Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A very special message from Mod Mom... 

Mod Mom Kiersten Parsons just published a very important message...

"If you've been to our website recently, you'll see many items out of stock due to a change in manufacturing that's occurring. BUT before that change is complete, I'm going back into the wood shop for a limited time only, with family and Mod Rob to produce some very special custom, limited edition toy boxes! The "Owyn" will be up for sale in June along side several others that will include custom color choices, hand signed by me, and a few special extra surprises! Stay tuned for more details and how to purchase! (and let me know if you're interested in one that we currently are out of stock on)" - Kiersten! Mod Mom is going back into the wood shop one last time to build a very special signed and numbered limited edition series of her famous hand made toy boxes! And, I've been lucky enough to get invited to go with her to help with this very cool limited series. So excited! I'm sure it has nothing to do with my badass tools or anything ;) Seriously, it's an amazing honor for me to work by her side on this, and it's a huge and rare opportunity for everyone to get one of her creations! This could actually be the last chance ever to get a custom signed, and numbered toy box made by Mod Mom's hands! To top it all off, part of the proceeds will benefit some amazing causes. Much more information coming soon!
Please share this post and help us spread the word! And, you can keep up with all the latest details on what will be available, and how to purchase on Facebook and

Hope you're having a very mod day!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

What happens in High Point...

The Mod Life Collection has finally become a full reality. Together "Mod Mom" Kiersten Parsons and I, launched the collection at the April 2015 High Point Furniture Market. We had such a blast! The brand new collection was a real hit! We're still pinching ourselves, and we could not be more excited about the future! Now the real work begins. 

When I stop and think about all the years, miles, and experiences it took to get to this point, it's very humbling and rich with many lessons. So many gifts of learning.The kind you don't realize you're getting along the journey. It's just amazing to look back on it all, and see how each step led to the next. Even when it didn't look like the path you thought would lead to your dream. Pretty much all of it had to happen to be truly ready. Being born into the industry it felt like a very typical Market. Nothing happened as it was planned. Therefore, PANIC! We're talking very long hours and way too little sleep leading up to the opening bell. Kiersten and I  stayed in the showroom until 4:00am the morning of the "unofficial" opening of the showroom. At least our baggy eyes and tired bodies made it back in later that morning.

We still had to scurry around and get the walk-through sheets and price lists printed. But, we finally made it. We were ready! We did a quick walk through ourselves to make sure we were good to go when the first customer walks in. If you've ever worked a Furniture Market, you know those jitters you get before you present your products for the first time. And this time, it was a whole lot different. This time I own the company. Is this going to work? Am I about to look very foolish? Well the good news is, the first customer came in and they actually placed an order! The very first customer. What a rush it was! The Market went on and many more customers came in and we actually wrote a lot of business. It turned out to be the best launch we could imagine or hope for. Our collection will be hitting retailers all over the country this Summer. 

We have so many people to thank for helping us make this a reality. First and foremost, I would like to thank Kiersten, my extraordinarily talented partner and beautiful love of my life. From the day we met she has shared this dream, and walked the walk right by my side. I'm a very lucky man. I would like the thank Jim Lloyd and his family. Jim and his son bring such a wealth of Rockstar manufacturing talent, experience, and long standing impeccable reputations. And, what they do is the foundation inside every one of our products. We're so fortunate have such an amazing factory behind us. A BIG thank you to Barry (aka: "Slash") Parsons for making the long trip from Defiance, OH. We're beyond grateful for all your support in helping us make this happen. You were amazing in the showroom, and you gave us that coach's push over the goal line. Also, another BIG thank you to our honorary "GM', "Senior Adviser", and Dietary Czar; Cheryl Parsons! Thank you for letting us borrow the coach for a week and watching our veggie intakes.

Right now we are in the thick of the "After Market" blitz, and many days, miles, and long hours still lie ahead of us, and we couldn't be more grateful and happy about it. We'll be back in the studio with all the designers soon. Kiersten and I will also be back out on the road, and we're even planning on strapping on our tool belts and doing some on-site Mod Spot builds at several select retailers late this Summer. We'll let you know where and when as it unfolds. Who knows, it may be in your city. Hope to see you there. And, we're bringing some really badass and fun mod furniture along with us!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

One Rockin' Mod Mom!
"Mod Mom" Kiersten Parsons
I was sitting in my office one day, and I opened up the facebook feed to see what's going on in my own little world of social media. Dana Helms, a good friend of mine posted about this woman who built a company from her garage. Her designs were so fresh and cool! But, wait...what!? She built the first 400 units by hand in that very same garage? Seriously!? I had to look further into this amazing and fearless entrepreneur. As I read on further from her website, blog, and social media pages, I was simply in awe of what this woman had accomplished!

