NY NOW Podcast

A Deep Dive with Patti Carpenter

July 28, 2021 NY NOW Season 1 Episode 48
NY NOW Podcast
A Deep Dive with Patti Carpenter
Show Notes Transcript

Global Trend Ambassador Patti Carpenter, and longtime friend of NY NOW’s talents are undeniable. Listen as she shares with us how her start as an artist blossomed into international Design + Development, working with artisan groups globally, Co-founding a BIPOC designer house showcase and so much more.  It’s completely understandable why she would be names Gift For Life’s Lifetime Achievement award honoree.     

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| Guest
Website:   
https://www.patticarpenter.com/

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https://nynow.com     

| NY NOW Podcast Page:   
https://nynow.com/podcast     

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https://nynowdigitalmarket.com    

Dondrill Glover:

Welcome to the new york now podcast, a modern wholesale market for retailers and specialty buyers seeking diversity and discovery, gathering twice a year in America's design capital, New York City. It's where buyers and designers on earth have refreshed and dedicated collection of eclectic lifestyle products.

Amy Loewenberg:

Welcome to the new york now spotlight podcast. I'm Amy lowenberg relations and partnership development manager in New York now, and I'll be bringing you important information, conversations and perspectives from both sides of the aisle. I treasure the relationships I've established and I relish in the new ones I make every day, sharing information and introducing our amazing community retailers, buyers, vendors, artists, makers and thought leaders through my spotlight podcasts in New York now, and my store tours on Instagram. Today we're talking with Patty carpenter, a longtime friend of New York now, Patty is a principal of carpenter and company trend scope and an award winning creative director in globally sourced home decor, personal accessories, fragrances and gifts, with an extensive experience in product design and development, merchandising and color and trend forecasting. As a micro enterprise specialist with US presidential recognition for domestic and international expertise and artisan development, small producer and entrepreneurial training and economic development. She was successful in international sourcing and wholesale, creating innovative products for her eponymous home textile brand carpenter and company sold internationally. Additionally, a carpenter has designed sourced and created strong private label collections that add revenue and innovation and enhance the image of brands including Bloomingdale's Farah Neiman Marcus crate barrel, the Phillips collection, ABC carpet and home Yankee Candle, Donna Karen urban Zen and Ralph Lauren. She has traveled and worked in 57 countries and has spoken and written on color and trend and design around the globe. As an international expert in color and trend forecasting, Patty is a trend consultant with Pantone and as the global trend ambassador for Amazon and OBJ. In America and in Paris, she is an active board member of serve International. And I am truly looking forward to talking with her. Hi, Patti, thank you so much for joining us today.

Patti Carpenter:

Oh, good morning, Amy. How are you?

Amy Loewenberg:

I am doing great. It is always a pleasure to talk with you. Let's just dive in. Okay, you have been recognized with the gift for life industry Achievement Award. I cannot imagine another more beautiful human being deserving of this honor. So congratulations.

Patti Carpenter:

Oh, thank you so much. First of all, thank you for having me on this. I'm so excited to be chatting with you. But yeah, that is something that is I was so totally blown away. When when Cole got in touch with me about that. And it is just one of the greatest honors for me in my life, I have to say because it's from the community that I work with. It's from my peers. And and I love the work that gives us and there's so many synergies around how we work together, how we give back, and I look forward to doing more work with them now that this has happened. But yeah, just I'm so humbled and so honored by that.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, we're gonna chat about it a little bit later, too, because, I mean, it's just so deserving of some more talk time. But I believe that after this conversation, our listeners will easily understand why gift for life chose you to receive this award. The gift for life is the gift and home industry's sole charitable organization. And it was announced very recently that you were to be honored with the 2021 gift for life industry achieve Achievement Award. But I also just want to share that something that I picked up on when we first met is that very quickly, I felt like we were old friends. Yeah.

Patti Carpenter:

We kind of connected immediately.

Amy Loewenberg:

We did we did but I also believe that you have that effect on everyone.

Patti Carpenter:

Thank you. I like to sort of think of folks as just friends I haven't met yet. You know, the work I do around the world. I think that just I'm very open in that way and I'm very interested in people I'm interested in learning I'm interested in absorbing it makes life so very full. It really does. You know, I just want to take this time to learn about you. I want to learn more about your history and your past because it's a very colorful one. And I believe that all one is

Amy Loewenberg:

said with love always to you. You know I believe that all who are listening now may know about you but they may not know all that there is to know about you. You are a very busy woman and I want to impart on our listeners just the depth of your knowledge and experience. But mostly I want them to hear about the difference you may in so many lives. And to do that, we need to talk a little bit about your past and your present and your future. So we're gonna dive in, okay. So LinkedIn shows that you've been immersed in fashion design and development for some pretty well known fashion houses. Some of the titles you've held are designed director, Director of Product Development, VP and design director, VP of Design and Merchandising. So when was it? And what was it in your DNA that moved you in this direction? Like when did this fashion bug

