Hosted by the Accessories Resource Team (ART) and Interior Design Society (IDS), the 2019 ART + IDS Conference was held in Palm Springs, CA, May 1 to 4, 2019. The conference provided a unique networking opportunity for interior designers, manufacturers, retailers and other members of the design and home furnishings industries.
The first day of the conference kicked off with lunch and an afternoon keynote from Emmy Award-winning TV host Carson Kressley. Kressley entertained the crowd and outlined his top 10 interior design tips.
After the keynote, attendees split into two tracks. The interior designers were encouraged to attend author LuAnn Nigara’s talk, “Is Your Interior Design Firm Making Money?” while the ART group participated in the Fantasy Build competition. Nigara spoke about client acquisition, project management and project completion, and how perfecting these three things can help you become more profitable in your interior design business.
In Fantasy Build, groups were randomly assigned a home accent category and asked to design and create a model of a fantasy product.
While competitors presented their creations to Kressley, the designers participated in a competition of their own. Swatched, a game created by a regional IDS chapter, splits attendees into small groups and asks them to create a design concept using sponsor-donated fabric, paint and tile samples. Competitors raced against the clock to create an indoor and outdoor Palm Springs-inspired space for a fictional family.
The day ended with welcome cocktails and dinner, sponsored by Dallas Market Center.
Day 2 began with breakfast, followed by a talk from Patti Carpenter on how macro trends impact micro trends. Carpenter first outlined macro trends, such as travel, sustainability, experiences, and nonconformity, and then explained how these impact more specific design trends, such as colors, palettes, and products.
Attendees then split up into two different tracks. Nancy Ganzekaufer, business coach — and body language expert — presented, “Selling You and the Follow-Up,” and offered three keys to client success: confidence, consistency and calm. At the same time, Danny Kim of Centauric presented, “Leadership in a Multi-Generational Workplace,” and had attendees of different generations complete a puzzle.
Then, Window Dressings’ Deb Barrett presented, “Behind the Curtain: Insider Info on How to Build a Soft Brand,” in which she explained how to craft a brand image using the power of soft accessories. At the same time, in “Intentional Growth: How to Build a Company That People Care About,” Shelia Butler from Handley Drive explained the importance of clarity in the workplace, and illustrated this by having attendees draw pictures of pigs using instructions that varied in detail.
After the sessions, some attendees boarded buses to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission for an afternoon of service. Special guests Kressley and his Bravo TV co-star Thom Filicia joined the group in staining furniture, painting walls, assembling furniture, and placing rugs and other decorative accessories to help beautify this organization that provides food, shelter and support for people in need.
On Saturday, the final day of the conference, attendees participated in speed dating-style roundtable discussions. These 25-minute sessions covered topics such as e-commerce, licensing for interior designers, finding and cultivating talent, and tackling your inbox. The sessions offered a unique opportunity for designers, manufacturers and retailers to discuss the issues that impact them all.
Closing out the conference’s sessions was Ross Bernstein, an author and speaker, who used his conversations with sports champions to compile a list of traits that successful people have.
That evening, the ART Dinner and IDS Designer of the Year Awards Gala ran concurrently. Kressley and Filicia hosted the IDS event, presenting awards to winners and runners up in more than 20 design categories, as well as chapter and other specialty awards.
Stay tuned for a full list of winners and photos of some of the winning projects. Also be on the lookout for further coverage of our takeaways and themes we saw in the educational sessions.