Tiverton designer’s patio furniture a hit at Target stores

Deborah Allard

Sitting on an all-weather resin patio chair he designed for Target department stores, Sean Conway picks up his garden gnome and explains that it was inspired by a German replica.

Conway, who resides off Main Road in Tiverton, is the designer behind Target’s Tiverton collection of patio furniture and outdoor accessories, so named for the Rhode Island town. The line is sold in 1,800 Target stores and another 300 Target garden centers in the warmer states.

“It’s a big line, and it’s been growing,” Conway said. “It’s everywhere.”

Conway, a designer/renaissance man who doesn’t let opportunity squeeze past him, simply can’t work in one career at a time. He is a designer, gardening guru, television show host on PBS’ “Cultivating Life” and soon-to-be author.

“Lots of opportunities come up,” Conway said. “I see what looks like the most fun and interesting.”

He started his branded line at Target five years ago after working with the former Marshall Field’s department store for six years as a consultant.

The consulting part of the job was spurred by Conway’s interest in gardening. He previously ran Conway Nursery at Tiverton Four Corners where he created garden sensations for an exclusive clientele.

With a degree in biology, a passion for plants and a business background, Conway ran a Rhode Island flower show for a couple of years. He even once tilled soil and made baskets with the domesticity diva herself, Martha Stewart, on her television show.

“It just happens,” Conway said. “If opportunity knocks, you open the door. I’m open to new ideas.”

Conway’s own ideas come from “all over the place,” he said.

On PBS, Conway is co-executive producer and host of “Cultivating Life.”

“We’re working on our fourth season,” Conway said. “We have different categories, gardening, home, land, craft, table, traditions. It’s one theme through all of the categories.”

The third season is airing Sundays at 3 p.m. on WSBE this spring. “It was great,” Conway said. “We have a really interesting group of people.”

The show has led to a book, as yet untitled and due out next year, by Conway and Lee Buttala, co-executive producer of “Cultivating Life.”

“The book will be an extension of all this,” Conway said. “It’s based on ideas from the show. It’s brimming with projects.”

Conway said he feels fortunate to be involved in such worthy projects and to see such an interest in his Tiverton collection at Target.

“The really impressive thing is they are always trying to make it better,” Conway said. “That is the kind of environment that everyone wants to work in. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity.”

The Tiverton collection has been the focus of a large advertising campaign that doesn’t hide the designer. A two-page spread in Real Simple magazine features Conway’s dining chair. On one page, it reads “hello Sean,” and on the other, “fashionable good buy.”

Similar ads are running in “In Style” and “Oprah,” along with television commercials.

“It’s good design at affordable prices,” Conway said. “Partnering with a great retailer like Target is fantastic.”

To see the Tiverton collection, log on to To learn about “Cultivating Life,” log on to