Patti Carpenter:

bite you? Well, the bug that bit me first was arch. I am an artist at heart. I am a trained visual artist and painting and sculpture. And that's where I started my dad's a graphic garden. So art has been a part of my life where since I got here, and something that I have a talent and natural talent and gift for Thank God. And, and so I started off in the world of fine art. In high school, I went to something called the workshop for careers in the arts. I'm from Washington, DC, proper in DC, not not the nation's capitol, not an area. And there was no High School for performing arts like there is here in New York. There was no no school that that that that incorporated all of the arts at the time, but I went to a high school that you had to test to get into where I could be an art major. And then when workshop came up, which was started by Peggy Cooper, and Mike Malone, two of my earliest mentors, then I started leaving my high school half a day and going to workshop. And I was a fine arts major. So I was painting I was sculpting, and but what they had all of these other workshops, and so I started getting involved in costuming with the theater workshop. And that's really sort of how that whole idea of taking art and turning it into a three dimensional piece in that way really came to be. And that works out for careers in the arts over the years has now become our Duke Ellington school, for the Performing Arts in Washington. And I go back periodically and do some work with the students there. And, and that's but that's really where that bug of putting something into something that someone wears, sort of took hold. And I really came to find out about the school that I went to, which is fit here in New York. And that's what brought me in New York, when my best friend who's still my best friend, we've been best friends since we were 16. Her sister went there. And we came up to visit her while we were in high school for a weekend. And that's when I sort of decided I didn't want to go to school for art. I've been accepted to Thursday, I've been accepted to Pratt, I've been accepted to Boston University. And I went back to DC and I told my counselor, I want to go to school for fashion and I outcome you never told me about fit. And she didn't even know about it. At the time, that was so bizarre. And I chose it because at the time it was a two year school. And I figured it's right here in the in the center. You're very near the garment industry in New York. And I wanted to be out and doing I'm a jeweler, yeah, I didn't want to be going to school for four years to learn about it. And the people who were teaching their professors were people were involved in the industry. And so they really lit the fire. We went into people's affiliates, we learned we went to fashion shows, we learned about it with that very hands on approach. And that's really what got me excited. I ended up staying for three years and getting two degrees. But it Oh, wow. That's how I got involved. So hands on experience for you School of Life. Yes,

Amy Loewenberg:

absolutely. Absolutely. I can see your enthusiasm. And you've also you also work on several initiatives and and have held multiple positions simultaneously. So what was the impetus that led you to found continuum home and for those who don't know, continuum home is a global product design and development consultancy with projects through USAID, international government agencies, trade promotion councils, nonprofit organizations and NGOs around the world.

Patti Carpenter:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I was working in the garment center, almost 30 years with wonderful people who I learned a tremendous amount from from people like Bill Blass, and I suppose through into through to Timberland and the limited, you know, group. And so I have this wonderful knowledge. And I ended with with Ralph Lauren, that was my last job as a VP on Seventh Avenue. And I gained all of this knowledge about the entire pipeline for a product, how one creates a product and takes it through to the consumer. And that was really, that's always what fascinated me. In terms of learning about product I that's why you see that I was the VP of Design and Merchandising, I was not just someone who wanted to create whatever the clothing or the accessories were, but I want to understand why they sold who they sold to what were the things that made them, you know, connect, hence my interest in trends. And so that really took me to working with an organization called aid to artisans. And ataa. I still work with today. I started working with them in 1995. So I'm 25 years in now at this point with them going into 26 and what happened was I got introduced to them through someone who had been a merchandiser? In the early days of my fashion career, I worked at Gloria Vanderbilt that'll be a name for

Amy Loewenberg:

him to wear her jeans in high school. I blame her hot pink Patty.

Patti Carpenter:

Porter, right. There you go, I probably did. And so the woman who hired me, a wonderful woman, Judy espinar, was our merchandiser back then, in the early 80s, and Judy was on the board of a to artisans. And she would go around the world and work with this organization. And she was she had moved at the time, she had moved out to Santa Fe, where she lives now. And she and I were having dinner on one of her trips coming back from kurzick, Stan. And she brought this bag full of stuff, because we were like minded souls around creation and creativity and handmade, and she said, Oh, my gosh, you need to get involved with this organization, I'm going to make a write a letter of introduction. And so she did. And I said, My, my, my resume and a cover letter, and I got a call back from their marketing area. And that is really how I got connected. And so for the next five years, I was part of what they call the designer Roundtable. And I go up to Claire, Brett Smith, who was at the time was the head of at a home in Connecticut. And for a long weekend, several times a year, we'd sit around 12 of us around her dining room table. And we will brainstorm with all these different products that they bring in from artisans, either projects that they had, or projects that they were bidding on or whatever. And we talked about how can we take this skill set and create something that will give them a broader market, helping to raise cultural and economic sustainability. And that resonated so with me that touched my soul. And that was really where it started. And in 2000, they came to me, I was at Ralph Lauren, and they said, We have this project in Mali, where I've never been, I've always wanted to go to Africa. And they said, it's a textile project, which is why we thought of you. And so for three years that this project would be three years, I'd have to go to Mali for three weeks or so each time I went a few times in that three years. But I will also be working while I was here in the States, on trying to come up with with not only the products that they might make, but then the retailers or the wholesalers, who could who could do they could connect to. So it was a really wonderful, that's really what I did

