Collaborations | Aug 26, 2014 |
Bunny Williams launches collection with Ballard Designs
Boh staff
By Staff

Ballard Designs has partnered with Bunny Williams to debut the company's second-ever collection with an interior designer (in 2010, Ballard collaborated with Atlanta-based tastemaker Suzanne Kasler). The initial roll out of Williams’ collection includes a selection of tabletop, entertaining and holiday pieces, which celebrates the designer’s flair as a hostesss, while additional categories are in development for 2015. Inspired by Williams’ own treasures from her travels, the new series is described as a blend of function and fashion for the table.

Bunny Williams

“Because the collection is very well-thought-out and designed for the pieces to be mixed and matched, people can really make it their own,” said Williams. “Hosting is not meant to be stressful and the more prepared you are, the easier it will be to entertain—even at the last minute.”

Featuring everything needed to set the table, the assortment includes linens, glassware and dinnerware, place card holders and cachepots. The collection, which spans over 120 SKUs, also incorporates home accessories like a hand-stitched leather charging station and guest towel holders.

Bunny Williams collection for Ballard Designs

“We started off by choosing two different colorings and patterns for china, and then that leads you to choosing other things,” said Williams. “So we added placemats, glasses, then containers and bar glasses. We used everything from porcelain to glass, metal to fabric and leather to raffia. I can't think of a material we didn't use.”

To learn more details and found out how the collaboration came to be, this reporter chatted with Karen Mooney, Senior Vice-President, Brand Marketing for Ballard Designs.

Why did you choose Bunny Williams for your next collaboration?

We have been in love with Bunny for years. She is an iconic designer who hails from the south and has a beautiful, welcoming aesthetic. She is also a genuine expert in entertaining and when it comes to hosting a dinner party, she is an authority. An expansion of our tabletop and entertaining categories was (and is) part of our overall brand strategy, and after the success we’ve had with Suzanne Kasler’s collection, we thought this was a great opportunity to work with another designer—partnering with Bunny on this seemed like a perfect fit.

How did the partnership come about?

We initially met with Bunny and her team up in her New York office and we hit it off. There was a lot of camaraderie and mutual love and respect for each other’s brand. We all knew pretty quickly this was going to be a very successful partnership.

Bunny Williams collection for Ballard Designs

How was the Suzanne Kasler partnership received?

We partnered with Suzanne in 2009 and launched her first collection in the fall of 2010. When we initially made the decision to partner with a designer for a collection, we were undoubtedly nervous because we had never had anyone else’s name on our product, but we knew it was a good risk to take. Not only is Suzanne an amazing designer with a classic style that is totally Ballard’s vibe, she is based in Atlanta so it made for a wonderful first taste at having this kind of partnership. The customers adore her and her style, and she has become like family to us. Suffice it to say, we absolutely love working with her.

How does that collection compare to this one?

Suzanne Kasler and Bunny Williams are both incredibly talented designers, but they have a completely different style. Bunny is classic and welcoming with an eclectic layered style while Suzanne is chic and sophisticated with a more neutral palette. They have two very different looks, but they both work for Ballard and our customer. We’re all about layering and we don’t believe in one note decorating.

Why space them four years apart?

We aren’t interested in having these partnerships just for the sake of having them. We want designers who fit perfectly with who we are and what our brand stands for; it could have been four years or 14. We are constantly watching designers, but we don’t have a time limit on this, per se—we wait for it to be an ideal match.

Bunny Williams collection for Ballard Designs

What do designer collections do for the brand?

They stretch us. We’ve been around a long time, we know our customer and we develop product with her in mind. Outside designers bring a point of view that sometimes surprises us and makes us think outside of the box. Suzanne and Bunny are heavily involved in the entire process. Their products are a function of who they are and what their own brand stands for—and it works for our customer. The designer collections are a way for our audience to get a piece of something they might not necessarily have access to.

Are designers a focus for the brand and if so, why?

Absolutely—interior designers are the crux of who we are. We often hear that we are their secret source for projects and clients (which we love to hear), and our designer file is large and active. We love to work with them on projects that we feature on our design blog (howtodecorate.com) and we always look forward to photographs of spaces they’ve done using Ballard products—some of our best ideas come from there.

Will there be more partnerships in the future?

We never say never. We don’t have any plans at the moment, but ask us again in four years.

To view Williams’ collection online, click here.

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