Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Carpet Crash Course: Expert rug advice from a generation of new makers.

Carpet Crash Course

Recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed by The Chicago Tribune with my cousin Ashley — STARK’s Senior Vice President of Design — about the company’s evolution and our plans for the future. Check out the article here for advice, tips, and to learn about some exciting new developments in the world of STARK!

 

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How to Build Trust with Your Clients and Get Your Way

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For the DDB Spring Market on June 8th, STARK hosted the opening keynote moderated by  Sophie Donelson with Jamie Drake, Sarah DePalo, and me on the panel! It was a wonderful discussion with lots of insider tips of how interior designers build rapport with their clients, and make sure everyone is thrilled with the final outcome of the project. Check out the article on Go Design Go! and watch the coverage of the panel HERE!

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Summer Kick-Off Soiree!

Last week my friend Jake Baer – CEO of Newel – and I hosted a kickoff to the summer cocktail party for our friends and colleagues! Jell-o Shots, delicious hors d’oeurvres and an epic photo booth were the highlights of the evening. Check out the article on Editor at Large about the festivities!

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Denver Spring Market

Chad Denver Showroom Presentation

Last week I delivered the keynote at Denver Design District’s Spring Market! In a presentation titled: “Knowledge is power when information is everywhere: Tools and strategies to connect with today’s tech-savvy Luxurians” I addressed how a designer’s in depth knowledge of the industry is their most useful tool when working with a client base that is increasingly comfortable with the widespread DIY culture, and endless free design resources available online. Check out this article on the event!

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“Chad Stark appointed DFA President”

I am thrilled to announce that the board of the Decorative Furnishings Association (DFA) has elected me to serve as the next President of the organization! I am honored to have the opportunity to offer my leadership skills to this esteemed group of design professionals. Editor at Large interviewed me for their Article announcing the news. Check out the transcript below!

What are your goals as president? What do you plan to do differently, and what will continue as is? 
My goal as DFA president is simple: to continue the mission of growing and sustaining the professional interior design industry. However, our strategy to accomplish this will change a bit as we evolve into a widely inclusive voice of the industry: the marketplace, the media and the design community, all uniting to speak to consumers about how their lives can be enhanced by design. We will shift our primary focus from industry education to consumer outreach. We will continue to educate trade vendors on best practices, but we also will be leading an industry-wide effort to galvanize the perception of professional design in the eyes of consumers who can afford these services but choose not to because of various misconceptions about the industry.

Additionally, we will have an increased focus on trade organization partnerships. There are so many passionate groups who all have the same goal. I want to make sure the DFA’s approach is unique, so that we can better coordinate our resources with others to cover more ground.

As a millennial, how is your perception of the industry unique? How will digital strategies be a part of your plan? 
I was fortunate to have grown up in a professionally designed home, so I’ve always understood how beautiful and functional design can positively impact one’s life. However, many of my peers were not as lucky. I find myself in many conversations trying to convince these peers who can now afford design services that they should hire a designer, but I’m met with skepticism and doubt because millennials perceive interior design as unattainable, too expensive, and as a mysterious and laborious process.

Most services in today’s world are very straightforward—they are transparent about pricing and easy to understand. Professional interior designers all have different pricing models, and the industry was built on exclusivity. This approach and diversity is now hurting the outsider’s industry perception, because millennials think secrecy is not trustworthy. The negative perception is perpetuated by a lack of clear and consistent communication about the value of design through the content channels millennials consume daily, which is why digital strategies will be a major focus of the DFA’s efforts moving forward.

What are the greatest assets of the DFA? 
The DFA members are our strongest assets. We represent a knowledge and experience base that is as high or higher than any other trade organization in the industry. Additionally, because all of the members are principals of their respective firms, we benefit from the expertise of the industry’s leading decision makers.

Do you plan additional programs or outreach? Whom will you target? 
Our main focuses will be launching an industry-wide effort that unites all members of the trade—designers and vendors—with a unified message to increase the number of interior design projects by inspiring, informing and engaging consumers. The DFA will be backing an online resource center and advertising campaign—similar to the dairy industry’s “Got milk?” campaign—for the interior design community to promote the use of interior designers. We will be targeting consumers who have the means to afford these services but don’t engage them for any number of reasons. This initiative will have a digital-first approach, and we will be exploring different fund-raising platforms, likeKickstarter, to crowdsource support. To stay in the loop with our efforts, please enter your e-mail address here.

