Dallas Design Week brought interior designers and tastemakers from all over the country to Dallas Market Center for a week of seminars, networking events and cocktails, but the one event that the Furniture, Lighting & Decor team was most excited for was Cur8's Gr8ful Living pop-up shop at retailer Coco & Dash.
When we last left Coco & Dash back in March, Teddie and Courtney Garrigan, the mother-daughter owners of the shop, had just opened their gift shop, Ciao, Coco! Courtney Garrigan says business continues to do well, and their customers love the new gifts and accessories for sale in the new shop. Designers continue to make up the bulk of the Garrigans' business, and they've even taken on a few select design projects, though they're not at all looking to become designers or grow that side of their business.
Since last September, Cur8, the collective that brings smart, healthy and global products from all over the world to the marketplace, has continued its unique brand of design activism, hosting pop-up petting zoos in High Point and exploring the possibilities of virtual reality art. Co-founders Jasmine Jaco and Greg O'Neal have become market staples every since their first pop-up showroom at Dallas' Total Home and Gift Market in June 2017.
For Dallas Design Week, these two companies partnered up to bring Cur8's products to Dallas consumers through the Gr8ful Living event at Coco & Dash's showroom. In the main showroom, Cur8's products mixed in with Coco & Dash's displays, proving that these global designs could fit into just about any style.
Take a stroll through the showroom and discover for yourself.
Products with stories to tell
It's difficult to find a Cur8 product without a story behind its origin or design. For the Gr8ful Living event, O'Neal chose decorative accessories, jewelry, soft goods and even some accent furniture to demonstrate the beauty of the craftsmanship as well as stories behind every little detail.
For example, the beaded pillows on display may have looked simple in construction, but the bone and metal beads were actually trading beads. In Mali where the pillows were made, people use beads as a currency. The story behind the beads is what makes the pillows a bit more special.
Cur8 also had jewelry — long necklaces made from interlocking pieces of metal and leather cuffs in pinks and purples — but the necklaces were far from ordinary. In Zambia where the necklaces were made, local women repurposed a type of metal used these by poachers to trap animals. The metal would not kill the animal, but once the metal was thrown out, it had no other purpose. So these women took the pieces of metal, which are difficult to bend and impossible to melt, and fashioned them into jewelry. As O'Neal said, they took something ordinary and useless and made it into something stunning.
The brick-and-mortar advantage
As a veteran of the home design industry, O'Neal knows firsthand just how difficult it can be for independent showrooms to stand out — especially with all the competition online now competing for consumer attention. But today's brick-and-mortar showrooms can position themselves in ways that e-retailers can't and often don't.
O'Neal sees a change in the way consumers shop for their homes. Rather than having overly decorated homes, consumers are choosing what he calls a more curated home, in which there are fewer pieces, but those in the home have meaning or value to the owners. The value isn't always monetary. Sometimes, it's just the way a painting makes the consumer feel or the way the story of an accessory moves the consumer. Whatever the case, it's a turn away from overconsumption and instead towards mindfulness.
Showrooms like Coco & Dash that carefully select the products they sell and learn the stories behind the pieces will have greater success in connecting with consumers, O'Neal believes.
"Brick-and-mortar is so important for people who want to discover."