Well, October 2013′s High Point is a wrap today (or rather yesterday)!! And it sounds, from all the style spotters, interior designers, and magazine editors who attended (like Laura Van Zeyl from Home Fashion Forecast) that it was a FANTASTIC show!! It’s been very exciting for us at Deborah Main Designs to personally have the privilege to blog and Tweet about some amazing designers, because High Point Market, “The worlds Home for Home Furnishings” is still on my list to attend some day (or maybe even show our line!). Just in case you aren’t familiar with this show,
“The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 75,000 people to High Point, North Carolina, every six months. Serious retail home furnishings buyers can be found in High Point twice a year because if you can’t find it in High Point…it probably doesn’t exist.”
Featured fine furniture craftsman, John Strauss of Strauss Furniture, with interior designer, Carisa Marie Bell.
If you’ve been following along with Deborah Main Designs (or if you haven’t, that’s okay too!) our last week’s post, High Point with Deborah Main Designs, introduced you to the design duo (above photo) of CMJSCreativ: Interior designer, Carisa Marie, and fine furniture maker, John Strauss. Please note, these two are Twitter pals I’ve known for almost 2 years, but I’ve only met Carisa “In Real Life” (#IRL in Twitter speak), so I really didn’t know the back story of how they even came together for this fall’s High Point Furniture Market. (Be sure to scroll down to catch that amazing story at the end of this post!). All I knew was that John and Carisa had collaborated on these incredibly creative new chandeliers and this show was going to be their big debut in the John Strauss showroom.
Well, BIG it was!! In fact it was a HUGE success!!!
One of the CMJSCreativ Chandeliers above a finely crafted Cherry dining table and chairs by John Strauss. Buffet in back also handcrafted by John.
In celebration of Carisa and John’s debut and all the other amazing vendors at High Point, I decided to interview them. Here are the “High Point’s of High Point”:
DM: What was the highlight of High Point Market (#hpmkt) for both of you?
CM: For John & I, it was definitely when the chandeliers were first hung. Even with the plastic wrap on we were both giddy with excitement!! We had attended to every detail in our drawings and had seen through every piece separately as it was being made….the glass colors, shapes and sizes. The hanging opportunity was handed to us by nature, with the natural edge and curve of the wood slab. We only had to select hanging points and fabric cord to finish our design.
John opening up the packaging for the chandelier’s light bulbs. You can see the slab base and how it hangs over the entire dining table.
John Strauss hanging the first chandelier!
JS: I ebonized and drilled out hanging points on the slab. We then challenged a local blacksmith with a few detailed drawings and arm waves, and finally a glass blower with color processes and shapely organic designs. When the last bulb was screwed in we stood back and saw an elegant, warm & natural looking masterpiece that drew attention from all over for both residential and commercial applications.
One of the chandeliers hanging over a finely crafted dining table and chairs by John Strauss.
DM: John, I heard on Twitter, that you sold an armoire before the show even opened! Congratulations! Will other buyers be able to order that same armoire or is it one-of-a-kind? How do buyers place orders for your work?
JS: Thank you Deborah. Yes, the first cabinet sold immediately, which was very exciting. Carisa snapped a pic right when she first walked into the showroom, sent it to her clients back home, and 5 seconds later they texted “Buy It Now!”
Armoire designed and handcrafted by John Strauss. SOLD before showroom opened!
CM: As per usual, the armoire is far more gorgeous in real life than I even dreamed of and I knew if I hadn’t sent the photo to my client right away it would be gone. However, that cabinet is one of dozens John Strauss Furniture offers under his line Sheridan Road. It was featured in a cerused finish with a steam bent base. Anyone can order their own. Please contact John Strauss Furniture Design at 1-330-456-0300 and someone there will help you write up a quote request for your exact needs.
DM: Since this was I presume your first collaboration, what made it work so well?
CM: John’s & my collaboration works in many ways because of his patience and his willingness to allow me complete design freedom, my faith in him for what he does and best of all, we seem to agree & respect each other on everything that has to do with style. And we trust each other explicitly with our separate strengths.
DM: And what was the response to the featured chandelier?
CM: The response to the chandeliers was incredible!! When I explained that the slabs could be custom lacquered, stained, or dyed in any color, cut to any size, used in any color of glass, hung from their choice of 42 colors in fabric cords, they (the buyers) were blown away!!
JS: They of course had dozens of questions and smiled every time Carisa said “Yes”!
Featured chandelier hanging over a solid Cherry headboard and two night stands from the John Strauss Lake Shore Line.
DM: Can you tell us about the new company you’ve created, CMJSCreativ? What prompted you both to start a company together and what kind of plans do you have for it?
