Sisters Julia Sugarbaker and Suzanne Sugarbaker are polar opposites. Julia is an elegant, outspoken liberal intellectual; Suzanne is a rich, flashy, often self-centered former beauty queen and Miss Georgia World. They are constantly at personal odds but have launched Sugarbaker Designs, an interior design firm. Julia manages the company while Suzanne is mostly a financial backer who simply hangs around and annoys everyone under the guise of being the firm's salesperson.
The pragmatic designer Mary Jo Shively a recent divorcee raising two children, and the sweet-natured but somewhat naive office manager Charlene Frazier Stillfield are initial investors and co-workers. Anthony Bouvier, a former prison inmate who was falsely convicted of a robbery, is the only man on the staff and later in the series becomes a partner. Bernice Clifton, an absent-minded friend of the Sugarbaker matriarch, also appears frequently.