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ART + IDS Conference Offers Networking Opportunities for Interior Designers, Vendors

The joint annual interior design and home furnishings conference took place in Palm Springs, CA. 

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ART + IDS Conference
The ART + IDS conference was held in Palm Springs last week.

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.

ART + IDS Conference
Sharon Davis, Executive Director of ART, and Jenny Cano, Executive Director of IDS, introduce their organizations to the crowd. 
ART + IDS Conference
Molly Mays of Rizzy Home and Santhi Yarlagadda of KAS Rugs, both ART Conference Co-Chairs, welcome attendees to the conference. 

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. 

Carson Kressley ART+IDS Conference
Kressley delivers the opening keynote.

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. 

LuAnn Nigara
LuAnn Nigara explains how to run a profitable 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. 

Fantasy Build ART+IDS Conference
Participants in Fantasy Build develop models and marketing pitches for fantasy home accent products.

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. 

Swatched ART+IDS Conference
Swatched participants race against the clock to present their design concepts.

The day ended with welcome cocktails and dinner, sponsored by Dallas Market Center. 

ART + IDS Conference
Attendees gather for the welcome cocktail party.
opening cocktail party ART+IDS Conference
Attendees gather for the welcome cocktail party.

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. 


Patti Carpenter ART+IDS Conference
Day 2 opens with a packed general session.
Patti Carpenter
Carpenter speaks about trends, large and small. 

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.

Nancy Ganzekaufer ART+IDS Conference
Ganzekaufer gives designers a script to use when onboarding new clients. 

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.

Deb Barrett ART+IDS Conference
Barrett speaks about how to harness the power of soft accessories to build your brand.

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. 

Coachella Valley Rescue Mission ART+IDS Conference
The volunteer group gathers to learn about the organization's mission before getting to work.
Coachella Valley Rescue Mission ART+IDS Conference
A group of volunteers stain and seal picnic tables and benches outside.


Coachella Valley Rescue Mission ART+IDS Conference
Other groups assemble furniture, paint and hang art inside.


Coachella Valley Rescue Mission ART+IDS Conference
Conference sponsors donated furniture and rugs to the facility.

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. 

Jackie Von Tobel ART+IDS Conference
Jackie Von Tobel explains the process of product licensing for interior designers.
LuAnn Nigara ART+IDS Conference
Nigara outlines the four elements of a luxury sale: mindset, looking the part, customer service and not deciding how the clients should spend their money.

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.

Ross Bernstein
Bernstein said champions are passionate, unselfish, trustworthy, consistent and compassionate.

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.

ART+IDS Conference
Attendees gather at a pre-dinner cocktail reception.
ART+IDS Conference
Attendees gather at a pre-dinner cocktail reception.
ART+IDS Conference
Left to right: Justin Shaulis, Justin Shaulis Interiors; Diane Falvey, Furniture Lighting & Decor; Diane Vojcanin, Furniture Lighting & Decor; Chad White; John Nemeth


ART + IDS Conference
Jan Cregier, Interior Expressions by Jan; Penny Williams, Finishing Touches by Penny; Annmarie Fabbi, Sherwin-Williams; Julie Ahern, Ooh La La Decor & More


ART+IDS Conference
Melissa Cherry, Goddard Design Group; Kristi Hopper, Kristi Hopper Designs; Lori Carpenter, The Grapevine Home
ART + IDS Conference
Michael Bauer, Dallas Market Center; Cherrie Bernish, In Detail; Dann Foley, Dann Foley Interior Design
ART+IDS Conference
Jeremy Bauer, Bauer/Clifton Interiors (left)
ART+IDS Conference
Kressley and Filicia hosted the IDS awards event.


ART+IDS Conference
IDS national board members join IDS President Kimberly Joi McDonald, Cano, Kressley and Filicia onstage for recognition. 


ART+IDS Conference
Filicia and Kressley present the awards to the winning designers.

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. 

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