Tag Archives: Stark

Annual Trip to Nepal & India

Chad in Nepal

A week ago I returned from what has easily become my favorite part of my job: My annual trip to visit our mills in Nepal and India. While in Nepal, I created STARK’s first Instagram Story, giving everyone an inside look at the process of weaving our rugs! We saved the video, as it is a wonderful glimpse into the truly fascinating work our artisans do on a daily basis.

Check it out here: A Visit to Nepal!

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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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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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STARK CREATES MULTI-PRONGED AID EFFORT FOR NEPAL’S QUAKE VICTIMS

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Article originally posted by Rugnews.com

NEW YORK – Stark, which has done business in Nepal for more than five decades, is putting together a comprehensive and multi-pronged effort to provide continued relief to those affected in the Nepal region by the catastrophic April 25th earthquake. In addition to combined efforts with clients and vendors, they have started providing aid by donating close to $20,000 to Machik’s ACHA Himalayan Sisterhood and the American Red Cross.

“We are working on more ways to help and hope that everyone who can will join us in donating to one of these organizations as they continue to work tirelessly toward rebuilding the vital infrastructure and industrial heart of this great nation,” explained Chad Stark, senior vice president. “As a start we donated to Machik’s ACHA Himalayan Sisterhood, which is a grass-roots effort to support artisans from inaccessible villages in remote Nepal. Nepal has 30 million full-time residents and 26 million of them live outside of Kathmandu, traveling to the city regularly to work”.

“They are stuck in the city away from their families. To relieve the post-disaster stress in Kathmandu these people need to return home to help rebuild their villages; that is what our funds are going towards. These artisans will not make any income during these dire times, and we feel it is our responsibility to help them as best we can,” Stark added.

He said that Arthur and Nadia Stark, who founded the company more than 75 years ago, returned to Nepal again and again to source some of the finest carpets in the world. Second generation owners John and Steven Stark continue the tradition, and have now introduced the country’s incredible culture, beauty, and artistry to Ashley and Chad, the next generation. “We have truly never seen more smiles, which is why it is so heartbreaking that these amazing people are now enduring so much loss and pain.”

Stark is developing a greater assistance program as it learns more about relief needed.  The plan is expected to be finalized later this week. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the catastrophe in Nepal. We know that most of our closest circle of partners, friends and family there are safe, but the country needs our help.”

To join Stark in its efforts, go to the Machik website’s online form and write “Stark” or “ACHA” in the comments text box to ensure funds go directly to the company’s partner charity organization. To stay up to date with Stark’s efforts and how to help click here.

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A private tour sponsored by Stark of Renaissance artist Pieter Coecke van Aelst’s tapestries at the MET museum

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 Posted Originally by Tamara Stephenson
Run, don’t walk. over to Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, an exhibit paying homage to a talented tapestry artist.
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close up views of these rich tapestries

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Museums make me happy, and it feels special to walk the halls taking in all that history together in one place.  Today, I’m giving thanks to interior designer Jamie DrakeParsons School of Design and Stark for inviting me to be part of a small, private tour to learn about the works of 16th Century Renaissance artist Pieter Coecke van Aelst.  The show is a collection of the artist’s elaborate tapestries made over the course of his career in the Netherlands. These kind of unique shows tell the stories of our past, and the art helps us to connect the dots about lifestyles during that time when other documentation may not be available.

We were fortunate to have the complete attention of museum curator Elizabeth Cleland who lead us on a detailed and mesmerizing tour.  Cleland meticulously comprised this artist’s lifetime collections from all over the world and showcases the majestic works throughout the Tisch Galleries on the 2nd floor of the museum.  Since this particular artist is relatively unknown there was much work to bring the exhibit together. The show marks the first single tapestry artist exhibit at the MET.  To see these works of art preserved and altogether in one expansive hall is awe inspiring.  I enjoyed hearing the stories of the labor and detailing that went into creating them as well.
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Pieter Coecke van Aelst’s painting, The Last Supper
Since the artist was first a painter it was valuable to see many of his paintings side by side with his tapestries, and the similar painterly qualities of the characters on his canvas were recreated on the tapestries with impressive artistry — this is no small feat.  Seeing many of these works completely intact and kept in pristine condition was equally impressive.
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The tapestries were created with wool, silk and gold and silver-metal wrapped thread, and created only after the artist made life size “cartoons” which were drawings and gouache and done in the finest details.
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“The pursuit of pleasure leads to misery and sorrow, for unbridled love blinds and deranges the heart”
inscription, Lust tapestry 

It is difficult to choose just one tapestry as my favorite, but if I had to pick one, I’d head over the gallery hall showcasing the 7 deadly sins (each sin has a dedicated tapestry boasting the enticing qualities of that particular sin). I must admit Lust stopped me in my tracks!

