For everyone who has asked me “How was the Made In America Expo?”, It was GREAT! The organization brought together a great body of manufacturers large and small who all believe that together we can do anything. We were interviewed and our products and story of how our products are made were featured on Fox & Friends News with Carley Shimkus. Additionally we received the Made In America Manufacturing Community Award where I humbly acknowledged my husband Don Finkell’s commitment to making beautiful American products.
We made great new friends and walked away excited (and exhausted). It was very worthwhile and I encourage YOU to consider exhibiting in 2020 at www.madeinamerica.com 🇺🇸!
We are BEYOND excited to be exhibiting with these amazing women-owned and led companies! I look forward to this week in Indianapolis. Be sure to check out the Emily Morrow Home Hardwood Floors in the Made In America LIVING ROOM and BEDROOM! Loominaries Handweaving Patricia Lukas, Holder Mattress Home Collection Lauren Taylor, Thomaston Mills Janet Wishnia. Individuals interested in attending the Made in America trade show can visit https://madeinamerica.com/event-attend/
Women in manufacturing are featured leaders at the Made in America Trade Show, Jason Blount, 2019 Event Announcement, News 10/01/2019
First ever Made in America Trade show in Indianapolis, Oct 3rd to Oct 6th showcases consumer products Made in America. Features a Made in America Bedroom where all of the products are manufactured by women run businesses.
According to Consumer Reports, 8 out of 10 American consumers say they would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one. Entrepreneur Don Buckner became frustrated in 1998 when he attempted to find several American-made products online. That was the start of his journey which has culminated in his deciding to go all-in on the #AmericanMade plan.
His team searched for USA manufacturers, large and small, and established the first-ever Made in America Trade show. Come see a wide variety of American made products on display in Indianapolis running from Oct 3rd to Oct 6th
Did you know that more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales as of 2017? In fact, women run businesses are helping to lead a resurgence in American manufacturing. All of the firms chosen to display in the “All American Bedroom” are women run businesses.
The products, made by women lead companies, in the Made in America bedroom are as follows:
Bedding from https://americanblossomlinens.com
Mattresses from https://holdermattress.com/
Flooring from https://www.emilymorrowhome.com/
Rugs from www.loominaries.com
Emily Morrow Home
A woman-owned hardwood flooring company based in Dalton, Ga., Emily Morrow Home beautifully represents the American Dream. Although hardwood flooring has been a male-dominated industry that has sadly evolved into importing poorly made hardwood flooring, Emily Morrow Home is breaking the mold with quality, domestically-crafted products— and a commitment to doing things better…differently.
Like any good story, Emily Morrow Home began with a love story- a life-long love for design that grew into a profession. After almost 30-years of practicing interior design, 13 of which directing the design team for Shaw Floors, founder Emily Kiker Finkell entered a new chapter of life and launched the eponymous Emily Morrow Home. Included in Emily’s to-the-trade brand are beautifully designed collections of upscale hardwood flooring and luxury home décor, all proudly made in America.
From being inspired by the stunning vineyards of Napa Valley or the great wildebeest migration across Africa, each product within the Emily Morrow Home brand is designed to bring the world’s most stunning visuals home to her customers through local retailers. Emily Morrow sells through experienced small business flooring retailers across the nation, people with proven ability and craftsmanship Finkell donates a portion of proceeds to the Kiker Morrow Finkell Breast Cancer Foundation and participates in a prison work program that teaches inmates invaluable skills and work ethic.
For more inspiration and a more in-depth look into Finkell’s craft, visit her blog, https://www.emilymorrowhome.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-living-a-beautiful-life/, where you’ll find useful ideas and insights into home interior design as well as the simplest touches for adding joy to a day.
American Blossom Linens
Thomaston Mills, a family owned textile mill, has been making bedding for over 115 years in the town of Thomaston, Georgia. While nearly all USA textile manufacturing and production moved overseas, decimating factories and jobs, Thomaston Mills continues to thrive and keeps manufacturing here in the USA. For the past 20 years, Thomaston manufacturing focused on the healthcare and hospitality market. Hilton, Marriott, Radisson and Intercontinental hotels have all used their sheets. Now they are offering a brand called American Blossom Linens direct to consumers.
In response to a massive rise in consumer demand for organic cotton and USA made products, Janet Wischnia, one of the owners of Thomaston Mills and granddaughter of the founder, decided to reenter the retail market in December 2018 with the launch of direct to consumer brand, American Blossom Linens. She brought back a brand, originally called Blossom that was created by Thomaston in the 1940’s with the goal of capturing the time tested quality of their origins. The collection, available now on the American Blossom Linens website, americanblossomlinens.com, includes sheet, pillowcase and duvet sets and a crib sheet. The linens are generously sized with extra deep pockets to provide an excellent fit on almost any height mattress. “Top or Bottom” labels act as visual cues to help you place the fitted sheet correctly on the mattress. Thomaston Mills wanted to make environmental responsibility easy, so they made the sheets more substantial, which helps them last longer and uses an advanced all-natural finishing process that softens the cotton to ensure a smooth feel.
American Blossom Linens bedding is made only in the USA using 100% traceable organic cotton grown in West Texas by family farmers. Their bedding is grown, processed, finished and sewn in the USA, drastically reducing its carbon footprint while supporting American workers all along the way. Thomaston Mills brought back American Blossom because they perceive people are looking for sustainable products, impeccably made in the USA by friends and neighbors, products that will last and last and never go out of style. American from the farm to the bed.
