What started as an impromptu living arrangement on Coming Street in 1998 turned into a successful business partnership in 2016 for alums Margaret Furniss ‘00 and Ashley Warnock ‘00. The pair met at College of Charleston when both women needed temporary housing before a semester abroad. The two connected through friends and an instant bond was formed.
“After we moved in, we took a walk to The Battery and talked for hours,” recalls Furniss.
The pair stayed in touch while Furniss was in Italy and Warnock studied in Australia. When they returned to CofC, Furniss and Warnock decided to live together again.
After both friends graduated in 2000 as arts management majors, the best friends split up with Warnock traveling to Italy and Furniss moving to New York City. Through new jobs, moves, marriages, and children, the pair always stayed in touch. Warnock moved back to Charleston and eventually opened her own photography business, while Furniss was already back in the Holy City opening market/cafe Caviar & Bananas with her husband, Kris.
Caviar & Bananas opened in 2008 at 51 George St. and was an instant hit with the CofC population due to its proximity to campus and fresh offerings of salads, sushi, sandwiches, coffee, and other culinary treats. The brand expanded with a stall on Market Street in 2011 and recently announced they will open new Caviar & Bananas markets in the Charleston International Airport as well as Greenville, South Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee.
With all that growth on the horizon, Furniss turned to her best friend Warnock and asked her to come aboard as director of marketing for the brand. After working in marketing agencies in New York and Alaska, Warnock knew the field well. She says the proposal to work with her best friend came up casually over dinner, and she didn’t answer that night. The next day she called Furniss to see if she was serious — she couldn’t stop thinking about the potential to work together.
On working with your best friend, Warnock says it’s easy:
“There’s no ego in this. It’s my job to make them look good.”
The friends say it’s like they share a brain.
“I don’t think of myself as her boss,” says Furniss. “At the end of the day, we both answer to the business and collaborate to make it work.”
Look for the Greenville outpost of Caviar & Bananas to open in August 2016 and for Nashville to follow in 2017.