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Christina Henck Banks on Design With New Retail Space

The Philadelphia designer opened a retail showroom during a pandemic to showcase her design style to a greater audience.

Diane Falvey
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Henck Design
Christina Henck, Henck Design, opened a physical showroom in Philadelphia this summer to support her design business, and it has exceeded her expectations.

Necessity is the mother of invention — and growth — as in the case of Christina Henck, founder of Henck Design, which now incorporates a new home furnishings retail showroom in Philadelphia. “I would say, in general, we opened the showroom because I don’t enjoy dragging my Philadelphia clients to New York. That doesn’t really serve our market,” Henck notes.

By having her own design retail showroom, too, Henck can ensure that her aesthetic is represented for her design clients and/or passersby who stop in to browse. The showroom, which is 1,000 square feet, allows Henck to share that design style via everything from giftier accessories to the furnishings that anchor a room. “People can walk in and step into our brand,” Henck notes. Henck’s brand focuses on creating beautiful spaces for her clients, incorporating a mix of old and new, along with creative solutions. Deemed “classic modern,” Henck Design appeals to a wide range of clients — including several NFL football players as well as a mix of residential and commercial projects, the most recent being a large golf club overhaul. Henck has also signed on to be a designer on A&E’s “Sell This House,” appearing on three of the next season’s episodes, airing in spring of 2021. 

The Retail/Design Equation

henck design
The 1,000-square-foot showroom located in Philadelphia's Fabric Row offers furniture, decor, gifts and more.

“We’ve got more business than we can handle at the moment,” Henck says, who is in the process of bringing on another designer. And this new retail showroom has also been busier than expected. Of course, in 2020 nothing has gone quite as planned. Henck Design was scheduled to open its doors in spring, but coronavirus had other plans for the new
showroom. “We moved into the space in February with intentions of opening in March/April,” Henck notes. “We weren’t able to open but we kept going,” she adds, finally opening the doors on July 1, when Pennsylvania loosened restrictions. 

The shop’s aesthetic mirrors the Henck Design style and allows her team to give clients an idea of how her particular mix of styles work together. In addition to retail customers, the showroom has also brought in potential new design clients. “I call it a designer showroom because I didn’t want it just to be a furniture store. While we can sell to designers and support our designer community, and be a local gift shop for quick gifts, we are primarily a designer showroom for potential clients to see the level of work,” Henck says. “We try to push the envelope and do something just a bit outside the box, creating a space with a mix of styles, such as Mid-Century with contemporary, or beach homes that are transitional but mixed with a couple of modern tables and boho accessories. Sometimes it’s hard for clients to get a sense of what that looks like. I can mix it together and show them it will look awesome. In our showroom, there’s truly something for everyone.”

Fitting It All In

While Henck opened her design showroom to support the designer side of her business, it has taken on a life of its own, she says. Henck Design is located on Fabric Row, in Philadelphia’s fashion district. “It’s a beautiful environment for my staff and myself to work in and be hands on with the product.” While COVID-19 has kept foot traffic down, the retail space is growing and has also provided marketing opportunities. Henck uses the showroom to post new products, showcase design styles and share professionally photographed vignettes on Instagram. “We’re not a furniture store, per se, but we are a design space in the neighborhood,” Henck says. ”Everything in the showroom has retail pricing, but if a customer becomes a design client, they get discounts.” 

As someone who says she “survives on chaos,” Henck is already looking forward to what comes next, which could include expansion for the new showroom. “I’m always thinking three years ahead.” One thing she is confident about is that business will thrive. “Interior design for the next five years looks pretty fabulous,” she says.

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