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My second favorite is the beautiful and lush depiction of the story of Vertumnus and Pomona. The gentleman’s pose, hat and the fabric drew us in, but the incredible detailing and foliage on the top of the tapestry made me wish there was a ladder available for closer inspection.
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 The exhibit is now open to the public at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through January 11.  Don’t take my word for it, make it a holiday outing and head on over to  witness the magic.  I promise you’ll leave inspired!  Additionally, Please see details below about a two day symposium sponsored by Stark and Jamie Drake in conjunction with Parsons School of Design to delve deeper into the exhibit…
The Symposium Internationally renowned scholars and curators present recent scholarship in themed sessions during this two-day event held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Parsons The New School for Design. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis, but is Free and open to the public.  For more information read here
Dates:
Saturday, January 10, 2015
10:30am-4:30pm
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium Free with Museum admission
and,
Sunday, January 11, 2015
10:00am–4:30pm
Parsons The New School for Design
John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center 63 Fifth Avenue, New York City
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the crowned jewel of the exhibit and
the last on the tour at the end of the gallery is the large and impressive Adam & Eve
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more close up views from the show

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Happy Nesting
XO Tamara
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Fall Market 2013 at the D&D Building NYC

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Every Fall there is a major debut of new products, trends and brand marketing that takes place at the Decoration & Design Building in New York City.  It is a  two-day event focused on new merchandise, philosophies, and directions.

As I visited the showrooms this week, I found a prevailing situation (though not a new one) that featured many collaborative endeavors involving artists and designers from other design disciplines. The results are primarily targeted to textiles and rugs.

CJ DEllatore Jean Paul Gaultier for Lelievre Stark

Stark did some exciting things this year. We partnered with the fashion luminaire Jean Paul Gaultier and launched his second line of textiles with our brand Lelievre (available through Stark Fabrics). This follow up collection is chock-a-block with an unabashed heady mix of different themes, signature designs, and fresh color mixes. There are 8 new designs in a variety of colorways to choose from.  You can view them on the Lelievre link above.

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Pollack introduced their ‘Makers Collection where they commissioned five artisans who specialize in ceramics, furniture, jewelry, glass, and weaving to interpret their aesthetic to textiles.  The collection is dynamic and well worth investigating.  I appreciate the dialogue that occurs, and found the fabrics current and invigorating.

CJ Dellatore Josph La Piana for Patterson Flynn Martin

Thought PFM is our competition, they deserve credit when credit is due. I went to view the new collection of exclusive rug designs by Joseph La Piana for Patterson Flynn Martin. The 24 designs are a pure extension of the artist’s main body of work and approach the natural fluidity of his art in a seamless way.  The appreciation of rugs as an art form is one that has been under valued for too long.

CJ Dellatore Hermes display

Yet another venerable fashion house to jump on the home furnishings bandwagon is Hermes with their premiere collection of textiles and wall coverings.  The themes are as iconic as you would expect: equestrian, nautical, tropical, and exotic.  It is a very exciting new addition to the world of interior design textiles available at New York Jerry Pair Showroom.

CJ Dellatore Fortuny Showroom

“Splash” by Jeff Zimmerman available at Fortuny NYC

And aside from fabrics and rugs you should check out the Fortuny Showroom for the ever-changing art and art furniture installations which are for sale, and bring an updated brand aesthetic to the textile house.

Of course, there are many more new and exciting additions, lines and showrooms to check out.  Make it a point to see for yourself all that the D&D building has to offer.

Let me know when you make it here!

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Stark Presentation at Luxury Retail Summit NYC

I had the privilege of representing Stark at the Luxury Retail Summit in NYC yesterday and was able to inform attendees of what I am doing at Stark to protect our relationships with designs while expanding our business to include retail as well. Check out the below post from Luxury Daily‘s blog summarizing my presentation. Also, check out a quick video clip at the end on me speaking about how Ecommerce will help our business!

