Unlocking New Possibilities: Fresh Perspectives for Business
High Point Market last month was…well…Absolutely crazy! In a good way.
Upon arriving to our showroom on that Sunday morning, I quickly realized I should have probably come in the day before. I was only there two days, and so much happened that I returned home frazzled. It took me some time to digest it all. It was a hectic market because we were consistently busy. And it had been so long since I’d attended a market that I had an awkward start. I felt like I was stumbling at first with no chance to get warmed up.
Thankfully, once the first order was placed I felt myself getting back into the swing of things. And business took off from there. We couldn’t come up for air – we just worked straight through, full speed ahead. To date, the reception to our new collections has been overwhelmingly positive, both from our customers and our CODARUS sales reps.
There is a new kind of excitement around our products that I had not felt as profoundly before – and it was so gratifying and fantastic! In particular, our best sellers at market last month included:
- Nolan blanket+shams (now available in 2 colors)
- Toni blanket (available in September, can be pre-ordered today in 3 colors)
- Jenna blanket (available in September, can be pre-ordered today in 3 colors)
- Gavin quilt+shams (now available in 3 colors)
- Ford sheeting (now available in 7 colors)
- Izzy fashion fabric (now available in 4 colors)
Also, TL at Home’s positioning in the CODARUS showrooms is giving us great visibility – plus, more importantly, it is making more retailers and designers take notice.
It’s so exciting to design new product coming off of a positive show experience. I am encouraged about the remaining markets this summer, knowing we are headed in a strong direction. Fueled by this momentum, my team and I are busy planning for what’s coming next.
Our post-pandemic strategy includes merchandising. While we typically spotlight fashion fabrics front and center on duvets on our showroom display beds, we are shifting the focus toward neutral presentations that give attention to textures, colors, sheeting applications – all in pursuit of simplified and subdued sophistication. Of course, our fashion fabrics still play an important role – as accent decorative pillows that draw the eye and inspire new conversations with our customers.
I feel comfortable saying High Point Market in June proved a valuable learning experience for me on how I want to present myself and TL at Home going forward.
With almost 50 years under our belts (this year marks our 48th anniversary), we are proud to be the industry experts in everyday luxury bedding and accessories, unmatched in our authentic brand promise and agile aesthetic built on sustainable design.
Join us at this season’s upcoming markets at our CODARUS showrooms:
*Atlanta Market, July 13-19: Atlanta AmericasMart, 15-A-1
*Las Vegas Market, Aug. 22-26: World Market Center C-354
Hope to see you there!
Living & Learning: Turning the Pandemic Page
As we turn the page on Covid, I was recently reflecting on my positive takeaways, related to my TL at Home business, from the otherwise sobering pandemic experience.
I’d characterize my learnings over the past year as an affirmation to trust in myself.
I have increased confidence in my choices. I am communicating my needs and appreciation to my sales team, taking more time to express gratitude to them – which has made us even stronger. I am making partnerships with organizations I care about. And I am deepening my relationships with my vendors and customers.
With that, I say thank you to my TL at Home staff, my customers and my friends for your ongoing support and loyalty.
(Photo: Me and longtime industry colleague and friend Penny Sikalis, both mask-less and vaccinated, on her recent visit to Hudson, N.Y.)
Sales Spotlight: Charlotte Urban
This year marks her 16th anniversary with CODARUS, which she joined in the company’s first year of business.
“When I came on board in August 2005, the showroom was a brand new baby,” she said. “Since then, it’s been a wild and crazy ride, and I’ve loved it!”
TL at Home is the perfect fit for her “Deep South” market, she said, because of our brand’s classic aesthetic.
“TL‘s products are natural, touchable, huggable, easy to live with, very low maintenance for the most part, and can be customized in any way a customer needs them to be,” Charlotte noted.
Best sellers among her clientele (an about even mix of retailers and designers) include Louisa, any and all of our stonewashed coverlets, “and of course, the Vintage Velvets,” she cited. “They can make an ordinary bed into something magical! And you can only get them from TL at Home – no one else has them.”
“No one around here knows who she belongs to – she just pops in here about twice a day and makes a mess of the garden,” Charlotte said, laughing. “I used to battle her, but no more. She’s quite a character and I don’t mind her coming by at all because I love animals.”
Retailer profile: Porter & Prince
TL at Home has been a partner to Porter & Prince for much of the store’s existence, beginning back when my mother-in-law Pamela owned and operated our business under the “Traditions by Pamela Kline” moniker.
