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Creating an Artist’s Canvas on the Internet:

reating an Artist’s Canvas on the Internet:
Jason Harris’ The Design Network Brings Design Home to All by Allison Parker

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Ever feel so overwhelmed with so many amazing choices or ideas when looking to decorate? Need a place to find the special niche item to fill a corner nook or a designer to help showcase the “you” in a particular project? The Design Network (www.thedesignnetwork.com) is a beautifully laid out playground for the interior designer in everyone! From a special option to design an empty room to artist inspired “pin” boards to actual designer pieces to complete your vision, The Design Network is the place to set your heart free.
Furnitureland South co-owner and CEO of The Design Network, Jason Harris, is always looking to make interior decorating and furniture shopping accessible and fun for all. Having grown up with a family in the furniture business, Jason is no stranger to the business. His father Darrell, started Furnitureland South in 1969 and it has been a successful business in High Point, NC as well as a destination point for furniture connoisseurs from all around the world.
When asked about the inspiration to create The Design Network, Jason shares a portion of it was the energy he felt in the High Point Market during its international trade shows in April and October each year. He describes “Down town High Point comes alive from the empty furniture warehouses to a pop up smorgasbord of interior delights for designers, consumers, and anyone interested in the design world. From paintings to specialty fabrics, everything is alive with energy and a party atmosphere.” Wanting to keep that momentum going year-round, Jason had a vision of connecting to people everywhere through a broadband media platform. He notes “With folks trending to alternative viewing medias beyond cable tv such as Roku and Apple TV, it was an outlet to create a media hub for designers to showcase their creations. It makes designing a project easily accessible to the average person who may not be able to experience the High Point Market.” He jokes “I didn’t really know the extent of how much I was getting into, but I love the way it’s growing and able to showcase so many talented artists and designers.”
The foundation for The Design Network organically stemmed from Furnitureland South. With over 1.3 million square foot of showroom space, it is the largest retail furniture showroom in the world. Over 160 talented furniture experts and designers work with consumers and designers each day at the High Point location. The company will ship with ‘white glove service’ to any here in the nation with their own trucks. What a treat to be able to visit this amazing place and what joy to see hand-picked treasures delivered with ease. Building on this design experience in house to an e-commerce platform was a key goal with The Design Network. Accessibility to the unique items and decorating advice from anywhere in the world is a beautiful way to expand the market and excitement.
Jason is happy to share “Consumers can review product boards or even hire a designer to help them in their artistic designs.” He was looking to creative a wholistic experience. He notes “We wanted to focus on implementing the 3 C’s: Content, Community, and Commerce within The Design Network.” Designers can upload product, videos, and user generated content as well as create their own avatar, links to social media and the like. Over 4000 talent designers across the nation are available for consultation and/or have product available through The Design Network.
Balancing his dream for the network and budgeting was key to keeping project on task. Jason explains “All of the ideas and plans require that initial investment and we tried to keep ‘bootstrapping’ each area of discipline so that all investments were diligently thought out.” Sourcing software engineering to make the website user friendly and accessible was one key area that Jason felt was up most important. As well, content direction was another focal point as he wanted to keep the presentations mindful of the what the end consumers were looking for-quality furniture or design services to assist them in their projects.
When asked about the types of shows and how they are selected, Jason describes “We usually consult with an artist about their ideas and let them have creative reign. Episodes usually run five to a series. Many artists have their own videographers, production teams, etc. that can collaborate with The Design Network Team to merge with our graphics and animation.” Shows include a wide variety from Your Dream Kitchen with Rebecca Robeson, Design(ish) with Genevieve Gorder and upCycled with Mia Malcolm. The shows all focus on a different genre within the design arena which make for always interesting watching! While Jason notes “Entertainment is always first, we want to be sure that the viewers see the products they are looking for as well as an opportunity to purchase them.”
Looking towards 2018, Jason revealed some gems to come within The Design Network. The group recently added in a new content director from Los Angeles who brings a wealth of new knowledge to the already brilliant team. Jason is also looking to develop new shows as well as bring back some of the more successful topic shows to re-engage those viewers. Jason’s objective is to always be moving forward and to be providing the best content possible for consumers.
With so many items going on within The Design Network, it was great to learn that Jason strives for balance in his family life as well as The Design Network. The avid entrepreneur and UNC Chapel Hill grad shared that he and wife, Jenny, love to spend as much time as possible with their 5 children. A tidbit he shared was that he and his wife met while in college at UNC! Their oldest is carrying on the Tar Heel Blue tradition as a freshman at UNC this year. With kids ranging from 18-6, the couple is busy with a lot of family activities. Jason enjoys golfing and running to keep fit so he can keep up with all the momentum that the new business adventures bring.
Keep an eye on The Design Network (www.thedesignnetwork.com). While we found some teasers about what’s in store for 2018, you can never be too surprised and delighted at what’s new each time you tune or click in!


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