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Duluth's Designing Woman
How a Duluth Mother Has Re-Invented Her Life
by Robert J. Nebel
for Inside Gwinnett March, 2004 issue

About two years ago, Duluth resident Terry Palmer had enough. The corporate and family life's demands were grinding at a dizzying pace. Working 60-plus hour work weeks at a local marketing agency as a copywriter/graphic designer and tending to her family’s needs, made this mother of three more than pressed for time. "I felt completely rushed. Every day I had to race to get home to take one of my kids to soccer and another to an after-school activity," she recalled. "I loved being immersed in it all, but I said to myself, 'family is special.'"

After 12 years as a hard-working member of a corporate team, Terry quit her day job to start her own home-based business. Using her marketing, graphic design and computer skills, Terry started Quick Creative, a full-service design company that produces newsletters, brochures, coupons, restaurant menus and web sites for local businesses. Over the past two years, she built up a roster of 8-10 ongoing clients that include The City of Duluth, four Subway locations and a nearby Burger King. "I was always at the local Burger King because I love fast food. I met the owner of that outlet because I wanted him to sponsor one of my daughter's peewee cheerleading activities," she said. "After telling him about my company, he wanted to me to do a poster collage and the relationship blossomed from there."

On a typical day, Palmer, 38, can be seen in her stucco-fronted home performing a balancing act of designing coupons for Subway in what was a living room while her three girls, Wendy, 9, Phoebe, 7, and Cameron, 3, are three feet away playing on a short balance beam and jumping on a mini trampoline in what was the dining room. Even the office cubicle divider that is supposed to keep the children in their "makeshift gymnasium" is not enough to keep the girls' sounds out of earshot. "I would love to have a little room in another part of the house for the kids to play, but we make do with what we have," she said. "There are times that they do not understand that mommy has work to do and that really hurts so I try to do most of the work when they are asleep or in school or daycare."

Even though she works out of the house, Terry spends a lot of time in her Ford Expedition meeting with clients. "We have a lot of potential clients that would like to come on board," she said. "I just added local chiropractors to our list and it looks like it will continue to grow." As her business generates more revenue, Terry admitted that she must remain fiscally conservative in business and family life. "We rarely go out to dinners and movies," she said. "If we want a meal out and a movie, it's usually McDonald's and a Blockbuster rental." Terry's husband Robert gives her unconditional support in the business. "He's a great husband who takes care of the girls and likes to cook," she said. "Robert works as a systems analyst so he also helps me out when I run into issues with the computers."

She met Robert 15 years ago when they were both windsurfing at Lake Lanier water park. Robert, a native from England and Terry, a North Carolinian instantly hit it off and quickly found their cultural differences. "When he first asked me to dinner, Robert said, 'do you fancy going to Aunt Charlie's (a popular Buckhead bar in the early '90s)?'," Terry recalled. "I was thinking, 'does he want me to go out with him or is it a place I would bump into him.'" Within six months, the two were married and embarked on many adventures including a two-year stint in Melbourne, Australia due to a project at Robert's company.

Life is a bit more simple for this young entrepreneur. "I never would have thought that I wanted to work at home because it seems so boring," Terry said. "But that's not true because I have interaction through the family, computers and meeting with clients. I am also available for everyone at once and I love it."

For more information, contact Terry Palmer at:
Terry Palmer
Creative Director
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