Marcy also authors this wonderful blog, IFD -- read the latests musings here
I am happy to bring you a close up look at this furniture and art showroom in Stamford, Connecticut owned and run by duo Irwin and Marcy Feld. I first met Marcy (the marketing genius and wife of Irwin Feld) on Twitter. She pens an informative and lively blog about furnishings, art and other design related conversations. Although Marcy and I live only a few blocks apart and have both worked in the design industry for several years, we became acquainted online. Now if you had told me five years ago that I'd be talking to strangers on a weird site that attaches @ to your name, I'd say you were delusional. Surprisingly, the opportunities that online networking has afforded to me and my friends in the industry are daunting. I often find dynamic, innovative think-outside-of-the-box kind of people who are passionate about what they do. Last Fall, the Felds organizeda beautiful event in their showroom, bringing together an eclectic group of designers, locals, editors, a fabulous magazine and stylists.
see all these lovely people in the photograph above, smiling as if they've been friends for decades? Well, most of us met online (with the exception of my BFF Susan who came as my guest). Susan is a clothing designer and makes beautiful wares (the flannel dress she is donning is her own design called Launch). I wrote a feature on Susan's designs and home last year - read here for the story. She was my college roomate and is still my great friend and because she lives nearby, she happily joined me for the cocktail reception at the showroom. Within a few short minutes, stylish Stacy Kuntsel (the blonde on the left) of StacyStyle blog came over to chat (I love her blog), she commented on Susan's dress, (remember I told you that bloggers are innovative, think-outside-of-the-box and make-things-happen people). Well, Stacy chatted with us and within two days she had Susan lined up with her friend launching a clothing designer showroom in Boston named Studio 5 owned by Jessica deGuardiola (also owner of 5S PR). Susan's designs are now represented at the showroom, and she was celebrated during their recent gala opening as well.
How cool is that?
A picture of Marcy and me in her showroom
Marcy knows the value of social media. She claims blogging has had tremendous results for their business. It gives them a voice, allowing Irwin Feld to share insightful information, Mid Century Modern furnishings and stories, as well as creating a portal for others to get to know Irwin Feld Design. An added bonus is they now have a platform to promote their dedicated causes (see the annual Susan Koman benefit they take part in at bottom of this post).
Here's a small sampling of what they have in stock:
"Mid Century furniture is practical, timeless, wonderfully made and will never go out of style- much like Chanel."
"Many people have a preconceived notion that Mid Century is cold and minimal or know about the style only through Mad Men. The truth is Mid Century (especially Irwin’s interpretations) are modern and current. And while they work beautifully with other modern pieces, they can easily work with more traditional as well as transitional styles".
I had a little Q&A with the Felds, and here's what they had to say:
1. Tell me how you got into this line of business and a little bit about both of your backgrounds.
Irwin:I got into this business quite by accident. I began my career in the fashion business, first in ready to wear and then along with Marcy, in women’s accessories. In 1998 I founded a successful home design business and had been shopping the antique centers in Stamford for clients for a few years. I realized there was no Mid Century Modern furniture being sold anywhere in Fairfield County and believed that there was an untapped market for this classification. So when a small booth became available, I seized the opportunity.
Marcy:Hard to believe, I know, but I began my career as a banker, which was not something I was ever interested in. Irwin and I had a designer women’s accessory business together for fourteen years after which he opened his home design business and I pursued a photography career.
2. How many years have you had the showroom?
Irwin:I opened the gallery in 2006. While I began this business with one small booth, after 3 years I had several booths in various antique centers in CT and NYC. Maintaining all of the spaces was quite exhausting, so when part of this space became available, I grabbed it, initially planning to use it primarily as an office. But one thing led to another and before I knew it, I had quadrupled my space here and vacated all of my booths. The rest, as they say, is history.
3. How do you and Irwin divide up your time?
Marcy: Irwin is the Creative Director and the design talent behind the business. He is responsible for purchasing and merchandising. It is his vision that determines how each piece is restored and reinterpreted and ultimately how it is merchandised. Irwin oversees the daily running of the gallery as well as working with our clients who are primarily architects and designers. I joined the firm in an official capacity at the beginning of 2009 as Marketing Director when it was clear that we needed to develop a social media and marketing plan. I am primarily responsible for marketing as well as maintaining our blog, twitter and facebook presence. I also maintain our databases as well as our website.