She encountered two basic needs. First was a true need for cool modern toy storage, and second was the real need to make a living! So, this former entertainment executive who left her successful career to become a full time mom did what any mother would do in the situation. HA! She picked up some power tools and started building in her garage! Again, wait...what!? How awesome is that!? That's what I thought too. I later came to know that her father is a real handy and awesome "salt of the earth" football coach from Ohio. He's a really great guy, and had built many things at home as Kiersten was growing up. So the sound of saws ripping through wood was not completely foreign to this coach's daughter. But still! She decided to go after a dream, and she taught herself how to be a carpenter, and just began building the coolest toy boxes.
Mod Mom in the garage
As I learned more, I could see how this badass woman tackled any obstacles before her with the same determination and fearlessness. Her back story clearly revealed her passion for overcoming challenges in life. And now, she took her newly learned craft all the way to an emerging brand selling more and more gaining more and more editorial exposure, and success. Eventually she found her way onto ABC's Shark Tank. You can watch her awesome episode here.

Fast forwarding a bit, Kiersten and I developed a quick friendship spurred by our mutual respect for each others' talents and passions for design, And, for what we were both independently striving to achieve in our respective careers. But something else amazing was going on. Very shortly into to this friendship I fell very much in love. OK, I'll admit it, it was actually the first second I came to know who she really is. I was already in awe of what she had done before I got to know her, but it was a video she made for the KIN Community that truly captured my heart and soul. In this video you can clearly see the authenticity in her very bright and beautiful soul. She said in the video that "when something doesn't sit right with me, it usually didn't turn out well." Those words blew open my own personal healing, and helped me consciously focus on listening very carefully to my own intuitions. Those words and this woman changed my life forever! Take a look at Kiersten's Kin Community video below...
Did you fall in love? Yeah I know, I did too. Kiersten and I have been together for over a year now, and on a personal level I feel like the luckiest man on the planet. On a business level, I now have an authentic and brilliantly talented lioness by my side! Together we've spent the last year working really hard and traveling the country building towards a very Mod dream.

Times Square, May 2014, ICFF Show
The journey so far has brought us to the amazing launch of our own new adult seating collection in High Point, NC. The collection was a really big hit, and we could not be more excited about the future! Last May Kiersten made me president of Mod Mom Furniture to help her advance and scale up the business. And now, as of today, Kiersten has agreed to take on the new position of president of Mod Life Collection. Two very big steps in building a much bigger vision we're calling Mod Group. Much more news on this to follow in the near future, but this post is more about celebrating the woman I love. And the woman that I continue to watch in awe everyday. She's a straight up Rockstar!  

I'm so proud and grateful to be able to work with my best friend. Our journey is really just beginning and there's so much to do. But, the old cliche about doing what you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life. Well, if you can also add in your best friend and love of your life, the sky is the limit! Thank you Kiersten for being born on this planet, and for being the most beautiful and brightest light I've ever known! 

Love you! T,N,&F! XO


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A little bit about the journey...

High Point, NC 2014
When I was a kid I dreamed about growing up and flying rockets, or at least some job where I would get to push all kinds of cool buttons. Well, you know what happens - the real world and destiny reveal themselves. At least I get to push all kinds of buttons on my smart phone now!
My father was a sales rep in the furniture business. As a child of the industry who was writing messages on the chalkboard in the kitchen (right before answering machines) for my father from retail salespeople, my destiny was set very early.

My professional path started in the factories. I worked in every department from the lumberyard to the loading dock. Then I went onto floor sales in a furniture store. From there, I eventually became a sub-rep, a lead-rep, and finally a top ranked VP for the largest leather furniture manufacturer in the world.

 I had found financial success and a really cool title. Traveled the world and learned more about the industry than I could ever imagine. There were two problems I discovered within all that I was learning: 1) People hate buying furniture; 2) None of my work had much to do at all with my real passion in life.

Altamura, Italy 2003
People in just about every financial bracket clamor for the latest new technology, automobile, or new gear, but not furniture! Sorry but the truth is, we as an industry do a terrible job of exciting people. It’s been my passion for many years now to do my little part to change that. Now I actually get to do that!

Over 10 years ago when I ripped off my tie, and left the world of sales to follow my true passion in creating things, the journey to the Mod Life Collection began. Now, the mission is very simple, to break every paradigm that makes sense to break. To follow a new vision of fun and exciting new products that people will clamor for. We live on our couches. And yes, we do call them couches!

