To market, to market …

North Carolina has a long history and reputation in the home furnishings industry for manufacturing fine furniture and textiles. The renowned High Point Market in High Point is the world’s premier home furnishings event.

High Point Market Square
High Point Market Square

Each spring and fall, thousands of industry professionals from around the world descend upon the sleepy little town of High Point, North Carolina to discover the latest interior design trends, see new product debuts, and network with their colleagues and peers. It’s the KBIS of the home furnishings and decor world. Manufacturers ship their newest and most beautiful creations to exhibit halls and showrooms for presentation to buyers from across the globe.

This fall I was presented with the opportunity to experience a small taste of the market while attending the NKBA Design Business Summit, which was taking place in High Point. The event began with a presentation from the High Point Market Authority, where it was made clear to us that a relationship between the NKBA and the High Point Market Authority would be mutually beneficial. Kitchen and bath designers who open accounts with merchants displaying at High Point would have access to a complete array of home furnishing products and decor.

Following the presentation, NKBA designers were divided among five tour guides, who each had favorite showrooms and manufacturers to share with us. Short of sounding like a giddy teenager, the next couple of hours were amazing. The only time I probably stopped smiling was to sip champagne or nibble on a delicious morsel.

When you are working on a kitchen remodel, do you have resources if the homeowner asks for your help in the living room or bedroom? Will you have sources for furniture, soft goods, artwork and beautiful lighting?

We were lucky to meet some designers who could talk to us about their products and answer questions. Raleigh, NC-based designer, Louise Gaskill (pictured below in yellow blazer), turns recycled Murano glass into the most amazing lighting. Clients commission custom pieces and Louise works her magic to create them.

NKBA-certified kitchen and bath designers should not be afraid to apply their knowledge to other areas of the home.

Even if one is completely content to focus only on kitchens and bath, it is difficult not to be impressed with the sheer volume and variety of quality products available at High Point. From exquisitely designed furniture to handcrafted lighting and decor items, I was excited and inspired as we ventured from one venue to the next.

Following the tour, the NKBA designers spent the evening socializing with colleagues. It was a fun way to end a busy day.

NKBA Design Business Summit Attendees
NKBA Design Business Summit Attendees

In addition to a lovely meal, we were gifted with really cool shades!

At the NKBA Design Business Summit, we were presented with tools to help us take our design businesses to the next level. Speakers included :

  • Luann Nigara, author of The Making of A Well-Designed Business and host of the #1 podcast for the interior design business – A Well-Designed Business
  • Leanne Wood, principal of Flying Camel Advertising, Design + PR
  • Ross Dunn, CEO of StepForth Web Marketing
  • Panel discussion moderated by Sherry Qualls, featuring Veronika Miller of Modenus; Claire Jeffords, Interior Design business coach; and NKBA insider Elle H-Millard, CKD

Many thanks to the NKBA for hosting this educational and inspirational event!

 

Studying Modern Design and Trends at the Monogram Designer Summit 2018

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I was honored to attend the Monogram Designer Summit 2018 in Louisville last week. This year’s theme was Journey: The Impact of One to Many.  Our gracious Monogram hosts began the summit with a cocktail reception and dinner at the historic Brown Hotel. This was followed by two days jam-packed with opportunities to learn and wander awe-struck through the modernist masterpiece that is Columbus, Indiana.

To help us get started on our journey, Bryan Goodpastor, Senior Creative Director of Trends and Forecasting at LPK, shared a dynamic presentation about trends for now and the future. At LPK, Bryan specializes in looking ahead to identify trends and help businesses optimize for the future.

Bryan’s team forecasts global trends and identifies shifts in socio-culture that affect consumer attitudes, values and beliefs—ultimately defining the consumer behaviors of the future.

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Bryan’s presentation was a great segue to our trip the next day to Columbus, Indiana, an architecturally significant town that clearly demonstrates how one person’s vision can create a lasting impact.

