Saturday, January 31, 2015

No Girls Allowed! (Nor anyone else for that matter!)

Whenever I hear it said that the “Boy’s Club” still rules and “women need not apply,” I feel compelled to share my experiences in this industry. It’s true, if you walk into most showrooms in High Point during the beginning of the Furniture Market, you will find a huge group of older men in their new market ties getting ready for the sales meetings. Soon the company leaders (mostly all men) will get up and address the sales force.  He will tell them why these products will sell and give them the marching orders for the upcoming season. Some of those leaders will even talk about how more women are needed in influential positions in our industry. I’ve heard the same empty rhetoric for 30 years now! The problem is, some say it because they believe it, and some because they think it’s the right thing to say and it makes them look more progressive. However, they’re still saying this to a huge group of aging men.  Some in really great ties, too. But the truth is there’s no plot against women or anyone else. The only plot is to desperately keep their jobs.
To begin to go to the core of the problem we have to back up and understand how this industry was built. I, myself, am a perfect example of how the industry has evolved. I’m a pure nepotistic traveler into the wide world of furniture. My father is a retired 50 year veteran of the industry, and he brought me in through the worm hole called “who you know.”  Here’s the dirty little secret.  In the good ole days, you didn’t have to possess the truly applicable talent nor education to make a lot of money in the furniture business. You needed to have a father in it! Then you needed to learn to talk the talk and take the right people to lunch without saying something stupid. And to this day, the same crop of individuals cultivated over the decades is still in many of the same positions. The only difference now is they are holding on for dear life! So few are there because of their training or deep connection to what really applies to today’s home or the real consumers’ design sensibilities.

Women of the industry please listen carefully. You are the primary consumers of our products. These jobs are there for your taking! The “Boys Club” is weak. Actually, it doesn’t really even exist at all. A club implies organization and a team working together for a cause. Trust me, most of their wives still pick their ties! They can’t compete with you head to head. You got this! The biggest obstacle today is the fear, insecurity, and the misunderstandings stemming from the years of the smoke and mirror show perfection.
The reality is, the industry is ripe for takeover on every level. And, it has to be on every single level.  If we really look around, there are some amazing bright spots and real progress is happening. Take a look at Meredith Younger at Younger Furniture. She’s leading a great upholstery company and she’s kicking ass and taking names! Watch Julia Rosien leading the charge at Restonic.  Take a look at “Mod Mom” Kiersten Hathcock, founder of Mod Mom Furniture. She went into her garage and taught herself carpentry (another traditional “man job”) and starting building furniture by hand. She’s now blazing a path for all women from the sawdust on her garage floor, to an internationally known brand that connects deeply and directly with how our consumers live.

Along with the obstacles to women (and just as lethal to our industry) is the complete disregard of real recruitment efforts. Only through interior design does this exist at all. Over the years I’ve been in hiring positions for meaningful jobs. Early at one point, I worked for a very well known furniture company and I advertised a very high paying sales position. I was flooded with resumes from those same men in ties and their sons from the same showrooms I mentioned earlier. Not one resume was from a woman. Not one from someone in retail or a design firm or anywhere else. In hindsight, I also did a terrible job of targeting my recruitment efforts towards a new and innovative direction. At the time I was young, scared, and inexperienced. I hired from the safe stack of resumes in front of me. And the list go on!
Wait it gets even worse! To even begin changing recruitment efforts we have to address another huge core problem. It’s the investment in Research and Design. When money goes into R&D, students and young talented women and men have something with which (and for) to work. But that’s a whole other critical subject. Bottom line is, the world has changed. We need a real gender, age, cultural, and investment balance. We need new talent and new blood in our industry and we better hurry! We’ve been behind for decades and the world is only moving faster and faster. So, women, men, gays, straights, and green Martians, let’s go to the core and make things happen one bite at a time. Because if we don’t our kids will soon be sitting on their new Apple and Samsung sofas!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tai Kung Lu

Photo by Robert Petril
I took this very simple photo (above) a few years ago in Shanghai. At that time, it symbolized change or transition to me. I loved the contrast of these two walls coming together. It seemed to fit how I felt about my own life path. I was well into my transitional journey through the world of design and creating things inspired by my own unique visions.

These walls are located in a back alley near a place I loved and frequented when I was living there. A street called Tai Kung Lu. A place where you can find many artist's studios, outdoor cafes, quaint little restaurants, and boutiques. It was one of my favorite inspirational hangouts.

Tai Kung Lu (Photo by Robert Petril)
I can remember so many days there dreaming about where I wanted my life path to lead. I was doing what I loved, but I still felt that part of me was stuck in a different life. Like I really didn't belong there, and my dream was reaching towards nothing but more uncertainty. Yet the urge to continue reaching has never diminished. And today I know exactly where it was all leading.

