Design Bloggers Conference 2018

Design Bloggers Conference Los AngelesFrom the moment we drew down the lights on the final session at Design Bloggers Conference (DBC) in Los Angeles early last March, we kicked off our year-long organizing cycle for the upcoming March 4-6, Design Bloggers Conference 2018 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.  Planning alongside the conference’s industry advisory board and Esteem Media’s organizing teams is a uniquely privileged way to spend a year in our industry. I’m lucky that way, with just one lingering question; should DBC be more aptly monikered as a gathering for the entire design industry?

Designers, bloggers, social media marketers, brands, market centers, affiliate marketers, and online platforms in the luxury home design industry tell us every year that DBC is a game changing conference experience for them.  Past attendees’ experiences, from every corner of the industry, reflect new comfort and activity with social media influencers and online opinion leaders after attending DBC. Many go on to ultimately thrive in our industry’s digital transition.  While The Design Bloggers Conference is the place for design bloggers and social media influencers to advance content marketing and business agendas, DBC has purposely evolved under its own broad mission of offering networking and education for building brands and selling design in a digital world.

design bloggerConference name aside, early attendee registration and sponsor participation indicates that DBC 2018 will be the largest since it was launched in 2011, better attended than last year’s record breaking 450 conference delegates. In 2018, DBC will showcase more sessions and speakers than it ever has; 26 educational opportunities and 43 speakers and panelists.  We added a must-attend closing gala party and Champagne tasting for all conference attendees and sponsors on Tuesday evening at a prominent LA designer’s private residence, some down time to visit showrooms on La Cienega, eight different breakout sessions on Sunday afternoon, and an extra keynote slot on Sunday evening before the first networking cocktail party hosted by Benjamin Moore.

Besides our always popular design industry rock star keynotes like this year’s Miles Redd, Jamie Drake, Michelle Workman, Mat Sanders and one more yet to be announced star, the agenda incorporates a wider array of digital design marketing strategies.  Leading speakers on affiliate marketing, paid acquisition on Instagram and Pinterest, designer/photographer collaboration, ways to make Houzz transformative, strategies for using social media to get the attention of design broadcast networks like HGTV, SEO secrets for small businesses, creating multiple digital revenue streams, how to plan for publishing a book or securing your own line, social media etiquette, converting Instagram communities to clients, trends and new opportunities in traditional design media, online influencer marketing, cause marketing, design blogging 101, and millennial marketing will take the stage.  Hours of networking, sponsor interaction, and after-parties round out the experience.

We have had to run faster every year to keep up with the digital transformation in design marketing and consumer purchase patterns.  We hope you take some time perusing the conference website to see why you should join your industry colleagues in Beverly Hills in early March 2018.  We organize the conference as a safe and productive experience for design professionals to grasp topics and tactics that can sometimes feel uncomfortable to the many of us that are primarily passionate and creative design professionals, not digital marketers.  See you in LA?

Duralee Sponsors Design Bloggers Conference Scholarship!

duralee-250The Design Bloggers Conference Scholarship will be awarded to five worthy bloggers, and give them the opportunity to attend the conference to expand their knowledge and networks in the design blogoshphere. The scholarship was established to assist serious bloggers that otherwise could not attend and are in the process of building their businesses, reputations, and brands.

The Rules

  • Design Bloggers who have been regularly posting for six months or more are eligible
  • Applicants are asked to describe their blog, their financial need pertaining to the conference, and why they are deserving of sponsorship
  • The scholarships will be awarded through a committee selection process based on the above mentioned focus criteria
  • Winners of the scholarship will receive a free conference pass.
  • We will accept applications for the scholarships through February 8, 2016
  • Winners will be announced on February 15, 2016
  • The winners will also be invited to submit a guest blog to appear on the Design Bloggers Conference website profiling how they got started, their blog, and their aspirations.
  • Entries should be sent via email to [email protected].

The Design Bloggers Conference will take place from March 6-8, 2016 at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta. We look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!  We appreciate Durable for expanding the scope of bloggers and designers that can now attend this defining event.

More than a resource, Duralee is a destination for your design. Be it whimsical, modern, traditional, or eclectic. We are passionate about our products, from our fresh fabric and cutting-edge trim options to our innovative furniture frames and drapery hardware. Sophisticated, yet youthful and fun, the Duralee design aesthetic is versatile with an ageless appeal. We understand that designers are looking towards what is new, what is next, and what is unique, and we strive to bring inspiration to the marketplace. If it is distinctive, diverse and dramatic, it’s Definitely Duralee!

To find out more, visit Duralee’s website.

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.

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.

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”