WIthIt Header
Julie Vincenti, Editor                                                                 September 2011 


















Wednesday, Sept. 21

Official Launch of Canadian Chapter
453A Brant Street, Burlington, Ontario


Kick off your sandals while enjoying refreshments and hors d'oeuvres on the patio at ViewIt Technologies' new 3D Training Center in beautiful downtown Burlington.

RSVP Donna Barlett donna@spaceplanning.com 


Sunday Oct. 23


WithIt Educational Breakfast 

IHFC Green Wing 11th Floor, International Ballroom A



Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan


Breakfast and seminar are free of charge.

RSVP: hallred@imcenters.com 


Monday, Oct. 24  

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Competitive Intelligence/ Trends Forecast

Networking, Information, Insights  

Braxton Culler Showroom


310 S Elm Street, High Point, NC

Libby Langdon will moderate a panel of designers who will talk about new trends, has beens and what they saw of interest this market.


Wednesday, Oct. 26

8:30am - 3:00pm  

Student Mentoring Day 

Volunteers needed for market tours at 12:30pm



Nov. 8, 2011

WithIt International

Membership Day



Catie Cannon

Appalachian State University

Hickory, NC


Caryn Cusick

Jaclyn Ehrlich Interiors

Charlotte, NC


Amy Deal

Innovative Mattress Solutions

Winfield, WV


Felicia Dean


Greensboro, NC


Jaclyn Ehrlich

Jaclyn Ehrlich Interiors

Wesley Chapel, NC


Karen Keck

Innovative Mattress Solutions

Winfield, WV


Karrie Knopf

Innovative Mattress Solutions

Winfield, WV


Kasey Lowry

Appalachian State University

Franklin, TN


Traci Markham

Innovative Mattress Solutions

Winfield, WV


Michael Nermon

Ergo Bedroom

Irvine, CA 


Rhoda Santamaria

Casa Bella Galleria

Sacramento, CA


Kim Seagraves

Innovative Mattress Solutions

Winfield, WV


Dorian Sims

Stacy Furniture

Grapevine, TX


Victoria Valentinas

High Point University

High Point, NC


Henessy Wayser

French Heritage

High Point, NC


Randy Wells

Las Vegas Design Center

Las Vegas, NV



220 Elm 

Adesso, Inc. 

American Home Furnishings Alliance 

American Leather 

AmericasMart, Atlanta 



Bassett Furniture 

Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library 

Brown Jordan 

Circle Furniture 

Cohen Tauber Spievack & Wagner 

Comfort Solutions 

Copeland Furniture 

C.R. Laine Furniture 

Dallas Market Center 



E.J. Victor  

Ergo Bedroom 

Four Hands 

Frinier Atelier - Richard Frinier Collection 

Furniture Brands International 



HB2 Resources 

Hickory Chair 

High Point Market Authority 

Home Furnishings Business 



Info Retail 

International Market Centers 

Jena Hall Designs

Judy George Int'l 

Las Vegas Design Center 

Leggett & Platt 

Lexington Home Brands 

Loeffler Ketchum Mountjoy 

LPK International 

Merchandise Mart Properties, High Point 

Natuzzi Americas 

Norwalk Furniture 

Outer Limits Inc. 

Palliser Furniture 

P.D. Design Studio Ltd.

Phillips Collection 


Rowe Furniture 

Seasonal Living 

Sligh Furniture Company 

Smith Leonard PLLC 

Stickley Furniture 


Sustainable Furnishings Council 

The Media Matters, Inc. 



Thomasville Home Furnishings of NJ 

Thomas Jayne Studio 

Twin-Star International 

Valdese Weavers 

Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company 

ViewIt Technologies 

Wray Ward 

Wright of Thomasville 


Join Our List

Join Our Mailing List
MaxwellA Little Therapy,
A Lot of Intelligence

Join WithIt for an insider's look at the Web's most trafficked design blog, Apartment Therapy. Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan (right), author, interior designer and the founder of Apartment Therapy Media, will present the WithIt education breakfast keynote Sunday, Oct. 23. Apartment Therapy is a network of blogs devoted to helping people make their homes beautiful, organized, and healthy and assisting retailers and buyers on trends in influential cities that could affect their business.  


