ASID New England | Spring 2021 Magazine

Page 1

Of ASID New England Chapter Magazine Spring 2021

In This Issue: Nourishing Life Design for Overwhelming Times Diversity and Inclusion Through My Eyes 5 Secrets to Building A Successful Brand A Love for Patterns and Partnerships ...and more!

Image Credit: Jorge Taboada

CONTENTS 4 6 8 14

President’s Message Editor’s Letter Board Member Profiles

Student Spotlight


20 22

Diversity & Inclusion Through My Eyes Nourishing Life Design

Upcoming Events

23 25 29


Zero Landfill Days


Secrets to Building A Successful Brand A Love For Patterns

Industry Partner Profile


Cosentino Group is a global, Spanish, family-owned company that produces and distributes high value innovative surfaces for the world of design and architecture. It works together with its clients and partners to provide with solutions that offer design and value, and inspire the life of many people. This objective is possible thanks to pioneering and leading brands in their respective segments such as Silestone®, Dekton® or Sensa by Cosentino®. Technologically advanced surfaces that allow the creation of unique environments and designs for the home and public spaces. Learn more at For more information, contact: Stacey White Architectural Design Sales Manager Phone: 781-619-4696 Email:



PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Hello ASID New England! I am thrilled to be your President in 2021! It is my hope that together we can cultivate a supportive community and culture for all of us, both personally and professionally — albeit a “virtual” community for the time being. This new year will bring with it new approaches to how we identify the latest trending

products, with a push towards embracing technology and using it to adapt how we relate to each other and ASID as a whole. In the past, ASID has offered impressive social galas, fascinating CEU opportunities to visit and experience new products, showrooms, and

opportunities to network and share with associates in our field. Despite the challenges we face, I’m hoping that we can find new and creative ways to enjoy a similar experience without physically being together. How do we do this? Well, it won’t easy, but with everyone on board, I’m sure we can make it awesome. In the next year look out for new Professional Development Series and make sure to put our “First Friday” Series on your calendar. We also have some exciting design competitions brewing. Our awards committee

5 To Health and Happiness in 2021, Diana L. Frucci ASID President, ASID New England Owner/Interior Designer,

can’t wait to show off our talented members. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin to make sure you are in the know!

If we are going to make this year a success, it will take your participation! So please, next time you see a “call for content” or an event, I encourage you to sign up! We have a brilliant community looking forward to seeing you again!




s we go to print on our second instalment of ASID New England magazine it’s hard to imagine the places we are today and remain an optimist, but that is exactly what we need-less negativity and more positive action. I believe this pause has given us a profound opportunity to think deeply about our world, our goals, and our priorities. What can we take away from the last year that could change the trajectory for our future generations?

At ASID and in interior design we have always contented that design impacts lives. Let’s face it – without people, places and buildings are merely places and buildings, void of contextual depth, energy, warmth, or life. In New England we have witnessed our bustling places around us turn into empty ghost towns, and our public centers turned to barricaded streets and neighborhoods. Like never before, many of the places in our lives have become unfamiliar spaces. But beneath the surface, the humanity that gives meaning to those places is still very much alive. When we look for the humanity and listen for the voices that have not been heard, we bear witness to the generosity, selflessness, and empathy that unites us. The compassion and creativity of the problem solvers we are should be an inspiration and a guide to how we move forward. Utilizing a human-centered, heartfelt approach is exactly the mindset that will enable us to mend what has been broken and design a better future. I, for one, am awed by the willingness of our own communities and feel this could be that lesson from the past year, giving us a perspective that can spur us to action and growth. Let’s be in this moment, the fulcrum of change that shifts the trajectory of health, humanity, and justice for our world. Continue to be safe, listen to those who are unheard, care for one another and our planet. We can shape a better world- a place driven by empathy, courage, and hope – IF we are vulnerable enough to lean into building it. Come with me and meet some of those people within the stories and messages of our Spring 2021 edition. Let’s imagine a better place for all. Honored to be the Editor, April Elaine Powell, Allied ASID, LEED AP ID+C Communications Director, ASID New England


Photo Credit: Mallika Malhotra



MEET JENNIFER WILSON, Allied ASID Professional Development Director, ASID New England What year did you start as a member of ASID? 2019 Where did you attend design school? Parsons School of Design Company Name Jennifer J Interiors City and State Boston, MA Design Niche Residential Instagram Profile @jenniferjinteriors LinkedIn Profile Visit Jennifer’s LinkedIn Profile

What would you like to accomplish and or focus on in your role on the ASID New England Board?

Please share a tip you have utilized to get through sheltering in place and Covid-19…

Peru -- I would love to hike the Inca Trail from Cusco to Machu Picchu!

Our goal is to deliver compelling programs that will help members be at their best, make the most out of their ASID membership, and enhance the profession of interior design. As a Professional Development Committee, we hope to bring awareness to resources available around the region via the new First Friday series and to provide members with opportunities to continue to sharpen their skills and knowledge through interesting and relevant Professional Development and CEU offerings.

