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LIGHTING INSPIRATION! INTRODUCING ROBIN BARON X MINKA GROUP

Hello Fabulistas!

Today, we are featuring a wonderful guest blog from my good friend, Leslie Carothers, the principal of Savour Partnership. Without further ado, enjoy!

Lighting Inspiration

It’s such an exciting time in the career of my good friend, New York City based celebrity interior designer Robin Baron, who just introduced 7 new lighting collections for major lighting manufacturer, Minka Group, at the January 2022 #Lightovation show at Dallas Market.

I had, thanks to Robin’s recommendation and my previous dealings with Minka Group’s EVP of Sales, Tim Flannery, [ the past chairman of the board of Lightovation and a current board member now ] the good fortune of being hired by Minka Group to help introduce Robin’s collections to the interior design community.

This post is a sponsored post, but every word in this post is the truth as I see it, and every image in this post is one I took and/or created to help celebrate this moment for my client and for Robin, shown below.

As someone commented on Instagram, her glasses game is strong, and I agree!

Who is Minka Group?

Minka Group is a long time leader in the decorative lighting category. They own the following brands:

George Kovacs, Metropolitan Lighting Fixture Co., Minka Aire fans, Minka Lavery, The Great Outdoors and Ambience. Their products are distributed worldwide by major retailers and they are headquartered in Corona, California.

Partnering with Robin on this major lighting introduction is their first foray into the interior designer distribution channel - an important and crucial market for every lighting manufacturer, given the aggregate buying power of interior designers which is now larger than that of many medium sized, multi-store retailers.

What is Lightovation?

Lightovation is North America’s largest wholesale lighting tradeshow, taking place 2x a year, in January and June, concurrently with Dallas Market’s Total Home and Gift Show. It is THE place for lighting specifiers to see every major lighting line in one area, Trademart Floors 3 and 4.

This is an image I took this year from Floor 2 looking up towards Floor 3.

Lightovation is the show where you can generally see every single lighting fixture a lighting manufacturer makes, not just a sampling. It’s 100% worth attending at least once a year, as lighting is such an important aspect of design in the built environment.

I took the video below [ for an Instagam reel - which is why it’s vertical ] as I was walking towards the Minka Group’s showroom in the early morning so you could get a sense of just how large their gorgeous new showroom is in Trademart 4103.

They moved into this space last June, which is twice as large as their previous space at #Lightovation.

I have to say that when I first walked in, I thought this WAS Robin waving Hi to me, but soon saw it was a life sized standee [ the proper term for life sized cutouts ]. They had these standees of Robin all over their showroom.

Kudos to Minka for knowing how to make a designer feel important and celebrate a major introduction!
 

Who is Robin Baron?

Robin is a well known celebrity interior designer who has her finger in many pies. Besides her work for celebrity clients like well known real estate mogul, Ryan Serhant, she has her own e-commerce store on robinbarondesign.com, she manufacturers her own furniture and hardware lines, and she does much more.

She has served as the Past President of the New York chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers [ ASID ] and she is the current brand ambassador for Ethos Design Collective, the world’s first search engine that helps consumers find vetted luxury designers to hire.

As Robin shared at her launch event, she was chosen by Minka because the Minka team was impressed by her history of designing and producing her own furniture and hardware lines.

They knew this meant she would understand how to work with their production team in refining her designs to meet Minka’s reasonable price points.

And speaking of that launch event….it was so celebratory, as many of us who knew each other hadn’t seen each other in two years. The delicious drinks, food and music helped all of us in attendance feel warm and welcomed.

Robin’s very good friend, interior designer and retail store owner, Steven Favreau, travelled down from his home in Hudson, NY to be with Robin and to interview her at the launch event. Don’t miss his website link at the bottom of this post. His store is one of a kind!

I, and everyone else there, fell madly in love with Steven’s Dolce and Gabbana jacket. I had not met Steven before, and asked him to share a bit of his background with me so I could get to know him better. I enjoyed hearing his tale of how he used to be a dancer with the Moulin Rouge in Paris.

Steven, if you see this, it was so nice meeting you.

As always, every event is REALLY all about the people and some of Dallas’ best designers like Kristi Hopper [ who was nominated for an #ArtsAward as Best Interior Designer Of The Year ], trend analyst Patti Carpenter, celebrity designer Donna Moss of Donna Moss Designs, interior designer John Call, interior designer and TV personality, Dan Foley, rendering artist and interior designer, Annilee Waterman -and others I didn’t know - were there to help Robin celebrate her launch.

