30 Mar

April 17″ HPMKT VIP Experience Tour

It’s that time of year and Deb ad I are gearing up for another fabulous tour with a great group of enthusiastic designers from all over the country.  Here are just a few of the great group that will be joining us.





Ginger Curtis is an expert in home décor and design with a passion for all things beautiful and lovely. Her relentless drive for excellence is seen in everything she touches. When she started her design firm in Ft Worth Texas, she set out to create timeless spaces as well as a creative ones that were bold in the most simplistic way. Sought after by clients who understand the value of superior professional design, Ginger and her team at Urbanology collaborate jointly with clients on the creative process…never steam-rolling it. Ginger’s design style lends itself toward urban Scandinavian with a modern and organic twist. This simple, contemporary and functional look is a breath-of-fresh-air for many clients looking to break out of the mundane and create an inspiring look in their home or commercial space. A 2016 and 2017 “Best Of” winner for design and customer service are a small window into her world. Her passion for what she does and who she does it for can be seen in the smallest details. Urbanology Designs is transforming homes and lives one room at a time! We all know to well, it’s so much more then just a pretty house for those who live in it…it’s home. When Ginger is not designing you will find her with the love of her life Eric and their 5 beautiful children. Spending time in the kitchen with her kids and teaching them how to cook is one of her favorite joys in life.thumbnail_KlarissaRyan-Headshot1KLARISSA RYAN  – ART & DESIGN CO 

I took a break from the design world for the last five years to focus on my art.  I am a fine arts painter.  After networking in the industry and talking to the public, I realized the need to make original artwork accessible.  Art has a story to tell and we need to make sure everyone can hear it.  I am partnering with a local non-profit to increase the awareness and importance of purchasing original artwork from artist and supporting the creative community.  We will be hosting events to bring artist and buyers together.  
I am passionate about servicing my local community, but I want to take the reach of this project nation wide.  So, I fused my love of art and enthusiasm for  sustainable products and green design to create the Art & Design Co.  We are a moderate-high end e-commerce consumer resource for original artwork and sustainably made furniture, textiles and accessories.  We source the best quality products on the market and strive to provide excellent customer service through product selection assistance and additional e-design services.  Our mission is to generate emotionally informed purchases by telling our customers about the story and the people behind the items they choose to adopt into their homes.  



Hi Y’all, I’m Melissa Clark an interior decorator in Austin, Texas. I have two kids, a husband and a pup named Pippa!  I’ve lived in Texas most of my life!  Some of my favorite things are Mexican food, margaritas, a good game of Texas Holdem, fresh flowers and fabulous decor!    My style is clean, edgy, simple and relaxed.  I believe your home should be a reflection of you, a respite from the rigors of everyday life, a place you can kick your boots off, and put your feet up with a good glass of wine or margarita!  Prior to interior design I was a project manager at Dell, after having children I started an organizing business, and am now living my passion working in interior design!  While working as an organizer I pursued an RIDQC Interior design certification!  There is nothing more exciting than a well designed comfortable and functional space!


thumbnail_Mary Crane headshot


“I have had a passion for interior design since I began clipping decorating ideas from Seventeen Magazine when I was 14 years old.  In high school I entered a competition for a scholarship sponsored by a major clothing manufacturer and became one of the ten national finalists.  It’s not that I loved clothes, but I enjoyed the competition’s creative challenges, and I especially loved how fabric prints and color affected clothing design.  Fashion as a career sounded boring, but becoming an interior designer sounded fascinating!  I majored in Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, became a professional member of ASID in 1976,  and started my own small residential design company in 1978. 
Somehow I managed to keep working at least part time while our two children were growing up (they were born in ’84 and ’85)—partly to maintain my sanity, and partly because I was very afraid of losing not just my edge, but my client base and trade accounts if I stopped working for several years.  I can’t imagine working in any other field!  I’m besotted with gorgeous fabrics, wallcoverings, and color. I’m interested in how culture influences design. I appreciate the sociology experiment that each client lays at my feet.  I still clip ingenious decorating ideas from magazines!   And I’m the kind of person who, if lying on a psychiatrist’s couch, could not concentrate on my therapy if the diplomas on the wall were poorly arranged, or if knew that the couch would look so much better if it were placed against a different wall!”

