Home + Housewares Galore!

McCormick Place_2016Juniors and Seniors, thirty-nine Home Products students in all, spend 2 full days exploring the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, Illinois earlier this month.

The students took on the role of young professionals as they walked the halls researching product categories and networking with industry professionals. From dust pans to Le Creuset, students versed themselves in the manufacturing processes and marketing of top brands.

Not all business, Prof Brogna makes sure to get in a little “Chicago culture”. A walk through the windy city, stopping at Bloomingdales and Macy’s, the Chicago River, and on to Millennium Park for group selfies at the “bean,”.

Oh, and of course a slice of Chicago deep dish pizza!

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Target: redefining home

Have you seen Target’s home department lately?

Target has upped the game once more with its lifestyle merchandising; opening up aisles to create home vignettes that make shopping at this mass-merchant a whole new experience.

TargetFitting to Target’s “expect more, pay less” brand promise, product and price are impressive. Carefully curated collections inspire your inner “design it yourself” persona at a price that fits into the most modest redecorating budget. Touching the major categories of home, Target brings “cheap chic” to the kitchen, living room, office and bedroom.

Prime location of intersecting aisles, the vignettes caught the attention of every “guest” that passed by. So welcoming,  a man decided to make full use of the furniture while his wife, or better half, filled her red cart with merchandise for a new look for the New Year.

Even if redecorating is not on your 2016 to-do list, Target’s home department is worth a visit to see how they continue to differentiate themselves from their competition.

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Fall Trends = Home Inspiration


Fall has arrived and its fashion trends dominate the windows of the major NYC retailers.  I love walking this city during this time of year; the air is crisp and the windows filled with inspiration.

“Boho Luxe” is the dominate theme in the windows of the 5th Ave Lord and Taylor. Lush fabrics, soft neutral tones, saturated color and textured layers – a season influenced by the seventies, but taken up a notch. The colors and fabrics translate perfectly  – and the name, “Boho Luxe”, lends itself to the relaxed comforts of home. Dark walls, deep stained woods, neutral furniture, pops of saturated corals, aquas and indigo, layered with heavy knits, faux furs with decorative skins and ethnic patterns over hardwoods.

The next time you go window shopping, let your imagination inspire.

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Congratulations Amanda and thanks to the IFDA for investing in the future of the industry!

IFDA Student Member Scholarship- $2,000

Amanda Foran– Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY

Amanda ForanAmanda realized her calling in design at an early age and followed that calling to earn her Associates Degree in Interior Design at The Fashion Institute of Technology in 2011.  After working in the industry she found her true passion was in home products.  Amanda is currently working towards a Bachelors Degree in Home Products Development at The Fashion Institute of Technology graduating in May of 2016.  She was introduced to the IFDA at a Home Products club meeting while attending FIT and was able to volunteer for several events and is now a student member.  Amanda‘s passion and drive fuels a bright future as she plans to peruse a career in product design and development while continuing an active roll in the IFDA.


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Gump’s – Keeping with Tradition

For any home enthusiast, a trip to San Francisco would not be complete without a visit to Gump’s department store.


Their website tells their story so well – why try to duplicate it……

“In 1861, the Gump brothers, Solomon and Gustav, graced San Francisco with their mirror and frame shop. Newly minted millionaires from the California Gold Rush showed an interest in the shop and the brothers expanded their collection of old world art and new world design. S & G Gump was born—and the tradition of excellence continues today. 

Our Buddha signifies change. With the beginning of a new century, the Gump brothers handed over the reigns to Solomon’s son, Alfred Livingston. Soon thereafter, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 forced A.L., as he was known, to rebuild and restock the store. He looked to the Far East for new inspiration, sending buyers to Japan and China to find exotic rugs, porcelain, silks, bronzes and jade. Among the most prized acquisitions, a Ch’ing Dynasty gilded wood Buddha, still gazes serenely over the first floor of Gump’s. It remains the largest of its kind outside of a museum. 

By the 1920’s, San Francisco was roaring right along with the rest. Gump’s and The City had become intertwined—our store synonymous with San Francisco in its elegance, worldly style, and maverick spirit.                                                                                                                                                                                         After all, there is just one Gump’s.”

 Read the full story at: Gump’s – Our History

The Gump's_merchstore and merchandise were exquisite.

My one disappointment is that their website and catalog do not reflect the elegance of the physical store – you can only really appreciate its splendor in San Francisco.