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STARK celebrates publication of latest book

On November 17th, my family hosted a party at our D&D Building showroom to mark the publication of our new book, Decorating with Carpets: The STARK Tradition.

They transcribed my speech 🙂

“As you will see in the book, carpets produced by STARK demonstrate decorating trends at their highest level. And while the photography makes this an incredible coffee table book (perfect for holiday gifts!) Decorating with Carpets is much more—it’s really a resource guide and delves into types of carpets from Aubusson to Axminster and beyond, and explores the most popular patterns and textures and how they are used in various rooms in the home.”

We toasted the new book with guests Iris Apfel, Michael Boodro, Robert Rufino, Cynthia Frank, Orli Ben-Dor, Kate Kelly Smith, Katie Brockman, Jim Aman and John Meeks, Juan Montoya, Kevin Lichten, Alex Papachristidis, David Duncan, Ellie Cullman, Geoffrey Bradfield, Roric Tobin, Noel Jeffrey, Trisha Reger, Barry Goralnick, Alyssa Kapito, Vivian Muller, Sherrill Canet, Alberto Villalobos, Mercedes Desio, Joshua Greene, Richard McGeehan, Michael Simon, Charles Pavarini, Kendell Cronstrom, and Amy Vermillion.

Check out the full article on The Editor at Large.

DFA Board Membership, CHECK!

I’m delighted and honored to have been invited by the Decorative Furnishing Association to join their organization as a board member! This organization truly gets what we need to do in the luxury furnishing business and I’m excited to contribute in any way that I can. See below for the announcement from their website about this exciting news!

Welcome DFA’s New Board Member: Chad Stark

September 2015

The DFA is excited to announce that Chad Stark has joined the DFA Board of Directors. Chad is the Senior Vice President of Stark Carpet & Fabric, a leader in the interior design industry. Chad’s fresh approach to issues in the design industry and his take on the value of design make him a valuable addition to the DFA board.

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DFA and ASID summit in Boston talks marketing, education

I was on a panel last week at the Boston Design Center discussing how to appeal to different design markets, including the younger generation of interior designers as well as design enthusiasts around the world. Simply put, it was AWESOME! This is the second event where I’ve spoken to a large group on a similar topic – the first was at the Luxury Retail Summit a couple years agoBelow is an article posted from Editor At Large summarizing the event. Enjoy!

How can the Decorative Furnishings Association (DFA) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) better collaborate on promoting interior design? The two organizations met on July 16 at the Boston Design Center in their second-ever industry summit to discuss just that, with a focus on how to promote the value of the interior design trade to luxury customers and to a younger, DIY-conscious generation. Representatives from Fabricut, Dering Hall, Donghia, Jerry Pair, Duralee,Robert Allen, Stark, Kravet and design centers, in addition to members of the media at Hearst, Cottages & Gardens and Meredith, attended the daylong program.

Small group sessions brought designers, media and furnishings leaders together.

The day’s panel, moderated by Steven Nobel of DFA, with Chad Stark of Stark Carpet, Katie Miner of ADAC, and Tabitha Evans, ASID designer, explored how to better educate and inform customers as well as how to effectively market the industry to the do-it-yourself generation. “It’s not really about talking to each other,” shared Miner. “It’s about talking to people who have the means ” but not the understanding of design’s impact. “Our job,” explained Stark, “is to show them the difference between what they can do and what a professional can do.”

Collaborative small group sessions followed, with designers, furnishing company execs and media pros answering a series of questions about the state of the industry, ways to improve outreach, and current challenges, among them the Internet’s impact on pricing and the client’s desire for instant gratification and lack of education as to the value of professional design. Groups identified cross-marketing (such as targeting customers of the fashion and luxury vacation industries); launching an internal campaign to promote the value of design to the end user; pushing showrooms to take the lead on education and networking, such as through “speed-dating” mixers hosted in-house; and running regional outreach in areas not serviced by major designers, as a few key strategies.

