Design Influencers Conference
February 24-26, 2019
Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead
Atlanta, GA

2019 Agenda

Sunday, February 24, 2019

10:30AM - 7:30PM

Registration and Information Desk Hours
Pick up your badge and swag bag at the registration desk at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta hotel.

Influencer and Brand Track Sessions                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Brand Track Sponsored by:
High Point Market Authority


Influencer Breakout #1:
Influencer Track: How In Person Moments Can Make a Digital Influencer’s Career

You’ve spent untold effort developing your online brand and creating pleasingly authentic moments for your followers. You are consistent, innovative, engaging. And yet…you can’t help notice those influencers who were once new to the scene, suddenly hitting it big. What are you missing? In this workshop, Kate will talk about how influencers (and aspiring influencers) can expand their online reach through in-person moments – from gaining a loyal fanbase that actually knows you, to connecting with influencers who are enthused to collab with you, to impressing media who want to feature you.

Kate O'Hara
Director of Marketing and Business Development
Martha O’Hara Interiors

Brand Breakout #1:
Embracing Influencer Marketing: Evolution and Case Studies

While Scott and Sherry develop influencer marketing programs with their clients, they are advantaged with an even deeper perspective on the developing role of influencer marketing in the home furnishings industry. Their agencies’ client rosters include High Point Market, National Kitchen and Bath Association and KBIS. Hear them share trends they see from their unique perch and learn from successful case studies.

Sherry H. Qualls
CEO and Owner

Scott Williams
Emisare, Inc.


Influencer Breakout #2: How to Make Yourself a Priority While Prioritizing Social Media

You have to be present on social media to be relevant in the world, but how can you make the biggest impact with the smallest time commitment. Abbi will talk about how you can take advantage of publishing and content creation tools to save time, how to pick which social platform you should focus on, small adjustments you can make to content you already post to make it easier to find by big brands and how to stay sane in the crazy connected world we live in now. Should you focus on IGTV (no) or Insta stories (YES!) are questions that she will answer in her talk.

You’ll learn about:
• Tools for planning posts across social media so that you can spend one day planning all your feed content and the rest of the time engaging with people
• How you can really just be yourself and that in itself is content on Insta stories - but also provide detailed topics that are perfect to post about for the Insta story audience.
• How you can take advantage of tools like Canva to help you create professional looking content for free.
• How to promote yourself and brand or business using social media - both with paid social posts and with connections across the social networks

Attendees will leave the session with action items to implement, apps to download, and Insta story ideas to try that day.

Abbi McCollum
Vice President
Social Media and Convergence
Discovery Inc's Home and Travel


Brand Breakout #2: Styling Showrooms/Exhibits for Design Influencer Engagement- Stacy Kunstel

What gets some showrooms and trade show exhibits better attendance and coverage by design influencers and press? The answer always includes “great styling”. Traditional approaches to exhibit design beg for more in the era of influencer marketing. Hear styling phenom and Design Influencers Conference co-host Stacy Kunstel’s tips on creating attention and engagement with opinion leaders at markets and showrooms.

Stacy Kunstel
Stylist, Editor, Writer, and Producer


Influencer Track Breakout #3: Build Multiple Digital Income Streams

Long time bloggers and astute digital design marketers reap benefits from high traffic sites. Happily, several innovative strategies for ancillary revenue streams are now in vogue and this session will put you on a path to new income flows. Audit your site strategy and leveragel multi level marketing for direct sales and passive income. Learn about giveaways, private label products, digital products for Home & DIY Bloggers and more and get started today.  The session will specifically cover:

  • Coupons and Deals / Giveaways
  • Private Label Products: physical
  • Private Label Products: digital
  • Licensing
  • Training: webinars Facebook groups/podcasting/YouTube

Deborah von Donop
Interior Designer and Author
dvd Interior Design

Brand Track Breakout #3: Riches in Regional Relationships and Distribution Marketing

Leverage your distributor relationships with customized regional co-branded content marketing campaigns. Consumers and design professionals wholly embrace inspired local content from recognizable businesses. Learn from Vetrazzo, UMI, Laura U Interiors, In Detail, and Oceanside Glasstile on building relationships and support in your distribution channel with fully integrated and localized marketing programs.
Ideal for brands with distributor networks seeking to add value to the relationship through targeted regional promotion and content/influencer marketing.

