Interior Design Internet Trends

Interior Design Internet at Design Bloggers ConferenceWhen we started thinking about launching the Design Bloggers Conference back in 2009, it was simple to contemplate the interior design internet. There were the required designer, brand and traditional media websites, but blogs, Twitter and Facebook shook the ground. Design blog stars were born. Designer brands were built. National design brands scurried to find ways to intersect and leverage all these new content creators and their audiences. The excitement was palpable; a renaissance of sorts.

Today, the interior design internet persists as fertile ground for content marketing and brand building, but the landscape is inescapably more advanced and organized than during its earlier renaissance more than 10 years ago. Nonetheless, excitement and involvement with social media and blogging remains inescapable as Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and other fertile content sharing platforms contribute to the landscape. Lurking around the corner, though, is a digital reshaping of the way consumers, designers, and brands traditionally approach design projects or conduct brick and mortar commerce.  Design entrepreneurs, along with venture capital and private equity funds, are stoking the internet with product and service marketplaces, photo sharing platforms, DIY design tools, reseller affiliate programs, and anything a designer once exclusively specified for their clients.

Last year, we added a separate two day conference track immediately following the Design Bloggers Conference.  We named it the Home Design Digital Marketing Summit, born to help our industry navigate the changing consumer and trade patterns and emerge with sound business models.  The conference content for those two days was ranked as the most compelling of all the sessions we produced that week. E-commerce, digital marketplaces, affiliate programs, and branding on the “new” web stole the show.  The reason we launched the Summit as a separate track was to bring focused attention to the critical nature of these issues for every design professional; designer, brand, or retailer.

the-beverly-hilton-pool-940x564At the Beverly Hilton on March 5-7 2017, we are returning to Los Angeles where the Design Bloggers Conference was born in 2011-2013 before moving to the east coast. We recognize this as a compelling opportunity to weave these Summit topics into the Design Bloggers Conference to create one fully packed agenda so any design pro can can attend three days and get everything required to prosper as we tackle the digital transition of our industry together.

We feel like we are coming home, back to the warm embrace the local Southern California design community extended to our community of designer, brand, social media star, and blog content creators seven years ago. We are driven to put on our best conference ever and combining every piece of compelling internet marketing content under the Design Bloggers Conference feels like the right move for our broader design community.

The excitement we are feeling from our industry with our return to Los Angeles is overwhelming.  Our planning team is further along with with the conference’s speaker, content, and social lineup than we normally are even three months before any previous Design Bloggers Conference.  I am excited for all of us together who will embrace the opportunities and change the web has brought about and will choose to join like minded colleagues over three days in Los Angeles to learn, network, and socialize with the leading minds inside and outside our industry.

Future Outlook for Home Design Professionals

Today will not last and the next few years will serve up unanticipated territory for home design professionals

Both plague and blessing, I usually see the world like this; constantly sensing the jeopardy our current reality faces while imagining unexpected game changers ready to take hold.  With today’s great market conditions floating all boats in the luxury home design industry, it is easy to appreciate that nobody wants to hear anything about “change”.

In 2006, I asked our housing media company’s executive committee what we would do if the housing market bottom fell out. In the midst of a housing boom, they told me not to worry…it could not happen.  Shackled by a boom time reality, nobody was able to embrace impending change. In 2011/12, only 3-4 years ago, I gave talks around the country urging design professionals to look beyond the market slump and to turn up their marketing in preparation for the boom that was certainly just around the corner.  Again, it was almost impossible for anyone in the design business those years to imagine prosperity.  We were all mired in an unprecedented business slump depicted in this chart that the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) published in 2011.

Home Design Market SlumpThe following year, in 2012, the JCHS projected a market bounce to be followed by a boom period that would exceed 2007 market levels.  It was equally hard to believe this in 2012, but in retrospect the JCHS was correct.