Located outside the Biltmore Estate in the Historic Biltmore Village, Porter & Prince serves as both a retail store for shoppers as well as a hub for designers in search of luxury linens, decor and customization capabilities for their clients. (We’re flattered to learn our Fashion Fabrics are among the more popular selections.)
“One of the unique aspects of TL is that they can create things with different fabrics according to our customers’ specifications if they need something made to order,” Debra noted.
Our bedding and accents are also “intermingled throughout the store and on our display beds,” she added. In particular, Porter & Prince appreciates our Dutch shams and signature stonewashed coverlets. In fact, our Hudson coverlet is among the store’s best sellers, Slosman noted. “Our customers love it because it is so different from anything else you’d find form the other brands.”
Our Vintage Velvets are another stand-out, Debra added – thanks in part to her!
“I like that Shari, herself, comes to [High Point] market with her team. She is very hands-on, and accessible. Seeing her there gives me a chance to catch up and exchange ideas with her. In fact, I was the one who gave her the idea for the Vintage Velvet topper. And she ran with it – putting her own stamp on it! We love it and our customers do, too!”
Summer 2021: Market Season is Back
Ahhh, summer! Sunshine, vacation, frothy cocktails, late sunsets…
And now, trade shows & markets, too! The pandemic pushed back market dates across the country for over a year. But several U.S. states have begun easing restrictions as the Covid vaccine expands its reach – making Summer 2021 the right time for a return to the Markets.
For me, deciding to go to market was a really difficult decision because I have spent the last year working so hard to make sure I was keeping my employees safe so that the company could continue to operate. I definitely procrastinated about making the decision. I may actually be the very last person to confirm that I was going! (Ha!)
Although I am fully vaccinated, this will be my first trip, and I have all kinds of “getting back out there” anxiety about it. I find myself going over the plans in my head, over and over. But the truth is that I’m super excited to see my sales team in person and introduce the new products. I love talking with the reps and the customers about the new collection because once I do, it takes on a life of its own and it’s one of my favorite parts of my job.
Giving Thanks: Employee Appreciation
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of gratitude for our blessings – which is why I’m making a point of saying “Thank you” to my TL at Home staff in a new way, and often 🧡
It occurs to me that the success of this business is dependent on the dedication of our team, especially after such a challenging year. Right now, I am really lucky to have a dozen people around me who come to work each day committed to doing their part to drive TL at Home’s mission forward.
I am deeply thankful, and I want to make sure they know it.
In gratitude for all they do, we’re launching TL at Home’s monthly “Employee Appreciation” recognition initiative. And we just kicked it in April with a special gift for each member of our team:
@Yeti Rambler Chug Bottles (engraved with our TL at Home logo 😉
I’m very excited about this worthy new initiative, and already have some other employee perks lined up for the months ahead to make things a little bit extra special around here for our hard-working team.
Thanks, again, my TL at Home team! You are appreciated!
Getting to know our CODARUS territory sales manager
Our national team of sales reps with CODARUS are key to helping us build the TL at Home brand and extend our customer reach.
In light of that, we’ve launched an initiative to spotlight the many members of our sales force, sharing their stories and experiences on a get-to-know-you level for the benefit of our TL family – from staff to business partners to customers.
This week we a featuring Treffrey Gunter, an almost lifelong colleague of TL at Home. That’s correct – she has been working with our line since she was a middle-schooler helping out at her mother’s former luxury linens shop, Lavender and Lace, in Raleigh, N.C., and back when we were known as Traditions Linens.
Today, Treffrey is our Codarus territory sales manager for the state of North Carolina, and a 20+ year veteran of the luxury linens industry.
“Growing up, I was at the store, watching everything that was going on, and working there in the summers,” she recalled.
Treffrey always remembered a feeling she had as a child in third grade. “My mom had a great friend who was a sales rep, and I thought back then that I wanted to be a sales, rep, too , when I grew up. At the time, it just seemed like a cool job.”
After college, she came back home at the age of 22 and not sure what she wanted to do. “So, I kept working with my mom at the store.” Coincidentally, a Lavender and Lace sales rep was in need of a counterpart – “and I thought that would be a great fit for me!”
Lavender and Lace was a fixture in Raleigh for two decades – from 1993 through 2013, when Treffrey’s mom retired and closed its doors. The shop carried several major luxury linens lines as well as sleepwear, soaps and lotions.
“Linens are my passion, and I probably got that from my mom,” Treffrey said. “To this day, I collect bed linens and have a closetful that goes back about 25 years. TL is definitely part of my collection.”
On her wishlist (and shopping list) now are our Louisa coverlet, Cortina duvet cover and Verbier sheeting. “I want to get these for myself,” she said.
