D&D Spring Designer Fever Market...

Viteri Style Management
Courtesy of D&D Building- Spring Market
Spring Market at the D&D is more like Spring Designer Fever. I am a fanatic over interior designers. Hence the creation of Viteri Style Management which is all about providing practical solutions to interior designers. So when asked to participate for the first time at the D&D's Blogger's Lounge, I was ecstatic. This meant reserved seating and advance questioning to some of the very best designers in our industry. Talk about VIP access! I was ready to get educated and party like a rock star.

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Traditional Home has an eye for New Trads.
First stop was Traditional Home discussion panel with the New Trads. I was all over this like white on rice. These three ladies epitomize my clientele. They all have boutique style design firms and are making their mark. Ann Maine who is the Editor in Chief of Traditional Home was the mediator for the event. The panel designers were, Heather Garrett, Katie Lydon and Summer Thornton. These lovely ladies kept it real. It was one of the most honest and candid discussions I've heard. From project disaster stories to admitting sometimes you have to "fake it to make it"...well partially, I was in awe of these women. I am a firm believer that you have to give off a certain perception in order to create your own reality. Basically what you put out into the universe can become true as it sure did for these designers. Interior designer, Heather Garrett mentioned, she started her portfolio by taking photos of her home (which was her first and only project at that time) but made it look like 4 different projects for her website. Again, perception creates reality. Now she and her team are working on multiple projects. All three designers would admit that sitting on this panel discussion was their "Big Fish" and they are so proud of their hard work to get there. Kudos to all of them.

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Glam Interior Designer, Ally Coutler and Niedermaier's Jewel, Rio Hamilton
Ally Coulter's Lounge on the 14th floor for the D&D Spring Market Event
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Patrick Hamilton, Moi, Ally Coulter, Iris Dankner and Christopher Highland. {Photo courtesy of Niedermaier}

So where does a girl go to process her notes and prep for more fun events at Spring Market? She hangs out at the best design lounge via glam interior designer, Ally Coulter. This room was so chic and of course it was the perfect spot to sip champagne and gab with friends. But I would not have done my job if I did not have scoop to share. It turns out my girl Ally has a chic furniture collaboration with Niedermaier and some pieces will debut in her room for this year's Holiday House in the Hamptons. Ally tells me she will be bringing sexy back in the Master Bedroom of the Show House with white on white. Can't share too many secrets just yet, but I would get my tickets for the Holiday House Hampton Gala for the first peek!

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Is there a Book Club for Interior Designers? This beautiful book should be included as a must read/see.
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Mr. American Beauty Himself, Thom Filicia and I
Well, thank God I met Thom a few times enough to settle my nerves and not scream over him like some teenager at a Justin Bieber concert. (Yeah, I know I have issues with being starstruck by certain designers. Don't judge me.) I adore him. He is so sweet and a true talent. Thom was at Spring Market to sign his new book, American Beauty. There were so many supporters which goes to show how loved he is. The touching moment would have to be the dozen or so students from his alma mater school, Syracuse University. All there for Thom and of course he was there to share the love with them. He is too cool for school and another reason why I love his style so much.

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Interior Designer, Suzanne Eason working not only fabulous interiors, but her fabulous fashion.
There is no way you can attend every event. Trust me, I was like Tom Cruise from Mission Impossible trying to get all my favorites in, but ended up more like Sophie's Choice as I had to miss some really great ones. (So sorry Robert Passal. Next time love for sure!) At this point I was the Eloise at the Plaza Hotel running around the D&D meeting/greeting designers, clients and friends all dressed in their Sunday best I might add. For instance love bumping into interior designer, Suzanne Eason. She has great interior design style, but worked this black and white fashion ensemble as well.

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Celebrity Interior Designers, Mary McDonald & Martyn Lawrence Bullard get inspiration in India for their new collection at Schumacher.
Now you all know I was not going to miss meeting these fine folks. Celebrity Interior Designers, Mary McDonald and Martyn Lawrence Bullard were my fine chocolate and jewelry addiction. Actually if you were at their speaking engagement or just watch their hit design reality TV Show, Million Dollar Decorators on Bravo, you will know it is their addiction as well. Put your assumptions aside. (I'm talking to the annoying designers & bloggers who told me not to go as this will be a high thrown presentation all about them- yes I am calling you out and you all know who you are.) Let's get into the facts. Both have created a beautiful line of fabrics, trimmings, pillows and wall covering collections for Schumacher. They are the real deal when learning how to strategically place yourself in this competing design market. Basically don't hate the players, hate the game.

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Mary McDonald's Collection for Schumacher
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Martyn Lawrence Bullard's Collection for Schumacher
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Best Glam Sandwich Evaaaaaaah!
Okay, so lets dish. I had to wear the sparkle shoes to build enough confidence to chat with these two. (Again, yeah I know!) I wanted to not only get some juicy information, but answers to what my design clients and I want to know. So putting on my big girl Spanxs, I braved to raise my hand and asked the questions..."You both have very successful design businesses, TV apperances and of course your new products lines. How are you capable of doing all this? What is the power team you put in place to make this all happen?" So here are the tips they shared with me.

Without missing a beat as if they were both separated at birth they said, "Your looking at the power team. It's us." Now I know that may have been a jaded answer, but their explanation made me think about who truly holds the power of building such an empire? Well not to make this blog into a novel, I bullet point the tips to hopefully shed light to this:
  • When your name is the company you are the company. Martyn is front and center in his business. Every client he works with will be working with him directly as that is what they are paying for. Even with a team of 15, he is hands-on when it comes to his clients.
  • Get a kickass lawyer. These sharks make sure no shenanigans are stirring up when building a brand such as theirs.
  • They are selective with the team they choose to work with. Some employees have been with them for years, but make no mistake it does take a village.
  • They are smart and appreciate the history and longevity of companies they partner with. You can't just partner up with anyone and vomit a product line. There is thought and hard work that goes behind it. It's worth it when it works, but detrimental when it doesn't and that usually falls on the designer.
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Nicki Minaj
Mr. Delish himself, Martyn Lawrence Bullard will soon be adding raptress Nicki Minaj to his celebrity roster of clients. I am a huge fan of Hip Hop and I even roll hardcore by doing Zumba with one of the master voices and DJ, Lil Jon. So you know Martyn earned gangsta points in my book to take on this women. All I could think of was Barbie meets rock and roll. Martyn's comments to me, "You just wait darling." Boom!

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That's a wrap at the Kick Off Party for Holiday House
To wrap up Spring Market at the D&D, there was a celebrated kick off party for Holiday House. You know I love a Step & Repeat and always tell my clients to get to steppin on one. There are so little opportunities to feel like a star at these events as you are predominately there to connect with star designers. But a step & repeat is a perfect opportunity to feel like a gem and shine. There is no shame in it and I recommend it!

I have to say both my curls and smile had a hard time holding up by the time I hit the kickoff party. For me it was like going to Disney World, too much fun packed in one day will make you exhausted by night. I was so happy to get a chance to say hello to my clients and friends that attended. It was packed! Everyone seemed to be there from our industry. This is why I highly encourage designers to attend Market at the D&D. Now you know I say it like I mean it so let me put it to you this way, I have yet to be invited to all these popular Design Camps, but I have to say I got the best education by attending Spring Market. The panel discussions were riveting, the selected celebrity designers were mind-blowing and the opportunities to network with some of the best minds in our industry is just priceless.

Thank you D&D for selecting me to be one of your feature bloggers. As you can see I had a blast. For all those that have attended I hope you will share your stories here with us. You know we want to hear your dish! 

Barbara V.

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