MARIETTE & MAGUED BARSOUM
617.443.0700 | divinedesigncenter.com
Divine Design Center is a total living concept showroom and one-stop-shop for customers designing a modern home. It’s owned by a husband and wife team. Mariette Barsoum is the owner and principal designer.
Who or what inspired you as a child to start your own business?
I was initially working as a kitchen designer for another company when a customer suggested I start my own business. I mentioned it to my husband and without letting me know, he started working out a business plan. Eventually we found a place, I quit my job, and we started the business. It was very nerve-wracking; we used all our savings and we had a 3 year old at the time.
Thankfully it went well. Initially, when we opened in 2004, we focused only on kitchens, but now we are in a new space (Divine Design Center in Boston, an 8,000 square foot showroom and the largest in New England) where we have everything for the home, from kitchens to bathrooms to wardrobes to furniture.
Why is the location of your business so important to the success of your business?
We are privileged to represent some of Europe’s top brands in home designs including LEICHT, TEAM7, and Rolf-Benz. With a parking garage under the building, our location on the waterfront in the North End is beautiful, practical, and matches well with the character of the brands we represent.
Have you ever encountered any challenges in your family business?
We’re very cautious when it comes to making business decisions. We want to be able to sleep at night and be confident that we can take care of our clients and our family at the same time. The challenge was not growing the business too fast. When you grow a business very quickly, it often brings headaches. Our goal was to grow the business gradually, so we didn’t have that problem.
What’s the best advice that someone in your family offered you?
A lot of others who own family businesses told us that the most important thing is to leave work outside the home, which is very hard to do, but the whole idea is to not let business decisions affect your relationships. In a business, you’re going to have a lot of stress over the years. The most important thing is to remember you are a family before everything else.
Since you work together, where and when do you like to relax as a family?
We try to take a big family trip every year with the kids. My daughter, Mary, is 16 and learning to drive, and my son, David, is a fifth grader, so the trips are a time to build memories.