It was a “pinch me” moment when I heard I was recently selected to join the Modenus Design Hounds team on this year’s trip to KBIS2023. I’ve got a lineup of blog posts to cover just a fraction of what I saw so stay tuned!
Design Influencers head to KBIS2023
My head is spinning with ideas and inspiration after an incredible trip to Las Vegas last week to take in the show. Wow did the brands and manufacturers bring it this year!
Before I begin, can I just tell you, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the term “influencer”? It sounds pretty daunting to me. But if it includes all the glitz ands glamour, dining, and pampering the way we were indulged this past week, sign me up. I’m on board with it – all of it! They sure know how to make a girl feel special.
So KBIS (you might be wondering), is short for the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show where vendors show their newest and most exciting products and ideas for the design industry to have a first look at. KBIS took place in Las Vegas, Jan. 30 thru Feb 2nd this year. Our group flew in a day early for an official kick-off private dinner to prep us, thanks to Modenus.
I had never been to Vegas, and I used every ounce of willpower to stay focused on the events my sponsors brought me in to showcase, but seriously. It’s Vegas baby! Not just that but there were five top industry shows happening all at the same time. KBIS being one, Las Vegas Market another, and three others all related to the renovating/building industry. I realize that Las Vegas has all kinds of distractions like shopping and shows, and casinos and all the bling that goes along with those things, but seriously I had no idea how dazzling it would all be!
We saw colour, new technology, innovation and most of all we had in-person presentations and conversations like we haven’t in years. You could feel the excitement and energy among everyone in attendance. Even with all the tired faces (and boy were we tired), it was all so upbeat and positive. It was a truly rejuvenating experience!
Let me begin to catch you up now that I’ve landed back home.
Each year the Design Hounds group, is sponsored by KBIS and Modenus, along with a handpicked group of today’s innovative and design-invested brands, to attend the event and write about what we saw.
In partnership with these brands, the “Influencers” are hosted in an extended intimate setting with the sponsor’s leadership, and sales teams. We were wined and dined, toured, and educated about the values and thinking behind the scenes for each of our sponsoring brands. These sessions are terrific catalysts for forging authentic, long-lasting relationships with the brands, and an opportunity to develop a deep understanding of their product lines, and their brand values to bring that richer story to you, our readers.
So WHAT IS A MODENUS DESIGNHOUND?
You may be wondering exactly what a Designhound is, and why the KBIS event and Influencer Tour is so important. Here it is directly from Modenus’s site:
The MISSION: “We develop curated partnerships between design professionals and brands looking to reach authentic audiences. Our goal is to create connections and set the stage for storytelling that is delightfully authentic.”
On DESIGN HOUNDS: Our founder/fearless leader Veronika (aka “V”) came up with the name Designhounds after she observed a particularly perceptive group of designers in their natural habitat—a neighborhood filled with antiques and vintage finds in Milan. They didn’t just barge into the first shop. It was almost as if they caught the scent of the really great stuff instinctively—the way a hound picks up the trail of some unseen, elusive prey.” – Designhounds.com
With that introduction, what did we learn?
The show serves two purposes for me – three, really: 1) to find new product introductions and see what is coming to market; 2) to meet other designers, thought leaders, and brand representatives, and deepen my understanding of the industry; and 3) to observe the shifts in the market that will predict the trends we will be seeing. Here are a few of the conversations I noticed on repeat.
According to our first speaker, at the kick-off morning, J. Walker Smith, there is more economic instability ahead. Reading between the lines, volatility brings both highs and lows and there are great opportunities to reach homeowners with products and services that add value to their day to day experience. Consumers are looking for more for their spending dollars, and/or better value when they invest in the home. Our sponsoring brands were a great example of added value in their product offers (more on that to come).
The conversation that many brands are having, led forward by Europe (EU) is about sustainability. The bar is being raised in the EU where they have set some of the highest environmental standards to preserve natural resources and protect the health and well-being of people living in the EU. It’s about time!
Thought leaders tell us that people are redefining what constitutes a good life, looking for more luxury with an even greater eye towards wellness in the home, and personalization. A burgeoning analogue market is leading a movement (according to Patti Carpenter, a global trend forecaster for Maison et Objet in Paris). We are embracing the human element through human-made arts and crafts and décor elements. We’ve seen a wave of macramé in recent years, even stronger than in the seventies, crewel embroidery is popular, along with all kinds of hand-made products. The human element in products is what we are hungry for to foster a sense of connection in a further disconnected culture where technology is taking us places we couldn’t not have imagined. Much like at the turn of the 20th century, a reaction against the industrial age yielded the Arts and Crafts Movement, this century’s Technology Revolution has prompted a similar harkening back to a man-made or hand-made aesthetic. Etsy shops are more popular than ever. A great example of this is seen in the rise of food truck culture where individual cuisine comes forward.
I will be talking about each of our brand sponsors in upcoming posts. Stay tuned to see some really great products we were introduced to.
Our show sponsors
Simply put, Modenus is a comprehensive digital resource for design professionals and design enthusiasts. They connect people from across the industry so they can forge lasting relationships and brand alliances to cross promote one another. Aside from that, they are a powerful group of really talented women, and a whole lot of fun!
The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) is the North America’s largest trade show dedicated to all aspects of kitchen and bath design. Trends are set, exciting new products are launched, and we are in full-on learning mode.
It all begins at this big show.