Attendees will learn how to:
● Drive leads to a local distributor
● Invigorate dormant channel relationships
● Partner with local designers and influencers
● Customize co-branded content for regional success
● Raise brand awareness in regional targets
● Attract new distributor opportunities

Jennifer Smiga
Marketing Rival

General Sessions:

All attendees from the Influencer and Brand Tracks are invited to participate.


General Session #1: Home Design Commerce is Local & Google is Paying Attention

Explore the ins-and-outs of well-structured local search engine blogging tactics that will help you get found through Google search and increase your bottom line. Learn how to create blog posts that highlight the towns where projects and products occur.  Build local authority with the search engines. Sandra and Nicole will share their success stories that will help you demystify local search and leads.  Follow the road map and referrals are no longer the only dominant local lead source.

  • How to optimize for local markets with the keywords for local SEO
  • Create a blog post to increase business with local keywords
  • How localized blogging helps define your brand, build relationships, and more
  • Tips for photographing and releasing professional images (i.e. only write the blog post after the photos have been pitched to press or publicized)

Sandra Funk
Founder and Principal Designer
House of Funk

Nicole Heymer
Curio Electro


Networking Break for All Participants


General Session #2 and Opening Keynote: Barry Dixon


Welcome Reception at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta hotel - all participants invited to attend.


Official Sunday After Party Sponsored by Monogram Appliances at Ferguson Buckhead Showroom

Join us at the opening after party sponsored by Monogram Appliances at  the Ferguson Buckhead showroom featuring celebrity and executive chef James Briscione who will be sharing his culinary tips on Monogram's pizza oven, gas cooktop and columns. Cocktails, wine and appetizers will be served - all conference attendees are invited.

Monday, February 25, 2019

General Sessions

All sessions on Monday are General Sessions- all attendees from the Influencer and Brand Tracks are invited to attend.



Coffee with Exhibitors and Sponsors

The Evolution and Power of Influencer Marketing in the Design Industry

2017 was widely recognized in global marketing circles as the beginning of the Influencer Marketing Era. Digital tools and social media have emboldened niche influencers across all industries and market sectors. The Design Industry has organically progressed as brick and mortar retailing lagged and e-commerce and digital marketplaces thrived.  Founder of the design industry’s cutting-edge marketing conferences (Design Bloggers Conference and Design Influencers Conference) Adam will share his findings on a decade-long progression and viable emergence of influencer marketing in the home furnishings and design industry.

Adam Japko
Founder and CEO
Esteem Media


What Can Design Pros and Brands Learn From Fashion and Beauty Marketing? 

James Nord, CEO of Fohr, has watched and contributed to the changes in the marketing and PR landscape of the fashion and beauty industries. He has participated in those industries’ dramatic marketing metamorphosis over the last 5 years when working with influencers has gone from experimental to critical. James Nord, founder of the influencer marketing company Fohr, has been a spectator and accelerator of this change and will explain the similarities and differences inherent in those industries and what the future of influencer marketing might look like for the design community.

James Nord



Networking Break with Exhibitors and Sponsors

Don’t Sleep on Pinterest! Keys to Board Organization, Optimizationand Increased Web Traffic

A few years ago, Kyla put all her energy into Pinterest and grew her following from 2,000 to over 190,000. Pinterest is now the biggest traffic driver to her blog. You can do this knowing the right steps to take. Kyla will help you master Pinterest in her packed and practical presentation. Learn how to attract your ideal audience, grow your following, gain social authority, and ultimately increase traffic and sales to your website. The session includes Pinterest 101 and why you need Pinterest in your life. Learn how to set up a business account and manage SEO for your boards. Beyond the basics, the session turns advanced strategies and scheduling simple. A session not to be missed.


Kyla Herbes
Owner and Art Director
House Of Hipsters


Introvert, Extrovert, Expert: How to Build Your Design Authority—and Gain a Loyal Audience!—When Your Happy Place is Behind the Scenes

Some of the most talented, insightful, and creative people in this industry—writers, editors, art directors, stylists, makers of beautiful things—have a hard time putting themselves in the spotlight, and as a result, stay behind the scenes longer than they probably should. But introverts can excel in this field precisely because their nature helps them listen, observe, write thoughtfully, and create. The secret to success is not overcoming your introverted nature, but learning to build on it to enhance your status as a Design Influencer.