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FITSA Awards

Kudos to our super Flea Market officers, Megan Scuderi and Molly Silsby for an outstanding year of fundraising!

2015 Fundraising Award

The Home Products Club earned the FITSA Fundraising Award for 2014/2015. The club hosted 5 flea markets through out the year to raise funds in order to attend the Highpoint Furniture Market and the Chicago International Housewares Show. With support from the other officers and club members, and partnering with local manufactures and showrooms, Megan and Molly merchandised samples and overstocks into the highly anticipated HP flea markets on campus. The officers made a great team this year – Well Done All!

2015 Club Officers

HP Club Officers:
Amy Glaun, President / Gabi Lewis, Secretary / Megan Scuderi, Flea Market / Molly Silsby, Flea Market / Megan Dobesh, Vice President / Olivia Arata, Treasurer / Sarah Hobert, Vice President

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Class of 2015

the future of home.

JELLE zero energy produce preservation container…always fresh never frozen
WATERCYCLE the instant water recycling system for your kitchen
AIRIUM not your typical houseplant. The filter free-photosynthetic-air purifier.
SUNOLOGY a paper thin light source
EATELL the only tool you need for healthy eating

Group presentationsTransforming today’s technology into home products, the students incorporated all aspects of conceptual design, supply chain, merchandising, and integrated marketing strategies. Supported by industry, alumni, and family they demonstrated their readiness to venture out of the confines of FIT. Especially proud of this group as they are my first graduating class as a faculty member.

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IFDA Career Night

IFDA Career Night    As students get ready to venture out on their own careers, the HP Club recently hosted the International Design & Furnishings Association Career Night at FIT.

The IFDA put together an expert panel that discussed career choices and must have skills sets from different areas of the industry. Where to find posted positions, what to put on your resume, how to get an interview, what to bring on the interview, and how prospective employers interpret resumes and applications gave the students real world perspectives. We were please to host the IFDA, Susan Hirsh as Moderator and The Panel:

Iliada Bass, Marketing Director Cliff Young, Ltd.
Laura Bohn, Principal Designer, Laura Bohn Design Associates
Susan Arann, Interior Designer + Space Planner, American & International Designs, Inc.
Tim Button, Interior Designer, Stedila Design Inc.
Scott Bromley, Interior Designer, Partner Bromley Caldari Architects
Paul Newman, Corporate HR Recruiter, Benjamin Moore

IFDA Career Night_Speakers

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Some Things Never Change

Twenty one Home Products juniors had their first experience at the Chicago Home and Housewares show this March, everything new and exciting! For others it was just another walk in the park as 9 seniors accompanied them for networking reasons and Professor Brogna and Johnson as chaperons. Yet something that was new for everyone was the dinner choices. The last night spent in Chicago all 21 juniors and 6 of the seniors sat down at Uncle Julio’s Fine Mexican Food Restaurant with both Professor Brogna and Professor Johnson. While everyone was utterly exhausted from enjoying the show, everyone was thrilled with the Mexican cuisine, exotic drinks (for those of age) and the presentation that accompanied each table in preparing fresh guacamole, mmm-mmm! As conversations were taking place, what was meant to be a picture of the delicious guacamole being prepared, turned into a Kodak moment of professor Johnson and Brogna engaging in a great laugh. The funny thing is Junior Natalie Macari received a picture quite similar from the Chicago trip four years earlier of both professors from her older sister (an alumni) also engaging in a laugh. Goes to show some things never change and we’re glad they haven’t!

professor Brogna and Johnson1  professor Brogna and Johnson2
Left picture from 2011 right picture 2015

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HP Travels to Chicago | Part Two

This year was the HP Juniors’ first trip to the International Home + Housewares Show. For our Manufacturing and Marketing of Hard Goods course, Professor Brogna assigned each of us a different category of housewares to cover  while attending the show. Our finished project will include a paper and an eight minute presentation educating our classmates on our assigned topic. Therefore, we had to make sure we got good information to bring back to the classroom.

In order to do so we each set up individual appointments for ourselves with manufacturers present at the show. We went into each appointment with notepads full of questions — there is no better way to learn about a topic than to go straight to the source, even if that means flying all the way to Chicago to do so.

IMG_9783 IMG_9772

Above is the main hall at the IHHS and pretty plates you’d never guess were actually made of melamine!



ODI  – perhaps the King of the Moscow Mule? Continue reading

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