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.

Michael Bruno to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference

Michael Bruno is the founder and chairman of 1stdibs, the world’s largest online luxury marketplace for antiques and vintage design.
Bruno, whose motto is “decide what you want, believe in it and then get ready for the ride of your life,” launched the company in 2001 from his Paris apartment armed with just a clipboard, translator, web programmer and photographer. Today, over twelve years later, 1stdibs, based in New York hosts the finest dealers in furniture, fashion, jewelry and watches and fine art from the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and Europe and has revolutionized how rare and desirable objects are purchased online.

Bruno began his professional career as a luxury real estate broker in La Jolla, CA and in the mid-1980’s moved to San Francisco where he continued to sell high-end properties. During this time Bruno, developed a passion for buying and restoring old homes, culminating in the restoration and successful sale of a magnificent Pacific Heights mansion in 1998. That same year, at the height of the dot com boom, Bruno began to search for his next venture. Keen to be part of this web revolution, he bought the domain name

Today with Bruno at the helm of the company, in 2013 1stdibs is on target to achieve $1 billion in sales as reported by 1stdibs dealers with nearly 11,000 items reported sold monthly.

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Timothy Corrigan to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference

Hailed in Architectural Digest as “Today’s Tastemaker,” Timothy Corrigan’s clients include European and Middle Eastern royalty, Hollywood celebrities and corporate leaders. His distinctive design philosophy of comfortable elegance has been featured in Elle Decor, The New York Times, House Beautiful, Town & Country, Vanity Fair, Veranda, Vogue, and The Wall Street Journal. Corrigan has been named to the AD100 list for the last nine years, and will be receiving the Pacific Design Center’s “Star of Design” award in March 2014. Corrigan has offices in Paris and L.A., as well as an antique collection available at and His first book, “An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Lucé”, was recently published by Rizzoli, and has garnered unprecedented press coverage and glowing reviews. He will be introducing the first fully integrated line of fabrics, trims, furniture and floor covering for F. Schumacher in February 2014, as well as tabletop collections for Royal Limoges. Prior to forming his design firm in 1998, Timothy Corrigan had a successful career in advertising where he headed up Saatchi & Saatchi’s Bates Worldwide’s international operations.

Timothy will share his invaluable marketing background and knowledge of the design industry to help you define and cultivate your brand. Whether you’re a designer, a blogger, or both, you won’t want to miss his tips on how to attract the right clients, followers and business opportunities.

Tobi Fairley to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference

The Design Bloggers Conference welcomes back Tobi Fairley to speak at this year’s event. One of the first speakers to grace the stage at the inaugural Design Bloggers Conference, Tobi was inducted the following year into the Design Bloggers Hall of Fame. Traditional Home Magazine predicts “Tobi will be like Cher or Oprah, one of those women for whom one name says it all”.

Tobi Fairley has redesigned her life and her brand, launching Tobi Fairley & Associates as a full-service consulting and design company. The company provides custom-tailored education, enlightened mentoring, and common-sense tools to help companies and design firms improve their business.

Tobi’s vision for her new brand is to empower others to cultivate their strengths and create inspired solutions for business, design, and life. Her unique combination of degrees in interior design and accounting, and an MBA from the prestigious Sam M. Walton College of Business, gives her a competitive advantage in the design industry, and offers a creative approach to the world of business.

Since establishing her design firm more than a decade ago, Tobi’s projects have spanned the nation, and her award-winning designs for high-profile and celebrity clients have been featured on television, and in top-shelf shelter publications around the globe.

Tobi’s design blog, created in September 2008, is currently read in more than 124 countries worldwide. In 2010, Tobi introduced her DIY design service, InBox Interiors, and launched her popular intensive courses and programs, including Design A-to-Z, Designer MBA, and her MasterMind mentoring program. Designers, business pros, and design enthusiasts alike have attended these programs from across the United States and Canada with rave reviews.

The most recent addition to the stable of businesses under the new brand is Tobi Fairley Home, which includes a collection of fabrics, pillows, and lighting in Tobi’s signature style – bright, bold, and tailored.