In this talk, you’ll hear from  established design “experts”—author Donna Garlough and blogger/influencer Joanna Hawley of Jojotastic,—introverts who have learned to harness their strengths and find their niche of expertise and authority in the design world. Whether it was launching a blog, writing a book, or finding the right business partners, we’ll discuss what our different paths looked like. What was hard? What was easy? And what would we recommend to young, talented yet introverted design creatives looking to find their own voice and way?


  • How to approach networking with other designers, business partners, and potential collaborators when small talk isn’t something you’re good at
  • Tactics for tackling the cold self-intro
  • How to secure—and handle—media appearances when the pitch-and-sell isn’t second nature
  • Overcoming your biggest fears about branding yourself a design expert
  • What tools and platforms have have been most helpful (and natural) in building a personal brand

Donna Garlough
Author, Editor, and Visual Content Creator
Style Director, Joss & Main

Joanna Hawley
Blogger, Stylist, and Digital Influencer


Savvy Giving Presentation

Susan Wintersteen
Interior Designer and Founder
Savvy Giving by Design


Lunch for all participants


The Other Side of the Camera:  How Photography Influences Digital Content and Social Media

Photographs have never been more critical in interior design messaging and marketing. Through social media and digital content, thousands of potential clients, bloggers, media, and brands gain insight into projects. Renowned photographer Emily Followill and Suzanna Cullen Hamilton will discuss the importance and optimization of both professional photos and social media posts. We’ll discuss what type of photos work best for each medium to engage and inspire, as well as other interior design photography-related subjects that play into social media photography optimization including staging, how the camera sees the room differently, and how to hire a photographer if you want to increase visibility in digital content.

Key Actionable Takeaways:

  • How to effectively photograph projects for optimal digital content and social media use
  • How to take photos for publication, yet still maintain social media use without conflict-of-use issues (i.e. “teaser shots, working shots, tight vignette shots” that can drop hints without exposing the entire shot)
  • When You Need – and How to Hire -  a Professional Photographer for your digital content
  • What makes a great interior design photograph catch your eye on social media

Emily Jenkins Followill
Interior Design Photographer


Suzanna Cullen Hamilton
ART SMART Strategies, LLC

Elizabeth Ralls
Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles


Amplifying Your Design Blog with Successful Email Marketing Strategies

Whether influencer or interior designer, you’ve done the hard work building your design blog’s content and followers. Now with a sustained blogging effort, it’s time to monetize your effort. Integrating email marketing, you can have a powerful way to make more money from your blog. Email marketing is a crucial path to maximum conversion. This talk will cover exactly how to make email marketing work for you and your blog so you’re able to entice readers to sign up for your list, communicate with your subscribers to inspire action:

Key takeaways:

  • Ability to evaluate email marketing as a potential marketing channel
  • Actionable intelligence on options for using email marketing to connect and convert blog readers into buyers.
  •  Specific tactics to get visitors to sign up for email, communicate consistently, and create manageable sales funnels that convert prospects into clients



Networking with Exhibitors and Sponsors

Gain YouTube Stardom with these Four Easy Optimization Tips

Did you know that YouTube has over 800 million unique users each month? That's 800 million opportunities to get your brand recognized. In a recent study of marketing professionals and online consumers, 76% of those polled say video has helped them increase traffic to their website and increase sales. You want a piece of that pie, but what's the best way to get your videos noticed? In this course, attendees will learn how to build a YouTube channel that stays true to their brand with the strategy to help them reach YouTube Stardom!

