Tag Archives: Interior Design

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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DFA General Membership Meeting!

I posted previously about being elected President of DFA. Next Tuesday, June 7th is my first meeting in my new role, and I would love to see you there! Check out this article on Editor at Large about the meeting.

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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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AD kicks off inaugural Washington Design Center Market Day

Last week, at the Washington Design Center Market Day, I had the pleasure of moderating a conversation on carpets between Charlotte Moss, Paul Sherrill, and Lindsey Harper. Hearing their thoughts at this event was a fantastic experience, and we received nothing but positive feedback on the discussion! Check out Editor at Large’s Article on the inaugural 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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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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DECORATING WITH WHITE

hgtv.com

photo via hgtv.com

When it comes to interior design there are few colors as timeless, adaptable or popular as white. It is fresh, minimalistic, pure and naturally beautiful, and it can make rooms appear light, airy and larger with minimal effort. When used in collaboration with other colors and shades, white can also be used to create some truly outstanding looks and atmospheres; a blend of neutral tones will give a calming and peaceful aura, whilst juxtaposing white against darker shades will create bold, dramatic interiors.

Interior design that incorporates, or heavily relies upon, white can also be really flexible; it can be painted over with ease, or contrasted with different colors to create stunning new looks. In fact, there are very few colors that don’t blend well with white, making it a treasured staple tone in most homes.

Paint the room white
Decorating with white couldn’t be easier, and there are a number of interior design ideas with white as the key shade. Nautical and coastal themes, contemporary styles, shabby chic and vintage/antique looks that draw on the classical and romantic eras all benefit from the use of white. These themes are relatively easy to achieve with the right accessories, furnishings and contrasting colors; inspiration for these fantastic themes can be found almost anywhere.

White is also great for those who don’t want to be overwhelmed by big blocks of color; utilizing white allows designers to subtly inject color into a room by way of bold accessories and furnishings. A room that is decorated neutrally is often easier to change, too – personality can be added or taken away, and the whole feel of a space can be altered with very little effort.

Veranda.com

photo via Veranda.com

Using white in the…
There are a number of ways in which white can be used around the home. In the kitchen, for example, white can be used to lighten and brighten surfaces and preparation areas, helping to keep the space cool and contemporary. Using white with contrasting colored tiles and accessories will give any kitchen a fresh and clean feel and will help to create some truly dramatic looks. Meanwhile, white is always a popular choice in bathrooms, reinforcing the idea of cleanliness and neatness. Again, colored tiles and accessories will really bring a bathroom out of its shell.

White isn’t simply confined to the more functional rooms in the house; it can also be used to make a living room, dining room, or bedroom feel much bigger than it is, truly making the most of the space on offer. Bedrooms can be transformed into ethereal, peaceful spaces with the careful use of white and a selection of accessories, such as white wooden shutters; homeowners can draw inspiration from the clouds to create a haven in which they can drift away, shutting out everything else. Living rooms can also benefit from a lick of white paint, which will allow accessories and furnishings to speak for themselves and ensure that a homeowner’s personality shines through.

Painting with a color as crisp and unforgiving as white can be daunting; there is always a risk that it will appear overbearing, or too clinical. However, when the decorating is carefully planned, with the right accompanying colors, textures and accessories, using white can ensure that interiors stay elegant and stylish for years to come.

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India-Nepal Business Trip 2014: Better than expected!

Taj Majal

Chad Stark at the Taj Mahal

I just spent the last 2 weeks traveling all over India and Nepal for work. To many, this opportunity sounds fun and exciting. However, I was dreading the trip since the day I found out I was going 6 months ago.

Recap of Trip #1 (2012)

This wasn’t my first time in India for business. 2 years ago I went on a 17-day trip to India to source handmade carpets and rugs. I attended the Veranasi Rug Fair, India’s largest annual rug trade show where 100s of carpet and rug vendors display their new product developments, and traveled with a former colleague whom I was not particularly fond of. We stayed in mediocre-at-best hotels with barely any Internet access. It was scorching hot, extremely smelly, and we worked 14-hour days every day for the entire trip – my colleague was the more experienced rug buyer since it was my first time traveling to source product so I followed his lead; I think he was trying to kill me. One experience I remember in particular was driving 2 hours each morning from our hotel to 6 or 7 different mills in the middle-of-no-where India, and then driving 2 hours back to the hotel in pitch black on unfinished roads with no traffic laws. Driving in India is crazy! I don’t know how there are not more accidents, but I was literally scared for my life!! Ultimately I did end up learning a lot about the products we sell but the overall experience was…questionable…. and it took a serious toll on my body making me sick for a couple weeks when I returned.

