Learn about two local sisters who were inspired to live a little and start a business together following a scary diagnosis. Read on as we chat with the Salvage Sisters for our annual “home” issue to see how they’re following their passions to create beautiful, handmade products for homes across the Tri-State.
“Life is short and fleeting, so you can’t waste a minute,” says Amy Carr, co-founder of Salvage Sisters Restoration and Interior Design. Carr, who runs the business with her sister, had encountered an uphill battle when her twin sister Christie Wallace asked if she wanted to start a business.
“Salvage Sisters Restoration and Interior Design, LLC came about around January 2015, and I had been receiving chemotherapy treatments for stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” explains Carr. “My sister Christie texted me and asked as to whether I would be interested in starting a business. I immediately said yes and then asked ‘doing what?’”
Before they made the transition into running their own business, Carr was an attorney by trade and had spent the previous 10 years in practice. Meanwhile, Wallace was a mother of two and a pharmaceutical sales representative who had previously owned a clothing store in Clifton.
Carr was diagnosed with cancer 4 weeks after she gave birth to her 4th son. “The cancer had started in a lymph node and had spread throughout my lymphatic system and into my bone marrow and then into my spine,” she explains. “I was devastated to say the least, but once a plan was in place and with the help of Christie and my entire family, I was very confident that I would get into remission – and I did.”
With a diagnosis like cancer, Carr says that her whole family’s perspective changed. “We all realized we got the wake up call we needed,” she says. “We all needed to slow down, watch our kids grow, and do something we loved.”
After Wallace’s text, Carr says that they sat down to develop the fine details regarding the business. “We would buy old furniture and make it new again, give it new life,” says Carr.
The twins were familiar with tools, having grown up with parents who renovated and fixed properties. However, their business model quickly changed in a year and went from simply redesigning old furniture to actually going into clients’ homes and designing spaces in addition to building and repurposing furniture.
Carr says she and her sister work well together because they have such different ways of thinking. “Even though we are identical twins, she is much more creative than I am and I’m more of a practical thinker,” says Carr.
Their styles also set the two of them apart. Wallace likes vintage, eclectic style while Carr leans toward modern design and straight lines. “What is nice about being sisters is that you can speak your mind, even have a little fight, and then you’re fine,” says Carr. “It works well.”
When asked about what their favorite part of running a business is, Carr says it’s the work itself. “I love to do the constructing,” says Carr. “Christie also likes constructing but does most of our consults.”
Aside from the enjoying the time they get to spend together and do what they really love, they also want to inspire others to take that leap of faith.
“We want people to know that we took a leap of faith to do something we loved and it shouldn’t take a devastating blow to make others do the same,” says Carr.
All of the products used by the Salvage Sisters are neutral and non-toxic. “Having had cancer, we are so adamant on steering clear of chemicals,” says Carr. “So we are reaching out to see if it is feasible to start making and selling our stain to the public so that families can start living better and without all those harmful chemicals.”
Learn more about the Salvage Sisters at http://salvagesistersdesign.com/ or on Facebook<https://www.facebook.com/salvagesistersdesign/>, where you can see posts from their current work and projects!