Sisters Brianne Martin and Danielle Harmadi have their products in third-party stores across the country, but they are now launching their own store in downtown Augusta.
Their company, Freshwater Design Co., sells gifts and accessories at 425 locations across the United States and Canada. Key chains, wall decorations, pet accessories and more are designed with the styles of lakes, mountains and the great outdoors in mind. Harmadi described their style as that of an effortless lakefront home in Tahoe.
âThe desert is right there, the lakes are right there, the mountains are right there,â she said. “We kind of wanted that when you walk into the store you’re in downtown Augusta, but that transports you somewhere else.”
âAs we’ve lived everywhere, our style is kind of drawn from all the places we’ve lived,â Martin said. “We love our nature, we love our pets and everything, so we have a little something for everyone.”
The sisters are from Wisconsin. Harmadi learned pyrography, also known as wood burning, on a ranch in Utah. Martin studied graphic design at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. The two combined their artistic talents for Martin’s wedding, and after the wedding they decided to start manufacturing for clients. They started the business in 2016, working together virtually because they lived apart, until Martin quit his job and moved to Augusta to live and work with Harmadi.
âWe saw the potential early enough that it could be something bigger,â Harmadi said. âIt was just kind of a travel fund for us. We love to travel, so we just wanted to earn a little extra money. We hit goals early on and we were like “Hey, maybe let’s make this a career.” “
âThe Augusta market was our very first market or festival, and then once I moved we started doing bigger shows,â Martin said. âSo we would go to Atlanta or Charleston, just in the southeast. “
They started out using wood and over the next three years progressed to other materials like leather and velvet. But while it allowed them to sell and develop a clientele, the trips were exhausting. In 2020, they decided to go completely wholesale.
âWe created our wholesale line and we created a beautiful booth that we set up in the Atlanta market,â said Martin. “We went there for the week and got 17 new accounts, so 17 stores, placed bulk orders to get our product to their stores across the country and it was awesome.”
They upgraded their tools and machines to triple their possessions, but worked from much of Harmadi’s house. In early 2021, they had the opportunity to move into a prime location on Broad Street in downtown Augusta, and after much deliberation, they jumped on it.
âIt’s kind of our vision of something that we want to do,â said Harmadi. âWe have about 30% of our product here and 70% of the products we love, products with giving back stories and things like that. But eventually we would like to have some fresh water all over the country.
Martin said they are eager to connect with other local retailers, but are especially eager to bring their business face-to-face with customers.
âWe’ve been so online and on social media and stuff, it’s gonna be so awesome to have a brick and mortar that people can walk in and we can talk to people and see them and have them react in person to our products, âshe said. “It has been a long time coming.”