Save the Date!

Coming in July 2024

Innovation Event 2024: The Future is Now

The timeline for innovation is now immediate, one of many “after” shifts that occurred following the 2020 pandemic that changed the world forever. So how can manufacturers, retailers, and designers prepare for a “new normal” innovation strategy with shortened timelines for implementation? The answer begins with access to information.

The 2023 Innovation Event will feature conversations with thought leaders from numerous industries, all of whom have unique perspectives and experience with some of the topics shaping the home category and consequently, your business. During this one-day event timed to conveniently coincide with Las Vegas Market, we’ll explore materials, technology, new industry regulations and compliance requirements, and consumer trends and design.

2023 Speakers

Christoph Burkhardt

Silicon Valley entrepreneur, CEO of OneLife, founder of think tank TinyBox

Christoph Burkhardt is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, CEO of OneLife, founder of think tank TinyBox, and an internationally recognized consultant in emerging technologies and digital business models. A keynote speaker for Fortune 500 companies around the globe, he works with executives to help them “future proof” their business strategies and technology applications, has taught business strategy for entrepreneurs at Stanford’s executive program, and is the author of three books including “Don’t Be a Robot: Seven Survival Strategies in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.”

Danny Goldstein

Community Manager at FS

Danny Goldstein (he/they) is the Community Manager at FS, a global creative futures agency that serves leading international brands and retailers in an array of verticals, including apparel, accessories, home, beauty and wellness and other consumer-facing products and services. Through a digital platform of curated, human insights coupled with AI technology, FS offers information on macro trends and cultural shifts to help brands connect the dots from culture to product.

Tammy Buckner

Senior Vice President of Design and Marketing for Culp Upholstery fabrics

Tammy Buckner is Senior Vice President of Design and Marketing for Culp Upholstery fabrics.  She has 31 years of experience in the upholstery textiles business and has been with Culp Upholstery Fabrics for the last 24 years.  She will be serving on the International Textile Alliance Board starting in Sept of 2023.   Prior to joining Culp, Buckner worked with Burlington Industries and Mastercraft Fabrics.Throughout her career in home textiles, she has continually worked to bring new innovation and technology into home fabrics.  

Melanie Honig

Artist, Entrepreneur, and Globetrotter

Melanie Honig is an artist, entrepreneur, and globetrotter who has forged an unconventional career path. As co-founder of SmithHonig, she translates her travel experiences into art, photography, and unique patterns for her company’s home decor line. Driven by her passion for both interiors and exploration, she embraced the short-term-rental concept long before the advent of Airbnb, and her love of land and houses inspired her to begin developing, designing, and hosting her own vacation rental properties. She is also managing her vision for Patterson Farms, with her husband Elichai, an expat textile engineer. Patterson Farms is a 74-acre, multi-phase, northern Georgia luxury housing community that features acres of walkable trails and sidewalks, a clubhouse and pool, a community garden and planned events as well as an 18-unit Airbnb neighborhood within the larger community.

Caroline Hipple

President, Norwalk Furniture

Caroline Hipple, Caroline Hipple is president of Norwalk Furniture and member of the Furniture Today trends advisory board. Before joining Norwalk, she worked closely with the company as a partner in HB2 Resources, a home furnishings consultancy based in Atlanta she co-founded with Dixon Bartlett. She also served as president of retailer Storehouse Furniture Co., a division of Rowe Furniture Co., which had 72 stores. She began her career and held multiple positions with retailer This End Up, beginning her career with the company as a sales associate and advancing to executive vice president of sales, marketing, and merchandising. 

Alex Shuford III

president and CEO of Century Furniture and Rock House Farm Family of Brands

Alex Shuford III, president and CEO of Century Furniture and Rock House Farm Family of Brands, the parent company of Century, Hancock & Moore, Hickory Chair, Maitland Smith, Pearson, Cabot Wrenn, Highland House, and Jessica Charles, and member of the Furniture Today trends advisory board. He joined Century Furniture in 2000 and has worked in numerous capacities for the company, including VP of Sales & Marketing and VP of Century. He was named President in April 2013. In 2015 he was appointed to President of the Rock House Farm family of brands overseeing Century, Hancock & Moore, Jessica Charles, Highland House, Randall Allen and Cabot Wrenn. The company acquired Hickory Chair, Pearson and Maitland Smith in 2017.  

