Cathy Whitlock and Hickory Chair

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As you can tell from my post yesterday, I am a big fan of Cathy Whitlock and her new book re-de-sign. And if you have read my blog at all you know I am also a fan of Hickory Chair Furniture. Well good news for me, Hickory Chair and Cathy Whitlock are also fans of each other.

So while in High Point market recently, I had the chance to meet Cathy, for the second time, at the Hickory Chair Showroom. She was preparing for a book signing event later that day and was so kind to autograph a copy for me. When you read re-de-sign, you will find that Cathy has used a wonderful selection of photography from the Hickory Chair image library in her book. And you will read great features and case studies about Hickory Chair and several quotes from Hickory Chair president, Jay Reardon.

Jay is one of the more forward thinking people in the home furnishings industry in my opinion, and I believe that is why Jay and his company were a perfect fit for Cathy and her book. Jay and Hickory Chair have done a tremendous job using high-profile designers to license their products and re-de-sign has a great chapter on this very thing.

Cathy uses Alexa Hampton who has brand new introductions to her collection for Hickory Chair, as a case study for residential design and references Alexa again in the section on product licensing. Alexa has been very successful in both of these areas. Cathy talks about Alexa’s father, Mark Hampton, one of the great designers who paved the way for many of us. Mark was the first designers to license with Hickory Chair and Alexa has followed in his footsteps, but become a very successful interior and furniture designer in her own right. I will have more on Alexa and several of her new products tomorrow.

There are so many people with the Hickory Chair company that are part of this forward-thinking and progressive culture that help make them one of the real leaders in the industry. Cathy Mitchell is one of these people, and re-de-sign uses Cathy as a wonderful example of how to build a successful career on the manufacturing side of interior design.  Cathy Mitchell has a degree in design but wasn’t fulfilled in the day to day responsibilities of a design career. She found her niche on the other side of the coin working for the vendor first in showrooms and then as a key part of the design and manufacturing process. Cathy does a fantastic job in the role of Director of Merchandising and partners with the uber-creative Ron Fiore to design and display the cutting edge pieces we all know and love from Hickory Chair.

I had the extreme pleasure of attending Hickory Chair University in June with this amazing team of staffers discussing the Hickory Chair culture, where they are heading, and their entry into the world of social media. I was one of 4 bloggers that they brought to HCU this summer including Cassandra from Coco and Kelley, Franki from Life in a Venti Cup and Heather from Habitually Chic. At that time, Laura Holland told me they would be bringing these bloggers and a few more to High Point in October. She and I began throwing around the idea of a round-table discussion at market with these savvy groups of bloggers.

Well the great thing about Hickory Chair is that they put their money where their mouth is and I had the pleasure of being part of a fabulous blogger breakfast with the likes of these amazing bloggers and the lovely Paloma from la Dolce Vita Blog. Hickory Chair brought together their amazing staff and licensing partners Thomas O’Brien, Alexa Hampton and Suzanne Kasler for this great event. Though I have had the pleasure of meeting these talented designers many times before at market, this blogger breakfast was a fantastic opportunity to really get to know and spend time with these inspirational icons from the design industry.

Each designer shared with us their inspiration, a tour of their showroom displays and what is ahead for them in their careers and with Hickory Chair.

And also on hand for a portion of this event was none other than Cathy Whitlock and her book re-de-sign.

I want to say a special thanks to Hickory Chair and their amazing staff and designers. I will have more on the inspiring culture of Hickory Chair and my experience at Hickory Chair University later this week. And also another thanks to Cathy Whitlock for bringing this authentic look at the design industry to life in re-de-sign.

For a chance to win an autographed copy of re-de-sign, please send an email to me at with “Cathy Whitlock book giveaway” in the subject line.

The drawing will be this Friday, November 20th at noon. Only one entry per person please. Good luck to you all. And stay tuned for Hickory Chair designer Suzanne Kasler and her new book to be part of my designer book give-away series in just a few weeks!

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5 Responses to Cathy Whitlock and Hickory Chair

  1. Jaime says:

    What a great post! So sad to have missed the show this year. Isn’t Ron the best! I love his personality. I concur, Jay has done an amazing job keeping Hickory Chair a current and fresh brand, and their customization capabilities are unheard of in regards to ready made furnishings. Oh, and to yesterdays comments , I found that neither Alexa nor her father, the great Mark Hampton were formally trained in interior design. So out of all the names referenced in yesterday’s post, Wearstler, Adler, Wolf and Hampton…none studied Interior Design in school….and to say they are revered and accomplished is a great understatement, just don’t tell that to the licensing board of Florida;)

  2. Victoria says:

    I love forward thinking Hickory Chair too! What an extraordinary group of designing minds they have brought together. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  3. Jay Reardon says:

    Wow, it seems like Market was a year ago. Thank you for your kind ccomments about our company and the great team we are fortunate to have working with us. We were flattered that Cathy selected so many of our products to punctuate her message. I think it is a great book and would be a wonderful reference for all designers.
    I look forward to visiting you in your new Studio in Little Rock. I love the pictures you snet from the opening. All the Best Jay

  4. Thank you so much! Speaking for the over 400 craftsmen located in Hickory, North Carolina, we appreciate the wonderful post about our Hickory Chair family. We are very blest to work with some of the most amazing design talents in the industry today for our products! We appreciate the support of our blog friends who work very hard to convey the special company Hickory Chair is and lastly, we really appreciate the support that the talented design communtiy gives us through opportunities to hand make one-of-a-kind pieces for their client’s homes!

  5. Traci Zeller says:

    What a great post! Jay, Laura and the rest of the Hickory Chair team did such a great job organizing that blogger breakfast event. It was such a privilege to hear directly from Alexa, Thomas and Suzanne! I posted extensively about our time with them – it was just that fabulous! It was a pleasure meeting you as well, Tobi, and I look forward to seeing you again at these events.