As if Contemporary Design Group needed further evidence of being movers and shakers in home furnishings!
CDG is proud to announce that not one, not two, but THREE of our members have been recognized by Home Furnishings Business as being in the top 40 Executives Under 40 Years Old for 2013!
We were fortunate enough to get the opportunity to dig down a little further and interview them about their celebrity status and secrets to success.
Travis Garrish, President of Forma Furniture moved to Fort Collins, CO and saw an opportunity. When it came to contemporary and Scandinavian home furnishings, the market was wide open. Together with his wife Dee Ann Garrish, Forma Furniture was founded in 2004, and now serves greater Colorado and Wyoming.
Garrish says his favorite thing about the industry is the people and being in sales. He sites his ability to adapt and adjust to new ideas and concepts as his biggest strength. “I wasn’t raised in the industry- my nine years of experience since opening the store is what I am learning from. I bring a different way of thinking to our store. I’m willing to try and fail. But I view failures or mistakes as investments and see the learning potential” he says.
In Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Hillside Furniture President (and oft times “poster boy”), Jeff Selik, grew up in the business—getting is start as a merchandising assistant post college. Today, he oversees all of Hillside’s operations, including buying, advertising, and sales training.
Described by Home Furnishings Business Magazine’s article as being the “Energizer Bunny” of the furnishings industry, Jeff says that as a kid he wanted to become a stand-up comedian or professional smart-ass. “One out of two isn’t bad,” he notes with a wink. All kidding aside, Jeff loves the technological evolution of furniture and the creative freedom he gets to explore in Hillside’s advertising. He “charges his batteries” (pun intended) by doing yoga, eating, and taking pictures of what he’s eating.
As Director of Business Development at Circle Furniture, Jessica Tubman is busy laying groundwork for the future. A third-generation member of the Circle Furniture clan, Jessica is developing a store private label brand, collaborating with the company’s POS software designer to create new inventory management/budgeting software, and developing a new e-commerce integrated web site for Circle's six store locations in the greater Boston area.
Although there was a point when Jessica says she considered pursuing law school, she’s glad that she ultimately chose to continue in the furniture industry. Her favorite thing about home furnishings is the constant evolution of style and technology. In order to stay on trend, she makes a point to keep updated on trends by reading news, blogs, and technology magazines…when she’s not busy attending star-studded galas in celebration of her new 40 Under 40 status, she jokes!
This year Thayer Coggin is celebrating the big 6-0 by hitting the road. The Roadshow, titled “Thayer Coggin and Milo Baughman: A Design Union” will be touring the nation making stops in 23 cities.
CDG stores will be hosting the show in the following cities: Richmond, VA (La Difference), Boston, MA (Circle Furniture), Pittsburg, PA (Perlora), Boca Raton, FL (Sklar Furnishings), Oklahoma City, OK (Suburban Contemporary), and San Diego, CA (Lawrance Furniture). La Difference in Richmond, VA was the third stop on the tour and owners Sarah Paxton and Andy Thornton shared their experience with us.
CDG: What are your personal thoughts about Thayer Coggin and the mid-century modern trend?
LaDiff: “We have been Thayer Coggin fans for years. We love hearing the stories about how Mr. Coggin and Milo Baughman met, formed a business relationship of 50 years with a handshake, and basically created the mid-century modern upholstery movement.”
“Mid-century design came out of the technology of the 40’s, developed during the war to streamline production, incorporate plastics, bent veneers, and lighter weight materials into useable objects, and to celebrate the ‘form + function’ ideas. Milo Baughman should be as celebrated as Charles and Ray Eames for his designs. They are as classic, functional, and beautiful today as when they were first introduced. While it’s true that Don Draper, the philandering marketing guy from ‘Mad Men’ (the AMC drama series), may have helped bring mid-century design to the fore front for many Americans, mid-century furniture design has become as ‘classic’ as Chippendale, Queen Anne, Colonial, or French Provincial.”
CDG: How was the roadshow experience?
LaDiff: “Our staff are huge Thayer Coggin fans, so the energy and excitement going into the Road Show was palpable. Our guests on our special cocktail night were real aficionados. Everyone there was eager to hear about the history of the company, presented by Phil Miller, VP of Sales and Marketing for Thayer Coggin.”
CDG: Any favorite pieces, eras or colors?
LaDiff: “Picking a favorite Baughman piece is like choosing a favorite pet!”
Sarah’s personal favorite is the Groovy swivel chair because it is such a statement piece; but is also fond of the Viceroy recliner and Boldido chair and ottoman (the only design Milo did in the 1980’s). As a former woodworker, Andy loves all of the chairs with the solid walnut arms and the olive burl elm tables. Both love the turquoise upholstery option.
“For us, the best part of the show was seeing the history. The Road Show was curated by date, so you could walk through the pieces from 1953 to 1997 and see the changes to Mr. Baughman’s designs.” Sarah says
Contemporary Design Group is a national association of independent contemporary furniture retailers.
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