Becky Noelker began offering interior design services in 2008; she brought with her over 20 years of renovation and decorating experience.  Over the years several of her projects have been featured in local publications.  In 2002 she and her husband completed a major kitchen renovation in their home that was featured on HGTV Generation Renovation. She has a Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance from Washington University in St. Louis and worked for 18 years with troubled youth and their families. In her design business, she uses these skills to help people understand the connection between emotions and their environment, and uses a design psychology approach to help them find the happiness in their surroundings. Becky is a certified True Color Consultant.  She loves helping clients discover how color can make a subtle but dramatic change at the same time.       




We know great design! An award-winning, full service design firm, Ellen Walker Design Group (EWDG) has serviced satisfied clients across western Canada for over 20 years. Their office is based in Red Deer, Alberta. Specializing in residential and commercial projects, EWDG’s focus is to create function, flow and beauty. Their client list includes medical and legal professionals, business executives, entrepreneurs, restaurant owners and professional athletes. Her design team proudly supports ergonomic health, wellness and sustainable design in all projects.  

Ellen Walker Design Group saves you time, money and headaches by providing a “one-stop shop” of design services ranging from project management/space planning to color consultations to furnishings and flooring selection. Their extensive trade team includes some of Alberta’s foremost contractors, painters, drapery specialists, upholsterers, electricians, plumbers, and other professionals – over 50 vendors and suppliers throughout North America.  Together, they provide a white-glove, turn-key service, where the client “doesn’t have to lift a finger”. Projects are completed on time and on budget.  

Being an industry leader in implementing the psychology of design in our projects, we have access to experts in both design and psychology such as Kimberley Seldon (editor, author, celebrity designer), and Dr. Ganz Ferrance, award winning psychologist. Our principal, Ellen Walker is regularly an expert guest on television. She is also a popular presenter at the annual Red Deer Home Show. In an effort to encourage support and professional development within the local design community, Ellen is the proud Founder of a monthly networking group called “Designer’s Circle”. With a unique skill set and vast design experience, Ellen Walker Design Group remains the smart choice for the savvy home or business owner. 




What started out as a hobby has turned in a passion for Michelle. She is always searching for the perfect fabrics, accessories and décor for homes to give them a sophisticated, unique and special feel. From the dressmaker details to the perfect antique, no detail is forgotten.

Michelle is dedicated to creating interiors that reflect a client’s personality and lifestyle by capturing their design dreams and making them a reality. Michelle believes that your home should reflect who you are – your lifestyle, your history and your passion.

Michelle is a Midwest transplant who grew up in Minneapolis, MN. She now lives in Austin, TX with her husband and three children. When Michelle isn’t decorating or spending time with her family, she enjoys entertaining, gardening, reading, movie going, visiting museums and enjoying the outdoors.


We will see you all in High Point! 



02 Feb

Do I Really Need to Go to Market?

10704180_10152494869712672_2399195704626047477_nRecently, I was asked this exact question. So, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share why Jackie and I feel Market is a MUST. We understand that designers who have never been can either be intimidated to go; assume it is not a good use of their money or time or just really don’t understand what it is. But, HP becomes the center of the design universe twice a year. With almost everyone in our industry all in one place, Market provides unparalleled opportunities. Here’s our top six reasons to go to Market.

