Hudson Valley Lighting is getting ready to make a name for itself at High Point Market this week. Not only is the brand debuting its first showroom at Market, but it is also unveiling its first (of many!) upcoming designer collaborations with Corey Damen Jenkins. David Littman, the founder of the 23-year-old company, chatted with EAL about his background in the lighting industry and how his company partners with interior designers.
How is HVL working with interior designers?
Right now, we are seeing that interior designers have their own direct connection with their customers and with the design community at large. Many are interior designers and also influencers with robust digital platforms. We want to enhance our existing relationships and build new ones with the interior design community. Whether we do that by working together on projects, coming up with brand ambassadorships and content campaigns, or collaborating on new product ideas, we are open and receptive to anything that continues to give HVL an edge and lets us maintain a position as an industry trailblazer.
Interior designers inspire us creatively as well as drive trends in the market. They are really at the heart of our business.
Walk us through your collection with Corey Damen Jenkins. How did it come about?
Damen Jenkins is a talented designer with a fresh perspective. There is a natural synergy between his work and Hudson Valley Lighting, so a collaboration made sense. We felt that bringing in new design talent would be an amazing way to keep our aesthetic sensibility fresh and to make sure we are constantly evolving. Working with a respected interior designer is also a great way to establish our brand with the design community.
How did you become involved in the lighting industry?
My grandfather William Littman was a Brooklyn-based inventor. In 1939, he was so inspired by the fluorescent lighting introduced to the mainstream building industry at the New York World’s Fair that he decided to start his own lighting company. By 1947, what began as a garage-based business had grown substantially, and his family moved upstate to expand operations in the Hudson River Valley. I was essentially was born into a family that was passionate about lighting and rooted in the Hudson Valley. My apprenticeship in the lighting industry actually started in high school. I worked in the warehouse of my father’s commercial lighting factory. I went off to college, earned my MBA in accounting in Boston and founded my first lighting company at the age of the 23 in 1985.
When did you start Hudson Valley Lighting?
Ten years later, in 1995, I launched HVL, which surpassed all of our goals and subsumed the existing lighting company. My personal philosophy is that it’s not enough for a product to look good; it has to feel good too. I want the consumer to feel and sense the quality of our work from the second they open the box.
In addition to HVL, I also own three other decorative lighting companies: Troy Lighting, Corbett Lighting and Mitzi by Hudson Valley Lighting. Each has a distinctive look and rich history of its own. We actually just launched Mitzi in 2017, which offers on-trend, high-design and high-quality lighting at an affordable price. It’s been an amazing success.
For architectural lighting and hospitality projects, our reach and possibilities extend in CSL (Creative Systems Lighting), Littman Brands Contract Lighting and Troy Lighting Custom Design Studio. We differentiate our brands by aesthetic sensibility, but do have unified showrooms at Dallas Market and our first-ever space opening this spring at High Point Market.