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Well-dressed showroom.

The first in a series about successful Cozumel businesses.

This articles looks at local furniture and interior design company: The Magic Of Design.

From furnishing tycoon's penthouses to rescuing cyclone soaked sofas, this local interior design business knows how to survive in the Mexican Caribbean.

Founder and owner, Luh McDevitt, has more than 20 years' experience in furniture and interior design. She explains that she learnt the industry in Florida, working for almost half her career at prestigious Carole Korn Interiors.

Seeking a millennial change in 2000, Luh swapped the Florida sunshine for that of the Mexican Caribbean. She moved to Cozumel and started afresh as a freelance interior designer.

Luh says that over the following five years she learnt a lot about the differences in US and Mexican business culture.

She also spotted a gap in the market.

Americans, Canadians and Mexicans from the capital city were buying more and more vacation properties on the island, but they couldn't find furniture to suit.

Luh started advising where to go for furniture in Mexico or how to import it from overseas, but she soon realised that this was a business opportunity in itself.

In February 2005, Luh opened the Magic of Design, her first store on the island.

Squeezed into a quirky converted Swiss style chalet, Luh began to sell a small range of high quality, humidity resistant furniture.

Her taste for well-made furniture paid off later that year when hurricane Wilma struck the island.

There was very little structural damage to buildings, but the furniture in many was destroyed by flooding or humidity.

Not so in the vacation homes of those that bought furniture from the Magic of Design.

Luh proudly remembers that although she had to dry out a few soggy sofas, all her furniture survived intact. The only victim was a nightstand that a ceiling fan fell on, she smiles.

After that, her business grew fast and 2 years later Luh was forced to abandon the Swiss chalet for a new, custom-designed store of twice the size.

Today, Luh has a team of 6 Mexicans working for her, a delivery truck and a warehouse at Cancun international airport.

Over the years Luh has designed over 50 island interiors and furnished vacation homes for a wide variety of island property owners.

From oil tycoons, to dot com millionaires, to doctors, dentists and hospital owners, many enjoy their vacations in Cozumel on Luh's beds and sofas.

As the business keeps growing, Luh had to expand the store again just last month. She now has over 2,500 square feet of showroom space.

Luh's success is an inspiration for many North Americans that dream of moving to Cozumel.

If you think you can spot a gap in the local market and adapt to cultural differences, you too could have your own enterprise in paradise...

For more information about The Magic of Design, visit Luh's website:

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