Lisa Kahn, ASID, launched her award-winning interior design firm, Lisa Kahn Designs, in 2000 in Naples, Florida. Designing homes across the globe, she has always been intrigued by the relationship between the built environment and the human spirit. Hallmarks of her design style are a raw, organic beauty contrasted with refined elegance, and the tranquility imparted by symmetry. In her work and her writing, she explores how to create nurturing spaces for both the body and the spirit. As an extension of her design work, and an expression of her lifestyle, Lisa developed the Finding Sanctuary blog and an online course, Seven Days to Sanctuary. A book on the subject is projected for 2020. In addition to her successful design business, Lisa is completing her Master’s degree in transformational psychology. Her residential design projects have been featured in Traditional Home, Gulfshore Life, At Home, USA TODAY Home and Home & Design magazines.
I sometimes hear designers extoll the virtues of attending Market alone. Their time is their own, their schedules are not tied to others. Their decisions are unfettered by others’ opinions. While that may be true, I believe the collaborative act of working the Market with others can open us up to rewards impossible to achieve on our own.
For the just completed April High Point Market, our designer Rachel Hayes, and Rob Dunmeyer, our design assistant, accompanied my husband, Philip Allen, who’s also our marketing director, and me. Other markets see different members of our team in attendance.
Sometimes we hit the showrooms together, finding inspiration in the new introductions and reconnecting with our vendors, designer colleagues and friends. It’s in these times that I have a dual role, as lead designer and brand bearer for our company. Working in concert with the team provides all of us the ability to connect more deeply with our projects, hearing each other’s observations and finding nuance we might have missed had we been solo shopping. We all know what we saw. We know where we stand as a team. We agree on the furnishings that best articulate our design philosophy. We’re ready to hit the ground running when we return home to our studio.
Often though, we split into two teams, to cover more ground and to attend valuable market seminars and events.
Thanks to the gift of technology, we’re able to stay in contact, sharing photos, ideas and inspiration via text and call. It gives my designers the chance to work without me, to spread their collective wings, to develop their own understanding of the market experience and process. They circle back to showrooms we’ve already worked, confirming much-needed details, and they scout new resources for consideration. Their effort doesn’t just double our “feet on the ground,” it creates an order of magnitude difference in what we see and how much we accomplish. It is this alchemy between collaboration and efficiency that results in a deeper understanding of our overall brand vision, an elevated sense of contribution, a closer bond with each other, and a wider vision of what’s possible. It’s what makes our business resonate at a bit higher frequency. The Market experience allow us to be more creative, more focused, more thoughtful and more cohesive. We are better designers and a better business because of it.
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