Working the TL at Home line with Codarus, Treffrey said her favorite part of her job is helping customers pull together different pieces and fabrics and textures to create unique looks for them.
“My mom let me work on our store’s display beds, putting together different looks by combining products from the different lines we carried,” she explained. “It was really fun for me then and it is really fun for me now!”
She especially likes working with our product assortment for its versatility, she said. “I love TL because all it offers – so many fabrics, textures, patterns, looks and aesthetics. You can get anything for anyone within TL. There is something for everybody – in particular in North Carolina, where we have the coast, the mountains and the Piedmont – all kinds of geography in my territory, and all kinds of customers.”
Plus, she added: TL products are “easy to live with and easy to care for.”
Some of her customers’ favorites from our line include our stonewashed coverlets – Arlesienne, Blair, Boyce, Hudson and Louisa – “all definitely go-tos for my customers”.
Lastly, and in case you are wondering, Treffrey is a family name – “not a combination of two names, like many people think,” she explained. “It is my great-grandmother’s maiden name from Nova Scotia.”
Deciphering Laundry Care Symbols
Are you sometimes perplexed by those symbols on the care labels of your home textiles? For example, did you know the triangle represents bleach? Or that the circle stands for dry clean?
If you said “No,” don’t fret!
Consider this your cheat-sheet to the official commercial and home laundering and professional textile care symbols.
Click HERE to be directed to a larger, printable *version.
*Accessed from the Agricultural Extension Service + University of Tennessee, this chart features care symbols accepted by the Federal Trade Commission as part of a conditional exemption to the FTC Care Labeling Rule. This chart is referenced from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
When It’s Magic!
Collaborating with JFY Designs
The JFY crew is a force at the markets (Atlanta, Dallas, High Point & Las Vegas). There’s such beauty in their teamwork. It’s an exciting process to watch as they work throughout the showroom, culling pieces to build just the right looks for their clients.
It’s inspiring to see their true commitment to every client they serve. When it all comes together – and when TL at Home can be part of that design.
I feel like it’s magic!
“We have been working with TL at Home for many years, and I have always loved their Vintage Velvet because it comes in a wide array of such rich colors. The throws are truly a favorite accent to add to any room to add a touch of luxe and ‘Wow’. One of the most beneficial things about working with TL at Home is the ability to customize. We work with clients who love to customize their homes and providing that personalization all the way down to their bedding really makes our clients happy!” –Marie-Joe Bouffard, principal designer, JFY Designs
JFY Designs is a full-service interior design studio serving Nashville and surrounding cities across the Middle Tennessee region.
Caring For Your Linens
Best practices for cleaning & maintaining your TL at Home bedding and accessories
At TL at Home, we take great pride in offering everyday luxury bedding and accessories that are easy to care for, machine washable and friendly to the whole family (including your beloved pets).
For the best results in maintaining and preserving your TL at Home linens, we offer the following recommendations:
- Before using your linens, please launder according to the included instructions. In general, our products can be laundered at home, but we do carry select specialty products that require dry cleaning or other more meticulous cleaning methods. Washing instructions can vary from item to item, depending on the fabric content. Be sure to check the label on the hem.
- Launder your TL at Home linens separately from other items.
- Make sure zippers are closed. Open zippers and other rough surfaces may damage some of our products’ long staple fabrics, causing pilling.
- Use a high-quality gentle detergent that is free from harsh chemicals and made specifically for treating fine linens. Avoid detergents with brighteners or other bleaching agents, as they will fade colors and weaken the fibers.
- Use low-heat settings to dry your linens. Before inserting them into the dryer, shake out your linens. This will help them dry more evenly, reduce wrinkling and cut down on drying time – a bonus for the environment. (Each machine is unique, which is why we urge you to test the heat settings on your dryer regularly to ensure the best drying results.)
- At the end of the drying cycle, promptly remove your linens from the drum. This will make them virtually wrinkle free. Any ironing at this point is optional.
(To learn more about caring for your TL at Home bedding and accessories, visit the “Care & Specs” section in the ABOUT US tab of our website.)
We welcome your questions and suggestions! Contact us any time via email at firstname.lastname@example.org OR by phone at 518.851.3975. We will respond within 24 hours.
“The time is always right to do what is right”
The Columbia County Women’s Alliance (CCWA), a local organization serving my hometown of Hudson, NY, recently honored me and 100+ of my fellow female residents with a special recognition.
As CCWA put it: “In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote at the federal level, the Columbia County Women’s Alliance wanted to acknowledge and celebrate 100 Women Making a Difference in Columbia County.”