The team from Dallas Market Center was on hand, too, including President Cindy Moore and Vice President/Design, Michael Bauer, who both gave short speeches. Minka’s own customers and reps were also in attendance.

Robin right hand marketing man, Yudi Kaufman, was there to help her record every moment. His exuberant personality suited the moment perfectly!

Yudi’s the one in the blue jacket and the Very Peri sneakers. #youhavetolovethat

The Inspiration

Robin has always been inspired in her product design work by her passion for jewelry and fashion. She has been a collector of bold, vintage jewelry for a long time and this close up of some of the details from her new lighting collections shows that connection.

You will also see some of these same motifs repeated in her bespoke hardware, available to purchase on her website.

This image below is one I posted earlier on my Instagram feed, as we were leading up to the launch, and the story I posted there that is connected to this necklace makes for interesting reading. To give you a hint…..the necklace below belonged to Marjorie Merriweather Post.

As you can see, Robin’s SUTTON collection was inspired by this iconic piece of jewelry.

The Collections

Robin designed 7 separate lighting collections for Minka Group, and I’ve created these graphics for them.

Ready to scroll and see beauty?

 
 
Pre-production product photography for the 7th collection, the SOHO collection, wasn’t quite ready by launch, so I took these two pictures myself to give you an idea.
 
As you can see, pre-production photography doesn’t show lighting patterns, shadows, etc., so what follows are two videos I took for Instagram reels of the YORKVILLE collection and my personal favorite, the ASTOR collection.

Note: I wasn’t intending to upload these to YouTube originally, but if I had been intending to upload them to YouTube, I would have shot the same scene, horizontally, to avoid the two black stripes on each side of the video.
 

 
Earlier, before the launch, I had curated my personal favorites from all of Robin’s collections and shared it in my Facebook Group for interior designers, #DesignWealth, and on my Instagram feed. Here’s that image.

It’s clear I love these silver and gold finishes the best, vs. the deeper, darker metal finishes Robin used in some of her collections, but that’s just my personal preference for #DesignHappyLiving homes.
 
Now I want to know which, out of all of Robin’s lighting fixtures for Minka Group, is YOUR personal favorite?

Or do you have two or three? Or four or five?

Let me know in the comments!
 

Speaking

Part of my assignment for Minka Group was also to give a talk to their showroom attendees on Digital Marketing: 10 Top Tips To Move Your Sales Powerfully Forward in 2022.

I gave this talk on both Thursday and Friday and loved sharing my tips with the audience.

On Friday after my talk, Tim Flannery, SVP of Sales for Minka Group, came up to me and said,

“I heard really good things, but next time we need to fix the microphone, because your talk was heard throughout our showroom.”

On the first day, I was talking with a lavalier lapel microphone, and the problem didn’t exist, but on the second day, I opted for a handheld microphone, and that’s when, after the fact, the problem was discovered.

Note to myself and to you, my readers: always ask the AV person at the venue where you are speaking to help you test every piece of equipment, yours and theirs, that you might need to/want to use - way ahead of time - to avoid these issues.

I was so embarrassed to think that every word I said was heard throughout their large showroom - for over an hour!

In Closing

I have had a wonderful time working with Minka Group on this assignment, and I thank all of you who came to the launch. my talk or supported it online in various ways.

I would love for you to pin some of your favorites from this post, too, to help drive more awareness for this major brand that has taken the LEAP into the designer distribution channel.

Hopefully, as time goes on and they see designers supporting this line via online buzz and future specifications, they will work with more designers on licensed collections to spread the love around.

#fingerscrossed

Now, I invite you to follow:

Robin Baron here: https://instagram.com/robinbaronofficial
Minka Group here: https://instagram.com/minkagroup
Myself: https://instagram.com/lesliemcarothers

If you have any questions about pricing, sizing, availability, please reach out to Minka Group on Instagram.

Thank you again!

It’s been fun bringing you this sponsored post. I hope you’ve truly been inspired by the beautiful lighting collections Robin has designed for Minka Group.

Find out more about Minka Group on their website link below:

https://www.minkagroup.net

Here’s Robin’s website link below:

https://robinbarondesign.com

And, as promised, see Steven Favreau’s fabulous store and website here:

https://favreaulousfactory.com

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and if you feel inspired to share it with your friends, please do.

Everyone would appreciate it so much.

With Gratitude

Leslie Carothers
Principal
Savour Partnership

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