Design Market Forecast

I was reminded about all this today when Veronika Miller, CEO of Modenus and someone who seems to also envision new futures, posted this on Facebook:

To all designer friends in the room… I have been taking stock of what so many of you have accomplished professionally (especially post recession) with major brand collabs, magazine coverage and covers, public speaking, books and so much more. I realized that, as designer, I was always one of the people that looked up to people like yourselves. Who aspired to be like you. The fact that I’ve somehow been able to befriend you and work with many of you, will never cease to amaze and humble me. Six years post recession you guys have turned this thing around!!!

We all know a lot of design pros just like the ones Veronika is talking about.  The fact is that the most successful of them were already adjusting to the future, way before we were smart enough to walk into that same future with the launch announcement of the Design Bloggers Conference in 2010. Forward thinking blog and social media content creators, self publishers, and digital collaborators got active when things looked the most bleak for housing markets. Emergent new design industry stars blossomed using new tools and digital platforms, elbow grease, and brand momentum at the leading edge of a massive market recovery. Already larger than life designers and brands became ever more flush, leveraging the internet and new media to engage a new generation of luxury consumers.  As importantly, the design industry embraced social media to connect with each other, fostering collaboration and conversation that fanned an unprecedented wave of resonant personal brands in a new age of digital branding.

I launched the Design Bloggers Conference’s inside a traditional shelter print media company in the midst of the worst housing economy since the great depression.  We suspected resumed market growth would be driven by adopters of new technology and marketing techniques.  Now, the anticipation of another shift in the status quo has all of us at Esteem Media adjusting our conference and design industry event models despite ongoing and constant growth in attending and sponsoring companies (as a related aside to this, 2016 will be the last year in Atlanta for our Design Blogger and Digital Marketing Conferences as we move onto new and interesting design markets that we will announce at the end of our March 2016 conferences in Atlanta). Some industry insiders will inevitably tell us not to mess with a good thing.  But, around the corner is a whole new reality that will impact our community’s business conditions and drive a different brand of marketing success in the luxury design industry.

threelogos copy

Since the conferences we produce only exist to help our community anticipate progress shifts in home design digital marketing and to prepare for success, we have little choice besides embracing innovation early.  In March of 2016, we will launch the Home Design Digital Marketing Summit as the most important conference we can organize this year, but as the second half of the Design and Garden Bloggers Conferences; starting Tuesday afternoon in Atlanta.  This new integral segment is part of a full week of Home Design digital marketing education and networking in Atlanta; Home & Garden Digital Marketing Week as it is coming to be known.  Some inside our community will reflexively pre-register only for the established Design Bloggers Conference, not realizing the day and a half of content for the Digital Marketing Summit is fundamental to the future success inside a changed luxury design marketing landscape for interior designers, home design retailers, national brands, architects, landscape architects, builders, PR professionals, design media, and anyone else in our industry that places value in their brand.

2015 Design Bloggers Conference

Besides the well known networking opportunities, coming to the Design Bloggers Conference this March will offer the chance to hear from India Hicks, and two other yet-to-be-announced major designers, about marketing strategies behind their paths to success.  Also, Christie Tasker, David Brian Sanders, Kelly Fallis, Robin Catalano, and Julianne Taylor, to name a few, will talk about successful blogger and brand collaborations, Instagram marketing, leveraging the new visual web, how to efficiently build brand through social media, the legal side of social media, affiliate marketing, and much more. But missing out on the Home Design Digital Marketing Week means leaving Atlanta before Monica Dodi, Cofounder of The Women’s Venture Capital Fund speaks on her firm’s investment strategies in the digital design commerce space with one of her portfolio’s CEOs Gretchen Hansen of Decorist. It would also mean missing out on Elizabeth Brown from Viyet and Anna Brockway from Chairish sharing leading edge thinking about branding through third party digital platforms, or Liza Hausman of Houzz sharing case studies of design professionals who leveraged the platform for economic benefits.  National media brands, designers, and digital marketers from all corners of the digital marketing world will speak to brand building, selling design services on the web, the realities and how-to’s of e-commerce, working with digital versions of national media brands, how top designers built their brands with digital content, leveraging third party digital platforms for success and so much more.

