Like we said last week, our industry is full of incredible people behind the brands that you know and love. Jason Phillips of Phillips Collection, David Farris of Barnes Custom Upholstery, and Whitney Kelly of Piper Collection were just the beginning of the list for us.
This week you are going to meet a former “pitbull” litigator who loves the Chicago Cubs more than anyone else we know and also happens to run one of the coolest decor and art brands at Market.
Plus we have another exclusive deal from one of our brand partners just for our Market Insiders. Who doesn’t love to save $ on great products!
The latest Industry Rockstar:
Brian Berk, The Howard Elliott Collection
You are a furniture industry executive that started in law. How does that story go?
In my former life, I was a “pitbull” of a litigator and actively practiced law for 7 years. I had made the decision that I was going to leave the firm I had been working for and start my own firm with two other colleagues. During this time, I was presented with an opportunity to become a distributor for a firm that was manufacturing commercial tables and chairs in China. I began a new career and found myself networking with everybody I knew across the country to find a source in China to fix all the product damage that was caused by the firm I was distributing for. Once I cleaned up my multiple “messes”, I had found that I had built a little network in China suitable for manufacturing. I was approached by a veteran of the Home Décor industry with the idea to start a new collection of decorative mirrors. Of course, I had no knowledge of this industry and was very skeptical until I began to do some research and thanks to the Home Accents Today Universe Study, I found that the wall décor market was a $6 Billion industry. 18 years later here I am with Law Degree and all!
Tell us about your infatuation with the Cubs? Where were you when they won the world series in 2016?
I have been bleeding “Cubbie Blue” ever since I can remember. In Chicago, you either root for the Northsiders (Cubs) or the Southsiders (White Sox). In many cases it depended upon where your parents or grandparents grew up in Chicago. My family was a Northside Family so the Cubbie spirit was entrenched in our upbringing. I have suffered through some of the worst baseball curses known to mankind. I was fortunate to go to Game 3 of the World Series at iconic Wrigley Field with my oldest daughter. It was surreal and a true “Bucket List” event. The Cubs lost 1-0 that night so in typical Cubs fashion, I would not go to any other games and changed the jersey and hat that I was wearing to watch the games in order to change our luck. I was at home with family watching Game 7 when I started to receive calls of congratulations in the 8th inning. For those of you who have not experienced Cubs tragedies, that is a “no-no”. Of course, a home run was hit and the momentum changed until the infamous rain delay allowed for the events to settle down and of course bring us Northsiders a Cubs victory that had not occurred in over 100 years!
What's your favorite part of Market?
I really enjoy the first day of Market to see the reaction to all the preparation and hard work that goes into merchandising and designing a showroom. It is great to see eyes twinkle a bit from Retail and Design clients who are inspired by either product or the merchandising techniques we have utilized. It is always nice to visit with both long-standing clients as well as meet with folks that present new and challenging opportunities.
What's new or next for the Howard Elliott?
Howard Elliott has engaged a new initiative to work with the design industry. We have engaged a Design Ambassador, Justin Shaulis, to assist us in learning to how to properly communicate both verbally and visually to this continually growing audience. We are always working on new product introductions. However, we are in the process of launching a few new collections that we would characterize as a bit out of our Howard Elliott typical comfort zone and would be priced at price points that will be a bit on the higher side of our overall line. We are proud and excited for the launch of this Howard Elliott Fall Designer Curated Collection. Make sure you come and visit us to see, touch, “sit” (hint hint) the collection!
What showroom/showrooms (besides yours) do you always make a point to visit?
I do not get out of our showroom much, but I do like to take a stroll through Interhall to see all the creativity that encompasses those displays. I also like to visit with a few industry friends during market to catch up.
The Latest Steelyard Market Insider Perk
Sunpan is offering our Market Insiders 10% off all purchases on in-stock items during market. All you have to do is let the folks at Sunpan know you are a Steelyard Insider to take advantage of the discount. Check out their full catalog on Steelyard and then click “Send Message” from any product page to start the conversation.