A ritual of lighting candles at night has helped to create a distinction and transition between work and home life. We’re still not always successful at shutting off ‘work mode’, but this helps! Most importantly, I use the candle lighting as a time to think of / send good vibes to / pray for friends and family experiencing especially difficult times right now. I strive to support small businesses with my candle purchases, and the fresh Cucumber & Mint candle from Olives and Grace on Tremont Street has become a new favorite!

We are all missing someone right now, who would you like to give a big hug to right now?

Describe a time when you collaborated cross-functionally on a design project?

Where is one place you would like to go when travel restrictions are removed?

I firmly believe cross-functional collaboration is key to delivering an excellent end result. Establishing clear goals, communicating effectively, and ensuring alignment across the partners involved (architect, designer, contractor & any MEPs) is optimal for success and for a happy client. While many of us often work independently as designers, I consider trades and vendors to also be a part of the “team”…after all, it requires everyone to play their role successfully to bring a project to life! Tell us your silver lining from sheltering in place… My husband’s travel schedule went from nearly 3 weeks per month on the road to zero! In addition to enjoying more of everyday life together, we’ve returned to running as a great outlet to get outside.

My girlfriend Wendy in Los Angeles and friends Shannon & Will in Portland, OR, navigating life with a new baby who was born with CHD (Congenital Heart Defect) the midst of the pandemic. Tell us one thing you have had enough of and would love to never see again in 2021. Shiplap in homes that have no correlation to a “Farmhouse”. Barn doors are a close second!





Allied ASID Membership Director, ASID New England What year did you start as a member of ASID? 2014 Where did you attend design school? Art Institute Company Name Interior Designs by Bridget City and State Franklin, MA Design Niche Residential Instagram Profile @interiorsbybridget LinkedIn Profile Visit Bridget’s LinkedIn Profile Facebook Profile Interior Designs by Bridget What would you like to accomplish and or focus on in your role on the ASID New England Board? As director of Membership i want

to convey to the design world how beneficial being a part of a organization such as ASID can help professionally and personally. ASID offers education, networking, leadership training and events that will help a designer grow in the industry.

meatballs. The next night I simply take the leftovers, wrap it in fresh dough, pierce some breathing holes through it and pop it in the oven. We love it sliced, and its great to eat cold or warm the next day while the kids are home remote schooling and need a quick lunch.

Describe a time when you collaborated cross-functionally on a design project?

Where is one place you would like to go when travel restrictions are removed?

It’s often I work with builders and contractors and we trade Ideas on how to benefit the client for a well-designed outcome. It’s always great to hear another professional’s perspective on enhancing a space.


Tell us your silver lining from sheltering in place… Being able to spend more time at home with my children and even take some time to update some areas of my own home for once! Please share a tip you have utilized to get through sheltering in place and Covid-19… Meatball Stromboli - my kids love it! I often make sauce and homemade

We are all missing someone right now, who would you like to give a big hug to right now? All my family in New York, my dad especially. Tell us one thing you have had enough of and would love to never see again in 2021. Masks and social distancing.



Allied ASID, LEED AP ID+C Communications Director, ASID New England What year did you start as a member of ASID? 2015 Where did you attend design school? Parsons School of Design Company Name ID. +Collective City and State Cape Elizabeth, ME Design Niche Commercial – Hospitality, Retail, Wellness and Mixed Use Instagram Profile @sbidcollective LinkedIn Profile Photo Credit: Mallika Malhotra

Visit April’s LinkedIn Profile



Facebook Profile @SBIDcollective

What would you like to accomplish and or focus on in your role on the ASID New England Board? Communications for me is a big area to cover and my goals are simple, get systems in play so that when we have communication with our members we are focused on our mission and it’s easy for the next communications director to take over. This for me is remembering we are leading the future of interior design, continuing to integrate the advantages of local connections with national reach, of small firms with big, and of the places we live with the places we work, play, and heal, and as the editor of the magazine showcasing the wonderful people, products and services New England has to offer. Describe a time when you collaborated cross-functionally on a design project? Collaboration is what I do in every project, but my favorite is working with a big retail company from the west on building a location in NH. It was exciting to see their ideas and mine come together to create a functional work of art in their flagship store in New England. Tell us your silver lining from sheltering in place… I have been struggling like many of us with not seeing friends and going out to eat or see live music. My partner and I have created Thursday Night Funk nights for dancing around the house and Sunday Opera. This has brought us closer, and made us more aware of our individual

struggles. Please share a tip you have utilized to get through sheltering in place and Covid-19… Our Sunday Night Pasta Dish that goes with the opera, includes formal setting with candles on the dinner table. We each create a portion of the meal and it’s a little different each week. Fettuccini or Linguine noodles. We use a wonderful frozen seafood pack from Whole Foods and I make a vodka sauce using at least 4 veggies for the fridge. It’s more about the cooking together than it is about what’s in it. It always taste amazing and we follow it up with a bubble bath and watching the Met Opera streaming. Makes for a great Monday Where is one place you would like to go when travel restrictions are removed? Spain, it’s been on my bucket list for a long time. I would love to study the Architecture, Interior Design and of course the Food. We are all missing someone right now, who would you like to give a big hug to right now? All three of my sons, they are spread throughout the country. Maine, Hawaii and Tennessee Tell us one thing you have had enough of and would love to never see again in 2021. Reminders to wash my hands and wear a mask, daily updates on new cases and deaths.


