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
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
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