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Business

Thom Filicia Discusses Business & Top 2021 Trends

Big-name designers Thom Filicia and Alexa Hampton team up to take their High Point Market debuts to NYC. Filicia sits down with RugNews.com to discuss how and why, plus his thoughts on top interior trends for the year.

Lisa Vincenti
2/23/2021
Thom Filicia in his to the trade showroom
Celebrity designer Thom Filicia in his 200 Lexington Ave. showroom, Sedgwick & Brattle.

NEW YORK -- Celebrity designer Thom Filicia, with a growing portfolio of licensed home products under his eponymous label, tweaks his strategy during the continuing COVID pandemic, launching Market on the Move with fellow designer Alexa Hampton to showcase their High Point Market introductions for buyers unable to attend.

The pair is premiering their home furnishings and furniture debuts, typically only presented to retailers and designers at High Point Market, at their respective New York Design Center showrooms at 200 Lexington Ave.


Big name designers Thom Filicia and Alexa Hampton team up to create Market on the Move, bringing their High Point Market debuts to the New York area.

"When COVID first started rearing its head I started doing a thing called House Calls on Instagram and it really was a way to keep people connected and keep the conversations going and Alexa was one of the first people I had on my Instagram show," Filicia told RugNews.com in an exclusive interview. "And I realized how important staying connected is.

"When she and I ended up back at High Point last October, I was at about 50 percent of the people I would normally meet with. It was better than we expected," continued Filicia, whose Thom Filicia Home Collection includes programs with Vanguard Furniture, Kravet, Eastern Accents and more. "We both had great markets in the sense that we sold a lot of product and clients were really happy to see us." However, that left a large swathe of their clients out of the loop on new products and design trends.

When the pair discussed the only in-person High Point Market of 2020, they realized how much they had missed market. "We were thinking separately that maybe we should get some of our new product from market and have it on the floor of our showrooms at 200 Lexington. We were both thinking along the same lines and that is how it happened," said Filicia, who catapulted to stardom as the interior design expert in the Emmy Award-winning hit show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

To launch the concept the duo introduced a dedicated Market on the Move website and created the hashtag #marketonthemove as a way to continue the conversations with people in the New York tri-state area interested in seeing the product either virtually or in-person.

"We were all kind of wowed by how market was much better than we thought it was going to be. And we also knew people were looking for product. What we heard at October market from people who were buying for their stores was, 'We are out of product. We need stuff' -- because they were doing a lot of business during COVID.


Showcased in Thom Filicia's New York Design Center showroom are the latest additions to his eponymous home collection.

"So Market on the Move is necessary not only in terms of keeping people on point with what is going on in the world of design, but also helping them connect with product that they need," Filicia said.

The response has been strong and now Filicia and Hampton are considering a way to take the show on the road. The current event was fairly evenly split between in-person meetings with clients nearby and virtually with those located further away or not willing to go outside their COVID "bubbles." And despite the anticipated end to the pandemic sometime later this year as more people are vaccinated, Filicia expects that many of the new ways of connecting with clients and doing business will likely be here to stay.

"It's been received really well. I know that we connected with a lot of people and it's been a really good energy and people are enjoying that because everyone feels a bit isolated. What we are trying to do is be very forward thinking about how people can do business and be creative.

"Instead of there being one way of communicating [such as at in-person markets], we are going to see a much broader approach, which is exciting."


Designers and retailers are hungry for new product -- one reason whyThom Filicia and Alexa Hampton took their High Point debuts on the road.

Almost all the new home collection products being showcased in Filicia's lifestyle brand and showroom, Sedgwick & Brattle, and are in-stock and ready to ship. In addition, Filicia noted his home furnishings have been performing well across the board during the pandemic.

"All our categories are doing incredibly well. The artwork we have is a huge success -- our wall coverings, both our commercial and residential lines have been really well received. We have been very lucky that our product has done well with our various licensed relationships. We have been very smart about making sure that our price points are really thoughtful and we have had really good luck across the board with all of products and categories."

Filicia says the most important interior design trend he sees that is resonating with people is creating spaces that are really personalized and feature an engaging mix of design styles.

"It's about this interesting mix of things that feel a little bit more modern with things that have a bit of a traditional edge," he explained. "This kind of stylish and personalized mix is the trend for markets moving forward. It is really about mixing it up and about making it feel very personalized and unique and giving it its own kind of quirkiness that makes it feel bespoke to the people who live there. "


Designer Thom Filicia expects that creating unique, personalized spaces will be the lead trend for 2021.
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