Craig Cross, who was appointed DFA’s director of public relations and community outreach earlier this year, delivered an overview of the DFA’s marketing initiatives, and DFA members were introduced to the organization’s recently revamped site, to be launched later this month. The afternoon concluded with a branding talk presented by Susan Battista, a strategist with Visual Dialogue Boston, who discussed five particularly adaptable industries and their top players.

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Stark celebrates House Beautiful’s EIC, Sophie Donelson

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Chad Stark

Last week I moved to California for 4-5 weeks to work out of my LA and Costa Mesa showrooms. The timing of this move was perfect – I came at the beginning of LCDQ LA for Stark’s party honoring Sophie Donelson’s joining House Beautiful as Editor in Chief. I will be posting about my first month-long experience working outside of Stark NY at the end of my trip. In the meantime see below for a post about our party from Editor at Large

On May 7, Stark feted House Beautiful‘s new Editor in Chief Sophie Donelson with a celebratory gathering. Guests, among them Newell Turner, Clinton Smith, Robert Rufino, Orli Ben-Dor, Sabine Rothman, Doretta Sperduto,Timothy Corrigan, Jennifer Boles, Nate Berkus, David Duncan, Jane Scott Hodges, Shaun Smith, Mercedes Desio, Alberto Villalobos and Young Huh, were treated to Champagne and small bites. Chad Stark, senior vice president at Stark, said, “Our company was founded by my grandparents more than 75 years ago. They would be so delighted to see all of the amazing things happening in the L.A. design community and the great excitement that surrounds the LCDQ.”

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Kate Kelly Smith, Sophie Donelson, John Stark, Andrea Stark

Stark, who attended the event along with John Stark and Andrea Stark, said “We are thrilled to be here. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce Sophie Donelson, who was named Editor in Chief of House Beautiful in January. Her energy and enthusiasm for design are contagious, and we can’t wait to see how she puts her own stamp on the magazine. We are so pleased to host Sophie’s official welcome to LA in her exciting new role.”

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Sophie Donelson

“Being feted by Stark was an incredible moment for me,” said Donelson. “It was a fantastic event and very humbling to reunite with longtime colleagues and friends. I also loved meeting so many new faces – many whom are familiar names to my inbox and Instagram, but whom I had never met. It was thrilling!”

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Newell Turner and Jane Scott Hodges

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Donelson, who was appointed earlier this year, held senior editorial positions at ELLE DECOR, The Blueprint and CITY magazines before becoming an independent journalist, writing for print and digital publications including Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, Curbed.com and Editor at Large.

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Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus

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Marla Kay and Timothy Corrigan

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Decorating With Exposed Brick

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Exposed brick is an endlessly debated design element, one you either love or hate. When done incorrectly, decorating around a brick wall can be a bit of an eyesore. Done correctly, however, an exposed brick wall can be quite magical, bringing in a variety of elements. Whether you’re looking for something elegant or rustic, be sure to embrace the aspects of exposed brick when decorating.
Here are a few of our favorite looks that feature exposed brick as either a focal point of the decor, or whether the brick is simply a backdrop.

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Painting over brick isn’t generally something  that’s recommended, simply because of the effort it takes to undo it afterward. If you’re coming in to brick that’s already been painted, use it to your advantage. The look of brick, painted in a crisp white, makes the possibilities for decorating around it endless. Above, you can see that the decorators used a muted color palette alongside their white brick, leaving behind a relaxed atmosphere.

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Weathered brick is always a gorgeous design element, simply because of the ways you can use it to your advantage. It brings in an unparalleled rustic look, and as you can see above, you can pair that with the sleek edges of Scandinavian design.

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Of course, it’s not necessary to leave your brick walls blank. It does take a bit more effort than a simple nail and hammer to hang artwork onto brick, but Bob Vila has you covered. When keeping the natural look of a red brick, use the color palette to your advantage, with some artwork that matches. Hanging artwork isn’t the only way to decorate the wall, though. This floating shelf makes its own statement, but you can put anything on there – books, picture frames, etc.

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Finally, we have the combination rustic and shabby chic look. The decorators either chipped away at many layers of existing paint to expose the brick, or simply chipped away at some plywood that covered it. Whatever the case, the end result is gorgeous. Paired with an open and airy room, this fireplace functions as an understated focal point.

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