Universal Furniture unveils extensive educational programming for Fall market

HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 2023 – Universal Furniture, creator of stylish yet functional home furnishings for the whole home has announced its schedule of Learning Center events to take place during October Furniture Market. Scheduled from Friday, October 13, through Tuesday, October 17, the events represent an extensive slate of learning opportunities, from marketing and branding to business operations and finance. 


All Universal learning center events take place at the Universal Furniture Showroom located at 101 S. Hamilton Street, which is shuttle stop 15 on the Red Line. RSVP for any and all events at www.universalfurniture.com/marketevents. A full schedule of events is listed below: 


Oct. 13-17 

Universal To The Trade Designer’s Lounge

Time: Oct. 13 (noon-6 p.m.), Oct. 14-17, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

Description: Relax and recharge in Universal’s 2000 square-foot Designers Only Workspace, available to Universal Furniture To The Trade account holders. (Designers can open an account on the spot.) Sponsored by RUE magazine, Crypton, Big Ass Fans and Regina Andrew Detroit. Device charging and free wifi available. Or book a hair touch-up appointment at the Beauty Bar (Saturday, Sunday, Monday only). 

Oct. 13, 2 p.m. 

Designing for Showhouses

Moderator: Byron Cordero, Cordero Consulting 

Speakers: Kesha Franklin, Halden Interiors; Rydhima Brar, R/terior Studio; Andrew Suvalsky, Andrew Suvalsky Designs; Everick Brown, Everick Brown Design; Kristin Bartone, Bartone Interiors

Description: Showhouses can serve as a launching pad for designers to showcase their talent and gain recognition within the industry. This panel will delve into the practical considerations faced by designers, including budget constraints, time limitations, and the need to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Join us for an engaging discussion that brings together a diverse group of interior designers from various backgrounds, localities, and showhouses to share their valuable experiences. 

Oct. 13, 4 p.m. 

Behind the Scenes: Creating Your Brand, Your Voice, Your Image

Moderator: Jessica Robb, Robb Media

Speakers: Antonio Deloatch, Antonio Deloatch Designs; Tina Ramchandani, Tina Ramchandani Creative/Interior Design Studio; Venjhamin Reyes, Venjhamin Reyes Photography; DuVal Reynolds, DuVal Design

Description: Unlock Your Brand’s Essence: Empowering Panel on Amplifying Your Voice and Image!” Join visionary experts in this captivating discussion, crafting a brand that reflects you and makes an unforgettable impact, igniting a transformative journey of self-expression and design brilliance


Oct. 14, 10 a.m.

How to Set Flat Rates to Earn More with Less Stress 

Speaker: Melissa Galt, Interior Design Business Coaching 

Description: Tired of losing hours each week creating and adjusting hourly invoices? Ready to trade tracking time for earning what you deserve all the time? Then join designer business coach, Melissa Galt for this masterclass in how to set flat rates with defined deliverables, so your profit is protected and your client has confidence and clarity. The added bonus is you’ll know your cash flow at all times and your client can manage their interior investment with ease.

Oct. 14, Noon 

The Value Proposition of Market: Cultivating and Stewarding Diverse Market Relationships

Moderator: Ashley Ross, Muse Noire Interiors

Speakers: Arianne Bellizaire, Arianne Bellizaire Interiors; Kathy Kuo, Kathy Kuo Home; Joanna Saltz, House Beautiful 

Description: Panelists will share their experiences, strategies, and best practices for cultivating and nurturing relationships that resonate across a variety of market segments. They will offer practical insight on how they have adapted their market schedule to align with the goals set for their business. You won’t want to miss this masterclass on leveraging every moment the largest international home furniture market has to offer, from planned heavy-hitter events, to chance encounters.

Oct. 14, 2 p.m. 

Diversifying Your Revenue Stream

Moderator: LuAnn Nigara, A Well-Designed Business 

Speakers: Sara Malek Barney, BANDD/DESIGN; Lucy Penfield, Lucy Interior Design; Lisa Brown, Everick Brown Design

Description: Join us for an insightful discussion between three prominent designers about the ways they diversify their revenue streams in our industry today. From affiliate marketing to investing in real estate, our panel has years of combined experience expanding their sources of income in a variety of successful ways. The session is followed by a champagne toast in the Designers Lounge to celebrate the launch of the Designer Alliance.

Oct. 14, 4 p.m.

RUE MAGAZINE Presents: The Brains Behind Cupcakes and Cashmere

Moderator: Kelli Lamb, RUE Magazine

Speakers: Emily Schuman, Cupcakes & Cashmere; Geoffrey Fuller, Cupcakes & Cashmere

Description: The OG of fashion and style blogging–Emily Schuman–launched Cupcakes and Cashmere in 2008 and grew it into a must-read, aspirational lifestyle brand that has millions of visitors to her blog and social media platforms. Joined by her husband Geoffrey Fuller, the brand has expanded into robust e-commerce platforms, bestselling books, licensed product lines and a new luxury candle brand called Lavune. In this rare chat, RUE’s Editorial Director Kelli Lamb talks to the dynamic duo to understand how they built this from blog to bona-fide brand and how they pivot in an ever-changing media landscape. Discover their tricks, tips and insight that you can apply to your own business.


Oct. 15, 10 a.m. 