Photo Credit:, Daria Shevtsova



ASID DESIGN SHOWDOWN Check out these exciting design showdown projects from some of our wonderful student members!

Jessica Cunningham


Wentworth Institute of Technology, Interior Design, August 2022 Location: Topsfield, MA Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn

Project: Underground on Eighteenth The Roaring Twenties, as they were nicknamed, were all about prosperity, economic growth, and free-spiritedness, but also endured the Prohibition Era where alcohol was illegal. Underground on Eighteenth brings back the liveliness of that era into a 1920s speakeasy-inspired restaurant in the heart of Boston. The main level is intended to host casual dining, fit with banquette seating and dining tables. Design elements reflect the time period of the art deco era with gold fixtures and dark wood paneling. Traditional molding details further embrace the historic design with coffered ceilings and ornate wood carved door frames. Hidden against a decorative trim wall is a set of flush panel doors that lead to the speakeasy down below. The lower level embraces a centralized bar with adjacent lounge area to further communicate the free-spirited atmosphere.

Walking through the city of Boston, my love for interior design definitely shows. I take pride in looking at the interior of a restaurant and noticing the small details the designer chose that may go unnoticed to the ordinary eye. For me, interior designers have the ability to showcase their creative thoughts within a realistic space that is shared with the world around them. I hope to have the ability to inspire and impact lives with my designs. After I graduate, I am interested in working in the commercial side of the design industry.


Caroline Gresh

UMass Dartmouth, Interior Architecture & Design, May 2021 Location: Ellington, CT Connect with Caroline on Instagram: @cgreshdesign Connect with Caroline on LinkedIn

Project: Hourglass Tapas and Bar Insert CG Image 1 and JC Image 2 Hourglass Tapas and Bar is a sit-down, small-plate restaurant designed around the concept of an hourglass. Hourglass is committed to bringing people together. The menu is mainly made up of tapas, or “small plates” to incentivize groups to order a few dishes and share them among the table. With a variety of different seating types, hourglass is sure to provide many options for group and communal seating. The curves of the hourglass are used subtly in the finishes, furnishings, layout, and circulation. Cacti are used throughout the restaurant to add natural greenery and ornamentation. They also have the ability to grow in sand, which is the element that measures time in an hourglass. The guests experience the idea of “time” if they decide to go from the restaurant, down the elevator or stairs, to the speakeasy bar. The bar is designed to be a contemporary version of a 1920’s prohibition-era speakeasy by taking details and inspiration and implementing them in a subtle way.

When I chose to study interior architecture and design, I knew I was choosing a career path that would impact people, while following my passions as a creative person. I love interior design because it has such a direct impact on the user and the environment. I know that no matter which area of design I focus on, there will always be room for impact in this field. Retail, hospitality, and commercial design all pique my interest because of the possibilities and creativity involved in the design process.

Molly K O’Donnell

UMass Dartmouth, Interior Architecture & Design, May 2021 Location: Danvers, Massachusetts Connect with Molly on Instagram: @mollykdesigns Connect with Molly on LinkedIn

Project: The Lean Grecian The Lean Grecian is a fast-casual Mediterranean style restaurant focused around the notion that you don’t need to be vegan to eat “clean”. Eating clean is most commonly described as only consuming food that is free of processed ingredients, preservatives, additives or any artificial ingredients. Implementing a clean diet has shown by multiple sources to reduce health risks, increase energy levels, help with weight loss & improve one’s overall physical and mental wellbeing! The interior aesthetic of the restaurant is reflective of the earthy Mediterranean cuisine with lots of natural tones & textures. The design pulls inspiration from Greek architecture such as the rounded white domes on the picturesque island of Santorini. The first level features communal style booth seating supplemented by bistro tables. The lower level becomes more of a lounge space where folks can sit and work leisurely in a relaxing, slower-paced environment.

Being from the greater Boston area, I developed an interest in interior design from my various trips into the city. I always enjoyed strolling through shops & boutiques while leisurely observing their unique design elements. What I love most about interior design is the ability we have to create beautiful environments that are also accessible, functional and sustainable, improving how we all interact & contribute to society every day. After I graduate, I am most interested in specializing in the commercial side of design, more specifically hospitality & retail!