  1. The depth and breadth of products. This almost goes without saying. High Point like other markets or shows is a one stop shop. From flagship showrooms showing every piece in their catalog to new brands launching their inaugural lines, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.KiLimhomeDJEMuniquedesign-1135
  2. Nothing beats seeing it in person. Latest product launches are great, but more importantly, you get to see what a piece is really like.  Especially in this digital age- a finish, a color, patina, or texture- all of these can’t always be conveyed digitally successfully. Not to mention scale and proportion, there is also something to be said for the emotional connection between viewer and piece. Seeing it up close and personal you get a feeling or it conveys a mood. IMG_4014
  3. Spotting and validating trends. I know this is one of those overworked buzz words in the industry, but going to Market keeps you ahead-of-the-curve. Example: we saw tufted upholstery starting to wane last Spring and being replaced with tuck and roll looks, channels and diamonds. That conclusion came from being at Market and I can now use that information in working with clients especially when they are purchasing investment pieces.market ambella
  4. Learning the design narrative and backstory. It’s not about just seeing the objects, but the story and inspiration behind the collection and brand. Every piece has a story to tell about the designers whose brainchild it was, people who built it from the ground up.market arteriors
  5. Build a better bottom line.  Better product choices can lead to more profitable margins. Catalogs can always deliver the message. Its those one- of- a-kind discoveries or the hidden treasures you otherwise wouldn’t have known about that have can give you better margins and help you position your brand.market wesleyhall-0144
  6. Building relationships in person can deliver value season after season, no matter the economic climate.  Markets have a longstanding reputation as the best place to create and cultivate a successful networks. “You’d be amazed at what manufacturers will do for you when you ask.” through face-to-face communication and eye-to-eye contact.market mastour-7881
  7. Unequaled Networking. Last, but certainly not least is all the amazing networking. To be surrounded by people who are driven by the same passion is an experience that is enlightening and energizing.

If you are a new professional and even if you have a degree in interior design you probably only had a semester or 2 of materials and specs class. If it’s a second career for you- again you haven’t had the type of exposure to products, materials, innovation that you’ll see at market. market design legacy

Join us on the High Point Market VIP tour and experience it for yourself! 


21 Jan

Get to Know the Bienenstock Furniture Library

Bienenstock furniture library

We love to share resources and sources with our Soft Design community, so from time to time we’ll choose one and give you more in-depth info on the companies, services and platforms we love. Today we’d like to introduce you to a one-of-a-kind insider resource, the Bienenstock Furniture Library. The Furniture Library exists to further knowledge and preserve the history of furniture, interior design and the decorative arts.

With 5,000+ furniture and design specific volumes, it is the largest furniture specialty library in the world and holds the world’s largest such collection that is open and free to all. The Furniture Library’s rare book room houses 350+ volumes published since 1543, including original works of 18th century furniture masters Chippendale, Sheraton and Hepplewhite, and a complete 26-volume set of Diderot Encyclopedia c.1776. This is one of the few places, if not the only, in the world where—by appointment— design professionals, scholars, students, and the public can don a pair of white gloves and examine the original works of the pioneer designers.

Bienenstock Furniture Library_Chippendale_rare books

The Library’s open stacks—available any time you choose to drop by— include 5000+ texts, catalogs and magazines (such as 100 years of Antiques Magazine issues), covering international design history from ancient Greece until present day. Topics include art, architecture, furniture design, style, history, all significant design periods, wood and wood working, interior design, scaled drawings, window treatments, paint and paint finishes, textiles, clocks, porcelain, glass and much more. [Included in the Library’s collection: Design Directory of Window Treatments, by our own Jackie Von Tobel.]

Bienenstock library

Simply open a book on the Library’s shelves, and you can find rare drawings, furniture details, historic color swatches, international design specialties—a treasure trove of inspiration, information, and illustration for anyone interested in design. And, though little known outside the industry, the Furniture Library is located right in the heart of High Point Market. In fact, the HP Market Authority itself describes the Library as: “Like No Other Place On Earth, a truly unique resource for working designers.” Read more about what the Market has to say about Furniture Library, here.