4. What is it about Mid Century furniture that you love in particular?
Irwin: I have always been passionate about mid century furniture. I think I can trace my love for mid century design back to 1961.
“In 1961, when I was six, my parents purchased their first home. That two thousand dollar, green brocade sofa, with its bullion trim, moved to our new home with us, where it remained the focal point of our living room for years to come. During the early 1960's, while most of my friends were in the park catching fly balls, I was touring furniture and lighting stores throughout New York and New Jersey, helping my parents select furniture for their newly constructed, bi-level home.”
5. Tell me what you enjoyed most about decorating that fabulous room at this past November's Holiday House?
Irwin:Thank you Tamara. I thoroughly enjoyed working on my Holiday House room… especially finishing it! I knew from the beginning that I wanted to break away from calendar holidays and introduce our family’s favorite holiday: Snow Day, bringing the outdoors in and creating a cozy room anyone would want to relax in. I also knew that I wanted to create a feature wall in the room. As you may know, Marcy is an amazing photographer and she had taken quite a few pictures during last year’s blizzards. With Tracy Hiner of Black Crow Studioshelp, we were able to create custom wallpaper from one of Marcy’s images, which along with several others of Marcy’s photos became the real inspiration and the foundation for all that followed. The room itself was difficult to work with simply because of its shape, size and multitude of doors. Coming down with pneumonia right before Thanksgiving did not help. That being said, I enjoyed the whole perspective of fantasy and bringing something fresh and new to the space, which was furnished entirely from our gallery.
Marcy: I loved spending those two weeks in our room at Holiday House, welcoming visitors to Snow Day. The room was a sensory feast down to the smallest detail, with Irwin’s trademark design sensibility, aesthetics and touch of whimsy. It was a treat to behold the smiles on visitors’ faces as they entered the room. Many plopped down on the furniture and relaxed commenting on how they coveted the space. Being able to lend our support to Komen made the experience gratifying on many levels.
8. Do you ever sell on 1st dibs and other sites? If so, how have they changed the way you do business and would you recommend them to the public?
Irwin:1st dibs has changed the way we all do business. We have been on 1st dibs for several years. It gives us tremendous visibility and opens us up to a global market. We have shipped pieces worldwide because of 1st dibs and would surely recommend them to the public as an amazing resource.
9. As a well known blogger yourself, I’m interested to hear how the industry has been influenced in recent years with social media sites like Twitter and blogging?
Marcy:Thank you Tamara, I appreciate your kind words. We are truly in the information age where we can find almost anything by simply “googling” it. Social media sites like twitter and facebook, along with blogs take it one step further by not just sharinginformation, but promoting conversations about it. I would probably not be having this conversation with you, if not for twitter, which is how we initially met. Twitter and blogging facilitate the meeting of like-minded people who share common interests. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity over the past two years to meet and forge friendships with people all over the world, many of whom I have yet to meet in real life.
It also changes the way we do business by allowing for collaborations that might not have ever happened otherwise. Take for example our collaboration with Tracy Hiner. I initially met her on twitter and then in real life when she did wallpaper for my good friendMaybelline Te’s (whom I also met on Twitter) ICFF booth for Snug Furniture. She and Tracy came to our gallery for an event and voila, a collaboration was facilitated.
take a look at Irwin's Snowy Day a room he decorated for the 2010 Holiday House this past November in New York City. Holiday House is an annual showhouse sponsored by Susan Koman Association and raises money for Breast Cancer awareness as well as finding a cure.
Irwin was inspired by a cozy, winter day, and designed the room utilizing this spectacular Tommi Parzinger chandelier as the centerpiece of the space.
this room entices to snuggle up with a Hot Toddy,
maybe read a book with the fireplace roaring,
and all the while the flakes
are coming down at a furious pace outside the window
I am a working NYC residential Interior Designer, author of Nest by Tamara blog, nestnestnest.blogspot.com and freelance writer for magazines and websites. I enjoy writing, interior decorating, cooking, gardening, reading, shopping for antiques.