Amy Loewenberg:

you doing the entire process from the conception to

Patti Carpenter:

find out the sumur purchase exactly that entire pipeline and see that I understand a lot of people in our worlds don't come at it from having that kind of ground, which is why I thought starting continuum at the time would be something because it is about that continuum of how we bring it full circle. And so that's really how I started, I took I left I had to quit my job in order to do it. It was a conversation just me and my cat. Because at that point that was going to be who was going to be impacted by and I talked to my parents, both of who are creative and they were they were so supportive. I'm really blessed with that. And, and I quit. And I took off from Molly and I haven't looked back 21 years. Coming up in August, I will have been out on my own with my own consultancy. And it started off as continuum home. I bought a product in for eight years under that umbrella where I exhibited in New York now for many years in the global made section. And when I stopped the actual product is when I became carpenter and company. And so that's really sort of the circle of how continuum came to be and what it did. Wow. So

Amy Loewenberg:

I think I was correct when I said that everything is overlapping.

Patti Carpenter:

Everything feeds and it's very good. I like the idea of dovetailing everything dovetails one into the other to make connections, which is what I think of myself as a big connector.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, you are more than a connector, you're a trend specialist. You continue to lecture on design, global product development, artisan training and sustainability. You've spoken at the American University of Paris and the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY New York. And as mentioned, you have a longtime relationship with New York now, not just in your own product line, but with AIDS to artisans for years, which we of course, thank you for, as we've hosted them for many years. And you continue to work with them as a mentor and a presenter in their market readiness program. And why don't you share a little bit just a little bit more about the market readiness program? Because I'm sure that has changed and has had some impact?

Patti Carpenter:

Because of the disruption of the last year's No, absolutely. We've had to ship I've been part of the market readiness program now for all those 21 years. And we're actually I was just having conversation before talking with you because we're about to do a version of that for cashmere India. Throughout the month of August. I'll be I'll be doing getting an announcement. Are we getting a sneak peek? Yeah, well, you're getting an announcement. I'm going to be working with them on a project where we're going to be working with four different types of product product categories, where I'm gonna have to get up and do three hour sessions virtually because of course we can't go and so I'll be working with with four different product materials and we're starting off I believe with Paper Mache Shea. But I'll be doing that throughout the month of August, each product category will have a three hour training against it. And trend, you know, it can trend and training. And that's really what what we've all sort of shifted to is this idea of holding our mrps, virtually, we've done a few of them, we've now started to do them, they're doing them in Spanish as well, so that they can again, broaden into new markets. And that's really what's I mean, the beauty of this is that we've been able to pivot, you know, so so many things were stopped dead in their tracks, you know, with COVID. And through the ingenuity of the people that are in a TA, and those of us who are all, you know, sort of mentors that work with them, you know, lots of brainstorming sessions, etc. How can we transition this into online, and we've we've done that, and so I'm very proud of being able to continue to work with them in that way, even for the upcoming New York now, because we work with artisans around the world and borders are closed, we weren't even able to have a booth right this time, because artisans can't get in. Yeah. And so it's really difficult. And you know, and could have really put a halt on on many things which these the impact on this for these, you know, these rural artisans who need this information in order to grow their businesses and really develop cultural and economic sustainability, it's much deeper than than any impact we could probably imagine. And so we really needed to find a way to do that.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, I would also assume that you might be able to reach and work with more people virtually, possibly then in person as well. So it sounds like it's a nice synergy between digital and physical.

Patti Carpenter:

Yeah, and that way, truly, because again, so many people even prior to that, we'd had a lot of a lot less people able to get their visas to come for various and sundry reasons. And so, yes, by doing it, by doing it, virtually, it cost people far less, we get to your point, if you've got an internet connection, you know, you can we can you can be reached. And really the biggest, you know, the biggest issue that we have, of course, as always is is language. Because a lot of the times, you know, these artists are coming from so many various places, which is why they started to look into Spanish, because there's so many different countries, you know, we can do the training now with Spanish speaking speaker universal,

Amy Loewenberg:

right, you know, I just want to mention that it this is just not about training, you talk about, you know, an aspect of it. But let's also highlight the fact that you're also supporting artful skills that have been passed down through the generations, and that you're setting these artisans up not just for long lasting success in their trades, but the longevity of their skill and their art.