  • Understand the benefits of having a YouTube channel for your brand
  • Define a list of key terms related to search engine optimization to be able to implement them across channels and platforms
  • Apply a list of best practices for optimizing a YouTube channel
  • Top tips for creating a visually stunning, cohesive and branded YouTube channel.
  • YouTube analytics and content optimization

Stephanie Duerden

Taylor Hori
Oceanside Glass and Tile


Coastal Living and Universal Furniture - Furnishing a Lifestyle

Coastal Living is a well-recognized brand in the home category and simultaneously describes an enviable lifestyle. Universal Furniture joined forces with Coastal Living in 2018 and launched a new whole-home assortment at the 2018 Fall High Point Market. The challenge in working together was achieving a style that was on brand and resonated with the Coastal Living customer. Licensed product development processes can be challenging, yet the process between Universal and Coastal Living was anything but.


  • How a licensed influencer collection takes shape
  • What the product collaboration process looks like
  • Going to Market - achieving B2B and B2C goals
  • Newly created influencer marketing opportunities

Neil MacKenzie
Director of Marketing
Universal Furniture International Inc.

Kristen Payne
Vice President of Licensing
Meredith Corporation


Monday Keynote: Carson Kressley

Carson Kressley
Emmy-Award winning
TV personality Style Expert,
Fashion Designer and
New York Times best-selling author


High Point Design Bloggers Tour - Spring 2019 Announcement

Ashley Grigg
Director of Marketing and
High Point Market Authority

Adam Japko
Founder and CEO
Esteem Media



Networking Reception at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta hotel - all participants are invited to attend

Official Monday After Party Sponsored by Porcelanosa

Location to be announced.  All participants are invited to attend

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Influencer and Brand Track Sessions                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Brand Track Sponsored by:
High Point Market Authority



Coffee with Exhibitors and Sponsors

Influencer Breakout #4- to be announced

Brand Breakout #4:
Human-Centric Marketing - The Science of Selling Meets the art of the Lifestyle Experience

In our fast-paced and complex world, consumers are constantly looking for truly meaningful experiences and connections to complement their day-to-day lives. Today's most successful brands are going well beyond selling design and products and are creating human-centric and customized experiences to exceed consumers' expectations, generating a personal connection and sustainable brand loyalty.

Key takeaways:

  • How to get to know your audience beyond demographics and understand their psychographics
  • How to find the common threads amongst a broad and diverse modern audience
  • How to find the right influencers for your brand and consumers
  • How to create activations that elevate your brand experience and connect on an emotional level with your audience

Jason Pires
CEO and Executive Creative Director
Furniture Branding and MVC Agency


Influencer Breakout #5:
Iphone Image Editing for Brand Enhancement and Engagement

Clean your mobile phone lens and point and click? Yes, but it hardly ends there. Professionally experienced photographer Linda Holt will take you through simple steps and tools that make your iPhonography stand head and shoulders in social media, brochures, websites, and magazines.  Linda has recently started offering photo-editing services to the design industry.  Learn some of Linda's secrets and downloadable tools in this session.

Linda Holt
Interior Designer and Photographer
Linda Holt Creative

Brand Breakout #5:
The Keys to Successful Influencer Collaborations: Strategic Planning - PART 1

Ever thought about developing an influencer collaboration but don’t know where to start? Have you sponsored an event but feel you didn’t get much out of it? The Keys to Successful Influencer Collaborations will give you the background, knowledge and tools to create the best relationship for your brand and develop a program that’s successful for both parties.

Strategic Planning -Part 1:

  • Identify what should be included in a contract
  • Strategize content
  • Identify platforms for the best reach
  • Discover what analytics matter

Developed by Jana Platina Phipps (Trim Queen, content creator and influencer) and Mary Leigh Howell (industry PR consultant), this course will showcase examples from the duo’s many years of experience on both the influencer and the brand side of the relationship. Don’t miss out on this insightful presentation that will leave you with plenty of takeaways to begin or improve your collaborations.

Jana Platina Phipps
Content Creator and Influencer
Trim Queen

Mary Leigh Howell
Industry PR Consultant
Mary Leigh Howell PR


Influencer Breakout #6: Steps to Building an Online Brand That Stands Out

In this work-along session, FZK Franziska will share her unique 3-step method to creating successful online brands for her own interior designer clients. Walk away with your very own actionable strategy to build an effective online presence that attracts dream clients. Know which online tools are right for you and your unique creative tone. Heather French of French & French Interiors, a client since 2014, will join Franziska to offer her own perspective and concrete examples of how these strategies are practically applied and what the results look like.


