AmericasMart Fall Design Week Seminars Focus On Trends & Forecasts

Designers and retailers gathering in Atlanta for AmericasMart’s® third annual Fall Design Week featuring Gift and Home, September 24 – 28, 2018, will discover select trend-driven showrooms plus educational seminars, networking opportunities and more—all orchestrated to help advance their businesses and brands.

The 2018 lineup brings gift and home together to give buyers another opportunity to explore products and trends introduced over the summer with merchandise showcased in AmericasMart’s Open Year Round showrooms plus more than 100 additional showrooms across the home, gift, holiday and rug collections. Celebrity designer Vern Yip headlines three days of top educational programming presented by tastemakers and thought leaders from across the design, lifestyle, legal and publishing realms.

“Fall Design Week is an important extension of our daily design business at AmericasMart for local and regional interior designers,” says Jenny Heinzen York, vice president of Home for AmericasMart. “On the retail side, as store sales are tracking up for the year and a robust holiday selling season lies ahead, retailers across categories are encouraged use this week to make last-minute additions to their store floors.”

The Market also caters to buyers in the event planning, film, staging, architecture, landscaping, and hospitality industries.

Fall Design Week’s signature educational programming—presented Tuesday, September 25 through Thursday, September 27—prepares buyers and designers for the upcoming season. All Fall Design Week seminars garner a 0.1 CEU credit.

Interior designers Rhonda Peterson, Patricia McLean and Howard Wiggins share their tips, tricks and traditions for celebrating the season in style in a breakfast seminar “Designing & Entertaining for the Holidays” moderated by Elizabeth Ralls, editor-in-chief of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles on Tuesday, September 25. Yip shares his journey on breaking into television (and how he really works with those tiny budgets!), advice on building a sustainable interior design practice and his own inspirational design philosophy in a lunch and learn later that day.

Attorney Angie Avard Turner starts the day on Wednesday, September 26 with “A Legal Crash Course for Creatives: What You Need to Know to Run & Protect Your Business” breakfast seminar, followed by a lunch and learn featuring Lauren Kay, deputy editor for The Knot, sharing highlights from The Knot’s Annual Trend Report.

The Fall Design Week programming continues Thursday, September 27, starting with breakfast and Christopher Grubb explaining how today’s industry professionals should build mutually beneficial long-term relationships to implement an unforgettable design experience for the client in “Designers, Contractors, & Architects: Creating Relationships & Partnerships for Referrals & Business Success.” Later over lunch, highly successful designers and business women Sandra Funk, Shayla Copas and Lisa Mende discuss their journeys to interior design, including what to expect when starting a business, how to overcome typical roadblocks that most entrepreneurs face, how to set and make business goals, when to hire the first employee and how to successfully run a profitable, long-term business with Mary Logan Bikoff, editor-in-chief of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Fall Design Week buyers can also explore programming presented as part of the co-located VOW | New World of Bridal® (September 25-27, 2018). Highlights include Desiree Siegfried of Desiree Hartsock Bridal sharing “Styling & Marketing to Sell the Millennial Bride” and the VOW | New World of Bridal Fashion Show both on Tuesday, September 25.

In addition to must-see programming, Fall Design Week attendees also enjoy amenities like complimentary headshots and styling sessions, giveaways and hospitality.

A full list of seminars follows. For more information, visit


Tuesday, September 25

Breakfast Seminar: Designing & Entertaining for the Holidays

Featuring Rhonda Peterson, Patricia McLean, and Howard Wiggins. Moderated by Elizabeth Ralls, Editor-in-Chief of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles.

9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Building 1, Floor 1, Event Hall

What would holidays be without color, lights, décor and festive fetes for friends and family? Join leading professional designers for a panel discussion on one-of-a-kind decorating schemes and entertaining ideas to bring out your holiday best. Interior designers Rhonda Peterson, Patricia McLean, and Howard Wiggins will share their tips, tricks, and traditions for celebrating the season in style, and in every room of the house. Each of their festive styles are featured in the just-released coffee table book, “Christmas by Design: Private Homes Decorated by Leading Designers,” written by Patricia Hart McMillan and Katharine Kaye McMillan. This event will leave you inspired to have your decorative talents fully shine this holiday season.