Patti Carpenter:

Yeah, no, that's probably paramount. For me as an artist, one of the main reasons that I think it's so resonated with my actual soul, I think, you noticed at this point is that we are keeping these cultures alive through this work, because I mean, I've worked in 57 countries around the world at this point over these 21 years. And I have heard it over and over again, in many languages, and in every part of the world, that the young people will go into town and work at it, you know, at a Hilton, if they'd rather than take up the skills of mom and dad or grandmother and grandfather, because they don't want to make $1 a day, which is what they're seeing with their, you know, with these extraordinary skills that we love here. We will start off and even aware that they exist, or who's doing them. But yeah, these are these are, you know, certain skills that can be hundreds, even 1000s. Some of them have years old. And we have to we must in my you know, for me, we must preserve these, we must load them and we can't drive them down to be you know, these cheap and cheerful dollar trinkets that you get when you get off a cruise, we need to foster the master craftspeople so that they can continue to train the young people in the master craft, because that's really what what has the longevity?

Amy Loewenberg:

Absolutely. We should also share with our listeners that Architectural Digest recently identified you as one keeping handcraft alive, that you've been working with skilled artisans around the world for over 20 years. It was a great article, and they actually called you a globally recognized artisan whisperer.

Patti Carpenter:

Great, I love that my parents were very impressed.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, they produced a pretty impressive woman. I feel like we're jumping around a bit but you've just done so much and and frankly still do so much. And and as I said a lot of it overlaps. I don't know how you keep this all in sync. But now tell us about carpenter and company where you're not just a color and trend specialists. But you are a recognized global color and trend forecaster with clients like Pantone and me john and oj.

Patti Carpenter:

Yeah, yeah, well, that is sort of, as I say, once I stopped having the product, which we sold, you know, directly from artisans and started being more of that connector for other for other people, other brands. That's been when I sort of shifted to carpenter and company and actually breaking news. Yeah, it's again another pivot coming out of COVID. But I move away from using carpentry. company and into just being Patty carpenter and company at that point was a lot of the artisans that I work with a lot of the different companies that I was working with. But now I'm really doing so much more as a sole proprietor where I bring in people on the projects that are experts against whatever we're doing. And so that's really been quite wonderful. But even with it with the name change, the work that we're doing is pretty much the same. And that is, you know, I speak and I write and I talk in print, you know, giving him presentations on color and trend from around the globe. What I do is basically, travel, work with with, be with trade shows around the world, and and with vendors and manufacturers around the world. And then I distill that information into presentations, which you've certainly seen, we've done a lot of work in New York now to talk about what we see as those trends down the road, from two years down for our most advanced clients to just next season for those that need it much more, right right up close to their calendar. And I work in the world of home decor, predominantly, accessories, gifts and fragrance. So that's really what carpenter and company is focused on.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, you masterfully present, what we will be seeing and even like the history of colors, I've sat through some of your workshops. Just a side note, like, tell us what you experience when let's just talk about color, because you're a color trend. Tell us about your experience, when a color deeply resonates with you personally.

Patti Carpenter:

It's interesting, I, we were just sort of chatting a little bit about that. And it's funny because even when I'm in a presentation, I often refer to color as mouth watering. And it literally my eye salivate when the color is gorgeous. And what's really beautiful to me, is that what we're seeing as we talk about sort of, you know, emerging through, you know, emerging from COVID Let's hope we can get you know, past this pandemic soon. We're certainly seeing families of color that always have resonated with me, but now it's you know, these are the kinds of things that are really important in general to the world. And those are those colors that are inspired by nature. I love being outdoors. Even though I live in New York City, I am gone a great deal. So I'm out in various terrains you know, all over the world and just being able to see the difference in the color of the sky and a different part of the world. The difference in the greens of nature, you know, even in lush in lush places, you know, lush, lush in Africa loves different than lush in Central America, which looks different in lush in the south southern part of our country. Yeah. So that that those levels of those beautiful herbal and vegetal greens, I mean, I i am i'm a i'm an earth sign. I'm a Taurus. And I really do resonate very deeply with with Earth, you know, the things that colors that come from nature, those earthy types of colors. So, I have to say that I really do salivate. It's, it's Lightroom mouthwatering for me, so that's really what happens when a color really resume.

Amy Loewenberg:

Let me let me ask you another question about color. Because, you know, certainly we know that this, you know, very disruptive last couple of years has changed a lot of trends of product and product development. Do you see a shift in in color, based on this pandemic that we've just been through and what we're experiencing as humans? Are you seeing any sort of new

Patti Carpenter:

