The Art Of Sourcing

Michel Smith Boyd builds his Market plan around finding products that tell his distinctive story

“Appreciate every opportunity to be mindful and thoughtful,” said Atlanta designer Michel Smith Boyd as he advised an enthusiastic group of students on how to navigate Market. “Communicate your image through appearance and attitude while finding the people and products with stories that resonate with your aesthetic. The way you tell those stories will guide your career trajectory.”

Nationally acclaimed for “a sumptuous style with a distinctive, cultivated, and soulful vibe,” Boyd requires discipline to follow his own advice. “I am a horrible procrastinator because I use every single second up to the last one to develop my designs to make them better,” he said. “That strategy doesn’t work at Market. My associate Jessica helps center me. We divide and conquer for four nights and five days. Saturday and Sunday are event days with some buying. Friday and Monday are work-focused. I’m either visiting with trusted resources or seeking new ones in categories where I’d like more choices. I want my list of vendors to include different price points because I encourage my clients to invest in the things they use most often, placing less expensive brands where it makes sense.”

“I discover truly unique items at Market.”

Boyd prides himself on custom solutions and his sourcing aesthetic compels him to experience first-hand the brands he will offer his clients. “I must touch new products to see if they generate just the right experience and mood,” he said. “I can’t become the expert that my clients expect if I don’t make that physical connection or if I miss the background stories that inspired the creator. I’m always pursuing partners to build my personal boutique in my head. I need completely reliable primary sources, and I am continuously exploring back-ups.”

The story behind a product adds more value to clients than the price, according to Boyd. “That’s why I am obsessed with visiting the Antique & Design Center,” he said. “So many intriguing stories! When I select special items that have a story I can share with my clients, it makes it more personal and creates a level of trust that I have intuited what appeals to them. I determine their style and preferences based on how they dress, live, eat, and even work out – often more precisely than they have! They are thrilled when I integrate their individuality into my design.”

“Market gives me the opportunity to add folks from around the world to my list of resources.”

“I love making international contacts,” said Boyd, “I am always looking across the globe for inspiration from the leading creators of design and fashion. I return to Atlanta energized by the new relationships I’ve started, as well as with the joy of meeting up with old friends. It’s like a high school reunion in the best kind of way!”

Some of Boyd’s Market selections will be featured on his new TV series, Buying It Blind, which debuted on Bravo in November 2018. “My role on the show is to develop the designs that help turn the houses we buy sight unseen for the homeowners into their dream homes. I’ll be sourcing some of the furniture, rugs, lighting, art, and accessories from the same vendors that I use for my design business. This TV project has added a whole new level of intention to my Market planning,” he said.

To get a preview of exhibitors who can help tell your story, check out our New Product Picks, or any of the selections by our Style Spotters or leading home fashion editors in Products & Trends. You can also find showrooms that fit your story in the Exhibitors section. Set the categories and style filters to define your search. And when you’re in town, don’t forget to set aside a little time for serendipity, and walk through a building or neighborhood you’ve never explored before.