Owners, Cheri + Justin Lingafelt
When Cheri and Justin Lingafelt, both from Kernersville, were only 18 years old they had one thing on their mind! Getting to Disney World! Their entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and they decided to find a creative way to earn money for the trip. It was then that they bought their first “lot” of furniture market sample lamps from Justin’s mother’s showroom and set up a yard sale on a corner in Kernersville. It was a success; they sold all the lamps and made enough money to go to Disney together!
On that fateful vacation, how could they have possibly known that in June of 2022 they would be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of a vibrant and growing business-like Accent Prone?
When they finished school, Justin and Cheri both worked in market showroom and design, and Justin worked for the furniture market in sales and traveled to other markets around the world. Cheri had a corporate 9-5 job right out of college that she knew would not fit her creative nature or fulfill her passions long term. After about six months, they decided to take a leap of faith to open their unique and attractive store, Accent Prone.
Cheri and Justin wanted to create a business in their hometown that would bring eclectic home fashions to Kernersville, and surrounding areas while also providing jobs for the local community and helping others find success. As you can imagine, it took a lot of hard work to get Accent Prone off the ground!
When Accent Prone opened in 2012, they filled the shop to the brim with merchandise and delighted treasure hunters began to enjoy regular outings to the Kernersville shop. As Cheri and Justin saw their store grow, they knew some changes needed to be made! The delivery team of Dexter, Travis and Brisyn was added and they began expansion into two different warehouse spaces, one of which is open to the public on select Saturdays.
In 2020, a tricky time for any business but certainly retail, Accent Prone moved forward with a move of their brick-and-mortar location into a much larger, showroom-style space. This move allowed for the addition of a clothing and jewelry boutique, which is brimming with happy shoppers every time I visit! The development of the Boutique also led to “Accent Prone: The Label” under which they now offer a wide variety of apparel, accessories, and jewelry, including fine jewelry. The large, bright and airy showroom also created space for Accent Prone to offer many different interior design styles
Cheri and Justin’s work this past decade has not gone unnoticed in the industry and they have even enjoyed collaborations with micro celebrities such as interior designing for Chris and Lauren Lane and a clothing line with Mary Beth (“MB”) Wilhelm. And they are just getting started – look for more collaborations in the works!
Over this past decade, like many business owners, Cheri and Justin have recognized how important it is to not just be a part of a community but to be a part of nurturing and giving back to your community! Thus, Accents of Kindness, the philanthropic branch of Accent Prone, was born. The mission behind Accent of Kindness is for a portion of every dollar made at the showroom to go into their Give Back fund. A financial goal for the fund is set and when that goal is reached, they begin accepting nominations for a local family in need and the interior design team completes a full room makeover on a room of the family’s choosing.
Accents of Kindness is also a key player in the foundation of Accent Prone’s interior design program. Following their first Accents of Kindness room makeover for the Riddle family, Cheri, Justin and the Accent Prone staff began to receive recognition as interior designers, which inspired them to begin their design program and begin working with clients.
Now, with a staff of 14 including mentorship support from Cheri’s father Terry and business development manager Julie Short, the current focus for Accent Prone is growth! Showing no signs of being stagnant, Cheri and Justin are looking forward to expanding their interior design business, their online shopping experience and into different markets.
I asked Cheri and Justin what lesson has been most poignant as business owners and here’s what they had to say: “Resilience. The first 5 years – the first year especially – were incredibly difficult and it took a tough mental resilience to keep going. A positive mindset and the idea that you will succeed is huge when you are an entrepreneur…. you have to keep pushing and know you will make it… Be flexible, willing to adapt and have faith!”
“The community and the friendships are the best parts about running a local business. Our team is like our family and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our customers are friends and we want the best for each of them. I love the relationships we create. That is by far the best part along with the Accents of Kindness program where we makeover a room or space for a family or person in need/or deserving of one.”