888-825-0110 ext 2275
Since 1947, the Holder family has built a tradition of excellence by using the finest materials to construct their own mattresses and box springs. To this day, each set is still hand-crafted in their own factory in Kokomo, Indiana. All materials are carefully selected and sourced in the United States, meaning every Holder Mattress is not just made in Indiana but truly American Made. Attention to detail and craftsmanship and a standard of building a two-sided mattress or flippable mattress assures the Holder Mattress Factory standard of quality that has become notable throughout central Indiana.
In 2003, the granddaughter of the founder, Lauren McAshlan Taylor, assumed the reins as a third-generation owner. Lauren strives each day to build the quality of product her grandfather would have built himself, along with providing the highest level of customer service to her clients.
For as long as she can remember, Patricia has been intrigued by the art of weaving. Her first introduction to multi-harness looms was on a childhood visit to Sturbridge Village, a re-creation of an 18th century town in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The gift Patricia received from her parents and husband upon her graduation from college was a four harness, 45” wide floor loom, which enabled her to create a greater variety of woven pieces. A magazine article about rag rugs shown to her by her mother sparked her interest and soon she began weaving her own rugs.
Patricia’s rugs began to catch the attention of interior designers, as well as home furnishing shops, and soon her business was transformed to the production of custom rag rugs which can be woven in any size up to twelve feet wide and any length. A move in November of 2015 to western North Carolina, surrounded by beautiful mountains and abundant wildlife, is the setting from which Patricia draws inspiration to create rugs which complement every style of home design.
The Made in America trade show runs from October 3rd thru 6th, more than 450,000 square feet of the Indiana Convention Center will be used to showcase hundreds of manufacturers including many small and women owned and run businesses who make products ranging from aerospace and automobiles to apparel and textiles. Organizers expect thousands of attendees. Events include a concert with country music duo Big and Rich, a talk by My Pillow founder Michael J. Lindell, a celebration honoring U.S. military veterans and “Made in America Awards” to recognize the accomplishments of American production heroes.
Individuals interested in attending the Made in America trade show can visit https://madeinamerica.com/event-attend/
Have you seen the news about an upcoming Made in America Exposition in Indianapolis, Indiana October 3rd through the 6th? Check it out! I think you might get as excited as I did when you see all the people and energy behind it. It might make your brain spin wondering “who” really is an All-American manufacturer. Proudly I’m exhibiting as the “Made in America Living Room” by Emily Morrow Home and showing the “Emily Morrow Home Hardwood Flooring” that is made in Tennessee by my husband’s company American OEM. Beyond the hardwood flooring we will be showing Aria Designs Upholstery that’s made in Lenoir, North Carolina, and hand-loomed rugs and pillows by artisan Patricia Lukas, owner of Loominaries of Candler, North Carolina. Just this afternoon, I had a call with another co-exhibitor at this MIA event who’s recently been stressing about the same challenges that I had: “Where do you find light bulbs or lamps that you can be certain are made in the USA? How pure can we actually remain with the various accessories that we place in our rooms at the expo? In regards to pillows, perhaps the fabric is made in the USA but the filler might be from overseas origins…where does the MIA intention begin and end? My intention is to stay within the practical realm when at all possible. The goal is to showcase all American-made products and to do our due diligence to make sure the hidden contents of the products are American as well.
Seeing through the fog
How hard is it to see through the fog of misleading messaging which products are and are not actually American-made? As an interior designer, a product designer, lifestyle brand and marketer, I have been tuned-in to this for many years. As an “insider” to the industry, you’d think it would be easier for me but it is very hard to know whose products are and whose are not American made. I can assure you that my hardwood flooring products are 100% American-made. Even our trees are responsibly grown and harvested from the eastern side of the USA and much of it comes from the great states of Indiana and Tennessee. It’s been said that “Southern Indiana grows the finest textured white oak timber in the world”. I don’t doubt that as our hardwood flooring is as beautiful as it is American.
“French oak” or “Stolen Forests”
In the hardwood flooring category, there are hundreds of products that are veiled as “European” or “American” with luxuriously European or patriotic sounding names, with American flags on the graphics, playing on the “assumption” that this or that longstanding American brand / company/manufacturer’s products are made in the United States when in fact they’re not. Although I don’t have to like this, I do have to compete in this…and this world is not only highly competitive, it’s hard. The Decorative Hardwoods Association is a great resource if you’d like to read more about the subject of timber, legal and illegal.
You don’t have to compromise
We’ll be sharing more details about the design aesthetics of our Made In America EMILY MORROW HOME LIVING ROOM over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll either plan to attend or follow the event, and more importantly won’t you consider doing business with American-made companies like my own Emily Morrow Home, or my amazing MIA friends: Holder Mattress Company, Wellborn Cabinets and Loominaries ? You won’t have to compromise on style, quality or price and you might find that it will last longer, look better longer and one final thing is that you’ll have the sense of pride in the “American-made story” at the heart of your decisions. You can find our Emily Morrow Home Hardwood all across the USA as well as the Louis A. Dabbieri Hardwood Exclusively by Emily Morrow Home. Click this link to find our retailers near you and if you don’t find one, give me a call at 1-866-775-3877 and I’ll personally help you.