  • know your brand’s 5 core values
  • know which top 3 online platforms suit your creative style & tone
  • set measurable online goals
  • walk away ready to implement 3 clear steps towards building an online brand that stands out 

Heather French
Co-founder, Principal, and Lead Designer
French & French Interiors

Franziska Neumann
FZK Franziska

Brand Breakout #6:
The Keys to Successful Influencer Collaborations: Effective Execution - PART 2

Ever thought about developing an influencer collaboration but don’t know where to start? Have you sponsored an event but feel you didn’t get much out of it? The Keys to Successful Influencer Collaborations will give you the background, knowledge and tools to create the best relationship for your brand and develop a program that’s successful for both parties.

Effective Execution -Part 2:

  • Learn how to create and mine content for maximum impact
  • Extend your impact through public relations

Developed by Jana Platina Phipps (Trim Queen, content creator and influencer) and Mary Leigh Howell (industry PR consultant), this course will showcase examples from the duo’s many years of experience on both the influencer and the brand side of the relationship. Don’t miss out on this insightful presentation that will leave you with plenty of takeaways to begin or improve your collaborations.

Jana Platina Phipps
Content Creator and Influencer
Trim Queen

Mary Leigh Howell
Industry PR Consultant
Mary Leigh Howell PR


Networking Break with Exhibitors and Sponsors

General Sessions:

All attendees from the Influencer and Brand Tracks are invited to participate.


General Session: Facebook Marketing and Paid Acquisition

"Are you over Facebook? Don't be discouraged, with over 2 billion monthly active users Facebook is still a viable organic marketing tool for designers. Shayla Copas will discuss the top Facebook trends she has leveraged for 2018 and how they can help design businesses grow."

Top three takeaways:

  • Top 2018 Facebook trends
  • Facebook’s strengths compared to Instagram
  • Video content, why it’s so important

Shayla Copas
Principal and Interior Designer
Shayla Copas Interiors


Will Ferguson
Slince, Inc


General Session and Keynote: Your Creative Voice: Developing a unique one and using it to power your brand. A conversation with interior designer Jeff Andrews and Sophie Donelson 

Author and editor Sophie Donelson speaks to her friend, Los Angeles interior designer Jeff Andrews, about how authenticity, originality and POV helped fuel the success of Jeff's business and influential brand and how to find and empower your own unique voice. Their chat will touch on Jeff's career arc — from emerging designer to a portfolio of A-list celeb clients, international TV and media coverage, and licensed product deals. Jeff will offer tactics for cultivating a unique perspective (as well as clients who support it), how to deliver a signature look through traditional brand extensions like product collections and books to newer outlets like digital brand extensions, how to stay on brand as your personal style evolves, and ways to keep a robust business while standing your creative ground.  Jeff’s first book, “The New Glamour: Interiors with Star Quality,” will be released by Rizzoli in March 2019.


Jeff Andrews
Internationally Celebrated Interior Designer


Moderated by:
Sophie Donelson
Author and Design Editor



Meet renowned interior and product designer Suzanne Kasler at the new flagship Ballard Designs showroom on Atlanta's buzzy Westside.

Enjoy an engaging presentation by the acclaimed designer with Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles' Editor in Chief Elizabeth Ralls, followed by a book signing of Suzanne's third coffee table tome, Sophisticated Simplicity. Light bites and beverages will be served.

All conference participants are invited to attend - free to all Design Influencers Conference attendees.  Complimentary transportation will be provided.

Suzanne Kasler
Interior Designer and
Principal Suzanne Kasler Interiors

Suzanne's new book


Closing Gala Party at a palatial estate home in nearby Buckhead.

All conference participants are invited to attend - free to all Design Influencers Conference attendees.  Complimentary transportation will be provided


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Sponsored by:


Digital Day at ADAC

Digital Day at ADAC is back this year with a day of presentations covering the hottest technology topics currently impacting the world of design. Crafted in partnership with the Design Influencers Conference, Digital Day at ADAC is a forum for novices and experts alike to learn and share ideas so designers and the design industry can evolve and thrive in the new digital environment.  Learn more>>

All  Design Influencers Conference attendees are invited to participate and registration is free.