Women is...: Terri Bowersock Furniture Franchiser

Terri Bowersock Furniture Franchiser

Who She Is: Founder and owner of Terri's Consign and Design Furnishings Terri Bowersock

Born: 1956

Annual revenue: $15 million

The Biz: Founded in 1979, Terri's consignment furniture superstores (averaging 18,000-25,000 square feet each) sell gently used, new, model home, estate and liquidation furniture and accessories. Today, there are 17 stores across the country. Terri's is the only consignment furniture franchise in the country.

How it all started: "I was 22 when I opened my first store with a $2,000 loan from my grandmother. I lived in it. I got my mother's living room furniture and my bedroom furniture, and I set it in a room. When people walked in and said, 'What is this?' I'd say 'It's a consignment store. If you have something to sell, bring it in and I'll sell it for you.'"

What she has in common with Albert Einstein: "We're both dyslexic. But everyone has a disability. Ask any successful person their story and they'll tell you things like, 'I grew up poor,' but they'll also tell you what drove them to succeed. I can honestly say that one of the reasons I started this business was I wanted to go to my class reunion in a limo. In school, I knew I was smart and I knew I had talent, but I was the kid least likely to succeed. I learned about business through trial and error."

The secret to her success: "It's like a playground compared to the rest of the industry, but we sell the same stuff."

Advice for would-be entrepreneurs: "Start with your own money and value your intuition. It's all about endurance in the beginning. Your dream and passion to succeed must be stronger than your fear of failure."