Angela was recently recognized as the Indiana Small Business Person of the Year and was runner-up in the nation. For this she was invited to a dinner at the White House and also visited by Governor Mitch Daniels in early May.
The Bainbridge couple have their roots in Putnam County. They met while both attending South Putnam High School. Mark was best known in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) circles as the president of the organization.
"It took Mark two years to approach me," Angela said.
Following high school, Mark attended Purdue University where he received his marketing degree, while Angela attended Indiana State University seeking an elementary education degree.
The couple moved to the Washington, D.C. area where Mark became the director of marketing for USA Today.
"Angela's first store was a kiosk in a mall," Mark said. "Just imagine being a mall manager and having two 20-year-old kids coming in saying they had a new business. We weren't taken seriously."
Their first opportunity to get a real storefront came when a business in the mall was trying not to file bankruptcy. They took over the lease, which made both the outgoing company and the mall happy.
Angela's first storefront was called Angela's County Home.
She wanted to have a business that sold with the Hoosier hospitality she had grown up with.
"Out on the east coast, people weren't used to being greeted with 'How y'all doin'' and having a girl behind the counter who wrapped up their gifts," Angela said. "People just ate it up."
It was this business that made her realize she could improve upon the service provided by the companies she bought from.
When she would place an order from one of these companies, she said the turnaround was often weeks. She also was not satisfied with the way the frames with Bible verses and poems known as sentimental frames were packaged.
"Before we started this company, these frames had a piece of paper in them that could not be switched because the backs had a brown piece of paper stapled to the frame. So I had to eat the cost when those frames went on the clearance table," Angela said.
She then had the idea to use a standard picture frame with a removable back. This would allow the customer to change the paper within the frame to their liking.
"Often times I would get home from work and begin helping Angela make these frames all night," Mark said.
Simply making frames wasn't enough though. The couple saw how a company would just remove one frame and purchase another, which meant there was no profit made. Mark came up with the idea of building their own display.
These displays will only hold the product designed to fit the shelf. When the company came out with more products than just frames, different displays were built to house these items.
Coming back to Indiana was an easy choice for the Timms to make.
"We wanted our kids to grow up in the Midwest," Angela said.
When coming back to Putnam County, the Timms looked into several different places around the county. They naturally looked in the southern part first, having been from the South Putnam region originally. But it was Bainbridge that accepted their business, giving the Timm's reason to embrace Cougar country.
"At first the community was unsure how to take us," Mark said. "But now we are glad to be here."
Mark went on to explain how they have even given a parcel of their land to the neighbor.
"People thought we were insane just giving away land," Mark explained. "But he was already taking care of it; it was basically his anyhow."
In the midst of their current success as being the largest musical gifts company in America, all Angela is considering is how to spend more time with her children.
"I no longer even have a desk at the office," Angela said. "My future plans involve planting a garden, scrap booking and taking on the role of being a mother."
The Timms form the perfect union. Angela is creative and comes up with the products, and Mark knows how to take said product and get it on people's wish list.
"Working together was the way we made it," Angela said. "It's been very humbling looking back and saying, 'how did we get here'."
Working together with the company has also had a positive reflection on their personal relationship. They will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary and 20 years as a couple this year.
Cottage Garden gifts can be purchased locally at Eitel's Flowers and Gifts or online at www.terrificgifts.com where customers can also have their gifts personalized.