Bienenstock Furniture Library_open stacks


As a non-profit organization, the Bienenstock Furniture Library provides most all of it’s services at no charge. The Library’s staff will be happy to answer any of your questions by email, phone, or in person. An Advisory Board of professional interior designers, college professors and design industry members assist in answering questions on selected topics. For instance, the Library can help you determine the style or period design of a piece of furniture.

Scholarship/Design Competition

Each year, a number of interior design and furniture design students are awarded scholarships through the The Bienenstock Furniture and Interior Design Competition. To date, the Library has awarded more than $450,000 in scholarships.

The Bienenstock Interior Design Scholarship is awarded by juried competition in a residential/commercial based project, directed and sponsored in partnership with ASID. Entrants complete a project to a set of provided instructions and commercial specifications. 1st place winner receives $5000, 2nd place $1500, and the 1st place winner’s school receives $1000 for it’s design department. 2017 judges are: Christi Spangle, June Anderson, Bri Verstat, Rose Dotal, Kara Cox, Gwen Emery, Jessica Alpert and Marilyn Russell.

Bienenstock furniture library 1

The Bienenstock Furniture Design Scholarship is awarded by a juried chair design competition, judged in partnership with ASFD. 1st place winner receives $5000, 2nd place $1500, and the 1st place winner’s school receives a $1000 for it’s design department. 2017 judges are: Dudley Moore, Jr.; Richard Frinier, Scott Coley, Danny Davis, Rick Schroeder, Royale Wiggin and Paul Brayton.

2017 Bienenstock Furniture Library Scholars will be announced in March. Any junior/senior or graduate student majoring in any design related field and attending a United States school or university is eligible to compete in the annual Bienenstock scholarship competition. If you or someone you know is eligible, the Library invites you to enter during the next competition. Details here.

RARE BOOKS Preservation

The Library’s rare books are housed in a climate and humidity controlled environment with monitored usage and white glove only access. The Library is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of it’s rare books in their original format, and has begun a Sponsor-A-Book effort to repair and rebind every volume, as appropriate, through grants and private donations. Rare and important books are awaiting funds for rebinding conservation and preservation. 

If you, or an organization of which you are a member, share the passion to preserve design knowledge and artifacts, the Library invites you to sponsor a book.


While in High Point, and especially amid the 12-hours fast-paced days of High Point Market, the Bienenstock Furniture Library invites you to use the Library’s facilities—and it’s beautifully planted sculpture garden—as a place of rest and respite. You can hop onto a “Go-Anywhere Shuttle” and be delivered to the Library within five minutes.


Hadley Court Center_at Bienenstock Furniture Library_1Should you or your organization have a meeting or special event to host during High Point Market, the Library invites you to use its high-tech Hadley Court Center for Design Collaboration, conference rooms, or its beautiful Pat Plaxico Sculpture Gardens sculpture garden and cottage house for alfresco dinners and gatherings.

Bienenstock Furniture Library_Plaxico Sculpture Garden


FOR QUESTIONS + DETAI LS, the Library invites you to contact director Karla Webb at info@furniturelibrary.com, www.furniturelibrary.com, or join the conversation at:




04 Oct

Creative Spotlight – Kimberly Lewis Home


This month we are thrilled to introduce you to Kimberly Lewis of Kimberly Lewis Home, a bespoke wallpaper company based in Brooklyn, New York.  Kimberly is a creative dynamo who has mastered private label product manufacturing in  big way and she did it by using social media to promote and market her product.


Later this month on Wednesday, October 19 at 12:00 pm EST –  9:00 am PST she will be hosting a webinar for Soft Design Lab that will teach you how to use social media to aggressively promote your own business.  But before we get to that let’s learn a bit more about this creative powerhouse.


