Justin Q Williams
Welcome to Take 60, a quick 1-minute story about new faces in our industry that may help you move the needle toward future success. Retailers, designers, manufacturers, and more—take 60 to cover it all, so check back every week for a new addition to the mix.
Furniture, decor, and design: Justin Q. Williams/Trademark Design Co.
Justin Keough Williams is one of six designers who are part of TOV Furniture’s Voice Collection, an upholstery and bag product group that debuted at Spring High Point Market and boosted diversity along with new products. Says Williams, based in Atlanta, Ga. The Voice Group’s positive reaction in April “should be an eye-opener for other manufacturers to make it their mission not to overlook groups of people that can make a significant contribution to their business.”
Fattah: What are some of the reactions you’ve personally heard that let you know that the time was right to launch the Voice collection?
Williams: People were very excited about this launch. In transparency, although the pieces are amazing, I think people felt that this was a breakthrough moment for the furniture and design industry. A whole group of people were finally seen and recognized as being as good as their peers. Personally, I feel like I’m just an attachment. There are plenty of color designers out there who are as talented and more talented than me.
Fattah: Tell us about the pieces you designed.
Williams: The pieces I designed are ones that felt the industry was missing. Pieces are not only elegant, but also practical. My design goal has always been to work on fashion. My accent chairs are clean in style and versatile with whatever space you choose to use them in. You can use the crystal chair as an office chair or a fun chair in the corner of your room. The trucker chair is crafted in velvet and vegan leather so it fits in a crowded family room or an attractive bachelorette cushion. Jessie Sectional, it’s modular, so if you need more space, simply add a cut to it or maybe you want to make it a U-shape, versatility is key with these pieces. Finally, the Alon console. This can be used in the foyer as an accent dresser or under the TV. Multifunctional pieces that make an impact are my favorites and my work reflects that.
Fattah: Why is this group important to the furniture industry, the retail industry, and consumers? What unique value do you bring to each group?
Williams: This group should act as an open key for other manufacturers to make their mission not to overlook groups of people that can contribute significantly to their business. For the retail industry, this collection shows that there are people waiting for new and exciting products created from black designers, so why not provide them to your customers?! Speaking of consumers, I can’t tell you how many buyers in the market are waiting to support black designers in this way. The seams literally explode with excitement to purchase these pieces.
Fattah: Going forward, how can the industry support diversity and inclusion and why is it necessary to do so?
Williams: Acting has always been and always will be important. The industry can support diversity and inclusion by intentionally including color designers in terms of how we are often overlooked and underrepresented – show designers to color, include them in licensing deals, etc. Also useful for the industry to ensure everyone is equally represented.
Fattah: Finally, if you had to sum up your experience with the launch of this demarcation in one sentence, what would that sentence be?
Williams: My experience with this launch can be summed up by saying – the world has been waiting and I’m so glad TOV was so brave in its initiative… The only thing that occupies my heart is gratitude. I appreciate that TOV found a void and chose to fill it. My only hope is that other companies will follow suit to continue filling that space so that all people are equally represented.
Fun Facts About Justin Keogh Williams:
- Favorite inspirational quote: “Be brave and be kind”
- Favorite Design Inspiration Destination: Cape Town, South Africa
- Favorite way to spend a day off work: Listen to music, relax on the sofa or walk with Alon (My Standard Poodle) around our area
- The only home furnishing item you’ll take with you every time you move in: I have an antique chest that will likely stay with me for the rest of my life.
- What cultural trend or influence do you see becoming very important over the next two years? I think during current times, people have noticed how important it is to reach out to family and friends and that we have benefited from being able to see them. So, at home, I think what we’ll see more of are memories, whether they’re pictures or items that mean something special to them because they’re part of a shared moment.
I’m Cindy Hodnett, Executive Editor of Brand Development for BridgeTower Media’s Home Furnishings division. Most recently, I worked in a content marketing development role, and now I’m wearing my editor’s hat for today’s furniture, home accents today, gifts and decorative accessories, designers today, home textiles today, and home furnishing news. My first introduction to the business side of home furnishings was as Editor of FT in 2012 and Founding Editor of Designers Today in 2015, and now I once again work alongside some of the industry’s most dedicated professionals to keep our readers updated on the events, people and companies that impact their business. .