This week’s blog post is about GRATITUDE, and an interview with Ruth Olbrych, owner of the ZAAR Design Center. But also today, I’ve been married for 32 years to THE most amazing husband, David Latimer!!! Hard to believe he’s put up with me for THAT long, but I feel VERY blessed. And tomorrow is my birthday!!
What better way to celebrate my fun birthday/anniversary combo then to have my work represented, FOR THE VERY 1ST TIME, at the High Point Market, April 16 – 20th, by THREE showrooms.
Those who have followed me for the past 12 years know that I attempted to go National in 2013 at Atlanta Market, but I was not ready and it taught me A LOT of what I needed to change in these last few years to make my business Deborah Main Designs more successful. I’m ready now friends!!! And I hope you will celebrate with me this great accomplishment to make it this far.
I am truly humbled and grateful to 4 amazing women, 3 of whom you see here below, and the other, the lovely Heather Karlie Vieira, of 20th Century by HKFA, I interviewed last week HERE about her debut of Modern Look Book.
On today’s blog, I’m interviewing Ruth,so you can learn all about Antiques by Zaar. But first a HUGE thank you to all 4 of you remarkable business women in the design and home furnishings world!! THANK YOU!!!
PG: Well, I’m honored that our dear friend Jana Platina Phipps, The Trim Queen, connected us and that you’ll be one of three showrooms representing my line. And I feel it’s a perfect fit as many of our new and modern textiles I hand select from Mom & Pop shops in China, and many of our Les Bijoux pillows with the vintage brooches and French trim are so well suited with your antiques. How are you feeling about High Point starting this weekend?
RO: Yes, the excitement is mounting as new product continues to arrive into the showroom at Union Square. Nothing juices me up more than being able to present wonderful collections as produced by no less than wonderful people. Thus showcasing the fine craftsmanship of Deborah Main and Frank Rogers is giving me great delight as Market draws near.
Each company is having their debut at this Spring 2016 Market. Please be sure to put a visit to ZAAR Design Center at Union Square on your Market Schedule. You can find us at 410 English Rd, E101 (Between Elm and Lindsey) and it’s on the bus line. And anyone can contact me directly at 207.838.2675 of firstname.lastname@example.org
PG: I understand that Antiques by Zaar has been selling at High Point for 13 years? Aren’t you now in a larger and new location?
RO: From 2004- 2015 I moved my location 4 times/each time getting closer to the “heart of High Point”. For the first time in 7 years I am in a full-fledged permanent showroom that is on the bus line (red stop 26) and within walking distance from Market Square. Spring and Fall 2015 Market was my debut in this spanky new space. (I still hold a small warehouse space on West Market Center Drive for overflow.) I LOVE my new space and feel it is what I needed!
PG: With Antiques by ZAAR, you specialize in Chinese Antiques and English Chesterfield sofas. That’s an interesting combination. Can you tell us a little of the back story of why you only specialize in those two areas?
RO: I tend to say I got “tricked” into selling Chinese antiques. We moved to Maine, with our 3 pre-teens, after 8 years in Asia. My husband, as a “house warming” gift bought a small shipment of Chinese Antiques. In retrospect ,I saw it as a trial run, as before I knew it we were buying a container and planning to set up a website for me to run the new business from home. (ZAAR = the initials of my kids , Zach, Arianna and Avery and mama Ruth to anchor it) With our first sale in 2000 we felt we had “made it” and starting January 2001- 2008 we purchased a 40’ high cube of antiques/reproductions every 2 months, with my husband going to Asia to hand pick everything in our collection.
2008 was a turning point year for many of us in the Home Furnishing Industry and we were not immune to effects of the economic downturn. I stayed with the biz (Interior designers kept me in biz during recession!) and in 2010 I created ZAAR Design Center. Using Antiques by Zaar as the anchor and adding lines from other companies (this is how I met Distinctive Chesterfields, as they were looking for US representation) I offered year round exposure by having my facility open year round on an appointment basis.