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Laurie March of HGTV to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference


As the host and creative force behind The House Counselor on, Laurie March is known for her approach to remodeling, which focuses on managing both the emotional and the tactical parts of a project.

A third generation remodeler, Laurie’s own passion for home improvement and remodeling was unearthed while remodeling her own 1920’s Spanish style home. In 2005 Laurie founded Improvemental, a project management and design firm that has become a recognized fixture in the Los Angeles remodeling scene – completing over 50 homes for a highly discerning who’s who of writers, producers, and executives in LA.

She has been acknowledged as ‘40 under 40’ in Residential Remodeling by Professional Remodeler Magazine, and has been featured on Wake Up With Al Roker and in Lucky Magazine, Design*Sponge and USA Today.

Laurie is also a Maryland native, former NFL mascot for the Baltimore Ravens, Wheel of Fortune winner and more recently, host of “Good to Know”

Barbara Barry to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference

Barbara Barry is among the world’s most prominent and talented designers. Her name stands for a unique blend of sophistication and livability; her designs are classic, timeless and fluid. Hers is a look that speaks to the grace of form and simplicity of line.  Her designs range from elegant interiors to an extensive portfolio of home furnishings.

Praise from her peers and the press has earned Barbara Barry a distinctive place in design. Her honors include Interior Design “Hall of Fame,” Architectural Digest list of “World’s 100 Best Designers,” House Beautiful “Giants of Design,” and “Designer of the Year” from Elle Décor International Design. Additionally, she has been awarded the ASID “Designer of Distinction,” “Designer of the Year” by Traditional Home and “Best in Residential Design” by Interiors Magazine.

This award-winning interior designer has created homes for many prominent American families. Her designs for commercial and private spaces are international in their scope and sophisticated in their mood.  Her prestigious commissions range from restaurants and retail spaces to private estates, offices and yachts.

Barbara’s passion for beauty finds expression in many forms through partnerships with internationally renowned companies. Her signature designs for Ann Sacks Tile & Stone, Baker Furniture, Boyd Lighting, Hartmann Luggage, HBF Furniture, Henredon, Kallista, Kravet Fabrics, McGuire Furniture, Tufenkian Carpets, Visual Comfort and Wedgwood, as well as her signature bed and bath line Barbara Barry Dream, have been received with high acclaim. Barbara Barry collections are sold in fine stores throughout the world as well as Barbara Barry galleries in Bangkok, Singapore and Moscow.  Barbara’s first book, Around Beauty (Rizzoli New York, 2012), debuts October 2012.

With a vision of infusing simple luxuries in the every day, Barbara Barry creates refined interiors, timeless furnishings and luxury products that inspire a life of beauty.

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Tobi Fairley to Host Design Bloggers Hall of Fame Awards

We are excited to announce that Tobi Fairley will be hosting this year’s Design Bloggers Hall of Fame Awards. Tobi is already a Hall of Fame member, having won the award last year for Best Overall Design Blog.

Tobi Fairley creates interiors that are bright, bold and tailored. She works on the forefront of the New Traditional movement in residential design, and her vision for a given space is always grounded in an ethic of problem solving, the results of which are always beautiful as well as functional. This signature aesthetic earned her recognition as one of Traditional Home’s Top 20 Young Designers of 2009.

Tobi founded her design firm more than a decade ago, and her exquisite interiors span the US, from New York City and the Hamptons to Charleston and Los Angeles. Her award-winning designs for high-profile and celebrity clients have been featured on HGTV, and her work has been published on the cover of House Beautiful and showcased in the pages of Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living.

Tobi’s educational background combines foundational degrees in Interior Design and Accounting with an MBA from the prestigious Sam M. Walton College of Business, where she was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year for 2009.  This blend of expertise uniquely qualifies her as an industry leader in the business of Interior Design. Tobi shares the benefits of her knowledge and experience with other design professionals through an array of consulting services, information products, and on-site courses through Tobi Fairley Academy.