We are changing to enable our community, and to come to Atlanta for the Design or Garden Bloggers Conference and overlook the extra day and a half at the Digital Marketing summit would be shortchanging maximum opportunity for success. Market and marketing changes are shifting already.  Keeping stride and emerging successfully in the face of changes now upon the home design community has driven us to innovate.  I sincerely urge all of our past and future conference participants to take us up on our offer to join the future before it’s fully upon us.

Do Bianchi on Italy Design & Wine 2016

Mr. Do Bianchi himself, Jeremy Parzen, was our first and only choice for organizing and leading the gastronomic and vinous stops on our Design & Wine Italy 2016 tour.  As a personal friend, Italian wine luminary, and past speaker at the Design Bloggers Conference, we sat down with Jeremy and asked a few questions about his background and his unique approach for putting together this trip of a lifetime that is now open for registration.  While Jeremy’s focus is primarily on the gastronomic activities, the full agenda including featured design destinations and food and wine highlights is included on the tour website.  


Esteem MediaWhat do you want people who are interested in this tour to know about you professionally?

Parzen: I’ve been writing about Italian wine and food for more than 15 years and I’ve been writing about Italian culture and history for even longer. My passion for all things Italian started with Italian poetry and then grew to include enogastronomy. Now wine and food have eclipsed Italian literature!

Esteem MediaWhat’s your emotional and experiential relationship with the region we will be visiting?                          
Parzen: I lived, studied, worked, and played music professionally in the Veneto for the better part of a decade, including regular gigs in Venice and many days spent poring over old books and manuscripts at the San Marco library there. The Veneto and the Venetian Renaissance have so much to offer in terms of a cultural experience.


Esteem Media: Can you contextualize the progression of the wine regions we will be visiting from Proseccoland to Valpolicella?                                                                                                                                                               
Parzen: We are going to start with sparkling and end with sparkling, with some fantastic red wines in between — just like a great Italian meal! Our first visit is to Proseccoland where the humbly but mighty Prosecco is made. Then Valpolicella for big red wines. And the the fine sparkling wines of Franciacorta for an elegant finale.
Esteem Media: What about the tour are you most looking forward to?                                                                                        

Parzen: It sounds silly but the event I’m most looking forward to is eating at Lino Fritto the super hip “bacaro” or wine bar in Venice. They serve “cichetti” there, the Venetian version of tapas. They’re closing the whole shop for us and I can’t wait to share that experience of fried fish bites in Venice. Joe Bastianich is providing the wine for the event from his own winery.

Esteem Media: What makes our trip, and your food and wine agenda component, truly unique?

Parzen:The thing that really makes it unique is that it is an insiders trip for design, wine, and food. Basically what I do for a living is travel from winery to winery, from restaurant to restaurant in Italy to learn more about Italian enogastronomy. I’ve been doing it for 15 years and I know the good places!!!

For more information about participation and registration for the week long Italy tour from Venice to Verona kicking off on April 30,2016 please click here to visit the tour website.

D&WI_Day One Graphic


Design and Wine Italy 2016

adam_japko-new_266At the inaugural Design Bloggers Conference in 2011, I served grower Champagne to 200 designers and design bloggers. Intended as a gesture of celebration and gratitude for making our industry’s blogger confab a reality, it mostly ignited an appreciation that two distinct worlds of passion, design and wine, were not nearly as decoupled as I suspected.

Luxury wine and design are lifestyle celebrations. The joys of connecting them have culminated in Esteem Media’s recent announcement of Design & Wine Italy 2016, a luxury design and wine travel experience from April 30-May 6 2016 (with an optional add on weekend on the pastoral Friulian/Slovenian border), brought to you by the Design Bloggers Conference.  It is the first in an annual series of global design and wine immersion trips for design trade professionals, their friends, spouses, and partners.

D&WI_Day One GraphicWhen it came to picking a destination for this inaugural trip, Italy stood at the top of the list. Still deeply in touch with its Epicurean roots, Italy has engaged in a two thousand year love affair with the arts, gastronomy, and good living. Italy is steeped in traditions of beauty and pleasures that shape and influence every moment you spend there. In which case, it is no surprise that Italy has consistently contributed to the fields of design and wine in world-class fashion.

