The power of industry networking—including the benefits of membership in the National Kitchen + Bath Association—was the topic of an event hosted last night by NKBA, Interior Design, and Porcelanosa at the tile, kitchen, and bath manufacturer’s Manhattan showroom. New York area designers gathered over wine, cheese, and charcuterie for a cocktail party and panel discussion on “Maximizing Opportunities: How an Emerging Designer Can Win.”
After mingling amid Porcelanosa’s kitchen finishes on the lower level, guests headed upstairs to listen to a question-and-answer session between Helene Oberman, managing director of Interior Design, and Megan Siason, AKBD, owner of principal designer of San Diego-based M Studio Interior Design and NKBA member who in 2015 was recognized as one of the association’s “30 Under 30.” Siason, who started in the interior design business in 2009 and established her own firm in 2015, is an enthusiastic advocate of using industry association membership, accreditation, and design competitions as a pathway to establishing relationships with suppliers and credibility with potential customers. She is the recipient of numerous local and national design awards, including the 2019 NKBA National Award for Universal Design and three 2018 NKBA Star Design Awards for Best Large Bath, Best Medium Kitchen and Best Medium Bath—the latter a project that incorporated Porcelanosa flooring.
Asked by Oberman what she learned by establishing contacts with manufacturers and suppliers early in her career, Siason said “developing relationships in the industry helped me understand what I wanted to use in my designs.” Following up, Oberman inquired about the effect of winning industry awards as a young, emerging designer. “Personally, that helped me build my self-esteem and reputation as I presented myself to clients.”
Suzie Williford, NKBA’s executive vice president of industry relations and chief strategy officer, was on hand to applaud Siason’s work and achievements as well as her commitment to her local NKBA chapter. “You get out of any association what you put into it,” she said, noting that NKBA’s 70 chapters held 385 chapter meetings attended by 8,000 members in 2019. “Events are hosted at various showrooms,” she added, “so members are always learning about new companies and products.”