Rhonda Peterson has made holiday decorating, trimming trees and decking the halls at her clients’ homes a part of her design business. She has been a force in the Atlanta design community for years, creating colorful spaces for her clients and writing the award-winning blog Stylish Spaces Designed for Living, which she launched in 2011, as an outlet for sharing her passion for interior design, fashion, and entertaining.

Considered a true, traditional designer, Patricia McLean specializes in the customization of paint colors, finishes and fabrics and layering of antiques and accessories. McLean’s design firm is located in the heart of Buckhead and she is frequently published in books and magazines, was selected to restore the Georgia governor’s mansion ballroom, has been featured in a number of Showhouses, earning a 2010 American Society of Interior Designers Design Excellence Award.

A Nashville based designer, Howard Wiggins has been named “one of the world’s top 35 leading Interior Designers” by British design house Andrew Martin. He is the author of “What Were You Thinking?,” which recognizes costly mistakes that everyone makes.

At this panel, takeaways include:

–Inspirational ideas to keep it simple and make it amazing when entertaining.

–How to make the biggest impact with your holiday décor.

–Advice to growing your interior design business by offering seasonal decorating expertise.


Lunch & Learn: Today’s Best Design Trends: A Keynote by Vern Yip

Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Building 1, Floor 1, Event Hall

One room at a time, Vern Yip has made his way into America’s hearts, having knocked down walls and transformed countless homes and restaurants during his four seasons on the hit television show, Trading Spaces, as HGTV’s Design Star judge and in his own private practice. The Atlanta-based interior designer has a loyal following worldwide and demonstrates that true talent shines no matter the budget. In his other life, Yip works on high-end design projects, oversees his own line of fabrics and other home-furnishing accessories, and travels the world for inspiration, often with his family in tow. Yip shares his journey of breaking into television (and how he really works with those tiny budgets!), advice on building a sustainable interior design practice, and will inspire attendees with his own design philosophy. His talk will be followed by a book signing of his latest book, “Design Wise, Your Smart Guide to a Beautiful Home.” Books are complimentary, one per buyer, while quantities last.


Wednesday, September 26

Breakfast Seminar: A Legal Crash Course for Creatives: What You Need to Know to Run & Protect Your Business

Presented by Angie Avard Turner

9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Building 1, Floor 1, Event Hall

Contracts and creative entrepreneurship do not always go hand in hand for many designers. But Angie Avard Turner has a penchant for both, and will take you on legal crash course on the must-knows to protecting your business, designs, and intellectual property. Turner is a native of Thomasville, GA, and an attorney with a fancy for all things patterned with a punch of piping-hot color. After over 20 years in retail, 14 years in wholesale, and eight years in licensing, Turner decided to give the people what they were asking for—an attorney who was familiar with the needs of creative entrepreneurs. As a designer, artist, author, blogger, and entrepreneur, Turner will bring tremendous legal insights for creative business owners, because she also owns and operates one.

In this workshop, you will learn:

–When to hire an attorney, how to hire, and who you should hire.

–What contracts are essential to running your business.

–How to protect your creative works and how to monetize your creative works.


Lunch & Learn: Wedding Trends to Watch: The Definitive Outlook for 2019 Presented by Lauren Kay, Deputy Editor at The Knot

Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Building 1, Floor 1, Event Hall

If you’re an event planner, designer or retailer in the booming bridal industry—or ready to capture your slice of the proverbial cake—take notes on what are sure to be the hottest wedding trends for 2019. Lauren Kay, deputy editor for The Knot, will share highlights from The Knot’s Annual Trend Report so that you’re in-the-know on everything from top venues and color (think moody hues), to registry and food (look out donuts, there’s a new comfort food in town). Twists on tradition, must-have decor, and unexpected entertainment are also on the menu for the new year. Leave with actionable ideas on how to adapt 2019’s big wedding trends into your own events, and be inspired to break the rules, too!