Anith George Varughese

Boston Architectural College, Masters of Interior Architecture, Fall 2020 Location: Boston, MA Connect with Anith on Instagram: @george_anith Connect with Anith on LinkedIn

Project: Melissani, the Greek Restaurant The Melissani is a Greek-concept Restaurant proposed at the heart of Boston city. As the online food delivery companies lead in the hospitality businesses, restaurants have faced a foot-fall in customers visiting their establishment over the years. This has impacted the gratuity revenue of the workers in the hospitality sectors. The restaurant inspired by the mythical formation of the stalactites organic structure on the island of Kefalonia in Greece creates a memorable experience for the customers with a dine-in facility on the lower level and a bar in the basement, recreating - crystal and blue water like experience for the customers. As Greek mythology describes the caves belong to the Nymphs, the spirit of the river, the design proposal dedicates its mission to revitalize a happy work-culture for the hostess, hosts, waiters, waitresses, cooks, and chefs who are responsible for keeping our dine-in experience memorable.

Having been blessed to be a resident in 3 different geographical locations, I was continuously fascinated by how history, culture, and tradition across the world shape the architectural built forms in their region. As we humans spend 90% of our time indoors, I am continuously inspired by the research developments and technological advancements in Interior Design that aim in promoting health, wellness, and comfort of the inner built structure and supporting elements. My areas of Interest include Hospitality, Retail, and Commercial Interior Design.


DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION THROUGH MY EYES I have been turned down for internships, lost several competitions, and have had doors closed, no doubt in my mind from my last name being so Latin, “Ramos”. It may not be obvious to some, and you may ask why I felt that way, but during that time the world was facing a division like never before. It became a struggle for Hispanic, Black, and non-white individuals to just get through day to day.

Isaac Ramos, Student ASID is a BS, Interior Architecture + Design Candidate ’21 at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Connect with Isaac on Instagram at @Isaacjcreatives My father once told me, “You have to work 10x harder because you’re Hispanic.” Back then, I was too young to understand what that meant. By the time I had reached my freshman year of college, I had already faced many hardships in life. When I changed majors from photography to interior design, I was shocked to be the only Hispanic male in my class, but that did not intimidate me. Would I have to prove to others that being the only male and person of color majoring in a field where white women/men had an advantage to grow? Yes! Was that going to stop me? That is a big no.

We are looked down on and not given a chance to give our all – in a world that faced, and currently is still facing, inequality and injustice. Relationships with people have been torn because they do not understand the struggles of being a minority in America, the “Land of the Free”.

Today, I have realized that being bilingual in the interior design industry is such a huge advantage. So many of the designs today are inspired by the South American culture. Latina as a culture is becoming more powerful and finally having our voices projected and heard!

Now, I am not writing this to belittle a specific race because, that makes me just like those that have been doing to us for centuries. We all need to be treated the same. I am proud to say, I am Isaac Ramos and I am part of a generation that WILL change the world because we see the world with equality and justice FOR ALL.


NOURISHING LIFE DESIGN FOR OVERWHELMING TIMES Kate Bathras, CPC, ELI-MP, is an Integrative Energy Coach and ADHD Coach supporting people who want to make a difference in the world and feel fully alive while doing it. She helps her clients slow down to move forward in a potent and inspired way while expanding their capacity for all aspects of life so they can step fully into who they’re meant to be and the work they’re here to do. Learn more at If you’re feeling like life is a bit of a slog these days, you’re not alone. It’s been over a year now that we’ve been living and working amidst the circumstances of a global pandemic, which currently provides the backdrop for all aspects our lives. It’s easy to feel that this “new normal” is something that we should have adjusted to. In many ways we have, of course, resilient and innovative creatures that we are. We keep moving through our

days, getting things done as best we can. We sometimes forget to consider the pandemic as one of the reasons we’re overwhelmed or tired, and in these moments, we can feel confused about why we’re not operating at what we perceive to be our full capacity. Chances are, the stress of these times is impacting you more than you realize. It may be less obvious than in

the early days of sudden fear and disruption, but you’re still likely operating in survival mode much of the time. There is heightened awareness of uncertainty with every decision you make, even when simply deciding which grocery aisle to go down. Previously relaxing or enjoyable tasks come with added layers of complexity and calculation. Not to mention that there are some pretty intense emotions moving through – individually and

collectively – as we process it all. This all impacts your capacity, even when the pandemic isn’t at the forefront of your mind. Imagine a computer with a massive process running in the background, slowing everything else down – it’s like that. And yet, life is still happening. We still have work to do, households to run, income to generate, and relationships to tend to. The pressure to do it all within this context can feel like a lot. The good news is, there are ways to nourish yourself and support your energy through seemingly small choices. Design your days for the experience you want have Just as good interior design isn’t simply a list of items that go into a space, our days are not comprised merely of the tasks that must be done. It can be so easy during stressful times to reduce our days to the to-do list, though. With a little bit of intention and a splash of creativity, we can transform the experience we’re having as we’re doing what we need to do. This begins with considering the experience you want to have. How do you want to feel as you move through your day? How do you want to show up for yourself, your loved ones, your clients? Simply put, what are you longing