I love how the Chinese and Chesterfields complement each other so. My expertise lies in giving customers confidence in the product they are purchasing, the company they are buying from, and the process, which I work to make as seamless as possible.
We have an ever changing collection of “in stock” items in High Point that are available for “quick ship” and also serve to give customers an option to come and test sit the product/validating the quality of our pieces in person. However, just like the antiques, the vast majority of my customers are buying product sight unseen.
I remain interested in having the showroom in High Point for 3 reasons:
- to introduce ourselves to Trade folks that may not otherwise land on either company,
- to validate our online presence with a showroom, and
- for those that want to come and see for themselves, to give them that option.
PG: This market you are debuting two new artisan lines, Frank Rogers hand-crafted wrought iron tables from Mexico and luxury artisan pillows by Austin pillow designer, Deborah Main. Why did you select these two lines to begin carrying at your showroom?
RO: Just like the chesterfield connection, it’s a matter of who you meet and what product they have, and if you are a fit for each other. And timing has something to do with that as well.
I have always called “ZAAR Design Center” my evolving entity and that it has been these past years and I’m FINALLY feeling like I’m getting my groove with what it should be and to whom.
High Point should serve more as a place of introduction, and as I said above, for those that can and need to, a place for them to see for themselves, whether it be during Market and otherwise.
It’s a happy coincidence that both you (Deborah Main Designs) and Frank Rogers (the Mexico connection) are debuting with me and becoming part of my offerings. I LOVE that you are both high end artisans!
Frank Rogers is new to the US Market. (Introduced to him by an old Designer customer who encouraged each of us to connect.) I’ve known Frank for a few years now but only got together now. He has no US representation (Retail and wholesale). From the first time I saw his table I was enamored with his work and so am excited to now have the opportunity to grow his presence and sales in the States.
And as far as you and Deborah Main Designs, I saw you all over social media (in a good way) and Jana Platina Phipps, the Trim Queen, and I served as the conduit to connect us, the time seemed right for both of us. You have been selling for 12 years now and are eager to grow. I am happy to be one of 3 locations for your debut and hope that they all work for you to help you get to the next place you want to be in your business. I also like our shared Asian connection.
PG: Why is High Point Market such a good place for new lines to debut?
RO: For me it’s about great people having great product and a collaborative spirit to bring said product to the market place. I have a very responsive email list of over 6,000 which I’ve grown over the past 17 years, and I have a good foot print on social media. With this (and a new website) and the great product offerings, I hope to increase the market share for each company that I work with and make every sale a win(for you), win (for me) win (for the customer.) THAT, which can only be done with this collaborate Spirit, juices me up!
PG: Lastly, I know you do High Point market twice a year, but you also have an online store and have your design center open year round by appointment, correct? Please tell us where people can find your beautiful products during High Point and afterward as well?
RO: During Market we are open at Union Square, which is at 410 English Rd, E 101. High Point, NC 27262. (Red bus stop 26) Between Markets, the other months of the year, Union Square is open by Appointment.
Online: www.zaardesigncenter.com and www.antiquesbyzaar.com
Distinctive Chesterfields has a retail website (need to go through me for trade pricing) at www.distinctivechesterfields.com/usa/
Frank Rogers has a website (no pricing) at www.frankrogers.com
and you, well your followers know to go to www.DeborahMainDesigns.com to shop and watch for the launch of your brand new website. But for trade pricing, they need to shop at ZAAR Design Center at High Point Market!
Thank you so much Ruth for taking the time out of your busy High Point Market prep schedule to answer a few questions for our readers to learn more about both your online retails stores and your wholesale showroom ZAAR Design Center. It’s been great fun working together and a privilege you represent my line, Deborah Main Designs, thank you!! I Iook forward to a long-term collaboration. Wishing you and all the vendors and showrooms at High Point a FABULOUS and successful market! Till next time, XO PG