Kimberly Lewis is a wallpaper and product designer based in Brooklyn, NY.  She founded her company in 2011 and shortly after was dubbed by Apartment Therapy as one of the “8 Brooklyn Wallpaper Designers To Watch”  Kimberly holds a Bachelors of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and studied Textile Design at the Danish Design School. Outside of her own company Kimberly has designed and developed patterns and products for companies such as Clinique, Macy’s, Dwellstudio and more. In 2013 Kimberly was honored to have four of her wallpapers acquired by the Brooklyn Museum for their decorative arts permanent collection. Besides being a designer Kimberly has a passion for teaching and mentoring and is always excited to share the knowledge she has picked up from being a business owner, social media enthusiast and design professional.


Considering you started your business before the mainstream resurgence of wallpaper in modern design, how did you come to the decision to design wallpaper?

I studied industrial design in college and I found myself applying patterns to all of my 3D objects. I ended up taking a silkscreening elective and the industrial designer in me found myself wanting to print some sort of product instead of an art piece.  I’ve always been drawn to decorative arts and it was quite literally a blending of all of my interests and passions at the time.


With wallpaper on the rise in today’s design aesthetic what do you see is the future of it as a product? 

What uses and unique applications for wallpaper do you see coming to the forefront? Customization is huge. With digital printing now it is so easy to make custom one off designs for one off spaces.


Starting out as a small boutique studio, how did you get started promoting your line?

I didn’t have much money to play with when I launched. I spent the majority of my marketing budget on the tiniest booth at ICFF and made my connections the old fashioned way, face to face. I took the rest of my marketing to the internet. I made most of my first business connections through Twitter as Instagram was just gearing up around that time.


What are your top three tips for small design entrepreneurs to promote and market their businesses and products?

1) Consistency is key. Get in front of your clients consistently and with a consistent brand story  2) Dive deep into who your client is, the more you know their wants and needs the more you can tailor your products to them. 3) Work on developing grit and a thick skin. It may look pretty on the outside but for every win there are lots of bumps in the road and you’ll need to weather them.


How did Instagram in particular help you grow your business? 

Instagram has been amazing for meeting new clients, potential showrooms, even people in the industry. The connections alone have really helped me grow tremendously.


During your Soft Design Lab webinar on October 19 on using Instagram what can attendees expect to take away to build their own audience? 

Attendees will learn not only how to whip their instagram feed into shape but most importantly build trust with potential clients while showcasing their products or services.


What is next for your business?

I am currently working on licensing my patterns for various other products. I am also working and developing  a new product but my lips are sealed!


with Kimberly Lewis

Are you fumbling around Instagram without a clear plan to use it to grow your business?  We hear the stories of Instagram success but how can we capture some of that for ourselves?

Join social media expert  and powerful self promoter Kimberly Lewis as she dives deep into the mysterious waters of Instagram.  Learn how to use this powerful visual platform to showcase your design work, engage users and build brand awareness. This webinar will cover everything from creating curated content, developing a hashtag strategy, connecting with your community in an effect way to build brand loyalty and much more. We will build a solid foundation and equip you with tips and strategies to catapult your business in front of an engaged audience that can’t wait to delve into your design work.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 12:00 EST – 9:00 PST 


24 Mar

Off to Market

You’ve done all the planning, packed your suitcase and you’re off to the show. Now what?

At the show

Arrive early and get your hands on a map and a directory. I map out which showrooms I am going to hit and in what order each day, High Point is a big place and you can waste a lot of time waiting for shuttles if you have to criss-cross market, building to building if you didn’t lay out a plan.

Refer to your schedule periodically throughout the day so that you can stay on track and see all of the vendors you want to. How? Set push notifications on your phone thru the Reminders app or your calendar.

Get to know the shuttle system. There are two types of shuttles- downtown shuttles – the Red line and Green line that run a route and make specific stops. The Go Anywhere van which will take you anywhere within a 3 mile radius of city limits between the hours of 7:30 am and 8:30 pm.

Re-evaluate your list the night before the last day at Market and see if you need to revise your schedule and re-prioritize your day to make sure that you see the vendors you need to before the show ends.