Nowhere have I been struck more by Italy’s cultural majesty than in northeast Italy. Several years ago traveling along the A4, a highway path connecting the dramatic canals of Venice with Verona and its bedroom Valpolicella wineland, I traversed some of the nation’s most breathtaking scenery, inspiring design destinations, exciting wineries, and met the most compelling people and personalities. The countryside is cloaked in farmland and vineyards, spotted with medieval villages and villas, and all is presided over by the snow-covered Austrian Alps. With each passing day, I became more enamored with a place that is still relatively unknown and untainted by external influence. Sharing this special place with others became a nagging dream in the same ways I wanted to launch the Design Bloggers Conference so I could pour grower Champagnes for designers and writers.

D&WI_Day Seven GraphicIn that spirit, I set out to assemble the most capable organizing and guide team available for delivering an unparalleled visit to the region. Toma Clark Haines, Founder and CEO of Antiques Diva, has been running design and antique related buying tours in this region, and elsewhere in Europe, for years. She continues to blaze to new trails connecting Europe’s design and antique treasures with the rest of the world. Her involvement has afforded access to Venice’s most exclusive warehouses and factories. Jeremy Parzen, founder of Do Bianchi and my personal favorite Italian wine writer and historian on Italian wine, food, and culture has dedicated his entire life to unraveling the mysteries of Italy for non-Italians, befriending countless interesting winemakers along the way.  My collaboration with these two special people, our Lead Guides in Italy, has convinced me that our inaugural 2016 Italy Design & Wine excursion will provide an experience that is otherwise unavailable to design professionals or anyone with an interest in luxury design and wine.

D&WI_Day Four Graphic

Possibly more pronounced in Italy than elsewhere, as usual it is about knowing the right people. The investment in time, reputation, and connections made by our three organizers over the years has produced an agenda that will consistently take us places that are simply unavailable to the public. Whether it is dinner on a private Venetian island or guests of Italy’s finest stone merchants, this will be a once in a lifetime trip that we are as excited to participate in as we are to organize.

Knowing how special this trip will be, we are now spreading the word quickly. Participation is limited and the deadline for signing on is December 2, 2015 or when the trip fills up, whichever is first. We truly believe that those who have a passion for design, wine, and professional and personal networking with like minded people should contact us sooner than later. Here is the itinerarycost and reservation instructions. Jeremy, Toma, and I hope to see you in Italy this spring!


Evolution of Design Blogging and Home Design Digital Marketing

HomeDesign_DMS_StackedBy Adam Japko

When we announced the Design Bloggers Conference in 2010, we pivoted on a vision to virtually connect design bloggers and social media wonks in-real-life with education and networking that advanced everyone’s content marketing and blogging expertise.  As a blogger in the wine industry, I took deep satisfaction contributing something useful to brethren content creators spending countless hours banging away on keyboards.

Now with the announcement of the Digital Marketing Summit, scheduled alongside the Design Bloggers Conference during Home & Garden Digital Marketing Week in Atlanta, we are driven by the inescapable imperative to create web and social content, participate in niche design networks and marketplaces, dive into e-commerce, drive new leads,  and build digital brands and audiences. Our vision remains unchanged; to offer education and networking for staying ahead of game changing developments in the evolution of traditional home design marketing and media.

DBC-FB-16In 2011 the Design Bloggers Conference became a quick fixture on the industry calendar, right in the midst of a golden era for self publishers in design and other luxury industries.  Motivated design pros and enthusiasts were building personal brands, growing well established design businesses, launching design careers, inking deals for namesake product lines, getting book deals, and more.  “Cinderella” success stories about monetizing larger-than-life reputations built through blogging turned abundant, and we watched our Design Bloggers Conference grow as a positive catalyst in the middle of it all. 