CCWA solicited nominees for the honor from the community back on Nov. 30, and the call “was heard!” with many submissions: the names of a diverse group of women representing “multiple generations, walks of life, and areas of achievement” along with “glowing testimonials highlighting the ways in which [each of] these honorees have made a difference.”
The 100+ honorees reside locally in Columbia County and all have impacted the community, “with passion, foresight, bravery, and simple determination to make life better for their families and their neighbors,” CCWA noted.
I was nominated by my mother in law, Pamela Kline, who was the founder of TL at Home some 50 years ago, back when it was simply known as Traditions. She absolutely understands what a commitment I am making to this business – supporting and nurturing a local work force and giving back to this community in ways that are meaningful to me.
Being nominated is such an honor because of the company of women with whom I get to share it. I’ve been a part of this community for a long time now, and it’s inspiring to learn more about our truly amazing community of women. Reading the profiles of the women in this group gives me hope for the future. I am blessed to be living among so many influential women who are doing exceptional things, every day.
On the heels of celebrating Martin Luther King Day and welcoming our 46th U.S. President and our first woman/first person of color Vice President, this honor serves a reminder, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
Go HERE to check out the Columbia County Women’s Alliance 100 Women Nominees.
“Outstanding color” + “Beautiful textures” = “Happy” Designer
New designer client finds joy in mixing & matching our products
The New York-based designer is among our newest designer clients for our fashion fabrics (the aforementioned being her favorites) as well as several of our signature bedding linens.
As she explained to me, Fire – who was one of the High Point Market Authority‘s 2020 Style Spotters – found us by happenstance while recently roaming the Atlanta AmericasMart in pursuit of products for two projects for two different clients in Georgia.
“I was walking the halls when I came upon CODARUS, and that’s when I discovered TL at Home,” she said. “I fell in love right away!”
Formerly design director for HGTV Home (2011-2020), Fire was appointed earlier this month to the board of the Sustainable Furnishings Council (which this year celebrates its 15th anniversary) as well as the Bienenstock Furniture Library.
Last year, amid the pandemic, Fire laid the groundwork for her new eponymous design studio, Nancy Fire Design – which officially launched in the fall. She continues to act as creative director of New York-based Design Works International, which she co-founded with her husband and business partner, Neil Breslau.
Back at Atlanta, Fire began assembling looks for each project working with our showroom manager, Karsen Cornett, “who is amazing,” she said.
“For me it’s about building a bed in a subtle but dimensional way, and TL at Home presents calming colorations with accent through texture to build dimension,” Fire explained. “Their quilts and coverlets and the ability to create euros, and dutch euros and different custom silhouettes is another big plus.”
A cornerstone of our line is mixing and matching – which proved another key selling point for Fire.
“TL at Home’s whole line seems to work together and coordinate without patterns being the same,” she said. “I wanted patterns with an organic, spa-like feel, and they do a phenomenal job designing their bedding.”
As for the fabrics, Fire will be doing “lots of layering” to achieve the looks she is after for both projects.
“I won’t ever get tired of these fabrics,” she said. “The color palette is outstanding and the textures and weaves are just beautiful, which makes me so happy.”
Indeed. She placed two orders: One for her clients, “and one for myself.”
The New Year celebrations continue this week at the Atlanta Market!
All of this week, at our showroom in CODARUS (AmericasMart B1, 15-A-1), we’re showcasing our 2021 Collection & Catalog in all of their glory. Here’s a preview (thanks to our sales rep, Karsen Cornett).
2021 Collection + Catalog
Come see us at the Dallas & Atlanta Markets
And TL at Home will be there with our partner, CODARUS, showing for the first time the full breadth of our 2021 Collection & Catalog.
Our new bedding styles are the perfect way to turn the page on an unusual year, and look ahead to a happy and healthy 2021. And best of all, you can rest assured that like everything in our line, our new collection is crafted with love. Among the highlights:
Our signature Stonewashed Coverlets, which now include two new styles:
- Boyce, an all-over diamond pattern on a cotton/linen blend
- Hudson, a distinctive weave design with a modern deconstructed applied linen edge detail
Two new styles added to our Stocked Sheeting assortment:
- Florence, an all-white featherweight cotton enhanced with 7% cashmere for gentle warmth and added softness
- Verona, a garden delight of florals digitally printed on a featherweight cotton blended with 7% cashmere
And Made-To-Order Sheeting, which also expands with two fresh patterns:
- Cortina, a nautical-inspired design relayed in a crisp linen trim application
- Verbier, a handsome linen trim application in a variegated stripe
Layer any or all of these with your existing TL at Home linens. We purposely designed our 2021 Collection to reside seamlessly with anything and everything in our complete portfolio.