So now the long wondrous journey has brought me to the beginning of a whole new one. Mod Life Collection launches in less than two weeks. I can't believe it's finally here! Let's Rock!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

No Girls Allowed! (Nor anyone else for that matter!)

Whenever I hear it said that the “Boy’s Club” still rules and “women need not apply,” I feel compelled to share my experiences in this industry. It’s true, if you walk into most showrooms in High Point during the beginning of the Furniture Market, you will find a huge group of older men in their new market ties getting ready for the sales meetings. Soon the company leaders (mostly all men) will get up and address the sales force.  He will tell them why these products will sell and give them the marching orders for the upcoming season. Some of those leaders will even talk about how more women are needed in influential positions in our industry. I’ve heard the same empty rhetoric for 30 years now! The problem is, some say it because they believe it, and some because they think it’s the right thing to say and it makes them look more progressive. However, they’re still saying this to a huge group of aging men.  Some in really great ties, too. But the truth is there’s no plot against women or anyone else. The only plot is to desperately keep their jobs.
To begin to go to the core of the problem we have to back up and understand how this industry was built. I, myself, am a perfect example of how the industry has evolved. I’m a pure nepotistic traveler into the wide world of furniture. My father is a retired 50 year veteran of the industry, and he brought me in through the worm hole called “who you know.”  Here’s the dirty little secret.  In the good ole days, you didn’t have to possess the truly applicable talent nor education to make a lot of money in the furniture business. You needed to have a father in it! Then you needed to learn to talk the talk and take the right people to lunch without saying something stupid. And to this day, the same crop of individuals cultivated over the decades is still in many of the same positions. The only difference now is they are holding on for dear life! So few are there because of their training or deep connection to what really applies to today’s home or the real consumers’ design sensibilities.

Women of the industry please listen carefully. You are the primary consumers of our products. These jobs are there for your taking! The “Boys Club” is weak. Actually, it doesn’t really even exist at all. A club implies organization and a team working together for a cause. Trust me, most of their wives still pick their ties! They can’t compete with you head to head. You got this! The biggest obstacle today is the fear, insecurity, and the misunderstandings stemming from the years of the smoke and mirror show perfection.
The reality is, the industry is ripe for takeover on every level. And, it has to be on every single level.  If we really look around, there are some amazing bright spots and real progress is happening. Take a look at Meredith Younger at Younger Furniture. She’s leading a great upholstery company and she’s kicking ass and taking names! Watch Julia Rosien leading the charge at Restonic.  Take a look at “Mod Mom” Kiersten Hathcock, founder of Mod Mom Furniture. She went into her garage and taught herself carpentry (another traditional “man job”) and starting building furniture by hand. She’s now blazing a path for all women from the sawdust on her garage floor, to an internationally known brand that connects deeply and directly with how our consumers live.

Along with the obstacles to women (and just as lethal to our industry) is the complete disregard of real recruitment efforts. Only through interior design does this exist at all. Over the years I’ve been in hiring positions for meaningful jobs. Early at one point, I worked for a very well known furniture company and I advertised a very high paying sales position. I was flooded with resumes from those same men in ties and their sons from the same showrooms I mentioned earlier. Not one resume was from a woman. Not one from someone in retail or a design firm or anywhere else. In hindsight, I also did a terrible job of targeting my recruitment efforts towards a new and innovative direction. At the time I was young, scared, and inexperienced. I hired from the safe stack of resumes in front of me. And the list go on!
Wait it gets even worse! To even begin changing recruitment efforts we have to address another huge core problem. It’s the investment in Research and Design. When money goes into R&D, students and young talented women and men have something with which (and for) to work. But that’s a whole other critical subject. Bottom line is, the world has changed. We need a real gender, age, cultural, and investment balance. We need new talent and new blood in our industry and we better hurry! We’ve been behind for decades and the world is only moving faster and faster. So, women, men, gays, straights, and green Martians, let’s go to the core and make things happen one bite at a time. Because if we don’t our kids will soon be sitting on their new Apple and Samsung sofas!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tai Kung Lu

Photo by Robert Petril
I took this very simple photo (above) a few years ago in Shanghai. At that time, it symbolized change or transition to me. I loved the contrast of these two walls coming together. It seemed to fit how I felt about my own life path. I was well into my transitional journey through the world of design and creating things inspired by my own unique visions.

These walls are located in a back alley near a place I loved and frequented when I was living there. A street called Tai Kung Lu. A place where you can find many artist's studios, outdoor cafes, quaint little restaurants, and boutiques. It was one of my favorite inspirational hangouts.