evolution of color? Yeah, definitely. Yeah, as I say, the certainly that that focus on nature, the fact that there wasn't a lot that a lot of us could do except take a walk. I opened it, you know, opened our eyes and, but truly As humans, we resonate with things that you know, nature is something that gives us a solace that gives us comfort. You know, I talked a great deal about the Rees, my friend Tom teases me it's like, because I would say it's like Aretha Franklin, but we're refreshing, we're rebooting we revitalized, you know, return and those sorts of things. And it's it's really this sensibility of looking at nature a bit more deeply. And so we do see the families of greens I've been talking about them a great deal but we see the shifts you know, over these last even six, eight months, I was calling them very vegetal and herbal in the earlier days those ones that you know sort of the leafy greens that grassy greens tree you know, the the if you think of a lifespan of maturing trees and plants etc. How the greens change herbs from cooking all that time we spent at home cooking, people growing vegetable gardens, all those things are resonating with us because those are things that give us comfort. So that that's certainly a family that we were talking about before the pandemic and we certainly see continuing through this very strongly and after there two or three other color families blues, we've been talking about a great deal a mid range blue and if you think about the fact that most of us haven't gotten very dressed up, so we were wearing a lot of jeans so that the color of those lived in beautiful worn casual jeans that you know are that are just like fit us like a second skin, that mid range. The casualness of chambray that weight of green but if you think about the color of chambray, and sky, you know what is over us that gives us that eternal optimism. Um, that sense that things are blue sky thinking, thinking bigger pushing forward, you know, those mid range blues are going to be very important, as are the watery side of blue, where you start to talk about the TEALS, the infusion of greens into blues. And then last but not least, the warmer tones that warmer side of the palate, where we're moving away from gray, as a as our sort of staple, neutral and into the beige is the gracious the browns, the warm tones of Earth, all the way through to soil and express. So we drink a lot of coffee during this whole lot of coffee, those warm, dark, warm, dark liquid, a great deal, we baked a lot of bread, you know, wonderful, crusty Brown, that's on on a nice piece of sour dough, you know, all of those kinds of ranges, but then those spark off into some brights on the warm side, the oranges, the yellows, those corals, those are going to continue important. So we see a lot of those kinds of things that resonate from the out from the center of nature and resonate outward.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, for those of you who have not had the pleasure of listening to one of Patti's workshop you just got, you just got a snapshot of what it's like. And the visuals that she puts together for him are just phenomenal. You know, before we talk about your latest baby, why don't we mentioned some of the boards that you're on, because these are really important groups that we need to acknowledge? Oh, thank

Patti Carpenter:

you. Yeah, I've been I've been on the board a while there's three that are really, really important to me, one I've been on for over 20 years. And that's the High School of fashion, which is here in New York. And that is dealing with young, young high school students who want you know, think they want to go into the industry that I was a part of, for over 30 or about 30 years. And so I've been involved with them forever in sort of shaping us helping to shape the perception of young students of color is very important to me, seeing somebody who looks like them, helps them to know that it's possible, and then helping them get into college, many of them being the first in their families to go, that's really important. So that's one. The next is serve, which is an acronym s e r v like Victor, and serve. I've been on their board going into my fourth year. And they are the second oldest nonprofit dealing with with fair trade with the World Fair Trade Organization. So one of the founders, and surprisingly, I which I was surprised by when I got involved with them. Most people know 10,000 villages, because they they've had they've had retail stores. So they've been a lot more visible. But they are only one year older than serve, they were two of the founding members. So I've been on the board of serve, we work with artisans around the world, we have a catalog versus retail stores, they did have one retail store, where they were their main offices are in Wisconsin. But they've closed that during the pandemic. But we really work with a catalog. But the whole idea, again, is to be from maker to market to support artists and around the world. So everything that is sold through serve is made by artisans from around the world. And we you know, at our peak, we probably had about 49 or 50 artisans from all over the world that we meeting artists and groups from every different place in the world that we're working with. And we sell home decor and accessories. And food really has become a great category. So wonderful foods, which again, as we've been fat, we found ourselves at home, we're cooking and doing things experimenting, they make great spices and chocolates and teas and things like that as well. And then last but not least, is the bad Guild, which is the black artists and designers Guild, and I'm on their advisory board. And I got involved with maleny. With that, because again, it being a woman of color. We certainly see that in the creative industries and Arts and Design, it's often difficult for us to sort of make that leap into the mainstream for people to know we exist. And what's wonderful is often we are not standing on the shoulders as came came out in our next project that we're going to talk about others who've gone before in terms of our own businesses, meaning these are young entrepreneurs who have decided they want to make their living with their art and their design and their creativity. And, and and so we are here to foster that and to bring that to the fore.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, I personally have had the pleasure of working with a few people from that and and that Diana Smith being one of them. I interviewed her quite early on she's incredibly talented, beautiful woman. So giving of her time. And then of course, when we had the holiday houses, there was a section of New York now. But this is a wonderful segue to talk about, as I mentioned before your latest baby we cannot not talk about the kaleidoscope project as you are a co founder and I will just say that the kaleidoscope object is a designer showhouse venture that showcases the diverse talent within the creative design industry. And that your intent was to amplify the voices of those who rarely, if ever, have been given an opportunity to be heard. So please go to town and share all about this amazing project.