Our intention, our hope is that you curate your own personal collection of TL at Home products over time, like found objects.
If you are attending Dallas and/or Atlanta markets, free copies of our 2021 Catalog will be available at the CODARUS showrooms –Dallas Design Center, suite 210 and Atlanta AmericasMart, B1, 15-A-1.
Specially designed for our designers & decorators, TL at Home’s fashion fabric line now includes Barrington and Oakley.
We’re really excited about Barrington because it is a very functional basic in a linen blend that pairs great texture with a fine lightweight. Based on previews, Barrington is already becoming an important part of our line for designers in need of an interesting solid-colored duvet that doesn’t feel like plain sheeting. We have a range of neutrals to choose from along with fresh pops of color perfect for the spring season. and Barrington works really well on our euro or dutch shams as a backdrop for the bed, and also wonderful as a range of pillows for the sofa.
Oakley makes a fun and splashy statement for a bright room. A printed cotton, it features a watercolor floral pattern artfully achieved by combining layers of tonal colors with highlights of brights for depth and versatility. As a duvet and shams or or for decorative pillows on the sofa, Oakley is a stunner!
As if all this was not enough, we’ve also developed smart new packaging components, including hangtags and inserts, for all of our products to proudly call our our brand and quality.
Enjoy perusing TL at Home’s 2021 Collection, and more!
How chocolate, ice cream and my mother prepped me for Holiday 2020 + Beyond
Just in time for Christmas, here’s my pandemic-proof holidays survival secret:
Do the best you can.
Simple enough. And yet, a hard-earned lesson.
Since September, I’ve been sprinting through the days, weeks, months, consumed with developing new product collections, choreographing photo shoots, composing our latest catalog, and fulfilling a wave of orders from many new customers (the latter, for which I am eternally grateful).
Managing and prioritizing these many duties, while at the same time ensuring my staff can work safely amid Covid-19, have made 2020 a frenzied year like no other.
To get through it all, I’ve had some help from chocolate, ice cream, and my mother. Took me a while, but I finally started heeding her advice to let go and listen to my body. More than ever before, I am handing off the work I cannot take on, asking for help when I become overwhelmed, resting when I need a break.
Thanks, Mom! It’s working, and it’s wonderful! Things seem to be falling exactly into place, when and where needed.
And importantly, I’m carving time and space for the more celebratory things I love to do. Traditions are at the center of the holidays, and they are especially important to me this year.
At work, the season’s highlight is finding special gifts for my employees and writing personal notes to each one of them in gratitude for their contributions to the business.
At home, I love it all – visiting a local farm with Travis and our two sons, Gavin and Tait, to pick out a Christmas tree; trimming the tree with our favorite ornaments from years past, reminiscing about where each decoration came from and how it came to be part of our uniquely Kline collection; and hanging our stockings and decorating our mantle. (I made Trav’s reindeer stocking myself. I should make more, but who has the time? Well, actually, if I keep following my mother’s advice, I should have time next year!)
My other three boys are Poppy, our English Setter, and his (annoying) companions, Timmy and Champ. We met Poppy at a gas station in Maine, and on a whim we agreed to take him home. Timmy and Champ came to us by way of the Columbia Greene Humane Society @cghsspca.
Yes, I am completely outnumbered by boys in my house! Each one of them can expect to find gifts under the tree on December 25th.
Baking is also part of my family-favorite holiday pastimes. Gavin and Tait can’t get enough of @inagarten’s Lemon Cake. (The recipe is in her Parties! cookbook, a staple in my kitchen.) I’ve been making this cake for them every Christmas since they were toddlers (now they are in college and high school, respectively), and they’ve come to expect it. No, demand it! They love it so much they’ve requested it as their birthday cake!
Having joined the pandemic-sparked bread-making craze, we’ll also be baking fresh loaves for consumption any time, anywhere. Except on Christmas morning. We reserve that time for @WilliamsSonoma Ready to Bake Chocolate Croissants, accompanied by hot cocoa for the boys and plenty of coffee for Mr. & Mrs. Kline.
Also on our holiday agenda: Fresh air and friends. We’ve always been a family who loves the outdoors, especially in winter. Ski racing is a big part of my husband’s life and a sport our boys have grown up loving. The lifelong friends we’ve made on the hill make it something our whole family enjoys together.
Wishing you much joy, peace and happiness this season from TL at Home!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
“Lipstick-a and Flail-icka”
It’s our way of saying Happy Hanukkah
The Festival of Lights is upon us, which means the holiday season is officially underway at my house.
