Kristina Christopher began her journey in the lighting industry in 2002 with Osram Sylvania and immediately found a passion for lighting and the overall impact that lighting can bring to any space. As Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Fanimation, Kristina directs sales and marketing strategies across all of Fanimation’s business channels. She also leads product development efforts for the company, and manages its team of designers, engineers and quality control inspectors in Asia.
Based in Zionsville, IN, Fanimation has been manufacturing ceiling fans since the company's Chairman Tom Frampton founded the company from his garage in 1984.
"Having the opportunity to move on to a product category like ceiling fans where I would be able to influence style and design was really appealing to me," Christopher says, "and here I am 9 years later loving this category and how it has evolved."
Christopher shared some additional business insights with Furniture, Lighting & Decor, found below.
Furniture, Lighting & Decor: How do you build your clientele? Share a top marketing strategy tip.
Kristina Christopher: We are extremely focused on customer experience. Our product quality as well as the level of customer service we offer (whether it be our internal teams or our independent sales agents), makes those that buy a Fanimation ceiling fan or those that specify product customers for life.
FLD: What inspires you the most in your business?
KC: I have so much respect for interior designers and how they bring the entire look together — walls, windows, flooring, furniture, lighting and decor. I am amazed at their level of talent and am constantly looking at the designers that I truly admire on Instagram to see their latest and greatest work in hopes that I might spot a Fanimation ceiling fan in their posts.
FLD: Name one of your biggest challenges in the business you’re in now and how you’ve overcome it?
KC: We have experienced a number of regulatory changes with the ceiling fan category. Initially, they feel like a burden however, ultimately, they have allowed us to clean up our line and streamline things like light sources for our light kits.
FLD: Share something you wish you knew when you were just starting out.
KC: I may be certain, but I may not always be right.
FLD: If you were able to start over, share one thing you would change on your path to where you are now.
KC: I would have gotten involved in industry organizations such as the American Lighting Association much sooner. These organizations offer a lot of value — networking with others in the industry and in my opinion the biggest value is government affairs — keeping you educated and informed on regulatory changes, tariff updates, etc.
FLD: What are the tools, companies and people who help you do what you do best? Why?
KC: People are critical to the success of Fanimation — our employees as well as our customers and independent sales agents. To me personally, I have a team of five employees in the U.S. that are beyond loyal and dedicated. In addition to that, I manage our Asian Operations team. Without these folks, I could not do what I do.
FLD: What’s your favorite piece for your home you’ve ever purchased? Why?
KC: Without a doubt, it is my Fanimation Spitfire Ceiling Fan. It is a focal point in my space and commands so much attention from everyone that visits my home. Each blade is individually hand carved and that detail never goes unnoticed.
FLD: What top three tips would you give someone entering a home retail or interior design business?
KC: One, get involved in industry organizations and events — whether joining an association, attending key markets like Lightovation or High Point — at a minimum read our industry publications from front to back each month to stay informed. Two, cultivate your relationships with your key suppliers/vendors upper management teams. No matter how busy I am, I love the conversations that I have with our valued dealers because it gives me insight in to what their needs are which only will help both us. Three, focus on the value add that your business will bring to the segment you are operating in.