Always ready to embrace the latest in social media and internet technologies, Tobi emerged as a national presence by fully utilizing the capabilities of social media. Tobi’s Blog commands a sizeable online audience; currently read in more than 124 countries worldwide, it has been recognized by HGTV and by the Design Bloggers Conference as a key source for daily design inspiration. Tobi also writes a monthly design column, “Tobi’s Tips,” for AY magazine, a blog column for At Home in Arkansas magazine called “Color Confidential,” and she is a regular contributor to Williams Sonoma’s “Designer Marketplace.” Also spurred by her innovative spirit, Tobi’s e-design service—InBox Interiors—allows D.I.Y. clients to achieve the “Tobi look” for a fraction of the cost of her full-service designs.

Tobi Fairley Home, a collection of fabrics, pillows and lighting designed by Tobi, debuted as part of Hickory Chair’s Centennial Furniture Collection in the Fall of 2011. Her furnishings and fabric designs are every bit as bold and fresh as the spaces for which she has been acclaimed. As with all of her ventures, she infuses the merchandising market with a new and vibrant energy; and, as always, Tobi is driven to find the needs of her customers and provide them with optimum design solutions.

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Leslie Carothers Speaking at Design Bloggers Conference

Leslie Carothers (known on Twitter as @tkpleslie) is the founder and CEO of The Kaleidoscope Partnership , an 11 year old international social media agency for furniture and interior design brands. Leslie has over 31 years of experience in the furniture and design industry and spent the first 20 years of her career as an interior designer. Some of her past social media clients have included Cargill Corporation’s BioH Polyols division, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, World Market Center Las Vegas, The New Traditionalists, Better Homes and Gardens magazine and current clients include the corporate headquarters of The Curtain Exchange – a national luxury window treatment franchise and Olioboard –a fast growing global social commerce site with 2D and 3D visualization tools. She micro-blogs as @tkpleslie and founded the Twitter chat, #GetPublished which brings together design editors, authors and the design community to create dialogue and opportunities. For the past 11 years , she has been a frequent national and international speaker at major furniture and design industry trade shows and events and keynoted the first Social Media Symposium held at High Point University.

She’s been widely interviewed and is also a guest author for many industry publications including Furniture Today magazine, Retailer NOW magazine and for the past 9 years has been the writer of the *Retail Ideas* blog for Furniture –publishers of the leading international furniture industry trade news magazine.

Leslie served a 3 year term as a volunteer on the board of Women In The Home Industries –WITHIT – where she twice chaired the major yearly fundraiser –WITHIT’s Leadership Development Conference – and served as VP of National Membership.

In 2009, Leslie was awarded WITHIT’s President’s Award for her service to the organization and to the furniture and interior design industry.

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Patti Austin, Dawn Carroll to Speak at Design Bloggers Conference

Grammy winner Patti Austin crosses all musical genres, has made 17 solo albums, and has performed her award-nominated hit songs on the GRAMMYS® and the Oscars. As a performer, songwriter and vocalist she has had a star-studded career that began at the age of four, making her one of the most beloved artists the world over and a mainstay on the Billboard Jazz Albums charts. Patti’s extraordinary career continues to cross over boundaries and reach new heights.

Patti has had a life-long interest in design. Patti Austin is currently being mentored by Boston’s prestigious design community as she realizes one of her dreams of becoming an interior designer. Patti attributes much of her musical success to her mentors, most notably the close guidance of her godparents Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington. Because of how important mentoring has been to Patti throughout her life, she co-founded the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

The Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF) is a non-profit organization founded by Patti Austin and Dawn Carroll to promote mentoring and Mentorology through music and design. The Over My Shoulder Foundation hails Mentorology, the art and science of mentoring, as the number-one priority as they move forward producing live events which bring together industry leaders in order to pay tribute to great mentors and put the spotlight on the importance of mentoring.

Think of “Mentoring”, “Music” and “Design” together. Now envision the Over My Shoulder Foundation uniting those worlds with the guidance of the non-profit’s two award-winning co-founders.

Dawn Carroll has dedicated a large part of the past 4 years to starting the Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF) and promoting the idea of Mentorology – the art and science of mentoring. In fact, her passion for Designing the Next Generation has driven Dawn to draw on all her resources to create the dynamic media-driven non-profit organization that exists to further the concept and application of mentoring.

