The Barbara Cosgrove Story

This week, Clayton Gray Home introduced a handful of new items from Barbara Cosgrove Lamps. But the story behind the artist and designer Barbara Cosgrove is as compelling as her pieces.

At age 47, Barbara found herself in a mid-career crisis. A sculptor by trade, when Barbara wasn’t working alone in an artist’s studio, she was at home raising a family. With her children grown though, the thrill was gone of heading into the studio and working alone all day. “I’ve been an artist all my life and I don’t think people realize that being an artist is really lonely. You go into the studio, work by yourself and go home in the evening. I had my family, but being a studio artist I didn’t have a lot of people around me at work. In addition, she felt that at almost 50, she was more marketable than an employer would perceive her to be.

A trip to the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market changed everything. Barbara saw first-hand where the artist and designer connects with the buyer and her creative energy started flowing. With her background in ceramics, Barbara designed and built a small collection of clay lamps, among a few other pieces. Well, none of the clay lamps sold, but the other pieces did! You say, ‘Well, that didn’t work. I have to have another idea.’ Or, ‘That did work. Let’s build on that.’ You back up and you move forward. You back up and you move forward. You just keep trying.” Working out of her garage (do all success stories start in a garage?) Barbara began with 3 to 5 local accounts. Today, her company has about 5000 accounts.

“I was 47 when I started my business. Though I hadn’t started a business before, I had sat at the dinner table with other people who had. had all these great professionals that came with my age, not my experience… the experience of all the people around me – friends, neighbors, dinner partners. You learn a lot of stuff just by listening.

What's New!

Check out Clayton Gray Home’s newest items to see some of our great new pieces from Barbara Cosgrove Lamps.

Our article was based on an interview with Barbara Cosgrove that was featured on the women’s entrepreneurial website,

Barbara Cosgrove Photo Credits: Brook Slezak for Country Living Magazine