Christa O’Leary

CEO, Home In Harmony

Christa O’Leary, Interior designer and International best-selling Hay House author, Christa O’Leary, MA, MFT is CEO of Home in Harmony, Inc. She has been featured on CBS, NBC, FOX and in publications including New England Home, House Beautiful, Veranda, Elle Decor, USA Today, Consumer Reports, and Health Magazine. 


9:30 – 10:00 am

Registration and Networking

10:00-11:00 am

Artificial Intelligence: The implications, potential, and challenges that lie ahead

11:00 – 11:45 a.m. :

Tech Talk: From factory floors to ocean transport, technology is changing business strategies – Todd Wanek, Ashley Furniture

Automation and technology that can streamline production processes and increase efficiencies translate improve the bottom line, but the ubiquitous offerings can be mind-boggling. Learn more about how to utilize artificial intelligence, robotics, and machinery/software innovation to enhance your profitability.

11:45 a.m. – 12:30p.m.

40 Under 40 Luncheon

We are thrilled to inform you that the winners of the second annual 40 Under 40 awards have been chosen! These exceptional individuals, who have demonstrated outstanding career achievements and industry involvement, will be honored at a special luncheon during the upcoming Innovation Event.

The 40 Under 40 awards, presented by Furniture Today, celebrate the brightest emerging leaders in the furniture industry, all under the age of 40. As a testament to their remarkable contributions, they have been carefully selected by the esteemed Furniture Today editorial team.
The winners of this prestigious recognition have displayed exemplary leadership and made significant contributions to the advancement of the furniture industry. Their dedication and innovative approaches have set them apart as rising stars in the field.

We would like to take this opportunity to extend our deepest gratitude to all those who participated in the nomination process. Your submissions have played a crucial role in identifying the most deserving candidates, and we sincerely appreciate your engagement.

To celebrate the achievements of these remarkable individuals, we invite you to join us at the Innovation Event Luncheon, where the winners will be officially honored. This luncheon will serve as an opportunity to connect with industry leaders, gain valuable insights, and celebrate the collective accomplishments that drive our industry forward.

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Why they buy: Consumer trends that capture discretionary income.

Panelists: Caroline Hipple, president, Norwalk Furniture; Danny Goldstein, community manager, FS; Alex Shuford III, CEO, Rock House Family of Brands, Century Furniture, Hancock & Moore, Hickory Chair, Maitland Smith, Pearson, Cabot Wrenn, Highland House, Jessica Charles

What moves a product from “trending” to “core” and what factors will impact the buyer’s journey in the home furnishings industry for the next few years and beyond? Join us for this engaging discussion that includes a dynamic trio of panelists, each with a distinctive take on what’s hot/what’s not and what might be in the future.

2:00 – 2:30 p.m.

The Power of Marketing and Experience

Eric Grindley, CEO and Founder of Esquire Advertising will explore new and innovative technologies that empower your business to thrive and create exceptional customer experiences that leave a lasting impression, from initial engagement to loyal patronage. Embrace cutting-edge solutions that drive growth and ensure unparalleled satisfaction for new and returning customers.

2:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Break and Networking

3:00 – 3:30 p.m.

How retailers can increase NPS by 50% using AI

Learn how retailers can transform their fulfillment and delivery operations using AI and automation, to achieve –
– Happier customers – increasing NPS to 70+
– More efficient operations – reducing failed deliveries by 42%
– Better online reputation – getting a 31% increase in online reviews

The time is perfect for your business to make the switch to, an AI-based customer engagement platform, that enables retailers to form meaningful relationships with their customers that turn them into advocates and repeat buyers.

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.

Tomorrow’s Home: Materials, health and wellness, neighborhood evolutions, and more — learn what’s on the horizon for the home of the future.

Panelists: Tammy Buckner, senior vice president of design and marketing, Culp; Mealnie Hönig, co-founder SmithHönig, partner, Patterson Farms, LLC; Christa O’Leary, Home in Harmony

4:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks


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