Columbus, Indiana was forever changed as J. Irwin Miller and his wife, Xenia made extraordinary contributions in their home town. Miller clearly was a man ahead of  his time. Watch the following video and see for yourself:

J. Irwin Miller: Portrait of a Leader

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The highlight of our visit to Columbus was touring the Miller House and Gardens, which is now owned and maintained by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Still photos cannot capture the magic of the house and grounds, but the following video gives you an idea:

Miller House and Garden

Unfortunately, the magnolia trees were not in bloom for our visit. Having grown up with a magnolia tree in my front yard, I immediately recognized the budding beauties and can only imagine the spectacle they created when all were in bloom.

If you want to learn more about Columbus, Indiana and J. Irwin Miller, read Columbus, Ind.: A Midwestern Mecca Of Architecture.

We ended the day  with cocktails and dinner at the KY Museum of Arts and Crafts.

KYMAC

Tuesday began bright and early at The Speed Art Museum with Bryan Goodpastor reporting on industry trends, followed by our dynamic facilitators Sunni and Jesse setting us up for an afternoon of discovery and innovation.

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One of the most fun parts of the Monogram Designer Summits is being able to envision and create product prototypes. Building on Bryan’s information with Sunni and Jesse motivating us, we broke out into teams and let our imaginations run wild.

Using “junkyard” scraps of cardboard, foamcore, handles and knobs, we put our heads together and built full-size appliances. Each group was assigned a demographic based on Bryan’s presentation,and we had only a short time to come to consensus and build our prototypes!

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Unfortunately, I cannot show you pictures of our top-secret, innovate creations or I will be sent away to appliance jail and tortured. Just kidding. Nyuck nyuck nyuck!

But seriously, folks, if you want to see truly innovative products that exceed your wildest dreams you only have to check out Monogram Appliances!

We wrapped up the 2018 Designer Summit with cocktails and dinner in The Crystal Ballroom at the Brown Hotel. As we savored as last hours together, Karl Champley, Master Builder, Humanitarian, and TV host shared his journey with us.

Thank you, Monogram, for hosting another fabulous designer summit!

Training and job opportunities abound in the building industry

As young people graduate from high school and college to pursue careers, the older generations are nearing retirement. Technology has reduced the physical stress of many jobs, and it’s not uncommon for white-collar professionals to work into their 70s. Many college graduates find themselves underemployed or entrenched in low-paying internships that linger well beyond graduation. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

For decades now, many high schools have focused on “selling” college prep programs and glossed over Career and Technical Education (CTE). Newsflash! Students can have a satisfying and challenging career by following the seemingly forgotten CTE track.

Plumbing Tools

It was not unusual for bright students who were interested and suited to CTE to be talked into pursuing college instead. The implication being that college-bound kids are smarter and better prepared for life. Wrong!

Students pursuing technical careers need strong math, communication, and mechanical science skills as well as the ability to adapt quickly. Not only do technical jobs demand training and credentials, they also require ongoing continuing education to maintain certifications. Going down the path to the trades often leads to a lifetime of learning!

A serious labor shortage exists within the building and construction industry due to baby-boomers “aging out” and the decades-long misconception that every kid needs a college degree. It’s time to stop pushing college on everyone and encourage students to prepare for careers in CTE related fields.

Industrial Electricians - Industrial Electrician Companies

While technology may have made white collar jobs easier, it’s opened so many new opportunities in the trades. Who is going to wire those smart homes, LED lighting, and leverage advances in heating and plumbing?

A career in the trades is not boring or a dead-end job. There’s room to grow and change direction within the industry. Many people who start out in the trades become General Contractors, builders, and business owners, earning high salaries and respect. The possibilities are endless.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association is dedicated to encouraging millennials to pursue a career in the trades. Check out this video from KBIS 2018 to see what the building industry is doing to right this wrong:

NKBA encourages millennials to join skilled trades