A Lafayette staple redesigns. By Amanda Bedgood

Home_09_2012This isn’t Judy Dunn’s first zebra-swathed rodeo. She’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to interiors. She’s been in the business for 20 years — the first to bring her unique “work with what you’ve got” approach to Lafayette. And so after years of establishing a thriving business in Dunn’s Designs, she’s undertaking the task of rebranding. While she’s changed the name of the business to Dunn’s Furniture and Interiors and seeks to create a new image (and more important, carry lower price points), the crux of the new Dunn’s is what defined Dunn’s for 20 years — accessibility paired with unmistakable Judy style.

“Design scares people,” Judy says, referring to the word that was once half of her business’ name. “It’s intimidating.”

The combination of her belief that home interiors should be more accessible (“we’ve worked from mobile homes to mansions”) and the recent arrival of national home chains spurred the rebranding.

“When the big box store comes to town you have to think of something new,” she says.

That something new began with the name change, striking “design” from the sign out front. Then came the addition of zebra print on the logo (as well as license plate frames on Dunn’s vehicles, name tags and anything not nailed down).

Animal print has always been Judy’s signature, and today is no different as she explains the rebranding. She’s wearing a shirt with a zebra motif and discusses plans for the future with an iPad in her lap that is entirely bedazzled on the back in zebra. Her iPhone? The same. Dunn’s is now on Pinterest showing off its latest pieces and using Facebook and Twitter as well. Those lower price points paired with youth in the store (UL design students can now earn credit by working there) are part of a direction to offer diversity to customers.

“I have to be out there or I’m just the old lady that started it,” Judy says with a laugh.

Dunn’s is also the first to offer a new kind of bridal shower. Continuing its uncanny way of working with what you’ve got, it is helping new brides do the same. The idea is a new, yet simple one: Bridal showers will be hosted at the store on Rue Louis XIV with the registry being a gift certificate the bride can use at the store. The shower itself is a lesson in how to marry his and her styles.

“How to incorporate that pillow with flowers and his deer head,” manager Meagan Rabalais says.

Dunn’s gift to the bride will be time spent in home working its magic.

“We want to be first,” Judy says. “We like to be different.”

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