On Friday at sundown, my husband, Travis, and I with our two sons kicked off Hanukkah by lighting the candles on our three menorahs.
Mine is a blended family. I am Jewish, my husband is Christian, and during the holiday season we observe the best traditions from each of our upbringings and celebrate how our different faiths have brought us together.
It has inspired us to create our own traditions here at home – among my most treasured, singing the Yiddish holiday song that was my grandparents’ favorite. I’ve been singing it all of my life, and yet I’ve never really understood the words – I just know them phonetically. My family follows my misguided lead, which has resulted in a whole new set of “lyrics” that sound something like “lipstick-a and flail-icka” – a hodgepodge of mispronunciations that may seem nonsensical (maybe even objectionable) to some people. But to us, The Klines, it is merry music sung with affection and tribute to my late Bubby and Poppy.
Our Tree of Life menorah was their wedding gift to Travis when we were married 23 years ago, which is why it is so special to us.
Travis’ grandmother (not Jewish) is also a big part of our Hanukkah celebration. One of our other menorahs belonged to her. I’m not sure why she had it, but I like to think it is because she knew Travis and I would find each other.
Our third menorah is the one we like to call our “Mystery Menorah.” It is made of a bicycle chain, and we can’t remember where it came from or how it got into our hands. But it’s here for the ride!
Wishing our TL at Home family, friends and colleagues a very Happy Hanukkah and a joyful start to the 2020 holiday season…
Let’s Talk About It
Pandemic-impacted holiday season a time to embrace at-risk loved ones
At early dawn on December 1st (which happened to be #GivingTuesday on the holiday retail calendar), I went outside to my backyard and discovered the moon hanging brightly over my home. On its face was a strange composition of light and shadows that seemed to depict the ancient Chinese symbol for dualism, Yin and Yang.
I snapped a photo, and thought about the similar positive/negative forces colliding this year amid Covid-19.
Some people have been blessed with finding a peaceful balance despite the pandemic’s persistence and impacts. But, sadly, many others have greatly suffered from illness, economic despair, or lonliness.
At TL at Home, we want to do something to acknowledge people who are struggling – especially during this atypical holiday season. That is why we are donating a percentage of our total sales this month (through December 31st) to a special program near and dear to me, personally: Forefront Suicide Prevention.
My late cousin, Matthew Adler, sadly took his own life in February 2011. He left behind son Jake and daughter Zoey and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Stuber – who since then co-founded and serves as center director of Forefront.
Matthew was my dad’s sister’s oldest child. His family lived near ours when we were growing up, outside of Philadelphia. We spent all of our holidays together.
Over the years, we drifted apart. The last time I saw him was at his wedding. Matthew had become a successful attorney, a partner at a law firm.
But he suffered from mental illness, and one day he decided it would be better if he wasn’t around anymore.
It was my first encounter with suicide. I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t understand it now.
That is why I am blown away by what Jennifer has managed to do with Forefront.
Jennifer is an Associate Professor at University of Washington’s School of Social Work. Her research interests focus on forms of oppression, including stigma and discrimination, health disparities, mental health and policy-making processes.
She offered me some insight into Forefront’s work over the past decade and brought me up to speed on its latest critical initiative.
Read about here, in her words:
For a long time, we (as a society) were not talking about suicide. But at Forefront, we’ve worked hard and been very effective in raising awareness and helping to equip people so that they can understand it better and play a bigger role in preventing it.
If I knew then what I know now, there is a good chance Matthew would still be alive today.
There is a stigma surrounding suicide, which only amplifies the pain for people who have suffered such a loss of a loved one.
We want to get people to start talking about suicide and help them understand that the only way we can start prevention efforts is to talk about it openly.
Making matters worse lately is the pandemic. More people are suffering in isolation. The holidays usually mitigate loneliness because they are a time of connectedness; but this year with Covid, at-risk people won’t have any of that support.
That is why it is so important to us this holiday season to stress the importance of reaching out to friends and families in despair. We must show our loved ones who are suffering that we care with a token, a gift, a call. It’s extremely important to connect with them on some level, to make them feel remembered and loved.
A major initiative right now for us is 988 – the new, three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
(The President recently signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act into law, and it is scheduled to be completed by July 2022.)
At Forefront, we are working on the legislation and assembling the right resources to help the 988 system work effectively, so that when someone calls he/she receives the proper help they need, that they will be directed to the right services that will follow them through the whole process – from crisis to recovery.
It’s a national effort, and we’re working on it with several other states to ensure 988 is much more than just a hotline, that it is a solution.