Tai Kung Lu (Photo by Robert Petril)
I can remember so many days there dreaming about where I wanted my life path to lead. I was doing what I loved, but I still felt that part of me was stuck in a different life. Like I really didn't belong there, and my dream was reaching towards nothing but more uncertainty. Yet the urge to continue reaching has never diminished. And today I know exactly where it was all leading.

Back to the photo at the top. While the contrast of the two walls coming together is so beautiful, the stucco represented the norm or the way everyone says things should be. The brick on the other hand displays a wonder of texture, depth, variance, and contrast within itself. It's much more beautiful to me. The multitude of flaws make it feel much more authentic than the stucco to the left.

Tai Kung Lu (Photo by Robert Petril)
I'm so grateful that I saved this very simple photo in my collection. I feel I was guided to save it and use it today. I'm on the verge of realizing some really important dreams. Ones that I fought through so much negative feedback, uncertainly, and sacrifice to achieve. And most recently I've met the love of my life. A person beyond all my dreams. Now I know why I saved this photo. It's the perfect canvas for those life wisdom quotes...

Click photo to enlarge


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mix It Up: Your Artwork Doesn’t Have to Match the Sofa

There’s nothing better than finding the perfect piece of furniture for your home. It’s comfortable, it fits the dimensions of your space, and best of all, it fits your personality. But sometimes it can be a struggle to find artwork to match your furniture.

The solution? Don’t worry about matching! Here’s a little design secret: There are no rules that say that your art has to perfectly coordinate with your interiors in color, size, or aesthetic. In fact, when your artwork has an oddity to its size, or is displayed in a nontraditional way, or even if the subject is unexpected, that’s what makes your home a real home!

Your artwork should reflect you, your personality, your family, and your lifestyle in a way that creates a treasured home environment. Here are a few ways to bring the unexpected into your home art gallery.

Break away from the traditional. Remember when artwork would always be hung according to rigid standards? You may have chosen a patterned sofa or set of chairs and tried to find art in the same color palette. However, there are plenty of ways to style a look without being overly matchy-matchy. Imagine a black-and-white striped chair with a bright red and orange abstract print above, for example. Colors can be complementary, or you could have just one color in common to tie it all together. 

Stay under budget. Just because you sprang for an investment rug doesn’t mean you have to buy an original painting to match. No matter how nice your furniture is, you can find inexpensive artwork to match. Instead of choosing a pricey painting, why not display your favorite prints? Calendars are a great source for multiple prints that can be arranged together using uniform frames. It’s really all about expressing your unique style so that when you look at it all together, you can’t help but smile.

Choose your locations wisely. It’s a good idea to consider the function of each room before deciding which art will live in it. Start out by grouping your artwork together and determining which rooms you want to display which pieces. If you’re worried that small children or rowdy guests will disturb your artwork, consider pieces that are not breakable for common areas. A few long hanging wires spray-painted with plastic coating or a grouping of long picture shelves could hold your children’s favorite books or Lego creations. Or if the kids are older, you can pair artwork from your latest travels with cherished photos of your kids to give your room a new focal point.

Add an air of eclecticism with a gallery wall. The great thing about gallery walls is that they fit in with just about any décor. If you have boxes of treasures hidden away, look through them and pick out meaningful pieces to display, from your kids’ artwork to favorite family photos and beloved prints. Think outside-the-box by mixing colors and patterns. Robert’s own bright and multicolored furniture designs work so well with a mix of old and new accessories, and a gallery wall is the perfect way to accomplish that look.

Make your kids the star of the show. Family photos look great anywhere when done with style. Skip the photo studio and have a few of your favorite snapshots printed as over sized black-and-white photos… perhaps one of each family member sticking out their tongue out or blowing out their cheeks? This look is so much more personal than posed studio shots and will remind you of special times together.

So, if you think your artwork has to match your furniture perfectly, then consider these ideas to give your interiors a fresh look. You will never look at artwork the same!

Laurie Laizure is the CEO of Customized Walls and founder of the largest online community for design pros. Laurie’s work has been featured on various cable networks as well as top publications in the interior design world such as New England Home and Country Living magazines. She also writes on her own blog, William Sonoma Designer Marketplace and for Connect with her here: Google+ 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

High Point October 2014

When Lazar asked me if they could create a sofa from my LOUNGE design, I said sure!! See the result at the High Point Market | The World's Home for Home Furnishings!

Let's see how they did...

Showroom IHFC D817
(Design Center 8th Floor)

See you there!


Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Happening 2015!

I'm so excited to share the news that Mod Life is bringing you my own signature seating collection in early 2015!

Made in the USA! 

Stay tuned for more news as it happens at Mod Life Collection and on Facebook.

This is going to be fun!