Check out our video library below featuring the design inspiration of our exquisite products, our OMG Proof Protection, Donatella the Truffle Dog and much more!
Inspiration. It’s at the heartbeat of the flooring industry and what keeps us all in the cycle of evolution. What inspires you? How are you inspired? When are you inspired?
Being a “creative” today is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that we are all constantly infiltrated with new perspectives, fresh ideas, more accessible travel, and, well, ideas. Within an instant, my newsfeed is taking me to an emerging high-rise project in Dubai; I’m in a train buzzing through wine country during harvest in an Instagram story; I’m watching a blogger’s design journey as she renovates a midcentury bungalow in San Francisco – while I am on Wi-Fi and in the air from LaGuardia to Paris. Information – too much information – is at my fingertips at breakneck speed.
Market Watch recently revealed that the average American adult spends 11 hours per day consuming digital media, which is up from 9 hours and 32 minutes only four years ago. But I did not need a study to tell me this news. My newest iPhone XS Max reveals my screen time usage, and the daily notification is staggering, to say the least. It leaves us all wondering, “Did I really look at my phone that much today?”
Do I Need Digital Detox?
While we’re consuming all of this media, how is our brain processing it? Studies show that the overconsumption of digital makes us feel differently, react differently, think differently, and sleep differently. According to a Mashable article from just a few years ago, some cognitive experts have found benefit in digital exposure and its effects on the human brain, whereas others worry that too many distractions have left our brains uncreative and impatient.
Digital has its place in the creative process; let’s be honest. After all, it’s 2019. Sites like Pinterest, Houzz, and the world of influencer marketing have made interior design and the floor shopping process engaging and attainable, and for that, the industry is grateful. But as “creative” professionals who are focused on pushing the design envelope ever forward on behalf of both the industry and our brands, how do we cut through the noise?
Slide to power off.
True creativity is not happening behind the screen. While the screen may reaffirm our ideas and give us a sense of belonging, the creative process does not begin or end on the screen. At the risk of sounding unapologetically cliché, the creative process is all around us in the most present and current sense. The creative process is sitting on the ground surrounded in paint swatches, white oak slices, frayed pieces of fabric, and a team of experienced professionals with sawdust in their eyes. It comes from digging deep in the parts of our minds, our hearts, and our souls, which technology cannot power up or power on.
Creativity is connectivity – with the human spirit, not a cable.
My most recent and prevalent example of unplugging for authentic creativity to prevail was during an African safari this past summer with my family. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, the journey allowed us to soak in the majesty of nature in all its raw splendor. From the journey, one of my newest collections was born.
Unplugging has become key to my creative process. And my wish is that it becomes key to yours as well. Keep that pen and notebook in your bag. Pull it out when an idea or inspiration strikes. Start up a conversation with the person in the plane seat next to you. Sit in a local coffee shop and people watch. Walk through a museum and read every exhibit marker. Laugh out loud with your chin up. It’s within all of this living and all of this connecting and the moments unplugged that creativity – true creativity – will flourish.
Whether or not we unplug from digital, the world isn’t going to stop. But as the future of the flooring industry and as “creatives,” it’s up to us to quiet the noise – so that we can create and continue to propel the industry forward. So, when you see me in the airport chatting up a stranger, sketching in my journal, or soaking in a beautiful moment, you’ll know it’s intentional.
Let us power off and create.
Where do you go from here? How do you power off more often? Here are some simple tips from Digital Detox to help you unplug:
Start your day right: Get up, relax, and eat a healthy breakfast instead of reaching for the phone.
Go old school: Get an old-fashioned flip phone instead of a smartphone.
Do more: Pack your day full of person-to-person meetings where you commit to not reaching for the phone.
Bring a book: Pick up a good read.
Download an app: Get some tech help in monitoring the time you spend on the phone.
Go on a digital diet: Reduce your time online by 10 percent.
Take a mini break: Leave your phone at home for a day.
Streamline your work: Ask that people connect with you only through one medium.
Get active: Jog or bike to work, phone free.
Leave your work behind: Consider a work phone and personal phone and utilize out of office.
Involve your friends: Invite your friends to keep you accountable.
Lock up: Ask a friend or partner to take your phone for a bit.
Set a strict technology bedtime: Your technology needs a bedtime, too.
Schedule some free time: Schedule tech time and then turn it off.
Be more in the moment: Go for a walk and soak in your surroundings.
Just switch it off: Enough said.
Emily Morrow Finkell is an interior designer and CEO of Emily Morrow Home Hardwood, a div. of EF Floors & Design LLC in Dalton, Georgia, a provider of hardwood floors and home furnishings, and an NWFA design contributor. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Are We E-volving into Digitized Flat-World Consumers?
Did you know that the world is not flat? (Tell me something I didn’t know, right?) Well actually it’s way more than just round... Ancient greek philosophers like Aristotle, Eratosthenese and Pythagoras theorized that the world was a sphere and then centuries later explorers like Galileo and Magellan went out and proved them right. Navigating by the constellations above the horizon or seeing the round shadow of the earth during a lunar eclipse was ample proof that the earth was indeed not flat. “How does this tie into our modern day world of design?” you might ask. The world we live in today is round and yet many designers, consumers and hosts of companies who provide products for them treat the world as if it’s one dimensional. Look around you and consider all of the decisions you’re making based on a flat digital image. Our very tastes and behaviors are evolving towards what looks good on our Instagram accounts.