for? During times of widespread hardship, it can be easy to overlook your own desires, telling yourself that you are fine, that others have it worse, and that you should just be grateful and move on. Tending to your own wanting is an important part of nourishing yourself, though, and it directly impacts how you show up for your work and relationships. It provides clarity so that you can move through your day guided by a sense of purpose and direction, just as establishing the desired effect shapes any design process. Honor your capacity You wouldn’t start decorating a space without taking measurements, and I don’t recommend launching into all that “must” be done before figuring out your bandwidth for the day or week. The key here is not to use your calendar as your only tool. Before saying “yes” to opportunities, assess your capacity fully, noting what is happening for you physically, energetically, and emotionally. Acknowledge that your needs are likely different during this time than they were before. Perhaps you didn’t used to need a nap every afternoon, but now you do. Or maybe you need more transition time between appointments. It’s possible that tasks are taking longer than they used to, or that you have new responsibilities that you haven’t fully accounted for. Instead of trying to do it all, take inventory of what you’re trying to accomplish and what you truly have the capacity for. Use that information to make choices about what makes it onto your schedule and what needs to go (at


least for now). Check in with yourself throughout each day. Practice being in relationship with your schedule in such a way that allows for honoring your capacity as it waxes and wanes. I’m a big fan of using transitions to take three deep breaths and ask yourself what you need in the present moment. Taking small breaks to assess your energetic and emotional state allows you to tend to your needs as they arise rather than waiting until you’re really shutting down. If you do need to power through a task or meeting, checking in with yourself about how you might expand your capacity beforehand can help. Sometimes a quick walk, a dance break to one song, or a quiet moment is all you need in order to boost your bandwidth to continue with your day. Add interesting elements into your day With fewer options for social activities and more of our daily lives happening in front of computer screens, it’s easy to allow our


routines to become a little flat. This is normal, given that in times of stress we tend to focus on just the next task at hand, often forgetting about the ways that beauty, fun, and connection are still available to us. As you plan for your day, how can you add in elements that delight your senses and create a multilayered experience? Refer back to your desires and needs, and notice where you can enhance your experience so it’s more interesting, nourishing, or supportive of your goals. If you’re working on the computer, can you also light a candle, diffuse some essential oils, or put on some music? Can you make yourself a delicious beverage to enjoy while you attend a virtual meeting? How might you refresh your own physical space to bring in some new energy

and inspiration? If you’re feeling isolated, who might you reach out to for support? Remember the importance of contrast, as well. For every hour when you’re focused on a specific task, build in some space for doing something completely different. Use this time to move your body, get fresh air, play, or simply do nothing. Scheduling spaciousness into your day not only supports your emotional and physical wellbeing, but it can do wonders for your creative process, as well. Every element of your day is connected, so the richer your experience, the more depth you’re able to bring to your work and your clients. Don’t force it Living your life is a creative process. You get to design and redesign it

as you wish. There is no one right (or wrong!) way to make it through this time, so be gentle with yourself. If you try something and it’s not working, or if you feel stuck in a rut of ennui or overwhelm, take a break and try something new. Change up your routine, and have fun with it along the way. You may have a vision for how you want your days to look and feel, and it will likely take some experimentation in order to for it to take shape. Remember that this is all temporary. The circumstances will change, as will your capacity, and the systems you choose to support yourself. Revisit your desires, needs, and intentions often so that you can clear what’s no longer serving you and invite in what is most nourishing to you in each new moment.


ASID New England has launched a variety of new programs in 2021, and we hope you’ll join us virtually, for now, and in-person when we can gather once again.


We will host a variety of professional development and CEU programs to help you be at your best, advance the profession of interior design, and help you maintain your credentials.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM Next Level with NCIDQ


Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 10:00 AM A Conversation with Today’s Design Leaders - Part of Boston Design Week


May 7, 2021 at 10:00 AM First Friday: Tour the New Christopher Peacock Boston

FIRST FRIDAY SERIES: TRENDS, PRODUCT, AND Join us for live virtual tours of showrooms, products, and resources newly available/coming soon for use in your designs from the Boston Design Center and beyond.


Seasonally, and when possible, join us for live virtual tours and recaps of key industry Trade Shows and seasonal Showhouses. What tradeshows do you find most valuable, or which do you most want to attend in 2021? Email our office at to share your ideas.

June 4, 2021 at 10:00 AM First Friday: Complements Art Gallery



Jill Albers serves as the Secretary of the MIDA Board of Directors, and is an Account Executive for Interface, Inc. – ME, VT, NH.

within the spaces, as well as protect the sacred planet we live on.

