BIDN Conference
Jul 25, 2019 | Atlanta
BIDN Conference

From July 25 to 27, more than 150 designers gathered in Atlanta for the ninth-annual Black Interior Designers Network Conference, hosted by the BIDN. The conference gathers regional and national interior designers together for three days of networking, presentations and seminars, and social power-breakfasts, luncheons and cocktail parties. 

Panels, presentations, small-group seminars, luncheons and cocktail parties were held at ADAC on Thursday and AmericasMart on Friday. Guests were welcomed by the BIDN executive board, which include president Keia McSwain, CEO Tony Ward, chief development officer Alison Harold, executive board members at large Tony Collins and Joan Goodwin, treasurer Stephanie Sullivan Whalon, and student representative Ashleigh Esprit.

“I'm incredibly honored for the opportunity to witness the magic that happens each year at the conference,” says McSwain. “My team and I work tirelessly to create a three-day event that leaves a lasting impression on all attendees, and we have done just that with this year's conference. I'm so excited for what's to come next year as we move to Vegas for our 10th anniversary!”

Thursday kicked off in the Century showroom with a breakfast and an interactive CEU on performance fabric by InsideOut, followed by a lively presentation on profitability by Corey Damen Jenkins. After a luncheon hosted by the The Shade Store, Shavonda Gardner gave an informative presentation by covering “How to Thrive in the Interior Design Blogger's World.” Afternoon programming kicked off with guided “How to shop a showroom” tours, with Andre Hilton leading guests through Romo, the team from Forbes + Masters shopping Stark, and Jason Mitchell discovering Baker. The afternoon concluded with a larger ADAC tour and evening mixer hosted by Michael Habachy.

Friday's program was held at AmericasMart. Patti Carpenter kicked off the morning with a talk on global inspiration found at Maison&Objet, followed by attorney Charles “CJ” Lawrence with a thorough review of contracts and legalities. After a luncheon at Curated Home Brands, Business of Home editor in chief Kaitlin Petersen moderated a panel discussion with four designers—Veronica Solomon of Casa Vilora Interiors, Rasheeda Gray of Gray Space Interior Design, Cheryl Luckett of Dwell by Cheryl, and Laura Thurman of Thurman Design Studio—who discussed how they strategize for a major show like High Point Market, build relationships with showrooms and vendors, and source with their clients in mind. Attendees then attended a presentation on the intersection of fashion and design by celebrity stylist Jason Bolin, and had the afternoon free to visit and shop AmericasMart.

Friday evening's focus turned more social, with Bolin hosting the All Black Vignette mixer. Three local designers and firms—Justin Williams, The Sisters and Company, and Head of the House Interiors—created lavish vignettes showing off local product and their signature style. Michel Boyd hosted a brunch at 5Church to close out the conference on Saturday.

“We had an amazing time at this year's conference,” said Tony Ward. “Kimberly Ward started something beyond amazing when she started this organization. Our goal is to continue celebrating African-American designers, providing them with learning and networking opportunities that they cannot find anywhere else.”

“The first phrase that comes to mind is amazing community,” adds Harold. “I believe that community is key, and we've developed a strong community of African-American designers who we hope to continue to support and will support each other.”

Images by Charles Dante.