Stark Carpet Room Setting

NEW YORK – A Stark Carpet executive at the Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2013 yesterday discussed the lessons that the company learned while transitioning from trade-only to a retail trade combination.

During the “Stark: Evolving a Luxury Floor Coverings Brand from Trade-only Business to Retail” session, the executive discussed the challenges the company faced and how Stark readjusted its business model to accommodate both trade and retail without compromising its brand DNA and relations with interior designers. Exploring various methods can allow a brand to better adapt to a new market sector.

“Understanding the role of interior designers is vital to Stark,” said Chad Stark, vice president of operations and technology at Stark Carpet, New York.

“Interior designers are responsible for the growth and success of our business,” he said. “They understand the value of our products and translate this to consumers.”

“Designers are valuable consumers based on the frequency of projects compared to the average retail consumer.”

Luxury Daily organized the Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2013.

Technological, generational and economic challenges
Mr. Stark shared the brand’s challenges and lessons learned subsequently.

The Internet created design enthusiasts who had wide access to free design materials when previously this was left to a knowledgeable interior designer.

Between Web sites and design magazines, retail consumers are more informed than ever and many circumvent the advice and assistance of interior designers.

For Stark it was important not to tarnish its relationship with interior designers who had helped to elevate the brand to its standing as the leader in luxury floor coverings.

The new generation of consumers is less about touch and feel and is less inclined to travel far distances to experience a product first hand before making a purchase.

With a willingness to purchase online rather than in bricks-and-mortar locations, the new generation of Stark consumers prefer the accessibility of ecommerce.

Stark discovered that this new generation is much more price-sensitive than previous groups of consumers. The Internet and their increased knowledge led to consumers visiting showrooms without a designer in an attempt to buy products directly.

Stark Carpet Room Setting Elipse

Adaptations

To accommodate the growing number of informed and price conscious consumers, Stark held warehouse clearance sales every two years in different markets to sell its overstocked products.

Stark discovered that although the warehouse was successful from a consumer standpoint, interior designers pushed back at first. Overtime, interior designers began to bring clients to the warehouse sales.

Next, Stark developed retail outlets with a trade showroom within the same bricks-and-mortar location. The trade showroom was closed off to retail consumers, but the rest of the location was designed with a scaled-down warehouse format.

This concept damaged Stark because the brand featured its high-end exclusive products next to closeout items. From this model, Stark was able to re-envision its retail outposts in the form of Stark Home.

The Stark Home model replicated the exclusive nature of its trade showrooms but created a retail atmosphere as well. In theory, the Norwalk, CT, location was meant to amplify the New York showroom, but designers felt consumers were able to obtain Stark products without their assistance after visiting the showroom.

Stark, valuing the continued support of interior designers, sought out designers circumvented by consumers and compensated their time.

Ecommerce gave Stark significant exposure through flash sales with Web sites such as One Kings Lane, Gilt and Rue La La. Although sales and exposure were successful, the flash sales ruined the exclusive nature of its products while confusing design industry.

In 2014, Stark plans to re-launch its ecommerce site to increase convenience for trade and retail consumers.

Lessons learned
Today, Stark showrooms are rooted in experience. The showrooms carry carpets and fabrics, as well as “cash & carry” area rugs in a combined trade and retail space. To inform retail consumers about Stark, products are accompanied by relevant information allowing for more engagement.

Although the trade area is only shoppable by interior designers, retail consumers are welcome to browse the area. If a product strikes them, Stark suggests a local designer to assist with the project.

The “to-the-trade” program highlights interior designers as partners since their continued patronage has ensured the integrity of Stark. The program includes signature exclusive products for trade professionals such as Stark’s collaboration with fashion label Missoni, additional discounts online and in-store, and special services such a custom product development and home consultation.

Starks trials and tribulations during its adaptations from trade-only to retail is bound to affect the industry as a whole.

“Stark is the only luxury flooring brand and we take risks for the benefit of the industry,” Mr. Stark said.

“It is a scary and thrilling position to be in,” he said. “The industry is changing and the way interior designers work with clients is changing.

“The world is transparent and information is widely found online so our sales will likely to continue to be based on designers.”

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