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Local woman designs rugs for the hospitality industry

Westley Owens has designed textiles like carpets and rugs for hotels, casinos, country clubs and other companies in the hospitality business industry. Owens, a Natchez native, just moved back in January. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)


NATCHEZ — It takes a lot of players to make Disney World so magical for so many people.

One such player might go unnoticed to the forward facing eye, but a local woman’s talent can been seen inside the world of Disney if one looks hard enough right under their nose — or their feet, rather.

The designs of a Natchez native who recently moved back to the Miss-Lou, Westley Owens, can be seen in the intricately patterned rugs in hotel lobbies, restaurants and other venues of Disney, MGM casinos, the Grand Ole Opry and other hospitality giants.

Owens moved back to Natchez with her two children, Catherine, 9, and Alex, 8, in January for the first time since graduating from Trinity High School. And she now works from her Duncan Park Avenue house as a designer for a company that makes custom-designed floor treatments for the hospitality industry.

After taking orders from her clients, Owens creates from scratch the very piece that interior designers often say dictates the design aesthetic of an entire room.

Owens works for the Greenville-based U.S. division company Crossley Axminster, which assigns different clients to a member of the division’s design team.

While the client usually gives some direction — for example, whether they’re going for floral, abstract or art deco — Owens has free range from there.

Some clients, like Disney, do request details, like a hidden picture of Mickey Mouse in the design.

“The one’s from Disney are always fun,” Owens said.

Since graduating from Atlanta College of Art, Owens has designed floor treatments for a number of companies as well as light fixtures and furniture accessories for John Richard Furnishings.