Don’t just grab every brochure that’s offered to you. Collect the information that is of interest to you or that could be valuable to others in your company. Ask for catalogs to be mailed to you or if they are available digitally.

Divide and conquer if you are bringing employees. Take advantage of show specials, discounts and sales. Check freight costs and delivery dates.

No matter how tired you are, attend a few seminars.  Check out the educational event schedule on Market website. There are always great and compelling topics being discussed. Target industry leaders and contacts you want to meet. Spend some time each day circulating and schmoozing.

4-drohanyou are planning to purchase any custom merchandise, bring your artwork and other files on a flash drive. Most vendors are equipped with laptops and can quickly send the data to the appropriate department.

Keep track of orders placed so you’ll stay within your budget.

3.  After the Show

After the show is over, be sure to keep in touch with your contacts, send out LinkedIn invitations and follow through with your new connections. All of your efforts are wasted if you don’t.  (I recommend waiting a week or so, both parties can catch up.)

Finally, the most important thing you can do is to show up. Just being at Market is the most important thing. Don’t underestimate the power of being there.

Thinking about coming to Market, but think it’s too late to get a room  or a flight?  Don’t have the time to do all the planning?  Join our  VIP #HPMKT Experience tour April 15-20, 2016. Spend the week with market experts, Deb Barrett and Jackie Von Tobel- that’s us. We take care of all of the planning and logistics, so you can concentrate on the show and having a great time. We’ll guide you through the ins and outs, and sometimes overwhelming High Point Market. It’s a must- do to increase your revenue, maximize your product mix and build your brand.

hpmkt sIDER aPRIL 16

21 Mar

What to Bring to Market


I am a “more is better” kind of girl so I definitely over pack and still end up not putting something in my suitcase that I need for Market. Jackie is much more organized- even pulling all her outfits together beforehand and getting a “visual” on her clothes rack before packing. So with loads of trial and error and Markets under our belt , here is our essential packing checklist:

Pack Extra Clothes and Shoes: You never know if you might decide to wear something different or need to change to keep looking your best. Always bring extra shoes and remember that Market requires a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes. If you don’t have an outfit that goes from work to dinner seamlessly, go shopping before the show.  (Who doesn’t like a little retail therapy.) April means an umbrella. Oh, and NEVER bring new shoes to Market without breaking them in… You’ll know in an hour that it was a bad idea.

Bring an Extra Duffle Bag: You will pick up catalogs, promotional products, and possibly even purchase merchandise that you can take with you at the show, so you will need an extra bag to get them home. Shhh.. an insider tip is that the you can cash and carry statement jewelry and handbags not to mention small vintage, antiques and artisan crafts.


One of my favorites at Market- Pyar and Co. a decorative pillow and trim manufacturer-will have these amazing bags in her booth.


I snagged these embellished vintage cans at Last market

Business Cards: Have your business cards ready and hand plenty out to everyone you meet. Bring three times as many business cards as you think you will need. Blogger, product designer, decorator, freelance writer? Bring business cards for all your business ventures.

Craft a one sheet and attach your business card it makes it easier to open accounts and takes less time. (Be sure to have a pen and notepad to take important notes.)

Download and print the High Point Maps available before you arrive. Use the map to plan your daily itinerary. There are over 100 buildings and some manufacturers are several miles away from downtown.


Create a checklist. You should have a checklist of all your must see vendors and must do events during the show. That way you can be sure not to miss any of the things you want to see at the show. Load it into your phone or iPad for easy access. I use Goggle Calendar. but Reminders or Remember the Milk are great task management apps too.

Don’t forget a: roller bag or tote, iPad or smartphone for pics, water bottle, aspirin, phone charger( a MUST).

Next up: our tips on how to maneuver Market once you get there.

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images via Pyar and Co., High Point Market

19 Mar

Ten Things You Need to Know To Maneuver Market


Pre show planning is the key to having a successful Market trip. Here are 10 things you need to do before getting on the plane for North Carolina.