Trip #2 (2014)

I figured the trip this year was going to be similar except with better company; rather than traveling with this ex-employee who was trying to kill me, I was going to be with my uncle and CEO of Stark John, my partner-in-crime at the office Greg, and our new VP of Product Development whom I was just getting to know named Haynes. The trip was scheduled to be 14 days long instead of 17 so that was a good start. Also, I was traveling to Kathmandu, Nepal for a couple days where I had never been so that was exciting. Now that the trip is over, I can say that I was more than pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the time away from our crazed NY office.

The group was, to say the least, very diverse. John and Greg both shared similar skepticism as I about India in regards to traveling at night and eating out of the hotels – we brought a combined 50+ protein bars in our luggage. Haynes had a different school of thought. Having lived in India for 3-months a year for the past 5 years working for a manufacturing company, Haynes loves India. He basks in the culture and is willing to eat just about anything! I shared his adventurousness to an extent but was also jaded by my previously bad experience in the country.

The first few days were not that day. When I arrived in Delhi on Saturday night, my friend who is from and lives in Delhi picked me up and took me to a nice traditional Indian restaurant called Bukhara. It was excellent. The next day I had a 530am flight with Greg and Haynes to visit a new potential supplier – the flight was 2 hours and then the drive was an additional 2 hours, so we spent 8 hours traveling and only 5 hours working. It was rough.

I was allowed to take the next day off to do something I’ve always dreamed about doing – seeing the Taj Mahal (see pic above). It took 4.5 hours each way in a car to get to Agra but the trip was well worth it. The Taj is an amazing site. I had an incredible tour guide who not only told me the history of the Taj Mahal and the Fort next door, but also took me through the town of Agra to see authentic jewelry and masonry artisans who still use some of the techniques found in the Taj. I bought a cool little ashtray as a souvenir. My guide even took me to a rug manufacturer once he learned what I do for a living! It was awesome.

Greg, Haynes, and I spent the following day visiting mills in a location 2 hours from our hotel where we selected products to present to John later that week; John decided he didn’t want to travel to those mills (smart man) so he rented a conference room at our hotel to review all our selections. One of his friends in the industry does this every time he comes to India so John figured he would give it a shot. After doing this once, I’m conformable saying the John never wants to travel to a mill again…it was very productive since we were able to review only the products we liked in an efficient and concise manner. The next stop was Nepal.

Although the travel schedule was intense, the country’s stench was strong, and the meals were non-existent other than early breakfast, late dinner, and protein bars, I could tell the trip was going to be different than last time. My last trip was really a buying trip with no free time where this one was more of a product development trip. The subtle difference is that instead of just buying things we saw, we spent a lot of time working with the manufacturers to develop new qualities, recolor existing qualities, and learn the technicalities of different woven structures to understand the capabilities of each loom and product type. This is Haynes’ specialty and I was fascinated. I quickly began comprehending the complexities of our product line: the difference between hand loomed product with and without a jacquard; the different types of hand knots and what makes them unique; yarn preparation methods and counts, etc.

Wearing in Kathmandu

Wearing in Kathmandu

The next stop was Kathmandu, Nepal, and I was blown away – what a beautiful city! Not only was the scenery spectacular but the people we so friendly and happy: all smiles all day. Plus there was no terrible smell! I was there for 4 days and it barely even felt like work – we worked 8-10 hours days but the time flew. On our last day we even played golf. There were monkeys on the course and everything! To control these monkeys, guards with slingshots were stationed on the course to shoot rocks at them whenever they came onto the fairway. One of the guards even let me shoot his slingshot. What an experience.

Hotel in Varanasi

Hotel in Varanasi

The next and last leg of the trip was what I was dreading most – Varanasi. However, we weren’t going to the trade show and John decided to shorten the trip by 1 day because of how product the trip had been. He also booked another conference room to have mills come visit us so we could see more people in less time. We only ended up traveling 2 hours from our hotel once and the drive back to the hotel at night wasn’t as bad as I remembered it being. It was still pretty bad, but I wasn’t as scared.

Conclusion

Overall, this trip was a success from both a personal and business standpoint. Not only did we develop and find some amazing products but I also learned much more on this trip than on my previous one. The food was actually a little better than I expected (even though we still ate all our protein bars) and having some free time to site-see and play golf really made the trip more fun. I also brought a video camera with me and filmed almost every aspect of carpet and rug making to make a documentary. More information on that to come!