What looks good online doesn’t always look good in real life
As a professional interior designer who started my career 30 years ago, just before the internet became a thing, I have ALWAYS been drawn to textures that begged to be touched, memorable experiences that were intended be shared and artfully-layered interiors that beckoned me to sit for a while. Truly GREAT DESIGN, in my humble opinion, is steeped in art, science, architecture, culture and even a little bit of psychology. If done right, a well-designed space should invite the eye to come in, look around to find a focal point, experiencing the room in not only 3-D but by engaging the five senses.
Luxury Hardwood Flooring with “Good Sense”
With all of these thoughts in mind, take a little “Design Journey’ of your own through our newest collection of hardwood flooring, designed by an interior designer (yours truly), intended to be experienced by all five senses, and made to be a cut above everything else you’ll find in any big box store. Our hardwood flooring, like a luxury-performance vehicle, is not only beautiful, it demonstrates artisanal excellence that’s hand-crafted in the USA by an American hardwood flooring icon like my husband Don Finkell and his expert team who are passionate about what they do.
I am beyond thrilled to bring you luxurious hardwood flooring that, although is GORGEOUS, it performs well under a variety of conditions…whether it’s for a city dweller who sometimes spills a little coffee, or a dog-lover like me whose pooch splashes a little water or the busy family dashing out for a run or to tennis practice…bottom line, Emily Morrow Home is proof that beautiful design and great performance can be one and the same.
To borrow a fast food phrase, this season you can really “have it your way.” Do you want to use deeper, darker hues, or enjoy the ethereal effects of a layered off-white interior? Both are possible if you can’t decide.
Let’s say you’ve been eye-balling everything that pops up on social media feeds featuring navy blue or charcoal grey, but are afraid of being tied to that depth of hue. Do you think you might not want to live in so much darkness? Perhaps you’re imagining yourself coming into your home with the dreamy, creamy coolness and luxurious layers of off-whites and soft tans? That too is possible. In fact, you can do it all; it’s just a matter of balance – balance and a little smart strategy. The market certainly is offering endless options to consumers and providing tools making it easier to imagine via Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
Just yesterday, I opened my Instagram feed to see several posts from paint companies, design firms, and furniture companies featuring headlines like “dark walls are amazing, especially when paired with a pop of brushed gold and a lot of natural light.” Usually, when anything is trending upward, people can get stuck in a wait-and-see mode until they start to see the various ways it can be done and they find one that seems familiar and doable for their own home.
Don’t Be Afraid of the DARK
When designing any category of flooring for upcoming trends, it goes without saying that we know quite well what colors homeowners are going to be drawn to and what they’ll be choosing for the new colors as they plan their updates. For me, it’s always fun to find a few surprises, and believe me, there are quite a few right now. One of the biggest surprises is that grey is still right in the mix. Seriously, since 2007 I’ve been pontificating about grey and eventually dealers started seeing the “value” of the color (if you’ll pardon the pun)…consumers were asking for it, and the dealers responded by buying pallets and rolls of grey flooring to fill consumers’ demand for something new, grey.
Whether it’s the Color Marketing Group (CMG), Pantone, Elle Décor, or House Beautiful, fashion and interior designers, design editors, and homeowners are still loving grey. It is making gradual changes and is finding new ways of entering spaces, either by undertones of other colors or by partnering with vibrant hues or extremely light neutrals. But no doubt about it, grey is still strong. Personal expression is going to be driving the trends – while they seem to be going in every different direction, the personalized element is the common thread.
My home is a petri dish
My own home has always been the best petri dish for anything going on in design, and I’ll admit that my paint colors have been grey since 2006 or 2007, starting with my Revere Pewter at both my former and my current homes. From our current home’s front door, which is “Bear Creek”, to our living room and keeping room, which are “Wrought Iron” and “Chelsea Grey”. What I love about grey is what the rest of the world loves about grey: it is so easy and looks smart. Whether your metallic finishes are oil-rubbed bronze, nickel, or the newest brushed gold, grey simply works. I know we will reach a day when we are ready to pitch it all out for something that is inconceivable today. I do remember when grey felt old and tired and we were drawn to warm colors like Hepplewhite Ivory and Adams Gold, circa the 1990s.
I think the best way to encapsulate our new color trends discussion is to start at the end of 2018, where we began to see and feel “Inhale” and “Release” from CMG, a creamy white associated with deep meditative cleansing breaths to minimize stress as well as open up smaller spaces, visually expanding them. Who wouldn’t love that? White isn’t the only option for a small space.
Then we turned the calendar page and leapt right into 2019 and discovered a new grey, City Grey, an internationally acclaimed dark neutral that is very dark, 70 percent black. Darker shades can play up the size and make it feel cozier. Dark colors blend and blur lines and corners much the same way they do in fashion and flatter practically everything that surrounds it. While we may have felt the “ahhhh” of the “Inhale and Release” in December, that was just to get us through the end of the year and ease us into the urban vibe and faster pace of 2019 with City Grey.
