ATLANTA - One key to success for many closet design firms is deciding whether to build or buy. Is it wiser to manufacture the product yourself or a find business partner who can do it for you at an affordable cost? The right answer can vary based on each individual’s needs, skill set, and experience.

To learn the pros and cons of manufacturing cabinet and closet components in-house versus outsourcing and how these decisions can have a significant impact on a company's profit margin, join three industry vets at the 2018 IWF Closets Symposium, sponsored by Weinig/Holz-Her, taking place Tuesday, August 21 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Eric Marshall, Kitchens and Closets by DEA; and Mike Carson, Inspired Closets and Phill Hunt, Dream Closets will share their experiences in the panel: “Best Business Model: Manufacturing or Outsourcing?" Hear best practice tips on how to make your business a success.
The panelists will give a brief overview of the industry that puts each business model in perspective. Then they will share their own challenges and successes with each model and discuss why they chose their current business direction. Additionally, they will discuss best practice tips on hiring and retaining personnel, and marketing and how they see the future of the industry.

About the speakers

Phill Hunt is the owner of North Carolina-based Dream Closets. His firm has evolved from a dealer of closets and home organization products to a wholesale manufacturer of closet systems, cabinets and components, and furniture.

Eric Marshall has been in the closet industry for over 40 years. The industry vet was the first employee of Neil Balter (founder of California Closet and Organizers Direct). In 1997 Marshall ventured out on his own, moved to Phoenix and is the current owner of Kitchens and Closets by DEA.
Mike Carson is the former owner and operator of closet maker Closet Works, founder of the National Closet Group, founding member and past president of the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals, and current Chicagoland manager of Inspired Closets - a brand of The Stow Co.

2018 IWF Closets Symposium lineup

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM - Coffee & Pastries
9 am – 10 am
How to Grow Your Business 
Lisa Carlquist, Artisan Closets 
Real life ideas from a closet firm that saw dramatic growth, going from zero sales to nearly $9 million in about 7 years. Get business tips on everything from personnel and hiring to marketing.
10 am – 11 am
How to use PR effectively
Amanda Eden, Stoner Bunting Advertising and David Biggs, Woodworking Network 
Have you completed a high-profile project or hired a well-known designer? Learn how to attract media attention and gain coverage of your firm by using effective PR strategies with digital marketing and social media.
11 am – 12 pm
What’s Trending in Colors and Textures 
Michele Weitzel, Northern Contours 
Whether in urban centers or smaller metro areas, European furniture designs are increasingly popular. This presentation will provide a look at the hottest styles from Europe and how to apply them in a successful business strategy for the North American market.
Noon to 1 pm Networking Lunch
1 pm – 2 pm
The Ins and Outs of Closet Manufacturing
Phill Hunt, Dream Closets 
See how this North Carolina company evolved from a dealer to a wholesale manufacturer of closet systems, cabinet components, and furniture.
2 pm – 3 pm
Best Business Model: Manufacturing or Outsourcing?
Eric Marshall, Kitchens and Closets by DEA; and Mike Carson, Inspired Closets and Phill Hunt, Dream Closets
Hear real-life experiences from two industry vets on the pros and cons of manufacturing and outsourcing as well as best practice tips on how to make your business a success regardless of the model.
3 pm – 4 pm
Business of Design
Keith Morgan, Bespoke
Keith Morgan, who has won numerous design awards, will discuss the importance of design-oriented professionals from the front office to the shop. He will also discuss how to work with wealthy clients and the need to employ professionals that understand market-viable design and long-term design trend history. He will address how Bespoke has successfully linked itself to other luxury brands and will also discuss the importance of hiring talented people and what Bespoke does to retain them.  
4 pm – 5 pm
Micro Living and Multifunctional Spaces
Eric Pothier, Richelieu Hardware 
With Boomers downsizing and Millennials preferring smaller living spaces especially in urban areas, creating interior designs that accommodate micro units sizing 300 square feet are less is more important than ever. Learn what products and materials are best suited for these small spaces.

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