Decor Mentor and Strengths Mentor Resources for Interior Designers
April 9, 2014 - 6:45pm
Decor Mentor's Lisa Ferguson discusses design trends, visual merchandising and her new career boot camp called Rise.

Residential Lighting: We hear you organized a new networking event at High Point.
Lisa Ferguson:
Our Elevate events are going strong. I launched Strengths Mentor with an experiential day called Rise on Friday before High Point market opened. It was the first of many across North America, producing results usually gained from one-on-one coaching.

RL: What is Rise?
Rise is a full day of discovering one’s greatest individual strengths and how best to use them to catapult your career. Using individual results from the world-renowned Gallup StrengthsFinder® tool, I’ll help participants gain new insights and create customized long-term strategies and collaboration plans. Ten million have done the StrengthFinder assessment, but many get stuck after they “name” their strengths. They don't know how to claim or aim them. I’ve created a fun format that brings “lightbulb” moments and customized strategies to groups of up to 50. This is different from Gallup, which is about one-on-one coaching. The first event was February 1 in Toronto, but it was under the radar. Our High Point event was April 4.

RL: So Rise is career coaching?
The Rise format is designed to be game-changing for anyone. Getting trained to coach StrengthsFinder came from my core conviction that collaborations with others who complement you can change the industry from the ground-up.

RL: Let’s switch to interior design. What trends are important at the moment?
I always look for two types of trends: style and human behavior. Style trends can be in one season and out the next. Human behavior trends often span a few years and can impact sales to a greater extent.

For style, I saw mixed materials and organic shapes at every turn at Fall Market in High Point. I expect to see more the next few seasons.

For human behavior, I see personalization meeting multi-function. But it’s not simply customization. Rather, personalization uses elements that can be configured one way and then another. For example, Noir’s metal occasional tables come in different heights. You personalize by ordering multiple tables — using them together as a coffee table today, separately as stools tomorrow.

RL: What’s your take on lighting?
My accountant was bursting with pride to show me his $100,000 worth of furniture, including an $8,000 leather sofa. I couldn’t help but be distracted by the one source of lighting in each room — to the tune of $10 a piece.

Good design, in my opinion, isn’t great without layers of beautiful and functional, and very intentional, lighting. I budget upfront as much as 20 percent for lighting and draw up lighting plans before any soft furnishings are purchased. An $8,000 sofa can look like $2,000. Yet, a properly lit room can make a $4,000 sofa look like twice its value — not to mention great lighting transforms the way we feel in a space.

I’m quite passionate about getting the “benefits of a great lighting plan” message to the consumer. With visual social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, it’s easier than ever to create and leverage a large, cost-effective collaboration on lighting layers and thoughtfully locating light switches. Who’s on board?

RL: What opinions do you have about lighting showrooms?
Lighting, as we know, is about more than selecting the perfect fixture. I believe showrooms would experience an increase in sales and loyalty with smartly designed lighting demo rooms. Show us a kitchen with layers of lighting and how stress levels appear to drop when lighting below the shoulders. Show us how spot light “grazing” versus “typical” placements could enhance the textures and dimensions of a fireplace. We’re in a visual, story-telling world. I’d love to see lighting showrooms leverage this for an all-around mutual win.

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