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New Canaan Advertiser

Custom home furnishings: New Web site offers even more ‘Oomph’ Written by David Hutter, Advertiser Correspondent Thursday, 23 December 2010 07:03 From left, owners of the home furnishings company, Oomph, Patty Hopple of New Canaan, Amy Rice of Wilton, and Louise Brooks of Rowayton, are preparing for new furniture lines and offerings in January at their 111 Main Street showroom. (Rachel Kirkpatrick Photo) Everyone benefits from adding a bit of “oomph” to their lives, according to friends Patty Hopple of New Canaan, Louise Brooks of Rowayton and Amy Rice of Wilton, who, in 2009, launched a home furnishings company and Web site. Recently, the trio has given the company a little “oomph” as well, with a brand new site and plans to expand their offerings. While enjoying time on vacation on Harbour Island in the Bahamas one and a half years ago, the three friends formed Oomph, a seller of custom-made and color-coordinated tables, chairs and pillows. The inventory allows customers to mix and match and choose from a variety of options, like the choice of table tops. “The driving force was the bad economy at the time,” Hopple said of the idea for the company. “Everyone needs a pick-me-up. We provide furnishings to give your home a little ‘oomph.’” . . . Defining oomph as “personal charm, or magnetism, sex appeal, punch or vitality,” the trio of friends sell their products at 65 retail stores across the country, including KL Designs on Elm Street and Boxwood Home on East Avenue, at Oomphonline.com, and directly through their showroom at 111 Main Street. The ladies tout the use of poplar trees, grown on plantations, as well as their hiring of American manufacturers to produce their merchandise. The majority of pieces are manufactured right in Connecticut. “Our customers take pride in buying American-made goods,” Hopple said. “It is a big deal.” Oomph’s tables come in 16 lacquered colors. The pillows are sewn by hand, with special attention to detail. “There’s something for everyone,” Hopple said. “And the chairs and pillows, with the tables — they all coordinate. It’s really fun stuff. It’s today. We’re traditional, with a twist.” “‘Tini tables’ are our signature piece,” she said, explaining that the name comes from a martini. And yes, the ladies do appreciate a good time and a good martini, and they offer on the Web site their own signature recipe for the “Oomphtini,” inspired by celebrations surrounding the successful launch of the company (take two ounces of citron vodka, three-fourths ounce of Rose’s lime juice, with a dash of fresh lime juice — shaken and poured over ice). All three women, who have been friends for decades, bring their own expertise to the business: Hopple has a background in sales, Brooks, who’s designed custom furniture, is a partner at the Elm Street-based architectural firm, Brooks and Falotico, and Rice brings retail experience having worked at S. Browne in New Canaan. Since the launch, the friends have expanded their brand name and have been featured in lifestyle magazines. “We’ve been so successful. It’s amazing. We’re doing fabulous, absolutely fabulous,” Hopple said. “We’ve been quite fortunate. We have a wonderful group of woodworkers in Connecticut. Without them, it would be quite difficult. They are trained in old-world craftsmanship.” Rice notes that their company’s exposure in magazines is yielding positive results. “Customers are finding us more than we are finding them,” she said. The trio has received phone calls from people in England and Australia, and sells products in Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas. For now, the ladies are looking forward to the launch of new products, which will debut at the New York International Gift Fair on The Pier at the end of January. New pieces include headboards, lamps and new tables. Aside from retail locations in New Canaan, Oomph furnishings may be found at stores in Darien, Greenwich and Ridgefield. For all locations, visit Oomphonline.com. For more, call 203-216-9848 or e-mail sales@oomphonline.com .