Tell the Truth: What Real Designers Do to Win at Business

Moderators: Gail Doby and Erin Weir, Pearl Collective 

Speakers: Cheryl Luckett, Dwell by Cheryl; Tina Ramchandani, Tina Ramchandani Creative

Description: How do you collect coveted referrals from clients? What tips help take clients’ minds from money-driven to design-loving? Pearl Collective will lead a lively and real-life discussion with interior design pros, Cheryl Luckett and Tina Ramchandani, on these and many other hot-button topics. We’ll also look at the newly released results from the 2023 Interior Design Business Survey to find how others are rising to the top and how you can put some of these smart ideas into practice in your firm.

Oct. 15, Noon 

Streamline Your Purchasing Processes

Moderator: Rick Campos

Speakers: Peter Mitchell, MM Interior Design Group; Bria Hammel, Bria Hammel Interiors; Kate Lester, Kate Lester Interiors

Description: Purchasing is one of the most important aspects of running a successful firm. Learn processes, tips, and tricks from the experts on how to budget for and streamline your purchasing process and optimize your relationships with vendors to keep your projects running smoothly and your clients satisfied. Understanding the full cost of purchasing (i.e. your time commitment). | How much time to budget for purchasing and procurement. |  Why the best price isn’t necessarily the lowest cost for you. 

Oct. 15, 2 p.m.

Designing for the Elite: Prep Your Business to Serve High-End Clients

Speaker: Sandra Funk, House of Funk

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Description: Ready to take your interior design business to new heights and attract dream clients? Join Sandra Funk’s game-changing workshop on scaling your interior design business and watch your success soar. She will guide you through proven strategies and techniques to effectively scale your business and cater to the needs of high-end clients. Discover how to price your projects for maximum profitability in the luxury market; master the art of creating an exceptional client experience; and scale your business while doing what you absolutely love.

Oct. 15, 4 p.m. 

The New Interior Design Services Pricing Model

Speaker: John McClain, John McClain Design

Description: The design industry is constantly evolving and so should the pricing models of interior designers! In this detailed and actionable presentation, you will learn brand new ways to 1) Price your services for guaranteed profit and project pleasure, 2) Develop specific types of design services that your clients can choose a la carte to fit their needs, and 3) Detail the deliverables of your services for project functionality and client satisfaction. You will leave this presentation armed with all of the methods to start pricing your services profitably, easily, and fairly for all involved while charging your value, in a brand-new and effective way!


Oct. 16, 10 a.m. 

The Six S’s of Success to Get Published: A Six-Step Blueprint to Help Get You Published

Speaker: Tori Sikkema, Tori Sikkema Photography 

Description: Attendees will gain valuable insights into each stage of the publishing process, from crafting a captivating visual story of their design project to submitting their work. If you’re an interior designer, architect, builder or just starting your business, I’d like to help you incorporate my successful workflow into your existing process. For some, rethinking your procedure will be a paradigm shift in how you approach marketing your brand and design projects.

Oct. 16, Noon

Unveiling the Future: The Power of 3D Renderings for Project Profitability and Client Satisfaction

Moderator: LuAnn Nigara, A Well-Designed Business 

Speakers: Camia Brown, Camia Brown Interiors; Kelly O’Neil, Kelly O’Neil Design; Fernando Duque, Duke Renders

Description: Discover how interior design renderings drive greater project profitability by streamlining decision-making, reducing costly changes, and fostering seamless communication among project stakeholders. Delve into real-life case studies, where renderings have enhanced budgeting accuracy and accelerated project timelines, resulting in substantial cost savings for clients and design firms alike.

Oct. 16, 2 p.m. 

Marketing for Designers: Tips and Advice from the Home Industry’s Top Agencies

Moderator: Ericka Saurit, Saurit Creative 

Speakers: Franziska Neuman, FZK; Jennifer Smiga, Ultraviolet Agency; Molly Schoneveld, The Storied Group; Michelle Peranteau, Katie Brockman & Co; Tori Sikkema, Tori Sikkema Photography

Description: Designers know that building a successful brand relies on three things: defining a strong message, an investment in consistent marketing across multiple channels, and a PR plan to activate it. Join an interactive panel discussion from top marketing professionals specialized in the home industry as they weigh in on 2024 industry trends and marketing best practices, where to invest your marketing dollars first, and how they’re supporting clients with innovative campaigns. Gain actionable tips and advice while getting to know agency owners with a mission to support interior designers and home brands in growing their businesses.

Oct. 16, 4 p.m.

AI and Metaverse Activations: New Pathways to Profit for Interior Designers, Retailers and Manufacturers

Speaker: Leslie Carothers, Savour Partnership 

Description: Artificial intelligence and metaverse activations are the next frontier in digital marketing revenue opportunities for interior designers and home-related manufacturers and retailers. Learn how these two technologies can be used together – in ethical ways – to move your business powerfully forward and pave new pathways to profit and publicity in 2023 and beyond.

About Universal

Retailers and interior designers around the world trust Universal Furniture’s award-winning, smart and stylish designs to create modern, well-appointed living spaces for the whole home. The company’s casegood, upholstery, accent and outdoor designs are developed under the brand names Universal Furniture, Miranda Kerr Home and Coastal Living.
Universal Furniture, founded in 1968 and based in High Point, N.C., is the recipient of 13 Pinnacle awards for design excellence from the International Society of Furniture Designers. It is a brand of Samson Holdings, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated furniture manufacturers. For more information, please visit www.universalfurniture.com, or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest @UniversalFurn.

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