EVENT GALLERY
BIDN business development director Alison Harold, Dale Story of Century, the presenter from InsideOut Performance Fabrics, John Welker of Century, and BIDN CEO Tony Ward
BIDN business development director Alison Harold, Dale Story of Century, the presenter from InsideOut Performance Fabrics, John Welker of Century, and BIDN CEO Tony Ward
BIDN business development director Alison Harold, Dale Story of Century, the presenter from InsideOut Performance Fabrics, John Welker of Century, and BIDN CEO Tony Ward
Keia McSwain, president of the BIDN
Keia McSwain, president of the BIDN
Keia McSwain, president of the BIDN
Rasheeda Gray and Corey Damen Jenkins
Rasheeda Gray and Corey Damen Jenkins
Rasheeda Gray and Corey Damen Jenkins
Catasha Singleton
Catasha Singleton
Catasha Singleton
Jamil Harrison and Ebony Staten
Jamil Harrison and Ebony Staten
Jamil Harrison and Ebony Staten
BIDN executive board members Tony Ward, Chenata Ward, Patrice Walton and Joan Goodwin
BIDN executive board members Tony Ward, Chenata Ward, Patrice Walton and Joan Goodwin
BIDN executive board members Tony Ward, Chenata Ward, Patrice Walton and Joan Goodwin
Rasheeda Gray and Tiffany Rene
Rasheeda Gray and Tiffany Rene
Rasheeda Gray and Tiffany Rene
Ellen Frances and Keia McSwain
Ellen Frances and Keia McSwain
Ellen Frances and Keia McSwain
Winners of a raffle hosted by Caracole pose for a group photo with other breakfast attendees.
Winners of a raffle hosted by Caracole pose for a group photo with other breakfast attendees.
Winners of a raffle hosted by Caracole pose for a group photo with other breakfast attendees.
Kaitlin Petersen and Cheryl Luckett
Kaitlin Petersen and Cheryl Luckett
Kaitlin Petersen and Cheryl Luckett
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Celebrity stylist Jason Bolin
Celebrity stylist Jason Bolin
Celebrity stylist Jason Bolin
Attendees of the All Black Vignette Party pose for a photo.
Attendees of the All Black Vignette Party pose for a photo.
Attendees of the All Black Vignette Party pose for a photo.
BIDN executive board member Joan Goodwin presents Curated Home Brands president Katrena Griggs with the Kimberly E. Ward 2019 Design Icon Award.
BIDN executive board member Joan Goodwin presents Curated Home Brands president Katrena Griggs with the Kimberly E. Ward 2019 Design Icon Award.
BIDN executive board member Joan Goodwin presents Curated Home Brands president Katrena Griggs with the Kimberly E. Ward 2019 Design Icon Award.
Jason Bolin, Tony Ward, Alison Harold, Joan Goodwin, Stephanie Sullivan Whalon, Keia McSwain and Kaitlin Petersen
Jason Bolin, Tony Ward, Alison Harold, Joan Goodwin, Stephanie Sullivan Whalon, Keia McSwain and Kaitlin Petersen
Jason Bolin, Tony Ward, Alison Harold, Joan Goodwin, Stephanie Sullivan Whalon, Keia McSwain and Kaitlin Petersen
Cheryl Luckett and Kaitlin Petersen
Cheryl Luckett and Kaitlin Petersen
Cheryl Luckett and Kaitlin Petersen
Jennifer Ward-Woods (left) of The Sisters and Company, with two other conference attendees
Jennifer Ward-Woods (left) of The Sisters and Company, with two other conference attendees
Jennifer Ward-Woods (left) of The Sisters and Company, with two other conference attendees
Alison Harold and Catasha Singleton
Alison Harold and Catasha Singleton
Alison Harold and Catasha Singleton
Veronica Solomon, Cheryl Luckett and Stephanie Sullivan Whalon
Veronica Solomon, Cheryl Luckett and Stephanie Sullivan Whalon
Veronica Solomon, Cheryl Luckett and Stephanie Sullivan Whalon
Julie Baker, Alison Harold, Sondra Seecharan, Keia McSwain and Lysa Desnoyers
Julie Baker, Alison Harold, Sondra Seecharan, Keia McSwain and Lysa Desnoyers
Julie Baker, Alison Harold, Sondra Seecharan, Keia McSwain and Lysa Desnoyers
Dominique Davis and Ariel G. Chen
Dominique Davis and Ariel G. Chen
Dominique Davis and Ariel G. Chen
Dominique Davis, Keia McSwain and Ariel G. Chen
Dominique Davis, Keia McSwain and Ariel G. Chen
Dominique Davis, Keia McSwain and Ariel G. Chen
Keia McSwain and Michael Habachy
Keia McSwain and Michael Habachy
Keia McSwain and Michael Habachy
Tony Ward and Caracole's Matthew Rogers
Tony Ward and Caracole's Matthew Rogers
Tony Ward and Caracole's Matthew Rogers
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Keia McSwain interviews celebrity stylist Jason Bolin.
Keia McSwain interviews celebrity stylist Jason Bolin.
Keia McSwain interviews celebrity stylist Jason Bolin.
Stephanie Sullivan Whalon (left)
Stephanie Sullivan Whalon (left)
Stephanie Sullivan Whalon (left)
Rasheeda Gray cheers on Katrena Griggs.
Rasheeda Gray cheers on Katrena Griggs.
Rasheeda Gray cheers on Katrena Griggs.
The daughter of BIDN's Alison Harold and daughter of late founder Kimberly Ward share an embrace.
The daughter of BIDN's Alison Harold and daughter of late founder Kimberly Ward share an embrace.
The daughter of BIDN's Alison Harold and daughter of late founder Kimberly Ward share an embrace.
Chanae Richards and Tony Ward
Chanae Richards and Tony Ward
Chanae Richards and Tony Ward
Lysa Desnoyers and Sondra Seecharan of The Shade Store
Lysa Desnoyers and Sondra Seecharan of The Shade Store
Lysa Desnoyers and Sondra Seecharan of The Shade Store
'Cheese!' Attendees of Thursday's breakfast at Century Furniture pose for a group photo.
'Cheese!' Attendees of Thursday's breakfast at Century Furniture pose for a group photo.
'Cheese!' Attendees of Thursday's breakfast at Century Furniture pose for a group photo.
Rasheeda Gray and Kaitlin Petersen
Rasheeda Gray and Kaitlin Petersen
Rasheeda Gray and Kaitlin Petersen
'Cheese!' Attendees of Thursday's luncheon at The Shade Store pose for a group photo.
'Cheese!' Attendees of Thursday's luncheon at The Shade Store pose for a group photo.
'Cheese!' Attendees of Thursday's luncheon at The Shade Store pose for a group photo.
Don Ricardo Massenburg and Ellen Frances
Don Ricardo Massenburg and Ellen Frances
Don Ricardo Massenburg and Ellen Frances
Anika Robertson and Michael Habachy
Anika Robertson and Michael Habachy
Anika Robertson and Michael Habachy
Business of Home's Kaitlin Petersen interviews Corey Damen Jenkins on-camera.
Business of Home's Kaitlin Petersen interviews Corey Damen Jenkins on-camera.
Business of Home's Kaitlin Petersen interviews Corey Damen Jenkins on-camera.
Keia McSwain, Tony Ward, Jada Wright and Alison Harold
Keia McSwain, Tony Ward, Jada Wright and Alison Harold
Keia McSwain, Tony Ward, Jada Wright and Alison Harold
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Laura Thurman, Rasheeda Gray and Veronica Solomon
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Veronica Solomon, Rasheeda Gray and Laura Thurman
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Veronica Solomon, Rasheeda Gray and Laura Thurman
Kaitlin Petersen, Cheryl Luckett, Veronica Solomon, Rasheeda Gray and Laura Thurman
Keia McSwain
Keia McSwain
Keia McSwain
Jason Bolin (right)
Jason Bolin (right)
Jason Bolin (right)
Katrena Griggs, recipient of the Kimberly E. Ward 2019 Design Icon Award
Katrena Griggs, recipient of the Kimberly E. Ward 2019 Design Icon Award
Katrena Griggs, recipient of the Kimberly E. Ward 2019 Design Icon Award