What’s new about this grey, you may ask? This has a little sheen to its finish, unlike the matte and muted greys. We are finding these greys influencing our other colors in the trends list. For example, our deep green certainly is deepened by black, and greyed pastels are tinted by lightening it with the addition of white.
According to CMG Contributors Judith van Vliet, Sandy Sampson, Mark Woodman, and Maryanne Cole, “Urban and urbane, City Grey is the look of color modernity. Originally emanating from CMG’s Asia Pacific 2017 color forecasts for 2019, its appeal is international, and its applications seemingly endless.
“Strong, decisive, and influential, City Grey is appealing as a neutral color that is anything but neutral. Its depth defines its bold stance, its contemporary attitude, and its decisive industrial edge. It connotes the foundation of the urban landscape, the hushed night as it falls over a city, and the fortitude of a cityscape.
“For interior, it casts a like attitude. Simple enough to coordinate with other aesthetics, City Grey is capable of standing on its own. As an accessory piece it takes on new substance; as a background, it demands to be seen; and in furnishings, flooring, textiles, and more, it creates an interior environment that comforts with its depth.”
The Dark Side
Overall, when you turn the pages of shelter magazines in the coming months, you’ll see deep, dark, not gloomy, but certainly dramatically dark receding walls, and mid-value darkish flooring accented with large-scale patterns in various pops of color in accessories. The deep greens we are seeing are akin to the hunter and pine greens of the late 1980s, as are the inky navy blues. The combination of the navy blue, hunter green, and a swath of black make Black Watch Plaid, which has made its presence known across various categories from runway fashion to interiors. Ralph Lauren elevates this trend well with the Black Watch Plaids from RL Home and RL Mens and Womenswear, as does Barbour for men, women, the home, and pets.
What does our industry do with this type of information? For starters, this information is applicable to your graphics, your logo, your brand imaging, and even your room scenes. And don’t forget that your retail and digital presence should reflect that you not only know the design trends but also know how to pair them with flooring. Your team should also be well-versed in the design and color trends so that they too can reflect your company well.
Emily Morrow Finkell is an interior designer and CEO of EF Floors & Design LLC in Dalton, Georgia, a provider of hardwood floors and home furnishings, and NWFA design contributor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here at Emily Morrow Home, we’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on our beautiful new hardwood products and our theme this year is “Design Journey.” If you find yourself in Las Vegas this coming week, please plan to come visit us in Booth #925 at Surfaces 2019! You won’t be disappointed in our gorgeous new products, unmatched craftsmanship and designer-inspired color palette.
Also, we’re very proud to announce that Emily Morrow Home is nominated for three Floor Covering Weekly Dealers’ Choice Awards. Visit ourCampaign Page for more information on how to post to our selfie “Snap and Give” campaign. For every selfie submitted Emily Morrow Home will be making a $3 donation to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation.
To find out more about what FCIF is doing for those in the flooring industry click here. Please #VoteEmily!
Emily Morrow Finkell knows floors. Finkell, a former interior decorator, is the founder and CEO of Emily Morrow Home. Her company is one of the leading purveyors of American hardwood flooring, and has a pulse on flooring trends around the world. With 30 years of experience, it’s no wonder she’s considered the authority when it comes to luxurious yet affordable hardwood floor design. NAFCD caught up with Finkell ahead of Domotex USA where she will be hosting a design panel and lunch during the show’s inaugural breakout sessions from 11:30 am to 1 pm on March 1.
NAFCD: What do you think is going to be a hot trend in flooring for 2019?
EMILY MORROW FINKELL: Thus far it’s looking like a beautiful year for Emily Morrow Home hardwood. It’s a definite advantage to be “geeked out” as a trend forecaster. One of the hottest 2019 trends is the “Maximalist” trend which I forecasted as a coming trend in an article for Floor Covering Weekly back in 2017, and also in a blog post following High Point Fall Market. Today, maximalism fuels the consumers’ desire for “more is more,” and fortunately we have products which are styled perfectly for this trend. How does this manifest itself in hardwood and interiors, you might ask? To boil it down to the most simple terms, we will see longer and wider planks, as well as more variety in how we are installing hardwood planks, such as herringbone or chevron. For us, we are addressing this hunger for “more” in our 2019 Winter Market EMH introductions: “Great Migration” and “Tusker” for example boasts a 9 inch wide format which coordinates effortlessly with our herringbone, all in a sliced face white oak.
NAFCD: What is one formerly popular trend you’ve seen go to the wayside, and why do you think that happened?
EMF: Truthfully, we are seeing the fading away of “reactive” looks which were pretty hot the last two years, but anytime I see something come onto the scene that is “trendy” instead of a lasting “trend,” I will let others follow that until it fizzles out, which is usually pretty quick. What I do think people liked about the “reactive” looks was the movement of color. What people did not like about it was the way the color never stayed the same, hence the name “reactive.” It’s funny how the one thing that can draw people in can also be the very thing they tire of quickly. I do think some manufacturers have produced looks that mimic “reactives” however again I think to the less trained eye, they’ll tend to stay away from the look.
NAFCD: What’s one trend you’d like to see make a comeback?
