Welcome to Take 60, quick one-minute stories about new faces in our industry that might help you move the needle toward future success and with time at a premium. Retailers, designers, manufacturers and more — Take 60 covers them all, so check back each week for a new addition to the mix.
Furniture, Décor, and Design: Nicole White, Nicole White Designs Interiors
Nicole White is one of six designers who are part of Tov Furniture’s Voice Collection, an upholstery and case goods collection that debuted at Spring High Point Market and promoted diversity along with new products. A solopreneur since 2010, White says that the launch represents “an iconic moment in design history driven by a brand committed to disrupting the status quo.”
FT: Why did you decide to be a designer?
White: Design is my second career. My degree is in journalism, but I had a secret passion/hobby as a designer. Soon that hobby became a full-blown career. I haven’t looked back since.
FT: Why is this collection important to the furniture industry, the retail industry, and consumers? What unique value does it bring to each group?
White: The collection is important to make it clear that there are multiple voices/aesthetics/perspectives in the interior design business. For so long, things have been monolithic with the same pool of designers getting licensing deals over and over again. It’s also important to show that as black designers we all have a different point of view, influenced by the myriad of things we all experienced individually. The industry can and should never have one voice to speak for any one group. This collection is a testament to that. What I’ve experienced as a black woman born in the Caribbean, who migrated to the United States, put herself through college, turned a hobby into a successful career will naturally have a different impact on my designs than another black designer, with a totally different life experience. Amplifying those varying experiences is so important if we are to truly speak of diversity and inclusion.
FT: Going forward, how can the industry support diversity and inclusion and why is it imperative to do so?
White: Give a black woman a chance and she’ll change the world! We are among the most resilient and resourceful humans ever.
FT: How would you sum up your experience with this debut launch in one sentence?
White: An iconic moment in design history driven by a brand committed to disrupting the status quo, with six designers whose entire careers have also been about disrupting said status quo.
Fun facts about Nicole White
- Favorite inspirational quote: A life lived in fear, is a life half lived.
- Favorite design inspiration destination: Tulum, Mexico; Port Antonio, Jamaica; Paris and all things Italy.
- Favorite way to spend a non-work day: Plotting a travel getaway. Reading and sipping a glass of cabernet sauvignon or red zinfandel.
- The one home furnishing item you will move with you every time you move: My Cuban/Jamaican art.
- What trend or cultural influence do you see becoming extremely important over the next couple of years: A room dedicated to finding solace. I designed a #momcave pre-pandemic and have gotten many requests for similar in-home retreats. Everyone should have a special room or corner in their own that they can retreat to for their mental wellness.
I’m Cindy Hodnett, executive editor of brand development for BridgeTower Media’s Home Furnishings Division. Most recently, I worked in a marketing content development role, and now I’m putting my editor’s hat back on for Furniture Today, Home Accents Today, Gifts & Decorative Accessories, Designers Today, Home Textiles Today and Home Furnishings News. My first introduction to the trade side of home furnishings was as an editor for FT in 2012 and founding editor of Designers Today in 2015, and now I’m once again working alongside some of the industry’s most dedicated professionals to keep our readers informed about the events, people, and companies that impact their business.