Starting a career in any field is often a less straightforward path than it initially seems. When I entered design school, I didn’t have the slightest clue about all the different directions a design degree and the profession could take someone. The possibilities expanded greatly, however, when I saw a documentary about Interface’s founder, Ray Anderson, I knew immediately that my design career could give me a real purpose. He had just turned Interface upside down by creating a company mission to eliminate his publicly traded, global company’s negative impact on the environment by 2020, an ambitious goal that many believed was not possible. But to a design student, he was inspiring. His mission showed me the power of our profession to guide our clients to make sustainable choices for their projects, create healthy environments for the people

Sustainability became a guiding concept for me, and as I grew in my profession and drilled down into products to understand their impact, I appreciated Interface’s mission even more. Twelve years later, I moved my family to Maine and started working as the local Interface rep for Northern New England. I now get to spend my days talking about climate change, embodied carbon, carbon sequestering, and flooring (of course). Shortly after arriving in Maine, I joined the Maine Interior Design Association’s (MIDA) Board of Directors, and it’s been wonderful to be part of this design community and work together to further the profession

in the state. Inspired by an idea that arose when Interface started rethinking how things were done, I proposed a Zero-Landfill project, something that began when a rep in Ohio realized that designers often threw away leftover samples, so every Friday he drove to local


firms, picked up their unwanted samples, and took them back to his house to break them down and recycle them responsibly. It quickly became more than he could handle, so he formed a group of volunteers and created the first Zero-Landfill event where designers could donate old samples to be repurposed for teachers, artists, and makers. The event took off and is now an annual event in multiple cities across the country. Why not Maine? In 2019, MIDA quickly began organizing and coming up with solutions to logistical challenges, but we soon realized that there was another local partner we needed to team up with. Ruth’s Reusable Resources (3Rs) is a local nonprofit in Portland that redirects office supplies from the landfill to teachers

and students across the state—the first free-store model of its kind in the United States. We reached out to

3Rs to help us better connect with their community of teachers. With

a lot of planning and coordination between the two organizations, we scheduled a donation drop-off day, picked up materials, and sorted materials in preparation for the opening shopping day at Ruth’s for the 2019–2020 school year. MIDA plans to continue Zero-Landfill days in the future and hopes to expand our reach outside of the Portland area. Honestly, the idea of saving the planet can seem pretty daunting, but one fairly simple idea can bring people together to help their community and help the environment. Of course, the pandemic has added extra challenges to all of our lives and plans right now, but we know Mainers are resilient; the design community will rally; and in the end, we will be stronger (and healthier) together.




Mallika Malhotra of MikiFoto + Co is an award-winning brand builder, professional photographer, business mentor and author of The Brand Photography Playbook. After years of working in corporate advertising, she now helps women entrepreneurs master their story, show up as the face of their business and create their brand empires. It’s her mission to empower women to stop hiding and to start emerging as leaders. When she’s not taking pictures or building brands, she’s at home with her three sons and husband, drinking coffee or red wine and dreaming about their next global adventure. You know the type — the entrepreneur everyone recognizes, everyone follows, and everyone wants to work with. Their brand is flawless, and they seem to harness a secret power that enables them to rise above the noise in their industry and capture the attention of their ideal client effortlessly. This entrepreneur is a leader in their market. They build first-choice status for their offerings and stand out as the clear winner above the clutter.

Connect with Mallika Web: Instagram: @mikifotoco Facebook: @mikifoto LinkedIn: @mikifoto

How do they do it? What is their secret? After working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and businesses, I’ve observed the key differences between brands that bore and ones that bedazzle. Today, I’m sharing 5 key traits every stand-out brand possesses.

Photo Credit: Mallika Malhotra



They Know Themselves

Brands that steal the spotlight are led by entrepreneurs who are crystal clear about their zone of genius. They don’t steer from it. They don’t try to be someone they aren’t. They aren’t scattered, and they don’t try to copy others. Instead, successful brands speak a consistent message that communicates their strengths, leverages their expertise, and showcases their personality. They have done the hard work to ask themselves key strategic questions to build a strong brand foundation. They have tested and validated their message with their audience. This type of honesty creates an authentic and confident brand that people want to follow.

Photo Credit: Mallika Malhotra


They are confident in their offerings

Successful brands know exactly what they do best, and they make their products and services easy to understand. They don’t offer too many services or products, but just enough to create a sticky customer experience. The offerings are focused on solving a relevant, specific problem. They deliver real results, every time.

These brands know every detail, feature and benefit of their packages. They have a clear, straight forward process to lead potential customers from browsers to all-in customers. These entrepreneurs can answer questions about their businesses clearly which builds trust. How? Because they have the confidence to know they will deliver results.

Photo Credit: Mallika Malhotra


They are customer focused

27 Successful brands know who they serve. They’re in tune with the problems their target market faces. They know more than just their audience’s basic demographics — they understand their lifestyle, their challenges, their desires and their frustrations. A successful brand knows what their audience has tried before, what they fear most, what they dream of, and their

most common objections. They also understand that not everyone is their client. Embracing this fact is key to developing a niche. Saying no to some allows you to specialize and say yes to a smaller market that you’re better suited to serve. It’s the best way to build connections and position yourself as a leader.