EMF: My FAVORITE trend that has actually made a come back is the use of warm metallics, like aged bronze and gold finishes in lighting and kitchen and bath hardware. In one swift move, changing from brushed nickel to gold hardware can make an immediate update to an otherwise stale space. There’s a nice tie-in to hardwood flooring as a result of the warming of metallics which we have conveniently addressed in our 2019 Emily Morrow Home introductions. “Lewis & Clark” is one of our newest styles which is our nod to the warming of the palette. It’s a golden tan white oak with a sweeping sophistication making it easy to warm up an interior that might be starting to feel too cool with an all gray and brushed steel palette.
NAFCD: Do you find trends vary from region, or are they typically pretty similar across major marketplaces?
EMF: Over the course of my career at Shaw as Director of Color, Style and Design, one of the things I enjoyed most was keeping up with how colors that were selling tended to move and shift both nationally and globally. Our team had created a map of the USA which showed the top selling colors and styles from top to bottom and updated it quarterly. Prior to the 2007 down turn in the economy, I would see more regional shifts in the colors and styles. Then the recession happened and everything stopped moving and basically shifted into the super safe “gray beige” world. Since the rebound and our “Trump-bump” we are beginning to see signs of more movement again geographically. One other aspect that has changed is I’ve observed a more rapid adoption of global trends here in the USA from abroad.
In 2017 another mega trend I reported on in some publications was the Hygge trend which in essence is all about “comfort” based on Scandinavian design influences. Imagine seeing a tidy basket of small kindling next to a sleek, contemporary fireplace, an oversized woolen throw and a cup of hot tea steaming next to the felted wool sofa or chair. The sense of comfort and simplicity of the materials is my briefest explanation of “Hygge,” and you’ll always find hardwood in a Hygge inspired room. What’s more nurturing that hardwood finishes and I am thrilled that eight of our 12 new introduction are “natural grade,” where we have sorted out the heavier character and knots, leaving a “clean” wood grain visual.
NAFCD: From a flooring perspective, are trends dictated by taste or by the accessibility of materials?
EMF: For sure yes on both taste and accessibility. Our tastes are improved as our horizons are broadened. The more of the world we see, the more options we realize that there are to have. With this in mind, once you’ve seen the floors of your dreams, you can then bring that dream to reality, as long as it’s attainably priced for your budget. We are seeing looks in various price points that enable consumers attainable luxury hardwood flooring when historically it might have been too labor intensive to install. We have already watched the shift in the marketplace from more solid hardwood floors to more engineered hardwood floors.
Of course there’s always going to be an exception to this rule in areas like the Northeast where we still see more solid hardwood floors due to how homes are constructed, homes with crawl spaces versus slab construction. With the shift towards engineered, we are enjoying a wider variety of wood species as well as more options of how we are finishing the products. With engineered hardwood manufacturers can use a thinner wear layer for the veneer making better use of “premium” materials and using the less premium (still hardwood) for the platform. Hopefully everyone is working with US made products so they’re not surprised with a paper thin wear layer that will immediately be punctured with someone’s Christian Loubitain high heels.
NAFCD: How do things like tariffs and/or the global economy affect trends?
EMF: where do I begin…I think this is question that is impacting us all. For me, I am fortunate that we are sourcing and manufacturing our products here in the USA and are not fearing for what is around the corner. I am thankful for this and don’t wish that worry on anyone.
NAFCD: Anything else you’d like to add?
EMF: I am so grateful that we’re going to be hosting Domotex USA in my home state of Georgia where we all enjoy immense pride in our floor covering industry. With friends all over the world, I am so thrilled that they’re coming to us so that we can shower them with our gracious Southern hospitality!
While considering what to write for the “40 Under 40” issue of Hardwood Floors, I was reminded of some vital life lessons, ones that we all can learn at any age, and at any level of success. Typically, my articles focus on topics such as color, consumers, or design trends with titles like How to Use the Mega Trends or How to Design Your Interiors. This time, there’s a different insight I’d like to share, How to Design Your Life.
In my hometown of Dalton, Georgia, I am surrounded by some amazing success stories of industry icons. Known as the “Floor Covering Capital of the World,” Dalton is famous for entrepreneurial, hardworking, forward-thinking individuals. It’s also one of the most productive manufacturing areas in the U.S.; our hometown values emphasize “going to work and rolling up our sleeves,” according to the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. There is an energy and a sense of community pride. Dalton is not unique in the number of individuals who are in their encore careers, but it is special because it’s the heart of the floor covering industry and our enterprises.
How many of you have wondered if your career path was the best direction? Or was your decision made out of necessity due to your circumstances? Regardless of your answer, my experience has taught me that each path you take always helps to build and prepare you for the next one. We all experience moments in our lives, either following graduation or a geographical move, when we accept a job where we don’t feel we are fully utilizing our skills, passions, or abilities, or the culture is not a good fit.
Look inward and think about your journey. Mine, for instance, began with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design with a concentration in textiles. After I graduated in December 1989, job openings for college graduates were down 13.3 percent, and the job market had become one of the most competitive times since the early 1980s. Lucky me, right?
It’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, and so I took a job with a womenswear company in West Georgia, where I did everything from emptying the trash cans, to answering the phones, to assisting at sales meetings, to helping choose fabrics, patterns, and accessories for the collection. The owners, a husband and wife team, were the second generation of a menswear manufacturing business, and they gave me an opportunity at a time when I needed it most. I was and will always be grateful for that year because those experiences enriched my resume and expanded my skill set, even though that job had nothing to do with interior design.
