Bulldog 100 Honoree Interview: Tom Etheridge (ABJ ’94)

Tom Etheridge posing in front of rugs at an expo
Tom Etheridge wins Boutique Design New York's Best Exhibit Competition in 2022 with the theme “Welcome back New York”. (Photos: submitted)

Bulldog 100 Honoree Interview: Tom Etheridge (ABJ ’94)

January 26, 2024

This is one of a series of interviews honoring Grady College alumni who have been recognized as Bulldog 100 recipients in 2024. The Bulldog 100 is sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association and celebrates the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.

Tom Etheridge (ABJ ’94), founder of Art of Floors, creates unique, custom flooring for hospitality spaces. He and design director Katie Stewart work one-on-one with clients to provide quality services with a focus on promoting local, artisanal designers.

Etheridge posing in front of yarn in India.
Etheridge at one of his production facilities in Bhadohi, India. This Tencel yarn looks like gold.

What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?

Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect before starting your business or chasing your dream. They’ll never be perfect. Jump in and refine as you go.

What key lessons have you learned from your entrepreneurial journey?

Don’t worry about being the biggest. Just focus on being the best. To be the best, you have to get rid of average. If you’re the best at anything you won’t have to look for success. It will find you.

What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you attribute to your success?

Etheridge posing with the Baltimore Ravens custom rug
Etheridge poses with the centerpiece of the redesigned Baltimore Ravens locker room. A 26-foot custom carpet made by hand.

Learning the importance of seeking out talented people and making them part of your “team”. This includes mentors, freelancers, and of course, a great therapist!

What has been your favorite project?

We created a 26’ rug as the centerpiece of the Baltimore Ravens locker room. They recently posted a reel of the coaches and players dancing on it after winning an AFC divisional playoff game. It was awesome!

What is your dream project?

Creating a rug for the center of the UGA locker room!

What qualities or behaviors differentiate exceptional leaders from the rest?

Be grateful. Stay humble. Give back.

Other Grady alumni recognized in the 2024 Bulldog 100 list include:

  • Leo Falkenstein (ABJ ’13, BBA ’14), Consume Media
  • Elizabeth Newton (ABJ ’99), ENewton Design
  • Marie Hunter (ABJ ’02), KRG Fuel + Energy
  • Brooke Beach MacLean (ABJ ’11), Marketwake
  • Trevor Williams (ABJ ’02, MA ’04), Pig Apple, LLC
  • Cindy Edwards (ABJ ’86) and Stephanie Duttenhaver (M ’81), Sapelo Skin Care
  • Jason A. Russell (ABJ ’96), Stable Kernel
  • Selby Hill (ABJ ’14), Yonder Yoga

Editor: Morgan Jones | morgan.jones2@uga.edu