"The 10 Things You Need to Know About Apartment Therapy" will offer a history of Gillingham-Ryan's personal story and the humble beginnings of his brand, as well as a general roadmap for understanding design and the role it plays in our lives. The breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. in the IHFC Green Wing, 11th floor, Ballroom A. Reservations are required; email hallred@imcenters.com or register at www.withit.org.


Competitive Intelligence/Trends Forecast
Networking, Information, Insights

Mark your calendar for fall's Competitive Intelligence/Trends Forecast, Monday, Oct. 24. Join WithIt's own Libby Langdon, plus Luca Rensi of Bungalow 5, editor Susan Victoria and interior designer Tobi Fairley, for a panel discussion titled "What's Hot Now." The event will be held 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in the Braxton Culler showroom, 310 S. Elm St.
Be ready for great networking, both before and after the panel discussion.
competitive intelligence

Libby Langdon, Luca Rensi, Susan Victoria, Tobi Fairley

Student Mentoring

WithIt Vice President Youth Outreach Amy Schmidt is "shaking things up" for fall's Student Mentoring Day, which will be held Oct. 26 in select showrooms throughout the High Point Market campus. Students will participate in lively round table discussions and follow up with showroom tours (with an emphasis on traditional, contemporary and sustainable products). To participate in the student mentoring, contant Sara Lyke at director@withit.org.   

2011 WOW Honorees

2011 Honorees Announced

WithIt presented its 2011 WOW Awards honors during the nonprofit's annual dinner and reception tonight. Aminy Audi, CEO and president of L. & J.G. Stickley, was presented the 2011 Legacy Award, which celebrates Audi's significant lifetime contributions to the home and furnishings industry.


"As I accept this award, I want to acknowledge my late husband, Alfred, with whom I was fortunate enough to share the journey of revitalizing the Stickley brand," Audi said. "For the Stickley team, no task is impossible, no deadline is unattainable and no mountain is to high to climb."


Connie Lineberry, vice president of marketing, Sandow Media Retail Group, earned the inaugural Leadership Award, an honor WithIt created to recognize the contributions of a woman over age 40 who has demonstrated successful leadership in her company, WithIt and/or the home furnishings industry.


Lauren West, director of communications for Natuzzi Americas Inc., earned the 2011 Education Award honor for her efforts to educate associates, retailers and/or consumers about home furnishings.


Peggy Burns, the "Queen Bee" of Circle Furniture, was awarded the 2011 Mentoring Award. It's an honor that recognizes an executive who has fostered advocacy, development or promotion of women in his or her company. Burns' husband and business partner, Richard Tubman, presented the award.


The 2011 Future Leader Award was presented to Tammy Nagem, chief operating officer of the High Point Market Authority. Kevin O'Connor with Samson Marketing presented Nagem's award.


WithIt President Mary Leigh Howell, Howell Communications, presented the 2011 President's Award to WithIt Regional Vice President Kassie Smith of Kassie Smith Lifestyle Group.


"In a region where WithIt had little support and virtually no membership base, Kassie has developed sponsors and supporters, and built a strong member network that spans the home furnishings, design and hospitality industries," Howell said.


Lastly, WithIt announced the winner of the 2011 Jena and Stephen Hall Scholarship, which awards $5,000 to a student to cover tuition expense. Breanne Lutz, who studies interior design at Meredith College, earned the coveted honor.  

It Happened in Raleigh

Does WithIt have a hold on you? The group embraced nearly 140 home and furnishings professionals who gathered in Raleigh, NC, for WithIt's annual professional conference, Aug. 23-25. "Wisdom, Work, Wealth: Winning Insights to Reshape Your World" presented a poignant and inspiring "career confidential" presentation by WithIt founder Jena Hall; a leadership keynote address from International Market Center CEO and President Bob Maricich; consumer marketing guidance from Elm Street Ecomonics' Mike Anderson; and keynote address from consumer expert Delia Passi, president of Medelia, Inc. 


WithIt ConferenceIn one of the conference's lighter moments, WithIt Membership Vice President Cindy Williams, Info Retail, and her backup singers--Karen Tucker, Furniture Transport Group, Stephanie Lowder, Rare Bird Creative, and Kimberly Wray, Kimberly Wray Marketing and Communications--serenaded cocktail partygoers with an impromptu conference theme song, "WithIt's Got a Hold On Me."