When you make a purchase this month from TLatHome.com, you are supporting Forefront and the at-risk community it serves.
Family🧡Friendly, Designer Friendly
That means she would never include products in her clients’ homes that she wouldn’t use herself.
Lucky for us (and her clients), TL at Home’s luxury linens meet her rigorous standards.
In one of her latest projects – a spacious vacation cabin in Mentone, Ala. that Lusco’s firm was hired to redecorate, she dressed all of the beds (which in total sleep 12 guests) with our sheets and coverlets.
“I like using Shari’s products because they are so well made and so soft, and they launder so well,” Lusco explained to a mutual colleague. “And the colors feel so natural. I am her customer and I use her products because I wouldn’t sell something to my clients that I wouldn’t use in my own home, on my own bed.”
Another plus about our products, she noted: “Shari’s coverlets are kid- and family-friendly.” The proof is in her master bedroom, where Lusco’s granddaughters cuddle up and cozy together in our Tracey coverlet (seen above in the sage colorway).
When she isn’t sure which linens to use for a particular space or needs something made to order, Lusco knows she is welcome to pick my brain for ideas and suggestions – one of my favorite parts of my job as creative director and owner of TL at Home.
“Shari is fabulous – if I need help customizing something, she is always ready to help,” Lusco added. “I sent her a Schumacher fabric I wanted to use for a bed, and she custom-made it for me into a duvet cover.”
Lusco continued: “TL at Home offers fabulous customer service. Their response is always quick, and thorough. And they care. Shari really enjoys working with her clients, happy to offer her help and make great suggestions that really put a bed together perfectly.”
Thanks, Rhonda! We’re always happy to help!
All you need is LOVE! And we’ve got plenty to share with our online shoppers🧡🧡🧡
That’s right! Unlock a 20% discount on all orders placed in November with the promo code “LOVE” + Get a free gift by liking🧡 AND adding the comment “LOVE” to any of our Instagram posts this month.
Some extra sugar: Shipping is FREE on all orders over $100
Shop from our wide array of luxury linens across bedding, bath and accessories, including fashion scarves, shawls, toppers, face masks for the family, table linens and decorative pillows.
Georgia treehouse resort founders add Silo/Greenhouse; launch to air on Discovery Network
Master suite, guest bedroom, treehouse, silo….
At TL at Home, our bedding is specially designed to add luxury effortlessly to any sleep setting without detracting from the space where our linens reside – wherever that may be.
Take the Mountaintop Luxury Treehouse at Selah Ridge – owned and operated by Ringgold, Ga.-based couple April and Daniel Phelan.
This lofty and leafy getaway on Airbnb is a one bedroom/one bath treehouse situated on (and overlooking) a private, 19-acre property nestled within the Appalachian Mountains near Chattanooga, Tenn. and the Tennessee Valley.
The young couple – who work together as product specialist for Toyota – conceived it and built it on their free time, as a personal project.
Sound familiar? You might recognize the Phelans from their TV fame. They were featured in 2019 on cable network Discovery’s “Building Off the Grid” (Season 6, Episode 3), which followed the couple as they created their dream treehouse retreat in Northern Georgia. (The program also aired on fellow Discovery channels HGTV and DIY Network.)
“[Discovery Network] came along for the journey, and it was really fun,” April Phelan told me recently.
And now they are back, she added, this time to capture the Phelans’ latest project: the Silo/Greenhouse – their second Airbnb retreat on the same land tract as the treehouse, but four acres apart.
“Daniel wanted a greenhouse and I wanted a silo, so we married those together to make this new build,” April explained. “And in a big way, it was oddly thanks to the pandemic that we were able to make it all happen in just three months – a lot quicker than it took us to finish the treehouse.”
You can watch the property come to life – from concept to construction to completion – on the 10th season of Discovery’s “Building Off the Grid.” Their production crew followed the Phelans (now with newborn baby girl Selah in tow) while they created their newest “peaceful space.”
The Silo/Greenhouse episode is scheduled to air in early 2021 (most likely, January) – STAY TUNED here for details.
In a coup for us, the Phelans’ go-to bedding for both properties is by TL at Home.
“The first time I tried Shari’s bedding, I said, ‘Oh my goodness! It’s so good, and most of all, swan-dive worthy!’” she said. “It was love, immediately. The feel of it, the coziness, the beautiful designs – that kind of quality is hard to find.”
I met the Phelans through Daniel’s mother, Lisa, who worked with me in our Atlanta showroom.