Patti Carpenter:

Well, thank you. I mean, it's one of the things I'm most proud of in my life. Life, Amy Swartz Bard is my co founder. And the third, the third arm of our trifecta is Liz Nightingale, who was the head of the DND marketing for many years, the last four or five years prior to COVID. And we brought her in to join us when when, you know, everything was shut down, and she was she didn't have events going on there. So we gave her more much more to do than she ever would have. But Amy is a East Coast rep for several brands and an interior designer in her own right. And she called me one day and we had a very long conversation a few hours long, just about my being a woman of color in this industry. And it came on the heels of George Floyd and his murder and and the idea that, that there needed to be some difference. You know, we needed to do something differently. And as the creative art leads the way off and and so our whole idea was we should be leaders, we should do something actionable. And so we brainstormed and we came up with this idea. And we used as our vessel, the Cornell in, which is in Lenox, Massachusetts in the Berkshires heart of the Berkshires about 20 minutes from Tanglewood for any of you all who know the Berkshires. And it was an eight point is an 18th century Inn. It's comprised of three buildings, the first built in 1777, in the last in 1889. And we took over two of the three buildings on the four acres. And we brought in 23, bipoc, designers black and indigenous people of color, to design 21 spaces, they're more designers in spaces, because one of them was a team of three, the Auguste grey design group, and the designers, you know, for me, as Amy and I were sort of working on this for me, I wanted diversity, to have many meanings, and to be on every level. And so the way that we looked at it was the first thing was certainly by having bipoc designers. So we have two East Indian designers that were part of our project, we have two Asian designers that were part of our project, we have three Latino designers that were part of our project. So this was not a black, you know, show house, this was literally about being diverse on that level. The second level of diversity that I wanted was not just a voice from those areas of the country that we think of as the Harbinger's of style, if you will. So not just New York, or Chicago, or LA or Miami. So our designers were from the Philadelphia outside the Philadelphia area, they were from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, they were from South Carolina, they were from LA, they were from Nebraska, there were some from the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area as well. And then there was one local who's from literally two towns over from where we were doing the project in Lenox, Massachusetts. So there was diversity on all of those levels. And really, the idea, as you said in the introduction, was to broaden that narrative to, to open up that dialogue, to say that there's more than one Eurocentric point of view about beauty, about design, about creativity. And what was fascinating to me, because each of these designers brought their A game and they were all extraordinary. And again, just like I was saying, with with bed gills, none of them were on the shoulders of a parent, or grandparents who had started a business that they took over as many of our you know, well known designers are today. They all are entrepreneurs, they all started their own successful businesses. And neither me nor I nor nor Liz knew all of them. So we met people along the way, who we are now forever connected with. And it was really fascinating to watch each of them design from afar, you know, and create this space in these ends in this in and it is just, it's extraordinary what they did. And the difference. I would say one more thing, the difference in a traditional show house is that in a traditional show house, one of the most wasteful things I can think of is after six weeks or whatever, it's all ripped out. Yep, these rooms remain intact. They are now being stayed in the in is open. And they were all named by the designers or whoever they wanted to name from, but you can now stay in one of these spectacular rooms. I actually did a room myself, I don't know what came over me. But I won the idea. I mean, I'm you know, I'm one of the few there are only two of us that really were not interior designers by trade. And I named the room for my mother Vivian and I had such an amazing time doing it is one of the hardest things we've ever done. Because we did it in six months. If you can imagine ripping an end from the 18th century out into the, to the slats and putting it back together. You know, in six months, or less than six months, it was pretty spectacular.

Amy Loewenberg:

Spectacular is the perfect word. I mean, I'm just thinking incredible, amazing, spectacular poem. And I'm glad you mentioned that because I actually have that as a note is one of the most amazing and I think best differences of all is that it's not a limited time It lives on and I think that it's important for that to live on. And that you also had a couple of like and let's see my notes you said that the designs will be inspired by theme rest, reflection and rejuvenation.

Patti Carpenter:

Yeah, well that was something that I came up with because me and I kept talking About the idea that we didn't want it to look like the hodgepodge Lodge. Different designers from all over the country with all their different aesthetics, etc. So we thought we'd give some context. And so I thought about why does one go to an inn in the Berkshires, and we thought you go for rest. So that was anyone who wanted to work in a palette of neutrals, you go for relaxation, or in our case, you go for what we call, what we go for you go for rest, which is relaxation, you go for rejuvenation, which was anybody who wanted to work in the warm palates. And you go for restoration, which is anybody who wanted to work in the pools, and I actually worked in the pool palette myself. And interestingly enough, as you talk, as we talked about trend, we had 21 spaces, 70% of them used green, some form of green, and no two colors were repeated in the entire end, except a ceiling white. Wow, leave it with 21 spaces, no one color was repeated except ceiling white ceiling. Well, that just talks

Amy Loewenberg:

about the majesty of color. Pretty

Patti Carpenter:

big, my favorite thing and what one must say, which is very interesting. I was up there for a good part of, you know, I would go back and forth, Amy Lynn lives there. So she was on site every day. And I mean, we had incredible cramps, people talk about craftsmanship, we had incredible crafts people that we work with up there, we had as many as six wallpaper hangers on site at one time, as many as five tile workers installing, we had eight to 18 ounce sweet baths. And we also had two other bathrooms, so 20 bathrooms in that amount of time, most of the people who've written about it and the media that have come up, we're blown away by just the bathrooms can't even get that

Amy Loewenberg:

done when you're doing your own home profit.