Next, I took another opportunity with a retail furniture company that was expanding to Carrollton, Georgia, from their base in Rome, Georgia. They needed a professional interior designer on staff to organize their resource room of fabrics and finishes, to put together vignettes for their store, and to sell well-designed rooms to their customers who expected a white-glove experience. The store owners, another second generation family business, were well-versed in how to treat their customers with the highest level of attention. I have adopted this white-glove service mindset as part of my work ethic and infused it into my daily approach.
In year three, I was finally able to start my own interior design business, doing both commercial and residential projects. It was hard work, and I did it while being a mother to two young children. Life has a way of throwing us curves, and I found my children and myself back in my hometown of Dalton, Georgia, as a single mother with a heavy responsibility. After a few design projects were completed, I realized I needed something much more reliable. So I transitioned from an interior design business to the corporate world for the much-needed stability and benefits.
Enter Shaw and PatCraft. From the entry-level Associate Colorist to Senior Stylist, and eventually Director of Color Style & Design for Carpet and Hard Surface, I consider this the fourth chapter in my journey. It was in this chapter that I could finally look back and appreciate each of the previous steps. Every step allowed me opportunities for exposure to new things, professional and personal growth, as well as platforms from which to fine-tune my strengths and passions. After 13 years working at Shaw, I found myself at a very happy crossroads with some hard decisions to make. I ultimately decided to wrap things up with a neat bow and say my farewells to my Shaw family, with a wink that I might want to return someday, and retired early.
No one told me how much our identities and self-esteem are wrapped up in our profession. I didn’t expect to find myself longing for work, but after a few months off, I created a grand plan to make my personal life and my professional life come together in a way that dovetailed all of my strengths and passions with my husband’s. I formed a corporation, EF Floors & Design in September 2015, which quickly evolved into a brand, and thus Emily Morrow Home was born, aka my fifth chapter. I have loved every step of this chapter, even the hard ones. There have certainly been unseen challenges that have come along, but they’re also some of the most significant opportunities I’ve had to learn and grow.
The best part is that I’ve found myself looking around seeing others who are in the fifth, sixth, or even 10th chapters, later-in-life career changes or altogether new pathways. Some close friends have gone from respiratory therapists or accountants to interior design. Others have gone from stay-at-home moms to heading up large foundations and executives in corporations. You may have been noticing articles and news stories on “encore or second act careers;” they’re fascinating. AARP is one of my new favorite magazines (don’t knock it till you try it). Two of the best headlines they’ve featured are 70 Is the New 65 and New Rules of Retirement. They are worth pausing to read.
One that I’ve had on my desk for a week is titled Really Ready to Retire? by Jeri Sadler and Rick Miners, co-authors of Don’t Retire, Rewire! They compiled a list of seven things to consider before retiring, and these same questions apply to all of us at any age. Some of them include:
What ambitions are you waiting to fulfill?
What will make you rise each day as excited as you were at the high points of your career?
To what extent will you be in service to other family members once you retire?
So many young and “less young” professionals change careers and ask themselves if they’re making the right decision.
The good news is that we have generations of mentors surrounding us that we can look to for examples of how, in retrospect, each step is critical in building a career. Obviously, for those highlighted in the December/January issue of the magazine, you’re doing quite well and are to be commended for taking the initiative and learning all you can in your current chapter. If you are on the “Fabulous 40” list, you might consider taking on a mentoring role with someone less experienced or not as connected as you are as a way of paying it forward to those who have helped you. We all have so much to learn from one another; the 20 somethings can teach the 50 or 60 somethings a thing or two and vice versa.
I once had a handful of direct reports who were twice my age and possessed 10 times more experience than I did and yet each one of them was incredibly gracious and shared their knowledge when and where it was appropriate. Take some time to think of all those who walked before you to open a door, or worked shoulder to shoulder with you to teach and train you so that your journey was better. We should not only give them some credit, but we should also give ourselves some credit for having open minds, eyes, and ears to their wise counsel and example.
Emily Morrow Finkell is an interior designer and CEO of EF Floors & Design LLC in Dalton, Georgia, a provider of hardwood floors and home furnishings, and NWFA design contributor. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Here are some compelling reports on the subject of careers and choices of work, income, culture and priorities:
Forbes: Job-Hopping Millennials Offer Benefits to Employers While Being “Selfish”
Job-hopping is in, and being stuck in a dead-end job is on its way out — and that’s good for everyone. Job-hopping millennials are more likely to earn a higher wage, develop their career on a faster track and find a better fit in work culture by changing jobs more frequently. The stigma is lessening as the positives are revealed. One CareerBuilder survey shared employers expect 45% of their newly hired college grads would remain with the company for under two years, and the study showed that by age 35, about 25% of young employees would have worked five jobs. Employers are aware they’re hiring job-hoppers as millennials find their footing in their career development, learning to make healthy choices rather than staying stuck and unmotivated in a job that’s not beneficial for either the employee or employer.
Generation X — not millennials — is changing the nature of work
Demonstrating loyalty, a willingness to take on a heavy workload, and a powerful combination of digital and traditional leadership skills, Gen X is producing highly capable leaders that are in danger of being overlooked. Organizations that want to retain and develop their Gen X leaders should:
– Provide leaders with more external guidance. While Gen X leaders are loyal, they are craving insight and knowledge from mentors outside of their organization. In fact, 67 percent of leaders said that they would like more external coaching, and 57 percent wanted external development. Employers should invest in helping Gen X leaders participate in outside professional organizations, industry conferences and other groups to foster relationships with external peers and mentors who can provide coaching.
