After 15 years spearheading advertising at design publications like Domino and Traditional Home, Beth Brenner is parlaying her experience into a new role in the industry: president of DIY cabinet brand Semihandmade. “My love for the design industry combined with my skill set and experience makes this role a dream come true for me,” Brenner tells BOH.
She joins the company at a time when the brand, which makes design-forward customizable fronts for Ikea cabinet systems, is looking to expand, launching an editorial vertical on its site (which Brenner says is “very Domino in spirit”), and later this year, its own line of direct-to-consumer cabinets.
“I’m so inspired by [brand founder and CEO] John McDonald’s vision for turning Semihandmade into a realized lifestyle brand—from a maker of cool cabinets for Ikea systems to a brand that touches every room in the house,” says Brenner, who was most recently the chief revenue officer at quarterly art and design magazine Galerie. “It may sound cliché, but I truly believe there’s a gaping hole in the marketplace for a consumer-inspired, high-quality, well-priced cabinet brand.”
Once Brenner decided to join Semihandmade, she knew she’d need to build a team to help bring the next chapter to fruition. She reached out to Molly McDermott Walsh—a design industry veteran whose resume includes positions at Henrybuilt, Farrow & Ball, and Pantone—about coming on as vice president of marketing. “Beth and I have known each other for many years and we always said that one day we’d work together, and I feel that this is a place where both of our experiences really overlap,” says McDermott Walsh. “Beth and John wanted someone who could help grow the brand in the right way, and I feel really compelled by the mission of Semihandmade, which shows that good design is not just for the select few.”
Semihandmade is among the fortunate home brands that have seen double-digit growth through the pandemic. “Things are changing because of COVID-19, and people are looking at home differently,” says McDermott Walsh. “Now, for many people, your dining room is also a classroom and an office. Traditionally, there’s been a bit of privilege with renovating your space, as not everyone can afford to rejigger their house. What Semihandmade wants to do and has always been about is elevating the experience of living by making it more accessible and attainable.”
Though McDermott Walsh and Brenner will both be working remotely from the East Coast, the brand will soon move into a new 30,000-square-foot headquarters in Los Angeles that will be part office, part showroom and part future event space. They’re also looking to open a shared showroom space in New York that would also double as a content studio. “I feel so strongly that this is a company on the move,” says Brenner. “And that feels so good to be a part of.”