She was a big help to us with our showroom, and with sales in Atlanta. Lisa understood our product and our quality, and was the perfect combination of employee, customer and friend.
And over the course of many years, our families became good friends. I knew her kids because she homeschooled them and sometimes brought them along to help when we were putting together the showroom. In fact, her daughter Olivia worked with us for a time.
Getting to know April and Daniel is a beautiful continuation of a relationship with deep roots. I’m so impressed with what they’re creating and it’s an honor that they want to have TL at Home be a part of their vision.
New Possibilities, Exciting Discoveries
Snow has landed here in Hudson, NY, and I don’t know who is more excited – me or Poppy!
Its gentle drape on my garden and friendly commingling with the fallen maple leaves strewn across my driveway create a snowy sight from my window that delights me with feelings of snuggling and warmth – chunky blankets, hot cocoa, and the company of my sons.
Since I was a kid, the first snow of the season has always thrilled me. It inspires in me new possibilities, exciting discoveries.
Keeping it C O O L
In mid October, I worked on one of my favorite ongoing projects: TL at Home’s photo shoot for our newest collections.
Created for our seasonal catalog, the images are the result of an effortless, all-around special working relationship between me, my good friend and stylist Hilary Clauss Eutzy, and renowned photographer Michel Arnaud.
(You have surely come across his work over the past 40 years in many major publications, including Vogue, House & Garden, Instyle, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and Architectural Digest. Most recently, this year he released his latest design book, Cool Is Everywhere.)
The three of us make such an exceptional team. Our dynamic is so much fun. We form a perfect triangle – each one of us focused on his or her expertise to then collaborate to create something that really works.
No egos here. Hilary does a great job of helping me style the shots and of keeping me happy. And Michel is up for anything. He never rushes us, always engaged in making each shot as beautiful as it can be.
As the artist in this setting, his eye is focused on shapes to ensure the shots are interesting. Hilary pushes the envelope to present ideas that might not have occurred to me but that make sense (even when I need some convincing). My job is to make sure we get the images we need to showcase our new products.
And every time, we end up with inspiring photography. I always feel so good about every picture. That especially includes this season for our latest catalog, which will come out in December.
Michel was kind of enough to share his own thoughts on the experience, for your benefit as our customers:
“TL at Home’s product is terrific. It’s about color and texture, very dimensional and special. We’ve worked together as a team for a while now and spark creativity in each other, which is very nice. I’ve developed a good understanding of what Shari needs so that I can then translate her ideas into photography that tells her story.” – Michel Arnaud
“Cool is Everywhere”….
…But in particular, cool is abundant at 14 of America’s emerging “second cities,” some third-tier, too.
These locations are appreciated by renowned photographer/videographer/producer (and TL at Home photographer) Michel Arnaud, who turned his admiration into celebration in his newly released, image-packed design book, Cool is Everywhere (Abrams, $35).
“Basically, the premise for the book is to show what is happening today in America’s medium and small cities, where young people coming out of big cities are relocating to try to find and establish a new life,” he explained to me. “A lot of them are artists and creative people who tend to prefer the old buildings for their easy access and affordability.”
The 272-page book took about 18 months to assemble, including travel to all of the sites – “some of them, I went more than once to get the best pictures,” he added.
Released in June amid the pandemic, Cool is Everywhere “is especially relevant now,” Arnaud noted.
Personal note: One of the book’s coolest sites, in my opinion, is Mass MoCA, a museum close to home not just geographically but to my heart as a place I go to seek inspiration.
Cameo at The Caumsett Designer Showhouse 2020
For the project, a group of 17 top designers recently transformed the Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve in Lloyd Park, Long Island, “into a modern decorating masterpiece.”
Take a virtual tour of the Showhouse HERE.
Interesting fact about the historic property: It was once owned by retailer Marshall Field, founder of department store chain Marshall Field’s (parent company of Target Corp., Macy’s Inc., and May Department Stores Company).
Birthday Blessings, Covid-style
Like so many of you, my birthday (Oct. 22) arrived amid the Covid-19 pandemic, making for an unusual milestone.
But lucky for me, blessings abounded.
Upon my arrival to our offices that morning, I was greeted with a fresh, fall bouquet of flowers from my wonderful staff.
Later that afternoon, my pup Poppy and I took an adventurous walk with my friend Bonnie and new friend Kelly Mackerer on the grounds at PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century – including a visit to the artist house where six in-residence dancers from American Ballet Theater are staying and using lovingly donated bedding by TL at Home.
And topping off my special day was a romantic dinner with my husband of 23 years at John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant in South Egremont, Mass.
Thanks for the memories, everyone!