The 2011 National Membership Day--a chance to meet and connect with like minds in your local home and furnishings community--was announced (Nov. 8) during a membership meeting led by 2011 President Mary Leigh Howell, Howell Communications, and incoming President Julia Rosien, SocialNorth.

WithIt Conference

Group dinners, first-time attendee opportunities, roundtable discussions and break-out sessions offered insights about topics that ranged from leadership coaching and non-verbal skills development to social media and green initiatives.


For instance, Erin Grohs, managing supervisor, Fleishman-Hillard Inc. offered start-up tips for social media beginners.



1. Create a page

2. Fill out the profile, and include links

3. Map out content for the next two months

4. Build custom tabs

5. Secure a customized URL after reaching 25 fans

6. Allow community postings for increased engagement

7. Review Facebook insights as you go



1. Create an account

2. Fill our profile with information and links

3. Design a background

4. Map out content for the next few months

5. Use common search terms and hash tags

6. Use shortened links

7. Register your account with directories

8. Remain consistent


WithIt ConferenceThe conference concluded with a stirring presentation by Jena Hall, Jena Hall Designs, who shared career highlights that spanned from her first trip to High Point Market in the 1970s to her latest projects. Plus, she shared "20 Rules of Order" with attendees (see below).  


WithIt would like to thank this year's conference and WOW Awards sponsors: High Point Market Authority, International Market Centers, BDI, Leggett & Platt, Las Vegas Design Center, Tempur-Pedic, Home Furnishings Business, Comfort Solutions, DreamFit, Wright of Thomasville, Ekornes Stressless, Sunbrella, Bassett Furniture, American Leather, American Home Furnishings Alliance, 220 Elm, Palliser, Richard Frinier, Natuzzi, C.R. Laine, Furniture Today, Stickley, FurnitureDealer.net, Brown Jordan, Cohen Tauber Spievack & Wagner P.C., Valdese Weavers, Info Retail, Vaughan-Bassett, Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library, Rowe Fine Furniture and Thomasville Home Furnishings of New Jersey.



Visit the Conference Microsite for more highlights; check out more photos at http://bit.ly/qfoqP6.

The 2012 WithIt Education Conference will be held Aug. 14-16, 2012, in Raleigh, NC.

Jena Hall's 20 Rules of Order

WithIt founding member Jena Hall shared career development advice for WithIt members during the 2011 professional conference in Raleigh, NC, last month.


1. Assemble a sounding board of directors: "They need to be people you respect intellectually who are better than you, in your opinion."


2. Reflect on failures: "Within each failure there are deep lessons."


3. Select a customized advisory sounding board: "Put your partner on this board."


4. Keep track of your missteps as well as your successes: "We always like to forget the things that are painful ... write them down."


5. Be accountable to people who care how you grow in your career.


6. Consider business friends who complement your business.


7. Seek advisors who have optimistic outlooks and visionary insights.


8. Invest in a business coach.


9. Set an annual calendar for your meetings.


10. Choose a "board" that will tell you like it is.


11. Always check your internal yardstick: "Everyone has one. Use your intuitive instincts--listen to yourself. While I'm on this, still yourself. We're so busy and over-programmed, you must make time just to think clearly and quietly. Don't underestimate the power of being still."


12. Check out the numbers: "For those who love creativity and beautiful things, you have to know your numbers, too. You gotta know how much to charge, your professional fees and how to have a margin. While we're at it, did you get paid fairly for the last job you did?"


13. Use confidence in negotiating: "Look at the entire picture. Maybe you negotiate for a bonus or incentive, if you can't start at the salary you want."


14. Take the risk.


15. Trust your instincts.


16. Develop your own sense of direction: "Don't lose your sense of direction of purpose or passion. Focus. I think this is the toughest thing for women to do, because we multitask so well and there is such duality in our lives.We become distracted easily because we can do so much."


17. Stage fright is a good thing.


18. Accept a career challenge: "Don't be afraid to make a career adjustment ... I'm on 405."


19. Say "yes" to a personal challenge.


20. Be diligent about regular health checks.


All work and no play makes a WithIt member a dull gal. This year's 2011 conference attendees were asked how to share they best tips for how to relax after a stressful day (or week or month or year!) at the office. Here's what attendees had to say:

Top Ten Tips


Put in Play, Right Away

The WithIt 2011 conference promised to deliver insights to home and furnishings professionals, and deliver it did. Conference goers shared one of their top takeaways at the conclusion of the three-day event. Here are a few to put into play:


Stop using the economy as an excuse to undervalue yourself.  

