The first-ever Design Influencer of the Year award will be presented to Mo Mullen, director of business development for West Elm Local at the 2017 Housewares Design Awards in Las Vegas, on January 24, 2017.
“Las Vegas Market is pleased and proud to host the 12th Housewares Design Awards and to recognize West Elm Local as the first-ever Design Influencer of the Year,” says Dorothy Belshaw, president of Gift & Home Decor at International Market Centers. “West Elm’s groundbreaking Local program—with its 500+ makers crafting more than 4,500 products carried in 85 West Elm retail locations nationwide—has positively influenced consumer awareness of locally designed and produced goods, while also forging a new synergy between independent designers and specialty chain retailers. As the leading furniture, home decor and gift destination in the western United States, Las Vegas Market is committed to supporting pioneering retail initiatives that help to sustain a rich community of artisan vendors.”
Mullen, who created the West Elm Local initiative, partners with local makers and designers throughout the U.S. to bring locally made product into the brand’s retail stores. Mullen built the merchandising team for Local’s launch in 2013 and a year later debuted West Elm’s first Local Small Business Grant, a $25,000 grant for emerging makers.
“We are tremendously gratified to be recognized with this exciting new award, which recognizes and celebrates our store managers for taking on new roles as shopkeepers and entrepreneurs,” Mullen states. “Through Local, West Elm empowers store managers to find and build relationships with local artisans and makers, establishing a local assortment in West Elm stores and on WestElm.com. Each neighborhood store is not only a place of design and discovery, but also an active, communal hub that celebrates and supports local craft.”