Behind the Scenes with Ballard Designs
December 9, 2012
I’ve been receiving the Ballard Designs catalog for a decade and shopping their online store for the same amount of time. The new catalog comes in the mail five times a year and I savor the new and the classic furnishings and accessories inside the pages.
I really love their style, European inspired but always fresh, not too stodgy or too grandma. Just about every room in my house has something from their collection. Their mirrored Savon Tray Table sits in my master bathroom and I use it daily!
I absolutely adore the Bellasol Mirror in our powder room.
And just recently we hung their Grand Claire chandelier in our bedroom.
Their Mariestad chandy (no longer available) and Couture chairs sit in my dining room, and a painted a trio of their Grand Palais mirrors are hung in our family room to mimic a window. So it goes without saying, I’m a big fan!
I was invited to attend a behind-the-scenes glimpse at their company last week and a peek into the process of creating the products and photographing the catalog, and I was very excited! I spent a day learning about the products that start as a “twinkle in the eye” of their team and end photographed in the final rooms depicted inside the lovely spreads inside the catalog.
The event started with a tour of the corporate facility and a peek at the upcoming Jan/Feb and Spring catalogs. Forgive the mediocre pictures, I brought my fancy camera but not a memory card (doh) so I had to rely on my iPhone for images.
The main headquarters is in Atlanta and there all the decisions for the company are made. Headquarters has less than 80 employees, not including fulfillment centers and the phone and online order center. For having such a national presence, I was surprised by the small amount of employees they rely on to make the Ballard magic happen and so impressed at their willingness to open their doors to the bloggers they invited inside.
We spent the morning touring the main office, meeting the employees, and seeing how they pull together inspiration for upcoming collections. They use mood boards and pin inspiration all around the office!
The catalogs are all mapped out on huge walls with Post-Its and notes so the team can move ideas all around before it goes to print.
Dying over this deep teal blue velvet tufted headboard!
Their merchants travel the world (and the markets outside Paris, hello dream job!) for unique finds to inspire their upcoming collections.
We spent the afternoon on the scene of a photo shoot in a gorgeous estate home in a suburb of Atlanta. This centuries old antique mirror was the inspiration for a similar version that will be available in Spring 2013.
Here is a twin set of the reproduction mirrors styled below in the house we visited where the photo shoot was taking place. We all swooned over the Tiffany blue walls and the medley of fresh furnishings. I was especially fond of the Greek key wingback chair and striped lamp shade!
Here’s a photo shoot in progress of an office painted an orchid color… so pretty!
Who wants an on site prop set up like this? Me! And this is maybe 30% of what Creative Director Jill Sharp and her team of stylists are working with.
The last few minutes before I left for the airport I was able to browse the local store. I love the soft snow leopard print blanket and already bought one as a Christmas gift for my daughter – she’s a big cheetah and leopard print fan so the gray version is perfect for her room.
Thank you so much Ballard Designs for the amazing day touring your company and the opportunity to learn so much! I’m now acutely aware of the thousands of hours spent creating your products and inspiring catalog. It really is absolutely fascinating how much thought goes into the choice to make a product, where it will appear in a photo shoot, how it will be staged, where that product will go on the printed page, and on and on and on.
The company is a great success story that began with the creativity of one woman, Helen Ballard, and now brings beautiful furnishings and accessories to all. I’m so grateful to the entire Ballard team for including me on the list of attendees, it was a fabulous experience and I have such respect for all that they accomplish together.
Bravo Ballard Designs !
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