Back to the photo at the top. While the contrast of the two walls coming together is so beautiful, the stucco represented the norm or the way everyone says things should be. The brick on the other hand displays a wonder of texture, depth, variance, and contrast within itself. It's much more beautiful to me. The multitude of flaws make it feel much more authentic than the stucco to the left.

Tai Kung Lu (Photo by Robert Petril)
I'm so grateful that I saved this very simple photo in my collection. I feel I was guided to save it and use it today. I'm on the verge of realizing some really important dreams. Ones that I fought through so much negative feedback, uncertainly, and sacrifice to achieve. And most recently I've met the love of my life. A person beyond all my dreams. Now I know why I saved this photo. It's the perfect canvas for those life wisdom quotes...

Click photo to enlarge


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mix It Up: Your Artwork Doesn’t Have to Match the Sofa

There’s nothing better than finding the perfect piece of furniture for your home. It’s comfortable, it fits the dimensions of your space, and best of all, it fits your personality. But sometimes it can be a struggle to find artwork to match your furniture.

The solution? Don’t worry about matching! Here’s a little design secret: There are no rules that say that your art has to perfectly coordinate with your interiors in color, size, or aesthetic. In fact, when your artwork has an oddity to its size, or is displayed in a nontraditional way, or even if the subject is unexpected, that’s what makes your home a real home!

Your artwork should reflect you, your personality, your family, and your lifestyle in a way that creates a treasured home environment. Here are a few ways to bring the unexpected into your home art gallery.

Break away from the traditional. Remember when artwork would always be hung according to rigid standards? You may have chosen a patterned sofa or set of chairs and tried to find art in the same color palette. However, there are plenty of ways to style a look without being overly matchy-matchy. Imagine a black-and-white striped chair with a bright red and orange abstract print above, for example. Colors can be complementary, or you could have just one color in common to tie it all together. 

Stay under budget. Just because you sprang for an investment rug doesn’t mean you have to buy an original painting to match. No matter how nice your furniture is, you can find inexpensive artwork to match. Instead of choosing a pricey painting, why not display your favorite prints? Calendars are a great source for multiple prints that can be arranged together using uniform frames. It’s really all about expressing your unique style so that when you look at it all together, you can’t help but smile.

Choose your locations wisely. It’s a good idea to consider the function of each room before deciding which art will live in it. Start out by grouping your artwork together and determining which rooms you want to display which pieces. If you’re worried that small children or rowdy guests will disturb your artwork, consider pieces that are not breakable for common areas. A few long hanging wires spray-painted with plastic coating or a grouping of long picture shelves could hold your children’s favorite books or Lego creations. Or if the kids are older, you can pair artwork from your latest travels with cherished photos of your kids to give your room a new focal point.

Add an air of eclecticism with a gallery wall. The great thing about gallery walls is that they fit in with just about any décor. If you have boxes of treasures hidden away, look through them and pick out meaningful pieces to display, from your kids’ artwork to favorite family photos and beloved prints. Think outside-the-box by mixing colors and patterns. Robert’s own bright and multicolored furniture designs work so well with a mix of old and new accessories, and a gallery wall is the perfect way to accomplish that look.

Make your kids the star of the show. Family photos look great anywhere when done with style. Skip the photo studio and have a few of your favorite snapshots printed as over sized black-and-white photos… perhaps one of each family member sticking out their tongue out or blowing out their cheeks? This look is so much more personal than posed studio shots and will remind you of special times together.

So, if you think your artwork has to match your furniture perfectly, then consider these ideas to give your interiors a fresh look. You will never look at artwork the same!

Laurie Laizure is the CEO of Customized Walls and founder of the largest online community for design pros. Laurie’s work has been featured on various cable networks as well as top publications in the interior design world such as New England Home and Country Living magazines. She also writes on her own blog, William Sonoma Designer Marketplace and for Connect with her here: Google+ 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

High Point October 2014

When Lazar asked me if they could create a sofa from my LOUNGE design, I said sure!! See the result at the High Point Market | The World's Home for Home Furnishings!

Let's see how they did...

Showroom IHFC D817
(Design Center 8th Floor)

See you there!


Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Happening 2015!

I'm so excited to share the news that Mod Life is bringing you my own signature seating collection in early 2015!

Made in the USA! 

Stay tuned for more news as it happens at Mod Life Collection and on Facebook.

This is going to be fun!



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kelly Rutherford: Kid film crew was ‘Incredible’


 In the family comedy “The Stream” actress Kelly Rutherford plays a mother whose son embarks on an adventure to get to the mall without permission. Children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America helped to produce the film and the organization receives 20 percent of the video proceeds.

Learn more about the film...

Available now on DVD!



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

We will miss you Robin!

Robin Williams 1951-2014

You will be so missed, and always treasured.


Monday, August 4, 2014

It's a Mod Mod World!