- Kimberly Wray, Kimberly Wray Marketing and Communications


Businesses may be struggling in today's economy. Ask for more vacation days instead of a raise. - Jackie Hirschhaut, American Home Furnishings Alliance, 2011 WithIt Professional Conference Chair


Making a blog personal is best--people can reference you as a resource. - Dana Helms, MicroD Inc.


Take pictures of the upbeat customers who come to your store, and post them to your brand's Web site. - Diane Christensen, Christensen Consulting


Reach behind and pull someone up--actively be a mentor and leader. - Shelley Parlin, PROFITsystems


Reading recommendation: "One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey" by Kenneth Blanchard. - Yolanda Obando, International Market Centers


Being humble as a designer is not always great. You need to celebrate your accomplishments. - Felicia Dean, student, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Nurture the relationships you made at the conference. - Liz Moore, student, Kendall College of Art and Design


We need to support other women in our field, and not be competitive with one another. - Emily Eby, student, North Carolina State University


The consumer will not buy is because they can finance, they will now finance because they want to buy it. - Kacie Prunty, Tempur-Pedic International


Product and store reviews need to be addressed properly and promptly. - Joni Greeson, Collectic Home 

Student Testimonial

Dear WithIt Members and Conference Attendees, 

I would like to thank you all for your welcoming arms at this year's conference in Raleigh! As a new student member I have never felt so honored to be in the presence of so many successful professional women. All of your stories of hard work and persistence were extremely inspiring and made me more than grateful to be a member of such an incredible and genuine networking support group! I never imagined I would get half of what I took away after leaving the convention. Every day since I have continued to ask myself "What woman have I have helped lift up today?" Each and every one of you should pride yourself on the impact you have on the future of the industry; because I am so impressed by the support to help everyone win. I wish the world could work the way that you women do in WithIt supporting one another. I look forward to meeting you all again at future WithIt events and wish you all the best in your careers!



Best Regards, 

Victoria Valentinas

Social Media, Savvy Interior Design, Inc. 

Interior design student, High Point University


2011 Frinier scholars: Felicia Dean, Liz Moore, Jasmine Flood, Kasey Lowry, Emily Eby, Donna Ryzinski, Breanna Lutz, Victoria Valentinas, and Amanda Brown.


Go Digital

From designer portfolio reviews to a tutorial on getting published in digital magazines, WithIt's Las Vegas/West chapter hosted several designer-focused events during the Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market. Four Hands kicked off the WithIt happenings with a networking reception. During the event, new Four Hands' customers were eligible to win a free membership to WithIt. Phillips Collection, meanwhile, hosted a designer portfolio review. Lastly, WithIt Las Vegas/West Regional Vice President Kassie Smith led a panel discussion that featured editors of digital magazines and blogs. What's the secret to being published in these online brands? The panelists offered these tips:


1. Believe in good design.

2. Invest in great photography--your photos must be top-notch.

3. Consider collecting "outtakes" while photographing and videotaping your projects; digital magazines, because the online platform is not space-prohibitive, are able to take readers behind the scenes.

4. Have a strong story to tell in the photos and stories you submit to editors.

5. No project is too big or too small; digital magazine editors want to see it all.

6. Digital magazines are driven by relationships; connect with magazine staff and "influentials" by way of blogs

WithIt at lasvegas

Left to right: FurnitureDealer.net's Caitlin Muhar, Cate O'Rourke and Sara Wedding unwind at the WithIt Four Hands' networking event during the recent Las Vegas Market.


WithIt Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market panelists (left to right) Lisa Bingham, Entra Design + Architecture magazine; Coco+Kelly Editor Cassandra Lavalle; and Rue magazine Editor in Chief Crystal Gentiello presented an overview of digital magazines, as well as insights about getting published in digital magazines.


Withit directory
2011 Member Resource Guides Are on the Way!
We are mailing the Member Resource Guides this week. If you attended the Professional Conference, but did not pick up a directory please contact  administrator@withit.org to let us know.


Have a story idea for an upcoming e-newsletter? Submit your idea(s) to Julie Smith Vincenti, Vice President-Media.


WithIt, Inc.

PO Box 16264, High Point, NC 27261

Office: 2125 Eastchester Drive Suite 103, High Point, NC 27265