Jay Howard, founder and CEO of Bentonville-based home furnishings and interior design studio Howse, has hired Stephanie Funk as president and chief operating officer of a new division called Howse Innovations.
In a news release, Howard said Funk will be responsible for “all things innovation” and for launching two new retail concepts and an innovation lab.
“Stephanie is the ideal person to help me execute this new venture,” Howard said. “She and I share in our entrepreneurial passion, work ethic and experience with startups, but her strength in leading-edge marketing, brand management and strategic execution is very impressive and vital to our success.”
Howard said the goal of the innovation lab will be to test both brick-and-mortar and digital ideas within home furnishings. A secondary focus will be exploring how to integrate the company’s strengths and experiences into other related industries and categories, such as design, marketing and real estate
Funk was most recently vice president of strategy and engagement for Metova Inc., a Tennessee-based software development firm with an office in Northwest Arkansas.
Funk was the founder and CEO of Acorn: the Influence Co., which she quickly scaled to a multimillion-dollar dollar business before a successful exit.
“I am excited to get back to my passion of building and scaling new concepts,” Funk said. “Jay and his team have the energy and resources to accomplish so much. His history proves that he is not afraid of fast growth, and his wonderfully loyal team proves it can be done over and over again.”
Howse has 30 employees and retail stores in Bentonville, Little Rock, Tulsa and Memphis Howard launched Howse in 2015 after selling his interest in I.O. Metro to private equity firms Banyan Investment Partners and Diamond State Ventures in 2011 for an undisclosed figure.
Howard said the company is expected to surpass $10 million in sales this year.