– Encourage leaders to challenge the status quo. Many organizations may look to millennials to lead innovative projects, particularly those that are tech-based. But Gen X leaders are likely to thrive when given the opportunity to experiment with new approaches and challenge existing methods. Ideally, a cross-generational team — perhaps led by a Gen Xer — may deliver the most innovative solutions.
– Leverage technology to support traditional development. Like those in other generations, Gen X leaders said they still want traditional learning methods, such as formal workshops, training courses and seminars. However, they also enjoy the personalization and convenience offered by technology-based tools. Blending traditional learning methods with tech-enabled tools to enhance and solidify learning will help them make the most of their development opportunities.
The oldest Gen X workers will likely still be in the workforce for at least 10 years, and the younger members of the generation may still be working for more than 30, meaning that Gen X will be forming the backbone of organizations’ leadership for quite some time. Those that overlook Gen X in favor of focusing only on the youngest generations entering the workforce will miss out on a deep and valuable source of leadership potential.
Now is the time to focus on strengthening the skills of Gen X and further developing their broad range of skills.
Storyboards are essential to the design process and help Emily Morrow Finkell transform inspirations into products.
They heard it before they saw it. For several days, Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home, waited to witness the “Masai Mara,” a migration of nearly two million wildebeest across Africa in search of greener plains and savannas. On the second to last day of her trip to Kenya this past August, while perched atop a safari jeep with husband Don Finkell, CEO of American OEM, cameras and scopes zoomed in, Morrow Finkell saw movement across a nearby river. They felt the wildebeest hooves echo like a rumble of thunder as they took off in a blur of color — a moment that would later serve as the chief source of inspiration behind Emily Morrow Home’s 2019 hardwood collection. For a short video clip of this experience, click this link “Emily Morrow Home’s Design Journey“.
“You can see the dust, the wildebeest, the zebras and other smaller animals all getting caught up in the herd as they’re migrating. They’re giving birth, they’re dying, there’s this whole circle of life story that was the biggest key for my products,” recalled Morrow Finkell. “Our products are natural and when you bring them into your home, you’re living on them, you’re experiencing important chapters of life with them. And they’ll last, they’ll be there for it all.”
Dalton, GA: The Emily Morrow Home collection for 2019 is twelve-SKU range of cooler browns and warmer grays, drawn from scenes Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO, observed of lion fur, zebra manes and the hides of rhinos, elephants and, of course, wildebeests. But her recent visit to Kenya isn’t the only story — a mixture of other memories and travels also appear in the upcoming collection.
For example, Paddock, a gray brown with subtle shading, ushers in sights from the Kentucky Derby. And, similar to that, Justify is a warm brown that mimics the Triple Crown-winning racehorse it’s titled after.
“The one thing I can’t not be is personal. Even when we have had designers and architects help with the inspiration, providing so much input into the products, colors or finishes, we work together on the naming process,” Morrow Finkell told FCW during a visit to Dalton. “There’s a reason behind why we do it. I think everyone likes to have a connection to a name. It makes it more memorable and we can immediately call to mind with our imagination the reasoning of the names.”
Each SKU is different, whether it comes down to an oil-rubbed look, a super dry low gloss, an ultra-micro bevel or a white plaster imitation. Yet despite the variability, there’s still some flexibility with the possibility of further customization.
“We find ourselves collaborating with a number of groups, such as for luxury high-rises, when there are times a project calls for something more unique or special to best fit that space,” said Morrow Finkell. “Everything is semi-customizable and we’re going to take that to the next level. That’s not to say that people won’t find exactly what they want with our original creations, but if our customers feel they need to make something more custom, we do have that design flexibility.”
One aspect that is the same across the collection is the addition of MorCore, which will give the floors an enhanced 3.55 mm wearlayer. The thicker platform, Morrow Finkell mentioned, is in response to designers asking for a little bit more when it came to the wearlayer, which is previously 2.5 mm thick. Both, however, also come with a “Donatella the Truffle Dog” scratch resistance.
For Morrow Finkell, the collection now has even more to love. With a greater durability, an increased width and length, and a higher impact resistance, Emily Morrow Home wood flooring can be used for both residential and commercial undertakings. In fact, the new white oak option in taupe, which features a smooth surface and is seven inches wide, is currently being installed with Apex Wood Floors for a commercial project to elevate a luxury appliance showroom in Chicago.
“Because our products are so incredibly well-made and constructed — all the way down to the wearlayer, warranty and finishes — they can go across all categories with no issues or hesitations at all,” explained Morrow Finkell.
Morrow Finkell also suspects there will be a few winners in the new collection of twelve, but she’s excited to see the market’s real response. For her, it’s about creating something fresh, but not something so new that people can’t embrace it and put it in their own homes.
Currently, advance previews of the collection are being shared with select customers across the U.S., but is set to be fully unveiled at the Carpet One winter convention in early January with Emily Morrow Home as a vendor to CCA Global Partners, then at TISE later that month and Domotex USA in February. The collection announcements will also include EMH’s 2019 Color of the Year.