Bravo For Fun!

Stars of Bravo TV’s “Get A Room” and “Buy It Blind” share their Market tips and industry insights

Quips and laughs flew fast in the rollicking keynote with Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley, and Michel Smith Boyd, moderated by Clinton Smith. Recalling their journeys to becoming design influencers and TV stars with licensing deals and world-class brands, the trio talked about how they use High Point Market to further their careers. Then, they asked three lucky audience members to join them in a “hot or not” trend review.

Talking about how they optimize their time at Market, each designer offered a different take. “I’m here for the merchantainment,” said Kressley. “As a huge fan of interior design, I seek out the showrooms that make my eyes pop out of my head. I take photos of how they are displayed and curated to share with my followers. I learn about quality and similarities between fine upholstery and high fashion construction.”

“I’m usually here for about a week, and while it’s exhausting, it’s also fun, exciting, and inspiring,” said Filicia. “We meet industry leaders and find limitless resources to create authentic, unique, and inspiring designs. I just wish I’d learned earlier in my career that the sky’s the limit for furniture in High Point. We need to encourage design schools to include Market in their curriculum. I have been coming here for more than 11 years and developing product for 10. This is where I explore ideas for my interior design clients and Carson’s and my show, “Get a Room,” on Bravo. I also support the launch of new Thom Filicia Home Collection products, like my line for Vanguard, and my new artwork pieces with Wendover Art Group.”

Thom Filicia Home Collection

Michel Smith Boyd, star of “Buying it Blind” on Bravo, also visits as an influencer and designer. “I source pieces for my show, and through strong relationships with vendors I’ve met here, I can call in favors to meet the crazy production schedules,” he said. “I expand my visibility as a host of an Insider’s Tour tours and as a Style Spotter. I also meet with partners like Left Bank Art and 1429 Manufacturing to develop my new company, MSB Bespoke. Every minute, I’m putting together the boutique in my head featuring beautiful new products that speak to my true self as a designer.”

“What you see here compels you to use all the crayons in the box,” said Kressley. “You need to go high, medium, and low to create an authentic autobiographical room. Otherwise, you’re designing beige tracksuits!”

While Filicia’s celebrity clients like Tina Fey and Jennifer Lopez, and Smith Boyd’s “all but one of Atlanta’s Desperate Housewives,” can afford the top of the line products, they concur the best designs emerge when they mix it up. “That’s the joy of Market,” said Filicia, “We find stunning products at every price. We can’t express our point of view accurately without exploring all the choices.”

In a fun, “Hot or Not?” trend review, the influencers invited three members of the audience to join them in sharing opinions on current home fashions. Hot? Cheap art? “If it speaks to you – and it’s great for humid beach houses.” Houseplants? “If they aren’t dead.” Open floor plan? “City, yes. Country, no.” Gallery walls? “Anything goes, if well curated.” Not? “Shiplap!” “Taxidermy!” “All white kitchens!”

The final takeaway from this mash up? Know yourself. “As influencers, we share the latest trends, but honest design is very personal. Just as you change throughout your career, so does your vision. Always focus on your legacy as a designer,” said Smith Boyd.

Want to build your career and brand as an influencer or learn from one? Opportunities abound at each Market. Explore the requirements to be part of the Design Bloggers Tour, Style Spotters, ora speaker. Or, if you’re not quite ready to take the stage, review the Events section to find tours, presentations, roundtables, book signings, and launch parties where you can meet – and explore products, trends, and ideas – with your favorite home fashion leader.

See the full session