CM: The new company/line under the wing of John Strauss Furniture is called CMJSCREATIV. The idea is that we design, build and create luxurious living for clients that want to buy quality made products with highly functioning designs that are finished with only the best, most up to date materials and hardware available. Within this branch, we will have the freedom to design for hospitality and residential clients. We will create design lines under our brand for other companies to manufacture & distribute. We will also design furniture, accessories, lighting, and art work for stores & designers.
John noticed our ease & immediate success in working together early and although neither of us had considered having a “thousand-mile-away” business partner, it was an obvious transition. The name and logo was sketched out quickly and texted to me & the next thing we knew we were receiving design opportunities on grand scales a plenty.
JS: Our plans are simple, we want to create beauty that our clients will experience in ways of comfort and functionality. We want to challenge our creative with the skills we possess and with the artisans, manufacturers & anyone else that we can collaborate with.
Detail of lamps, by CMJSCreativ, are slabs from the root of walnut burl, made with 3-way switch in antiqued brass, with a lovely textured linen shade. The bud vase by John is also burled walnut.
DM: John, you’ve done this show for about 5 years now…do you see an increase interest (in your work) the more markets you do? Would you recommend this market for other designers to showcase their handcrafted products?
JS: High Point market is a make it or break it show. We had great success at the April 2013 market and we were excited to have the opportunity to showcase our collaborative designs at this Fall show. (As a vendor/manufacturer) you are exposed to thousands of potential clients, but at the end of the day you will have spent a large share of money to do so. You have to be able to make the most of it. That includes networking and sales. You have to have clear goals and a good marketing plan to make it all come together. You know Deborah, you’ve done the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market. High Point is not for everyone, but we’ve been pleased with our success. You should think about trying it next year!
DM: Carisa, as an interior designer, I hope you had a chance to sneak away and walk the show. Tell us about some new products you loved.
CM: I did get away to see a bit of the show. I don’t have to go far to see my always favorite showroom…by la design pretty girl Kim Salmela. Her bright colors, celebrity friends, glamorous upholstery and inspiring “art projects” make it a lot of attendees FAVE (not to mention she is a sweetheart).
Kim Salmela brightly colored furnishings at High Point market.
Next, I had to see what Ashlina of Emporium Home pulled out of her magic hat. She had some new breath taking velvet chairs & had selected a gorgeous moody blue wall accented by agates and selenite. I got wowed By Koket & Delightful with their over the top designs made of EXQUISITE materials and finishes done in a playful modern way.
Fabulous wall sconce By Koket.
Gary from Seasonal Living delighted and cracked me up with his showroom! It went through the stages of a high profile well-lived life, in a warm outdoor environment, ending in two mannequins tastefully outfitted and chicly enjoying cocktails in and by a blue pool.
DM: Those sound like some amazingly creative and colorful products. Carisa, what do you see in home furnishing design for Fall 2013 and going into 2014?
CM: I see people mixing old & new in the most glamorous of ways, I see people luxuriating in an environmentally conscious & user friendly space made by combining the warmth of the past and the ease of the technical present. I see spaces getting smaller as our population is growing larger. People need to choose things they can pass down through the generations, things that don’t fall apart & end up in a waste container to be dumped in one of the fly-over states of America. I see people making smarter, more permanent choices in furniture and soft coverings. I see designed products excelling to meet these demands and I see a happy balance with that.
DM: I don’t think anyone could have summed up the future of design better than you Carisa! That says so much about our environment and the choices we face. And frankly, a smarter consumer investing in more high quality, handcrafted products like what you and John offer.
But one last thing: I ‘m still very curious about how the two of you got this collaborative venture going in the first place. Would you mind sharing your amazing “Twitter Collaboration” story with our readers?
CM: Not at all Deborah. In July of 2012, John Strauss started following me on Twitter and I followed back! He liked the photos of rooms I designed & posted and I recognized his business model to be one that I admired. In October he posted a picture of his October showroom. I won’t go into detail, but it certainly wasn’t worthy of his gorgeous furniture. So I tweeted and told him what I thought (yes, I sometimes have a big mouth). He challenged me by asking if I could do better. I laughed, and said, “of course”! A few weeks later, he was building a platform in the back of his showroom to make his background furniture more visible and painting his walls an extreme color called swamp alligator. (At the April show) we sold every piece on the showroom floor by the 3rd day as well as tons of new orders. We also discovered that between the two of us we could create a well designed piece of furniture for a client in moments. I like to say that with my brains and his looks, we can do anything lol
DM: Is that true John?? That is too funny….and such a great Twitter story of how that social media platform really brings people together. I really thank you both, Carisa Marie and John Strauss, for taking the time to talk with me further about your experience at High Point Market this past week.
Well that’s a wrap on High Point with Carisa & John! I don’t know about you, but these two designers truly inspire me!!! We at Deborah Main Designs congratulate you both and wish you all the best for a bright collaborative future! Till next week, XO, PG