Patti Carpenter:

And beautifully, I mean, they're really each one a jewel. And the other thing I must say is because I think so many people, I mean, people have told me this sort of on the side, not not for, you know, open publication, as it were to say it out loud themselves. But I think most people were blown away. And the reason we've gotten so much coverage and media is that the rooms are really beautiful, they're spectacular. And I think people expected given the fact that we were bipoc, that there was going to be an afro centric, you know, sort of feel to things or something like that. There's none of that. Each one is unique, but speaks to a very high end design. And that's what was so wonderful to see. We had 35 sponsors, we could not be more thankful to our industry, who came on board and donated up upwards of $800,000 with a product because again, this wasn't being ripped out and returned. So people leave. And then those were the sponsors that sponsored our project. And we had people like Benjamin Bohr who did all of our paint, we had the shade store who did every window, we had, you know, beautiful sattva mattresses, you were going to be sleeping in heaven with us. In these rooms. You know, we had curry lighting and circle lighting and all kinds of people that often, you know, many of them have exhibited in New York now even. So we had, yeah, we had 35 sponsors for the project. But then each designer was certainly encouraged to utilize their own connections. And so I myself had separate project sponsors from my room, you know, that just gave me product from my room. And so many people who stepped up, were just so thankful that they could do something because people were looking for ways to be supportive of this whole conversation about diversity and didn't know what to do. And we gave them sort of a nice way to get involved. And they just stepped up even in the midst of COVID with inventory issues and timing, all the things we're all dealing with people just came through for us and we could not be more thankful about that. And then last but not least, I do want to say because we this really was, again, I'm a contact person full circle. We wanted to have some interns. So we had nine interns from fit from Parsons, and from the New York School of interior design all again, bipoc students that worked with us on this project, three of whom been hired by the designers, they work with the White House, and the money that we raised for the actual show house portion, three weeks from May 15 to the sixth of June, the money that we raised is going to go to three scholarships, one for the New York School of interior design, one to Parsons and one because I sit on the Education Board of bad guild went to the Education Committee for bipoc students who study in the art or creative industries and we're going to have about 30 $500 each to those so we raised enough to give 30 $500 each and so it's really full circle. It is full circle

Amy Loewenberg:

and you mentioned it before but I will say that you know you've gotten a lot of really great press on this and for those who are listening, if you haven't heard of the kaleidoscope project you should absolutely look her up look them up you should read the articles, Architectural Digest, house beautiful designers today business of home veranda, just To name a few

Patti Carpenter:

was our media sponsors. So Elle decor and Elle decor, let's

Amy Loewenberg:

definitely mention Hilton core. Gosh, Patti, you are truly amazing. We've touched on your Technicolor past your brilliant current, you've even shared with us a little bit about your future with some of the changes that you're going to be making, to Patti and co to be Patty carpenter. So I was gonna ask for some sneak peeks, but you've already given them to us. So tell us about maybe some dreams that you want to make a reality? Or do you just need a vacation?

Patti Carpenter:

And if so, where do you want to go? Yeah, well definitely need a vacation. And I'm leaving for tomorrow, we're headed to Puerto Rico for our and I'm looking forward to that. But almost immediately upon return, I'm going to be I hope that some of your listeners that are in the New York area we're going to do I'm doing a panel discussion at Cambria on the fourth of August. And it's based obviously with COVID, and their new showroom on West 21st Street. And you can look at my social media, because I'm waiting now for the invitation to be complete. But I'll be posting information about that. But that's on the fourth of August at 530. It's a cocktail and colors kind of conversation. But we're really going to be talking with summer. Kath, who's their VP of design a panel but she's the she's on the panel, late and Lewis, an incredible architect and designer and also one of the founding members of the bad guild badge is going to be one of our designers. We're talking to drew macaque in, and we're talking to Sarah Ramsey. And it's going to be really fascinating. The the theme of it is just one of the things I just talked about sort of the seas of comfort, connection, and community in design, how do you design to bring those things into what you're working on, because those are some of the things that we're hearing from consumers are top of mind in terms of trends that they're focused on. So comfort, connection and community. And it's and that's really exciting for me. So that'll be the fourth of August at Cambria. And then the next week, I start with four workshops, virtual brain, with these with India. So I'm very excited about that as well. Although I'm not looking forward to those 430 in the morning, begin, we have to do given the difference in time.

Amy Loewenberg:

So guys, we know that the color brown of coffee will.