As we organized these conferences each year, I started understanding that the “Design Blog” was becoming an integrated piece of every forward thinking design professional’s marketing program.  Celebrity bloggers were joined by thousands of designers, luxury showrooms and retailers, product vendors, architects, and other home design professionals. The “Cinderella Effect” of building rock-star blogger brands starting giving way to regular blog content for SEO advantages and web search discovery for the whole industry. And our little Design Bloggers Conference got bigger because it was no longer just for the dedicated full-time design blogger, but instead it was about the entire design industry’s marketing instincts and need for education.

gbc1Even more has changed than just that.  The way content is created and consumed has advanced to short and more visual formats.  Image and video content found its place and built audiences., Houzz, Chairish, One Kings Lane, Viyet, Horchow, Serena & Lilly, Blu Dot and countless other digital design platforms and marketplaces proliferated as consumers enjoyed these new online experiences and design trade pros necessarily adopted these environments as part of their client service, sourcing and marketing initiatives.

With all this, blogging is far from dead.  Our Garden and Design Blogger Conferences, similarly represented in this fascinating piece at PROBLOGGER on How Blogs are changing and How You Can Stay on Topremain anchors of the Home Design Digital Marketing Week.  They offer cutting edge ways to deal with new subscriber patterns, affiliate programs, changes in SEO guidelines, integration of social tools, and paths to monetization.

Home and Garden Digital Marketing Week, which will now include the Home Design Digital Marketing Summit, is education and networking reflecting the metamorphosis of online marketing for successful home design industry professionals.  We are as giddy and eager as were were in 2010 when we brought our Design Blogger Conference to life. You can register now at discounts if you want.  Or, you can ask me more at ajapko at esteemmedia dot com.  See you in Atlanta in March!

First Reveal Design Matters Home for Deserving Family

Mark-Lisa_large-300x200At the Design Bloggers Conference in February, nousDECOR Chief Designer Mark Cutler and Dwell with Dignity Founder Lisa Robison announced the launch of a campaign called “Design Matters” to raise funds to help decorate and appoint homes for deserving families as a pledge highlighting nousDECOR’s mission to help show how the power of beautiful design can transform lives.

Many of you supported the campaign at launch, donating over $10,000 in funds and posting your support on your social channels, and so now we are happy to share with you the heart-warming, real life results of that wonderful support – our first home “reveal” that took place recently in Dallas. nousDECOR, in partnership with nonprofit, Dwell with Dignity, and many amazing sponsors including Cost Plus World Market, Gina Berschneider Inc., Robert Allen, York Wallcoverings, TKO, Stacy Furniture, Guildery, Lamps Plus, The Container Store, and many others, donated over $43,000 in product and spent hundreds of hours to bring the power of great design to a single mother and her four children who are transitioning out of a life of poverty and abuse to a new life of hope.

Below is a video to show the transformation. Have a look, and if you want to continue support of this movement, feel free to share the nousDECOR blog post on your social networks or check out the campaign page here.



Designers That Blog Are Golden

By: Adam Japko

I am relieved to only be slightly confused about the intensity of sponsor and exhibitor support for the expanded community of design bloggers and social media enthusiasts that came to Atlanta in 2015 to attend the Design Bloggers Conference. I once thought I fully grasped why this group of bloggers and content-friendly designers were commanding increasing levels of attention from luxury home design marketers. Until these past few weeks, I had totally overlooked one significant underlying factor; designers that blog are “golden.”

Blogger, design, interior design

In the beginning (circa 2005) when luxury-minded citizens with a penchant for design and designers with an aptitude for content creation launched their blogs, stars were born and audiences were built.  The sheer power of blogger reach and influence were fascinations to public relations professionals and traditional media practitioners.  Slowly, and just on their heels, national brands and manufacturers started catching on, realizing that the power of design professional content marketing is a force to leverage.

We always suspected that bloggers and social media mavens could move the needle for national brands….simply by looking at their audience size and reach.  To support that point, here is some profile data I shared in Atlanta about the attendees of the 2015 Design Bloggers Conference compared to national shelter magazines:

Design Bloggers vs. Traditional Media

While blogs turned into launching pads for some early movers, savvy marketing-oriented designers determined to be part of the future got active.  In the face of the worst housing driven economic crisis in modern history, serious interior designers dove into blogging and social networking en masse to try and power their businesses and networks.  While audiences were created and a few more star power brands launched, something new was happening; design professionals creating content witnessed associated business growth and felt the power of these newly found digital marketing tools.