They are marketplace savvy

Photo Credit: Mallika Malhotra

Successful brands know the marketplace well. They’re aware of their competition and the available options out there. They keep up with current trends, technology, innovation, and they’re always looking for gaps in the market. Successful brands can strategically position themselves to fill a need and solve a problem that is still unmet. In doing so, they leave their mark in uncharted territory and become trendsetters.

Photo Credit: Mallika Malhotra



They boldly define their “Special Sauce”

A successful brand does the work to determine how they’re different from the rest. They know what makes their business better than the competition and they OWN that difference. They become specialists who offer a distinct edge to their brand. Successful brands develop a signature process or package and become known for that special methodology. These brands have embraced their unique selling point and can articulate it clearly. Doing this allows them to charge a premium fee and protects them from price shoppers. Now, it’s time to evaluate your brand! Does your business have the traits of a successful

Photo Credit: Mallika Malhotra

brand? Is it missing any of these key factors? These traits aren’t developed overnight. To create an unstoppable, memorable brand, entrepreneurs must be willing to invest time, energy, and commitment. I challenge you to carve out time in your busy day to ask yourself these strategic questions. Turn to your best clients and interview them on why they chose you over the rest. Read through your testimonials and client reviews to learn any common themes in your services and customer experience. Branding is never one and done, and successful business owners know that the health of their brand should be checked often and consistently.



By Caili Elwell

Caili Elwell is Founder of Caili Elwell Designs. As a brand copywriter, brand strategist, and brand story consultant, she has created a space for entrepreneurs to dream, design, and create their own experiential brand story in an effort to create loyal customers and gain more profitability in their business. She is also the President-Elect of Design Collective 207 and the Host of the What You CED Podcast.

Having had a very different year than most entrepreneurs in 2020, Erin Flett fought for her passion, won big, and obtained collaborations with some of the biggest names in retail. Erin Flett’s products and designs can be found at www.erinflett. com, on Instagram @erinflett, in various hospitality establishments across Maine and in California, at, and in L.L. Bean locations as well as in Anthropologie stores starting this Spring. After two years in her basement, she was written up in Oprah Magazine. Splashes of bright colors and Vera Neumann-esque patterns are what you will find in a sweet little shop nestled in between two streets on a corner in downtown Gorham, Maine. This shop is filled with everything and anything you can find in a home that a textile print can be silk screened onto. The shop’s owner is one many knows now by name, and not just because her business is named after her. Erin Flett, never expected nor set out

for success, but she did always put her best foot forward whenever it came to doing what she loves most. This textile-graphic-designer-turnedCEO has a story centered around what it means and what it takes to collaborate with your industry idols. Born and raised in Colorado with a Maine native mother, Erin grew up knowing, loving, and living in L.L. Bean. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and decided to move closer to her parents in Maine afterwards. It was here she began her postgraduate career in graphic design at an advertising agency, learning as much as she could about what it means to love what you do and how to design expressions of a brand. She consistently threw her creative soul and talents into clients, and always loved to watch these brands grow. “There was never any ego there, I loved the branding process,” Erin says “but I always felt something was missing. The creative process that I loved doing,

where it was mine, wasn’t there.” Erin left the agency after four years and set out as a freelance graphic designer landing successful clients in various industries. Now being a freelancer, Erin could dictate where her time was spent and she began to create and sell her patterns and art on wedding invitations and greeting cards. Photo Credit: Erin Little


As a friend’s wedding date approached Erin asked what she could make for her as a wedding present, the only request was for “something with your art on it.” Erin reminisces – “How about a pillow?” she offered. Filing through fabrics and networking with seamstresses and silk screen t-shirt printers she set out to make the best made, most artistic pillow she could. She loved her finalized custom piece so much that she decided to make more and open an Etsy shop. Overflowing with orders, her silk-screen printer requested Erin begin to learn how to silk-screen as well so that she could fill orders quicker. It was always important to Erin, and it still is, to keep everything she makes and cursively signs her name on, to be local. Everything from the fabrics to the ink, to the manufacturers, and everything in between, must be held to the core principle of being found and produced in America. “I have an obligation to continue the story and history of manufacturing in Maine.” says Erin, “Local is everything! It is the founding piece my company was built on. Finding the right people locally to build a strong community, as Mainers, we can produce some amazing products!” Starting out as a side gig and a Saturday afternoon activity with her two children and husband, Erin began to see a massive interest in her products and designs. “The spark came back, it made me so happy and excited, it’s what was missing all along.” Erin Flett continued to grow her customer base and then one day, after two years of printing, Oprah Magazine wrote a full page spread on Erin as a part of its “Women Who Make Beautiful Things” series. “This changed everything and gave me the confidence to have my own studio outside the home,” said Erin. Erin had moved from her basement to a space in an old cotton Mill in Maine. Erin Flett turned into Erin Flett Home and she later grew into owning her very own store front. It was one afternoon when the phone rang that Erin’s collaboration partnerships would take a big step froward. “It was at first just a general interest in what I did and how I created what I produced,” Erin notes, but one visit from L.L.