Patti Carpenter:

Absolutely. So those are just that's a little bit of what's coming up. And then also what actually two more things as we talk about tkp the kaleidoscope project, we're going to be doing a kaleidoscope project day at during the Dallas Design Week in September. May zona j is up and happening in September. So I'm going back on my first time to Paris in the year and a half. I'm so excited in September. To cover that show. We're back we're going to be a slight bit smaller than we usually have been but no less exciting. Also Paris Design Week is happening that same timeframe. And then what's new, what's next is happening at the end of September here in New York. And we're going to be participating with some of our designers from the area for the kaleidoscope project with that as well. So there's a lot of coming there's a lot going on,

Amy Loewenberg:

I'm updating my passport just in case they want me to go to Paris just I'm putting it out there into the New York now waves don't need me to go I'm there. Yeah,

Patti Carpenter:

when I was fabulous, it's really gonna be fun. Alright,

Amy Loewenberg:

so we've come to the point in this conversation where we need to again acknowledge that you have been recognized as gift for life 2021 industry Achievement Award honoree, this will be presented to you during gift and decorative accessories 17th annual retailer Excellence Awards, the rays taking place virtually on Tuesday, August 3. So just to share the arrays have served as the longest running and most prestigious awards program for independent retailers in the gift and home industry. This award which has been presented since 2009. recognizes overall excellence and contribution to the gift and home industry whether it's a thought leader, a standard bearer or overall industry influencer Patty again, I don't think they could have chosen a more deserving person. When did you actually find this out? And did you want to say anything else?

Patti Carpenter:

I found out a little earlier than they announced it because they wanted to hold off and so I had to hold on to it for a little while. But

Amy Loewenberg:

oh my gosh, yeah,

Patti Carpenter:

I found out probably about six weeks ago, maybe now at this point I was in we were I was still working with with Kaleidoscope I know that much. So it was about six weeks ago. And Cole called me and and and and and let me know. And I was just I was actually weeping. It is such a huge honor. They do such extraordinary work. I mean, there's so many synergies, as we've said, between my work and how I think about life. And one of the things that I'd said to them that I'd love to share is that you know, I'm a black woman from Washington DC. I'm blessed to still have both my parents alive. They were both just here until yesterday visiting with my sister and I here in New York. And we hadn't seen them in a while and I was was reminded as I had to think about, you know what I have my acceptance speech, I was talking to them about it. And one of the things that came up for me is that my parents instilled in both my sister and I, very early on that sort of adage that I'm sure many people have heard too much is given, much is required. But basically, they always taught us to look back to give back to reach back, my father and mother have done that, by example. And that's what I see happening with gift for life. And that's what I try to do with my own life. And so that's why this means so very much to me. Because I feel like it's from a group of like minded souls. And, and I'm just so humbled and so honored. So thank you again for mentioning it. And thank you for allowing me to thank them again. Words, of course, light, wonderful,

Amy Loewenberg:

my sincerest appreciation to you, Patti, for joining us today and sharing some of your life and your passions with us. You are an entrepreneur, you are design driven innovation generator, a strong voice for diversity and equality, a steward of sustainability, Oh, my gosh, and educator of global proportion in design and development, production, color, trend, sales, marketing, importing and exporting, your generosity of sharing is unmeasurable, and you are not just an important voice in the industry, you are a trailblazer. And I thank you for the work that you do and that you will continue to do and the incredible impact that you have made. And you will continue to make on so many. You make us all better and smarter at what we do and how we do it.

Patti Carpenter:

Patti. I I have Thank you. That's so kind that's really real. It's, it's the work that I love. And that's one of the things certainly that I that I would I always share with the students that I talk with around the world is if you're doing something that you love, yes, it's work. But it's work that you love. And it's worth that you continue to pour your passion and your energy into. And and for me, that's very important. People ask me there's people have asked me several times, it's a weird question to me. But why aren't I more jaded? Or why aren't I jaded, but I'm not because I love the world. I love what I do. I love learning about culture. And I think if you just leave yourself open, that's what happened with COVID. So many of us just shift you shift as you have to change is inevitable. And so I think that that you know what I do, I'm, I'm blessed to be able to do it and make a living at it. And and I encourage all who are thinking about that kind of thing to do it. It's certainly not the easiest thing. I'm not saying I'm suggesting that in any way, shape, or form. But I am suggesting that you will never be more fulfilled than when you do that kind of work. And that's what I really live day to day for. And it has brought people like you into my life. So well, I

Amy Loewenberg:

look forward to seeing you in person again, August 8 through 11th. And I plan to walk those aisles with you. And yes, I will be giving you a big hug if you will let me say vaccinated. vaccinated baby. All right, Patti, thank you so much for joining us and we will talk again soon.

Patti Carpenter:

Thank you keep well stay safe.

Amy Loewenberg:

So I hope you all have enjoyed our conversation as much as I did. Patti is truly a gem please make it a point to follow her, the kaleidoscope project and all of her affiliations. Thank you again for joining us today. And don't forget New York now is now an online 365 sourcing and connection platform. Make sure to sign up and sign in and definitely connect with me when you do. Thank you so much again and I will talk with you soon.

Dondrill Glover:

Thank you for listening to the New York now podcast. Make sure to tune in weekly for engaging and insightful conversations touching on the most relevant topics facing our community today. Is it through your mouth comm to learn more about our market, and how you can join in on the conversation