This design veteran says an engaging shopping experience starts at the front door

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.

HAT: How did you get involved in the furniture industry? Tell us a little about your background.

Mark Abrams, owner and designer of Port 68: I have a degree in Advertising from the University of Alabama. I interned in my freshman year with Raymond White, also from Alabama, for his company at the time, Gear, in New York, which was my first introduction to the industry in 1984.

I met Michael Yip when he was working at Oriental Accents, and years later, I was licensed under Mark Abrams Designs to OA. Michael and I wanted to start our own company, which is the way Port 68 debuted in the fall of 2008 and debuted at High Point Market in April 2009 in Interhall, where we still exist today.

HAT: Does the name Port 68 mean anything, and how was it obtained?

Abrams: Michael came up with the name. Number one, it was important for us to have the trademark rights all over the world, and number two, our products come from ports all over the world. Everything comes in a container, except for the artwork and upholstery that is made in Chicago.

The numbers six and eight are very good in Asian culture, and they mean smooth sailing and prosperity. We bring the product from all over the world with good karma.

HAT: What is the inspiration behind your designs?

Abrams: Inspiration comes from all over the market, from antique stores and even grocery stores. I will see a engraving on a leg of a table that I like from somewhere and expand that design or pattern and see if we can produce it in porcelain.

HAT: Port 68 is showing in Dallas and Atlanta this summer; Are there any new and exciting products that customers can expect?

Abrams: We do two major shows annually at the High Point Market, so for those who couldn’t attend, Dallas and Atlanta will be new to them. We will have new collections, artwork, lighting and accessories. Green is big now; It’s trendy but always classic. We also have a lot of colorful artwork that you can live with for a long time.

HAT: As a decor and design expert, what would you say to new furniture retailers about how to create an inviting shopping ambiance?

Abrams: Start at the front door. Is it clean? Are your windows clean? Nobody wants to step inside a filthy store. Make your windows shine all the time.

Turn your store over. If the product has been in the same place for six months, you need to move it.

Layer on new lighting and accessories and turn on the lights. Turn on the music, make the store smell great, and tell a story with your product.

Port 68 has an array with Scalamandre.

Fun Facts About Mark Abrams:

What is your style of design in your home? Comfortable, eclectic, traditional with Asian inspiration. antiques. It’s stuff I’ve collected from all over the world and the market. It all works together.

What direction do you expect/are you excited to see in 2023? the color!

What is your favorite component of port 68? This season’s best seller! I’m excited for what’s to come and haven’t seen it yet.

where do you come from? Demopolis, Ala.

Do you enjoy living in High Point? I do. I’ve already done 10 cross-country moves, but High Point is the hub of this industry where I spend most of my time. That’s logical.

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