I won’t say I’m excited to come back to India on this trip again, but I am definitely not as against it as I previously was. Plus, there are still some activities I need to do in India like go to Mumbai and Jaipur. I also discovered a bunch of activities that I need to do in Nepal like visit Pokhara and Everest Base camp. It’s a good thing I will be going to this part of the world at least once every 2 years for the next 10!

Great things to come in 2015 for Stark…keep an eye out!

Until next time,

Chad

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2014 is a very strong year for Interior Design

Interior Design (Post Originally from Editor at Large)

The Interior Design 2014 Outlook and State of the Industry, produced by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Research, forecasts 2014 will be one of the strongest years for residential spending since 2009. The data has indicated positive economic growth for the residential interior design sector.

With unemployment rates dropping to pre-January 2008 numbers, housing statistics improving, and consumers and commercial developers spending on renovation, remodeling and new construction, total industry sales have continued to increase and are up 2% for 2013, with an additional 6% increase forecasted for 2014.

“The effects of the recession hit the interior design industry in late 2008, with the number of practicing designers and interior design firms declining to pre-housing boom levels,” said Randy Fiser, executive vice president and CEO of ASID. “However, as highlighted in the first quarter Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI), the number of interior design firms is on track to grow 4% by the end of 2014. The data shows, between 2012 and 2022, total employment growth in the interior design industry (13%) is expected to outpace ‘all occupations’ (11%).”

Despite these statistics, enrollment in interior design education programs is down and only 15% of design firms plan to expand their staff. This data, coupled with an increase in the popularity of “DIY design,” suggest that the industry needs to communicate its value more effectively, according to ASID.

The Interior Design 2014 Industry Outlook report also examines the state of the design industry, including analysis of demographics, economic influences and macro trends that have the potential to significantly affect the industry. For 2014, these macro trends include urbanization, globalization, technology, a changing environment and the emergence of the millennial consumer.

Other trends addressed in the report include the evolution of collaborative workplaces; higher standards for resilient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly construction; healthy buildings; research or evidence-based design; 3-D modeling and printing; professional certification; and building information modeling (BIM).

“The state of the interior design industry is sound and promising,” said Fiser. “Designers are embracing new opportunities in technology and evidence-based design, and developing new design models for the way people live, work, play and heal in the 21st century.”

According to the study, to keep pace with this changing marketplace, design professionals in all career stages must continue to adapt to shifting industry trends and anticipate evolving consumer priorities.

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Stark 75th Anniversary Party with new collections and collaborations

Stark turns 75!

On Tuesday (11/19) of this week, Stark celebrated our 75th anniversary with a party in our D&D showroom that was hosted by Margaret Russell, Architectural Digest’s editor-in-chief, and Ottavio Missoni Jr from Missoni.

New collections

It was an incredible night and a fitting tribute to my grandparents, Arthur and Nadia Stark, who founded Stark 75 years ago. Our company has come so far over the last 8 decades, and I owe it all to the hard work and dedication of my father and uncle, Steven and John Stark. Without their visionary leadership, Stark would not be what it is today.

The Fam

My cousin and business partner Ashley Stark was also emotional about this event: “It meant a lot to us to be able to celebrate with Margaret Russell and her incredible team from Architectural Digest. The room was full of our best clients, who are some of our family’s closed friends. Chad and I are looking forward to a great 2014 and a very bright future as we continue growing the company that our fathers have spent their lives building.”

Stark's history board

The event was amazing with over 300 guests including the top-tier NYC interior designers like John Barman, Jamie Drake, Ellie Cullman, Geoffrey Bradfield, Mark Cunningham, Penny Drue Baird and Brian Sawyer

Missoni Custom Rugs

We announced the launch of a new Missoni Rug collection, a 75th anniversary carpet collection, a hard-surface flooring partnership with Arbol Gallery Milano – the premier hard surface flooring brand in Europe, and the pending launch of our new website.

2014 will be a monumental year in our company’s history. Enter your email address in at www.StarkCarpet75.com to unlock a cool company timeline and stay in the loop with all of the exciting things happening next year!!

Jamie Drake and Ashley Stark

Ellie Cullman, Margaret Russell

Roric Tobin, Andrea Stark, Geoffrey Bradfield

Jacqueline Terrebonne and Brian Sawyer

Photo Credit: Matthew Carasella

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