The second quarter of this year has been a whirlwind! And life changing as well! On June 1st, I officially joined Mod Mom Furniture as president, and a whole new journey had began. You can read some more details about the announcement at Furniture Today, and Kids Today.

Furniture Designers Interiors Furniture
New York: Moon Ho, Robert Petril, and Kiersten Parsons Hathcock

Since we joined forces, Mod Mom/CEO Kiersten Parsons Hathcock and I have traveled to over 15 cities from coast to coast. Our mission has been to study the market up close and personal, and to spread the Mod Word about what's coming new in the near future. Along the way we saw so many awesome things, and met with so many amazing and inspiring people!

Now we're rolling up our sleeves, and beginning a very ambitious expansion at Mod Mom Furniture. The plan is to strengthen our manufacturing capabilities, as well as introduce some very exciting new youth products and categories. We're designing now, and the pencils are flying! We can't wait to share it all with you as the journey continues, and the new products come to life. I'm going to try and blog as much of the process as I can.
Las Vegas, Lexington: Robert Petril, Kiersten Parsons Hathcock, & Tommy Leflein
In addition to the youth categories at Mod Mom, we'll also be launching a brand new adult seating collection we're currently calling "Mod Life". This new collection will feature my own signature seating designs, as well as others from world class designers around the globe! So many exciting things to come! I hope you'll follow along our fantastic journey, and offer any and all feedback in the comments below. 

Follow us on Facebook

Thank you so much for all your support throughout the years. You know who you are! Be back soon with more fun Mod stay tuned :)

Follow us on Facebook


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mod Mom Furniture names new president | Kids Today


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Furniture Fashion Week #hpmkt

It's like Fashion Week, but for the Home!

I will be showing LOUNGE, Crosby, and Hazel Collections in new fabric selections by Lazar's cover guru Debra Venti.

@Lazar Industries IHFC-D817
(Design Center 8th Floor)

April 5-10, Will you be there?

More Info & RSVP 

You can follow the crowd, or you can blaze a whole new path!



Sunday, November 3, 2013

The tip of the iceberg...

The drawing board has been very busy these days. So many new things about to happen. And, I can't wait to reveal what we're up to. Stay tuned, there's big news coming soon!

"If you can dream it, you can do it" - Walt Disney


Friday, October 4, 2013

THIS JUST IN! Showtimes...

Showtimes for Opening Week are here!
We need YOU to fill the seats on Friday, October 18, 2013, 80% of the proceeds go to help the kids from The Boys & Girls Clubs of America!

It's more than just a movie...its a mission!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

THE STREAM Opens October 18th!

...THE STREAM opens October 18th., at select Regal Cinemas!


The Official Trailer

 A wonderful family movie, and each ticket sale benefits the kids at The Boys & Girls Clubs of America. So let's go to the movies on October 18th! :)

Where you ask?


UA Kaufman Astoria Cinemas 14 & RPX
35-30 38th St., Astoria NY 11101
Regal New Roc Stadium 18 & IMAX
33 Le Count Place, New Rochelle NY 10801


Regal Round Lake Beach Stadium 18
550 East Rollins Rd., Round Lake Beach IL 60073
Regal Cantera Stadium 17 & RPX
28250 Diehl Road, Warrenville IL 60555 (city / north suburb location tba)


UA Riverview Plaza Stadium 17
1400 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia PA 19147
UA Washington Township 14
, 121 Tuckahoe Rd, Sewell, NJ 08080
Regal Peoples Plaza Stadium 17
1100 Peoples Plz, Newark, DE 19702



Regal Solomon Pond Stadium 15
591 Donald Lynch Boulevard, Marlborough MA 01752 



Edwards Long Beach Stadium 26 & IMAX
7501 Carson Blvd Long Beach, CA 90808
Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 IMAX & RPX
65 Fortune Dr.,Irvine,CA,92618



UA Emery Bay Stadium 10
6330 Christie Ave Emeryville, CA 94608



Regal Parkway Plaza Stadium 18 & IMAX
405 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon CA 92020



Regal Majestic Stadium 20 & IMAX
900 Ellsworth Drive Silver Spring, MD 20910
UA Snowden Square Stadium 14 
9161 Commerce Center Drive, Columbia MD 21046



Regal Hollywood Stadium 24 @ North I-85
3265 NE Expressway Access Rd, Chamblee GA
Regal Atlantic Station 16 IMAX & RPX
261 19th Street NW, Atlanta GA 30363



Regal Brooklyn Center Stadium 20
6420 Camden Ave North, Minneapolis MN 55430



UA Colorado Mills Stadium 16 & IMAX
14500 West Colfax Ave., Lakewood CO 80401



UA Grand Prairie 10
510 Westchester Pkwy, Grand Prairie TX 75052


Come on! Let's go to the movies! :)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why pink is Badass...


And you thought that pink was just a girlie color...HA!