Dawn has carved out OMSF’s niche in the mentoring world while managing an award worthy design career at CUMAR Marble & Granite, which is currently in its 8th generation of leadership in stone sourcing and fabrication in Everett, MA. Dawn writes, “What do you see that I can be” when considering the similarities of an empty room and an individual who needs a mentor in her article about “Designing the Next Generation”.

OMSF accomplishments keep Mentorology, the art and science of mentoring, as the number-one priority. As OMSF grows as a non-profit organization they will keep producing live events which bring together industry leaders in order to pay tribute to great mentors and put the spotlight on the importance of mentoring.

OMSF partnered with CUMAR Marble & Granite to create and inspire The Boston Globe’s Design New England Magazine MIDDIE (Mentors in Design) awards. The MIDDIES salute design professionals in interior design, architecture, building, landscape design, and related fields, who share their time, expertise, and wisdom with the next generation.

OMSF launched the inaugural “Designing the Next Generation” event in 2012 with Cumar Marble & Granite to expand the mentoring conversation nationally. It was an Inspirational Evening of Mentoring Story and Songs at the Liberty Hotel in Boston featuring speakers Stephen Powell (Executive Director, Mentoring USA), Ted Fujimoto (Founder, The Right to Succeed Foundation) and keynote speaker Attorney Richard Dyer who was introduced by Attorney Gary Greenberg of Greenberg Truarig.

Rick Dyer presented former Presidential Candidate, Governor Michael Dukakis, with a stunning award designed by Cumar Inc. thanking him for the mentoring that allowed him to turn his life around. The audience was graced with beautiful musical performances by Patti Austin, Charlie Farren, Robin Lane, Hal Lebeaux and Julie Silver.

OMSF partnered with well-known brands like the prestigious Poggenpohl kitchen design studios and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Furniture showrooms. The events are just a hint of what is to come nationally as individuals from the worlds of mentoring, music and design are gathering to recognize the importance of Mentorology and help OMSF spread the concept for future generations.

The premier of the Over My Shoulder song with Lianna Gutierrez took place at the 2009 PowerGirls Global Summit with Dr. Johnetta B. Cole’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Institute. The song is based on Dawn’s belief in hope, courage and transformation. It was written by Dawn Carroll, Charlie Farren, Brynn Arens and Barry Orms.

For more information about the Over My Shoulder Foundation, visit or contact Dawn Carroll, Co-Founder and Executive Director, by calling (617) 510-2620 or emailing



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Susanna Salk To Speak at the Design Bloggers Conference

We are excited to announce that Susanna will be a featured speaker at the Design Bloggers Conference.

Susanna Salk grew up in Essex, Massachusetts and got her B.A. in English at Vassar College and then moved to Manhattan where she helped launch Elle Decor as Interior Design Manager. She later became a Contributing Editor.

In 2003, she joined House and Garden Magazine, where she was, until its closing, Special Projects Editor.

Today, Salk appears regularly on NBC’s “Today Show” to discuss design style for the home. She is also a Contributing Editor to, and

Salk is the author of Assouline’s “A Privileged Life, Celebrating WASP Style,” as well as “Weekend Retreats” and the bestselling “Room for Children: Stylish Spaces for Sleep and Play,” (both by Rizzoli.) Her book “Home Sweet Home” (Rizzoli, Fall 2011) celebrates the international interiors shot by renowned photographer Oberto Gili.

Her latest book is, “Be Your Own Decorator: Taking Cues and Confidence from Today’s Leading Designers” (Rizzoli) a design book aiming to inspire and inform via her favorite rooms from the world’s top designers and tastemakers.

Salk’s next book (out April 2013 from Rizzoli) is the first pictorial book celebrating the iconic style of CZ Guest, the American author, columnist, horsewoman, fashion designer, muse and socialite. It will celebrate her iconic style in her homes, garden and fashion with insightful memories by many of the people who loved her and knew her best.

Salk lives in Connecticut with her husband and two boys.