade feel.”
Stay tuned for the latest from Harmony House, as they continue to prove that comfort and style can walk hand in hand.