Attendees will leave with:

–Early access to The Knot’s 2019 Trend Report (won’t be shared with the rest of the world until January) with 10+ trends couples will be asking for.

–Ways to honor tradition in a modern way.

–Stats on wedding spend, gifts, registry and more.

–Bonus Q+A.

As Deputy Editor of The Knot, Kay scours the globe for of-the-minute wedding trends and design secrets.Kay loves to share her wedding expertise with engaged couples and industry pros alike. She has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America and local news segments across the county. Kay lives in New York City with her husband Adam and children George and Eleanor. Kay accepted her first wedding role at age six. After a winning performance as flower girl, she went on to star in many more weddings (including her own in 2013). She has strong affinity for good etiquette and red lipstick, and thinks a good pair of heels can transform any day.

Thursday, September 28

Breakfast Seminar: Designers, Contractors, & Architects: Creating Relationships & Partnerships for Referrals & Business Success

Presented by Christopher Grubb

9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Building 1, Floor 1, Event Hall

Is the relationship between a contractor, architect, and interior designer one of competition or cohesion? Christopher Grubb explains how today’s industry professionals should build mutually beneficial long-term relationships in order to implement an unforgettable design experience for the client. Having successfully cultivated relationships with contractors for over 25 years, Grubb explains how these solid-working relationships provide many benefits to the overall project, often saving time, hassles, money, and even the contractor’s reputation. Attendees will learn how interior designers, architects, and contractors can work together to create seamless experiences for clients, as well as increased success for their individual businesses.

Attendees will:

–Understand what services designers can offer contractors, and vice-versa, in order to produce successful projects and protect each other’s reputation.

–Learn how an interior designer can assist a contractor in producing a precise construction bid, along with how the contractor can avoid morphing into a client’s “designer.”

–Comprehend the benefits of having a designer help clients select products and finishes, as well as discuss material costs, leaving the contractor free to focus on vital construction details.

–Learn how to cultivate long-term, mutually beneficial relationships that can lead to increased profits for both parties.


Lunch & Learn: From Basement to Boutique: Growing Your Business from a One-Person Show to a Robust & Profitable Business Model

Featuring Shayla Copas, Sandra Funk, and Lisa Mende. Moderated by Mary Logan Bikoff, Editor-in-Chief of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.

Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Building 1, Floor 1, Event Hall

Boundless creativity and design talents usually land you the work, but are you effectively parlaying that success into a sustainable and profitable interiors business? Don’t miss this panel of highly successful designers and business women, including Sandra Funk, Shayla Copas, and Lisa Mende, as they discuss the journey to interior design, including what to expect when starting your own business, how to overcome typical roadblocks that most entrepreneurs face, how to set and make business goals within a specific time frame, when to hire your first employee (and your second, and your third…), and how to successfully set yourself up to run a profitable, long-term business.

Sandra Funk is the founder and principal designer of House of Funk, an award-winning, full- service and luxury online interior design firm with offices in NY and NJ. House of Funk draws on over a decade in business to create thoughtful homes with an emphasis on clean lines and soulful touches, all rooted in tradition.

Shayla Copas is one of the South’s most highly acclaimed, award-winning luxury designers and tastemakers. Her “Southern Glam” aesthetic has graced the pages of regional and national publications and will soon debut with a tabletop design book, “Four Seasons of Entertaining,” and a new show on Design Network which displays the glitz, glam and Southern hospitality Copas is known for.

Lisa Mende of Lisa Mende Design is a nationally acclaimed interior designer known for creating traditional interiors with a modern vibe. Named by Charlotte Living Magazine as one of Charlotte’s “Top 10 Interior Designers,” Mende maintains a busy schedule with interior design projects, as well as social media, and as a brand ambassador for events and companies across the United States.

Author: Sally James

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