1. Make a plan. The worst way to go to a trade show is unprepared. You need a goal and objectives!

2. Spend some time checking out the trade show’s website- http://www.highpointmarket.org  What companies are going to be there? Which ones do you already have accounts with? Don’t discount visiting showrooms you have accounts with. You will see the depth and breadth of their offerings in person not in the pages of a catalog; plus you can discuss discounts, sales, shipping or any other challenges with the right person. Are any of them potential new accounts?

3. Create a hit list of manufacturers and companies you want to see. Spend a little time researching the vendors, so that you’ll have a clear idea of who you need to see, and what you need to learn from them. That way you’ll have useful questions to ask, and will have to waste a minimum amount of time with small talk. Check out Soft Design Lab’s Hit List HERE.

4. Start scheduling appointments with your reps/ showrooms. Decide how much time you want to spend at the show, and then allot an appropriate amount to each appointment-making sure to schedule the ‘must see’ booths first.

5. Create a realistic budget. Consider travel expenses: ground transportation, accommodations (ask employees to share rooms if possible), meals, snacks, giveaways and the cost of being out of the office for a few days

6. Plan your travel and accommodations. Demand trumps supply at High Point so be prepared to pay more for what you might consider a below average hotel. When making your hotel reservation be prepared to stay in Greensboro, Winston Salem or surrounding areas that are 30 minutes or more from Market . Make sure your hotel is on one of the Market hotel shuttle routes and consider also shuttle departure times.  Most shuttle stop running in the morning at 9:00 AM and in the evening at  8:45 PM. Take advantage of early-bird discounts travel and hotel accommodations.  If you are flying into one of the three area airports, reserve your seat on an airport shuttle to/from the airport and plan accordingly.

7. Download the Uber app.  Uber has come to HP and in a pinch after a showroom party or dinner it’s the easiest and cheapest way to get home.

8. Register for Market.  Where? Visit High Point Market Authority’s website or click HERE.

9. Download and use the My Market App at http://www.highpointmarket.org/mymarket  High Point Market’s online planning tool. It allows you to customize your Market schedule, to find exhibitors, select educational seminars and social events, and to save all of your selections in a personal itinerary.

10. Once you have all your appointments set, make a daily agenda that includes all of the vendors. Use Goggle Calendar or Reminders app to schedule- love those alarm reminders and push notifications! Always schedule some extra time because you are bound to run over some appointments or might take a little longer to see something new and meet someone.


While you are at it, be sure to schedule your time after show is over each night. Attending manufacturer parties after the show is great for networking. You also should schedule in some time to do some homework each night after the show. By homework, I mean reviewing each of the vendors you saw that day, comparing notes and compiling ideas for possible orders so that you can take advantage of trade show specials, exclusives or future projects.

Next Up: We’ll give you a list of what to pack for Market.

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13 Jan

Design Resolutions You Should Do in 2016

Before Jackie and I are off on more design adventures across the globe, we both did our annual first- of -the- year business organization, declutter cleanse and resolve.  Here are our favorite curated Design Resolutions You Should Do for 2016.

1. Spend More Time with Your Design Family


Despite all the work required of a lone designer like myself, I resolve to find the time to attend events and meetups. They are my “design family”. They inspire me, ground me, and help mentor my decisions. Branch out, build relationships, and spend time with other designers. If you haven’t found your design family quite yet, you could possibly:

  • Go to meetups – from Dribble to General Assembly to Creative Live and more
  • Join an online design group Facebook, Pinterest and others all have great groups. We like Interior Design Community and Designer ER Therapy on Facebook.
  • Join an organization like WITHIT

2. Skip the juice cleanse and do a digital detox instead.

ddetoxA digital detox -switching off all mobiles, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers for a certain length of time enables you to relax, recharge and do whatever you enjoy. And what is that?… Some of us have been so hunkered down in the business bunker, we don’t know what we would enjoy anymore. A detox is generally recommended to ideally be around 24 hours long as a minimum and to build up to 72 hours.

