FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lawrenceville, GA, October 6, 2020 – When the word came out that Lebron James would be producing the Madam CJ Walker series for Netflix, Audrey Bell-Kearney was ecstatic. Audrey had gone to Madam CJ Walker’s great-granddaughter years earlier to ask for permission to produce a movie about her great grandmother. She gave her blessing and Audrey went to work to get a script written. That is when she met author JT Keitt who wrote an amazing script. Audrey was so excited. She started to cast for the movie and once that was done she went back to Madam’s granddaughter to ask if she would make a cameo in the film playing herself talking about the book she had written called On Her Own Grounds. That conversation stopped Audrey and the making of the film dead in their tracks. Madam’s granddaughter said that she thought we were doing a documentary and not a feature film and said that she did not want to greenlight the film moving forward, because she wanted Queen Latifah to play Madam. At that point, the life was sucked out of Audrey, because she had to go back and tell everyone that the film was not going to happen.
Then the news came out that Lebron would be producing the docuseries for Netflix and Audrey was happy. What was ironic was that the Lebron series had the same name as Audrey’s film which was Self-Made. After hearing that news Audrey went to work talking to her manufacturer in China to see what it would cost to produce a special line of Madam CJ Walker dolls. See Audrey and her friend Georgette had invented the first plus-size fashion dolls. The idea for the dolls came to Audrey in 1999. Audrey then shared that idea with her friend, and they launched their company Big Beautiful Dolls. Audrey and Georgette ran Big Beautiful Dolls until 2005. The Big Beautiful Doll line included 3 dolls, Dasia the Black doll, Dena the Hispanic doll, and Dawn which was the White doll.
Audrey wanted to use Dasia and make a tribute doll to Madam CJ Walker by the time the docuseries would be airing, but she ran into roadblocks. Because of all the tariff issues that were happening between America and China, the cost to produce the dolls was almost 5x as much as the original production. Audrey could not bring herself to think about sending over $400,000 to China with everything going on. So again, a setback on how to keep the life of the dolls going. Then one night while laying in bed she decided to make a line of collectible plates of the Madam CJ Walker Tribute Doll. As she did her research, she came across a rug manufacturer and it hit her why not start an area rug company. She could vision seeing the affordable area rugs on the floor of little girls’ rooms around the world. Audrey had a sleepless night that night. She was so excited about what would become her new venture. She had not been this excited about a venture since she created the dolls in 1999 and brought them to market.
Fast forward to today The Rug Chest has launched and Audrey is excited about starting a company that started as an idea to print the Madam CJ Walker tribute doll on a rug is already becoming more than that. After starting the company Audrey realized that she could work with artists who are looking for more outlets to sell their work. This partnership will give Audrey the opportunity to keep new and unique kitchen rugs coming out. Some of those will be limited edition rugs while others will have no limits. What Audrey learned from her time in the doll world was that people loved to own limited edition collectibles, so she is transferring that knowledge over to The Rug Chest.
Audrey has been an entrepreneur for 23 years. She has learned a lot about launching businesses. Audrey says that The Rug Chest is what she calls her fourth real company and believes that all her past ventures have prepared her for today. Two of Audrey’s ventures are streaming TV networks, so it would only make sense to have a rug shopping channel. The rug shopping channel will be on The Noise Media Network which is also owned by Audrey. Noise Media Network is streamed on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV & Android Mobile App. So being able to tell the story of each rug will be viewed on smart TVs in over 100 countries if not more. Anyone who knows Audrey knows she loves technology and is also working on how to leverage Artificial Intelligence to help build The Rug Chest Brand.
Now all of that seems pretty exciting for a new rug company, but Audrey says that what is really exciting for her about this venture is her Adopt My Room Initiative. Audrey knew right out of the gate that she wanted to have a give back built right into the company at the beginning. She thought about a cause she would support and Habitat For Humanity showed up for her. She thought that she would donate a rug to each of the new homeowners. She had a meeting with the Director of Philanthropy at her local Habitat For Humanity and during that meeting, the director mentioned that they had a program called “adopt a room” where they made over a room. The director also talked about how former Atlanta Falcon’s Warrick Dunn had furnished a whole home for a new homeowner. After Audrey left that meeting, the Adopt A Room program stuck in her head and that is when she decided that she wanted to do more than donate a rug to Habitat. She wanted to make over rooms for children as a part of her give back who were not a part of Habitat For Humanity. So, she decided that she would create an initiative called Adopt My Room where children with the help of a guardian if needed can submit a video to have their room entered into a pool for a room makeover. I cannot furnish a whole house like Warrick yet, but I can put aside some of my proceeds from the company to support Habitat For Humanity and for room makeovers for a child, says Audrey. Now Audrey says she sucks at decorating, so she is looking to partner with interior designers and organizers to help her move her initiative forward as the company starts to bring in revenue.
I feel so strongly about The Rug Chest and Adopt My Room Initiative and how they will help artists, homeowners, and make a child happy. I am borrowing experiences from my past adventures to light the path of my future legacy, says Audrey.
The Rug Chest
1075 Chimney Trace Way