Photo Credit: Erin Little

Beans Design Team and, to her great surprise, four short months later L.L. Bean proposed an offer to co-design and sell Erin’s products.

Erin’s engagement increased and it reaffirmed to Erin that her customers found her value in her products and was in good company.

“I had this amazing new product I was so excited to launch called the Meghan Tote, and they wanted it!” Erin held off the launch of her new product and created new patterns with signature L.L. Bean colors for the collaboration and partnership, released in winter of 2020. “They were so beautiful to work with” she adds, about the massive outdoor lifestyle company. “They allowed me to be myself and do the work they initially admired. They had certain colors and a very clear understanding of their customer.” Erin says that the key to any great collaboration is knowing when to give and knowing when to take. Each participant has their place, skills, and talents they bring to the table. Erin’s love for collaborations stems from her acknowledgment that what she designs, creates, and produces is one of a kind and that competition does not have a seat at her table. “Fear can’t play into any part of design in business. You do what you do because it pours out of you freely. As soon as you create boundaries or worries in regards to others or yourself you move farther and farther away from your next big thing because you are too worried about what others are doing around you.”

Within the same year as her success with L.L. Bean, another opportunity for a collaboration came knocking. Erin was given the opportunity to fill a spot with the bohemian lifestyle brand, Anthropologie. Being one of the many to fall in love with Erin’s prints, Anthropologie chose her Matte Coated Canvas Tote Bag, a product Erin had been working on. It was a perfect fit for their spring collection and an immediate “Yes” from both brands.

Once L.L. Bean launched Erin’s line, the response was massive. “So many supporters came forward and put their dollars to this new collaboration.” Erin notes, “They responded to the quality and craftsmanship of the bag and that was so awesome to watch unfold.”

“To any designer, Anthropologie is the pinnacle point of your career. I was completely blown away!” Erin continues to describe her dream collaboration,” They are so focused, every sense is planned and thought out. Every piece of furniture and every rack of clothing in their stores is meticulously positioned.” She goes on to praise the top fashion and lifestyle brand saying “They brand well and they design well and it is a dream to collaborate with them.” Erin Flett is humble amongst many other wonderful traits. She works hard for every milestone, including winning every round of Greenlight Maine’s Season 5 contest earning and being awarded the grand prize. Erin attributes her success to her art and the integrity of her designs. “Having something that is mine and mine alone creates unlimited possibilities,” Erin continues. “In order to thrive in any economy, it takes persistence and never giving up on what you feel is right for you. If you believe it you can do it.” She believes that you have to

keep figuring out how to do “it” every single day. That you will have roadblocks but knowing how to navigate around those roadblocks including the thoughts you tell yourself are what will make or break you and ultimately your brand. Erin’s ultimate goal is to be a global American made brand.


When asked if Erin could condense her life and legacy into one word she emphatically answered “passionate”, and passionate she is. “When you are able to wake up in the morning and all you can do and think about it is what you are doing, that fire doesn’t burn out or go away instead it is what fuels you.” Erin emphasizes, “If you have passion for what you are doing, keep going, keep doing it.” Erin feels so strongly that your passion has to also lead to purpose. “It has to bring some kind of value to the universe,” she says, “It is not about making money, that’s not why you do what you do. You have to make something because it brings you joy and it makes an impact on you or others. You can’t fake that and that’s when it sells!”

Photo Credit: Erin Little



Marion Beaulieu is the Architectural & Design Representative covering Mass, NH and Maine for Benjamin Moore, North America’s favorite paint, color and coatings brand. She has been with Benjamin Moore for 38 years educating our design community on the Benjamin Moore products and colors. She is an Industry Partner in ASID, and Communications Committee volunteer for IIDA New England. Connect with Marion: Marion Beaulieu Architect and Designer Rep Benjamin Moore & Co. 49 Sumner St, Milford, MA 01757 C: 508.954.0630 NACE 1, MPI Maintenance Coating Specialist For Customer Service: 1-866-708-9181 To order color sheets: https://www.

About Benjamin Moore Founded in 1883, Benjamin Moore is North America’s favorite paint, color and coatings brand. A leading manufacturer of premium quality residential and commercial coatings, Benjamin Moore maintains a relentless commitment to innovation and sustainable manufacturing practices. The portfolio spans the brand’s flagship paint lines including Aura®, Regal® Select, Ultra Spec®, ben®, ADVANCE®, ARBORCOAT® and more. Benjamin Moore is renowned for its expansive color collection of more than 3,500 colors, and its design tools for consumers and professionals alike, including the Benjamin Moore Color Portfolio app. Benjamin Moore paints are available exclusively from 7,500 locally owned and operated paint, decorating and hardware retailers.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.