I resolve to turnoff my digital devices every Saturday and get out there.  Jackie resolves to turn off the laptop at least 2 hours before bedtime every night.

3. Declutter your workspace


Jackie at Cynthia Rowley’s Floral Desk

The honeymoon period for working on your laptop in bed is officially over. We’re reserving the bedroom for more important things. With that said, the desk and a dedicated workspace are making a comeback in 2016. House Beautiful, Style Beat and others are declaring that desks are having a moment. And why not with so many fabulous options on the market. So treat yourself and design an exquisite workspace like you would for a customer. After all where do we spend most of our time?

If you are diving into that office reorganization here are some tips-

Get rid of tax documents before 2008. Check with your accountant to make sure you don’t have to keep something because of specific circumstances.

Get rid of all those old electronics.  Take to the Internet and sell them or donate them. Another thing you should dump? VHS tapes, cassettes, or any other technology that you can almost guarantee won’t be making a comeback — ever.

Stand While You Work. When journalist and co-author of The Art of Doing Camille Sweeney had to interview 15 prominent newsmakers in just a few days, she made her calls standing. “This was the year I got out of my chair and on to my feet at my desk,” she says. “It’s made such a difference.” Before Sweeny’s portable standing desk arrived in the mail, she improvised and put her laptop on top of a nine-inch square cardboard box on her desk. Now she alternates every few hours between sitting and standing.

4. Cross at least one destination off your travel bucket list.


I did this last year and it was life altering! My tip for you- get it our there. Don’t just dream it;  get it out of your head by talking about it. Verbalizing your intention will help you make it happen.

Blatant plug- Join Jackie and I for the VIP High Point Market Experience at Spring Market

5. Start a side project.


It isn’t just a way to kill time. It is a powerful way to explore your passion, experiment with different ideas, pick up new skills, and develop your own aesthetic as a designer. Your side project could be anything. Just find something you are interested in doing and commit. You could:

  • Open up an online store on Etsy with your design goodies
  • Write and design a book
  • Contribute to an open-source project
  • Volunteer your design skills to a non-profit
  • Create your own textiles

Ohh and finally… and Drink more Champagne…


For more of our Resolutions You Should Make in 2016; see our latest Take Ten on Soft Design Lab TV. 


02 Dec

Red Carpet Tour

red carpet tour Las Vegas

It’s that time of year again- time to start planning your business travel for 2016.  So mark your calendars for January 23-26, 2016 and come with us to Las Vegas Winter Market. Here’s all the scoop about our exclusive Red Carpet Tour.

Experience Las Vegas Winter Market like a design rock star with the Soft Design Lab team. We are hosting a 4 day, 3 night turnkey Red Carpet Tour, January 23-26, 2016. Get the star treatment while accessing an exclusive mix of seminars, showroom visits and new product presentations as well as celebrity meet and greets, education and specialty events… Not to mention VEGAS!


Here’s a sampling of what your Red Carpet Tour includes *:

  •  Three nights 4 star Hotel accommodations on the strip
  •  Pre market “ Ready to Rock” webinar
  •  Private Welcome Dinner hosted by IMC
  •  Transportation to /from market
  •  An exclusive array of education, events, and design destinations
  •  Private Farewell Dinner and Vegas Night Out
  • VIP Market Survival Kit

*Tour package does not include round trip transportation to Las Vegas

BUT… the best part is we take care of all the planning and behind the scenes coordinating AND you can do all of this with us for less than doing it on your own. Hurry only 20 spots available.

Tour Package $699

Early Bird Offer $600 Ends 12/31/2015


Qualified Attendees receive a poker chip compliments of Las Vegas market; redeemable only at market for an American Express gift card valued at $200. This is a heck of an offer at $400!


 Questions? Email us

Get all the details HERE