Design Bloggers Conference

Web traffic grew for designers that hosted once lifeless websites, other design pros starting sharing and quoting designers’ blogs, and everyone had a story or two to tell about projects they landed through social media and blogging.  Here is some data from HubSpot comparing businesses that blog with businesses that don’t blog:

Businesses that blog are successfulStill, I was overlooking a critical piece about what the design blogger community has become today and why designers and bloggers that come to the Design Bloggers Conference are so attractive to brands and manufacturers.  The fact is, these designers are serious about their businesses. More than most.  They invest in marketing. With hundreds of design events attracting throngs of designers at all levels of experience, commitment, and staying power… bloggers are different and show it by making the ultimate marketing commitment of time and money over the long haul.

2015 design bloggers conference

Designers that blog are golden; to themselves and the brands they work with.  They outlast downturns and prosper in strong economic periods.  They will move the most product for luxury design brands and manufacturers now, and over the long haul. They think big, invest in their businesses, and market hard while staying open to new technology and shifts in the ways business is conducted.  A really straight forward McKinsey article on business longevity declares the “causes of business demise—of a failure to endure—are well documented at a general level. They include…above all an inability to deal with new, often disruptive, technological innovations.” Design businesses that blog and work the right social networks have the characteristics of successful business operators…the top 10% of all performers in their industry.

That’s the part I was missing about why the Design Blogger Conference community is so attractive to our sponsors; attendees are characteristic and part of the top 10% of of the interior design community.  Sponsors always find a way to tell us that our attendees are at a quality level they don’t find in similar concentrations at other design events.  Understanding that designers that blog are golden, makes it much clearer why brands and manufacturers want to stay close to them.

Lori Dennis to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference

lori-dennis-phot0-202We are thrilled to announce that Lori Dennis will present her thoughts on Social Media: Roots for Design Collaboration. Social media marketing is more than finding customers. Hear Loris and other design pros share their ideas about how social media and blogging lead to their professional collaboration, new paths, partnerships, and blossoming personal brands and careers. Lori is a top Interior Designer, speaker, best selling author, custom furniture designer, celebrity and star of HGTV’s The Real Designing Women. She specializes in sustainable, green and high end, luxury design. With offices in Los Angeles, New York and Miami the firm considers national and international projects.

A multiple award winning designer, she has appeared in magazines, websites and television screens throughout the world including Elle Decor, LUXE, Dwell, People, the New York Times, House Beautiful, Coastal Living, Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. Recognized by industry leaders like HGTV, ASID, NBC, Viking and countless others as an expert in luxury and green lifestyles, Lori speaks at events around the globe.


Beth Le Manach to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference

beth-lamanach-photo-256Beth Le Manach, VP Programming, Kin Community, and Host, Entertaining with Beth, will be speaking a this year’s conference.

Beth Le Manach has been cooking and entertaining for over 20 years. She grew up in a family that always entertained, and throwing together a last minute party, has always come naturally. She is a home cook that has refined her cooking skills by cooking, constantly; as well as producing over 500 episodes of food content for both cable and online networks.

She is inspired by her French husband and their many trips to France where she has learned how to cook his favorite French foods, directly from her in-laws. She is also an avid gardener and her extensive vegetable garden serves as the basis for many of her favorite recipes. Her mantra is “minimum effort, for maximum impact.” She lives in Los Angeles, with her husband and two children.

Nate Berkus to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference


Photo credit: Target

We are ecstatic to announce that Nate Berkus will be speaking at the Design Bloggers Conference.

Nate is a decorator, product designer and author. His interior design firm, which he founded in 1995, designs interiors across the country and around the world. In Fall 2012, Nate brought his branded line of home goods and accessories to Target stores nationwide, and his fabric collections are available at Fabricut, Calico and Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores. He was the host, judge and executive producer on NBC’s “American Dream Builders” in 2014. Nate’s interiors, and design expertise, have garnered national press in publications such as Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Us Weekly, People, O Magazine, Lucky and InStyle, among others.

Join us at the conference and take advantage of this opportunity to see Nate!

For more on Nate, visit his website.