Last month, Thom Filicia became a showroom owner, adding one more piece to his growing empire, which includes books, television appearances, an interior design firm, and licensed collections of textiles, rugs, furniture and bedding.
Hoping to blend all of his design components into one, Filicia opened the doors to Sedgwick & Brattle, a 2,000-square-foot showroom in the New York Design Center, and moved the Thom Filicia Inc. headquarters into a 2,500-square-foot space behind the showroom. With this move, he hopes to create a sense of fluidity, openness and approachability to the Thom Filicia Inc. name.
This reporter chatted with Filicia to find out what sparked the move, and what his vision and goals are for the company.
What sparked the idea to open a showroom?
I've always had a different business model than a lot of other designers. I've been building the Thom Filicia Home Collection for more than five years now and I wanted an accessible space where we could show designers and clients all the things that we're working on. It made sense for the showroom to be near the design firm. We’re building a really big home collection, which has a life of its own and is represented all over the country and all over the world.
How will you divide your time between your interior design practice, furniture projects, and showroom management?
I've been doing this for years—my home collection for five years, TV for nine years, my firm for more than 15 years. I'm very used to the juggling. It's complicated to have all these layers but I'm passionate about it.
What was your vision for the showroom? How did you come up with the name?
I grew up on the corner of Sedgwick Drive and Brattle Road (in Upstate New York). The peacock symbol came from two sterling silver peacocks that my parents inherited from my grandmother and then were given to me. The showroom’s color palette—charcoal gray, gold and white—was inspired by the living room where I grew up in the late '70s early '80s.
It is a compilation of my history and of my background. I wanted a friendly, open and welcoming space that wasn't all about me so other designers could feel comfortable bringing their clients here.
What can we except to see in the showroom? What types of products?
It's really becoming a laboratory for us. We source vintage pieces and other things that we like from around the world. We are representing brands that aren't available in New York City otherwise—pieces from local artisans that create one-of-a-kind furniture and artwork.
How did you choose the NYDC as your home?
I love being in 200 Lex (NYDC). We felt it was a very important building—the whole neighborhood really—was important to be a part of. The building is coming alive, more brands are moving in and we love the idea that our firm is located in the same building with so many to-the-trade showrooms. It makes us feel more relevant, modern and forward thinking.
People in the showroom are welcome to come right back through the office and say hello. It's a "This who we are, this is what we do," type of approach. Making an appointment and being untouchable feels a bit dated, we have more of an open door policy at the firm. The transparency of design is so important these days, the veil has been lifted and everyone can see what we're doing.
Of course, we still have certain clients who we have private meetings for, but for the most part, this is where the business is going. Instead of following what’s happening I feel like we are helping lead the way towards where design is going.
How has the showroom been received so far?
We have new people coming in everyday. We sell things right off the floor and we plan to constantly change what we are selling. There has been a great response to it and we've sold a good amount in the five weeks that we've been open.
I've always wanted my company to have a personality. Anything that feels fresh and innovative for this industry is a good thing.