A Day with Ballard Designs

Imagine my glee at getting to spend a day behind the scenes of my favorite catalog store. Yes, tis true!   Ballard Designs put together a blogger event and I was so very fortunate to be asked to attend this first ever Ballard Loves Bloggers event right here in Atlanta, where they are headquartered.  Not only that, but many of my fave blogger friends were there too, so that made it even more fun.  We all love hanging out together anyway, sharing ideas and just chatting about what we love, so getting to be there together was just icing on the cake.

Ballard Designs, started in 1983 by Helen Ballard Weeks, has grown into a company with over 100 million in sales and they send out 37 million catalogs annually.  Wow! That’s a lot of catalogs.  I bet you have a few of them laying around your house too,  right?  I know I do!

blog friends

This is a bad iphone pic, but here are a few of my blog friends:  Front row l to r, Cassity, Melissa, me, Traci.  Back row:  l to r, new blog friend, Michael, Sarah, Beth, Kate.  We were treated to a wonderful dinner the first night at Ecco in Midtown and then stayed at the Hotel Indigo that night.  All of these folks flew in from out of town and Kate let me crash in her room to avoid the traffic the next morning.  Slumber party!

Ballard offices

Next morning, we all convened at Ballard Designs headquarters for breakfast and lots of learning about how Ballard runs their 30 year old business.  It’s a fascinating process for sure.

Ballard boardroom

Of course, we were all ga-ga at all the beautiful Ballard items just hanging around for perusing.  How distracting would it be to see this every day when you go to work?  We all decided that next to blogging, working at Ballards might be the next best dream job there is.

barn door

Their offices are very cool with an industrial feel and all those Ballards goodies in every office.

Sherry Lori Erika

I’m so blessed to know so many wonderful bloggers all over the country and several of my Atlanta blog friends were there too, Sherry, Lori and Erika (who’s about to deliver baby #4 very soon!)  in this pic.  Dayka was also there and I missed her pic.  I worked with all these ladies in the Room Service Atlanta project this fall and they are all such talented designers.

Ballards meeting

We were welcomed and hosted by James Pope, Director of Business Development, Mollie Kitchens, Marketing Manager, and Karen Mooney, VP Creative Services.  After an initial discussion about Ballards, the company and learning so much about the behind the scenes, we went on a tour of the offices.

meeting at Ballards

James Pope, next to him, another Ballards executive (sorry, didn’t get the name), in green is Britany Simon, top 2 finalist on last season’s Design Star (great to meet her!) and Kate.

my ikat fabric

There’s a pretty lampshade on one desk sporting my beautiful Ikat fabric.

Mollie

Mollie sharing lots of good info for us.

cool offices

It’s an energizing environment with lots of creativity flowing.  Our kind of place, for sure!

Mood boards

Mood boards with upcoming color trends were abundant.

Ballards tour

We found out everything there is to know about how Ballards operates.  Very impressive company, they are doing lots of things right.

cool cubicles

Have you ever seen a cubicle this cool?  Actually, back when I worked in corporate and did live in a cube, I did make my cubes cute! Maybe not this cute, but I tried.

Ballard products

Fabulous chairs and fabrics.

antiques

Ballards shops the world, especially Paris and Europe in general, for interesting products to develop and then mass produce, like this huge clock.

Mirrors

Love these mirrors.

learning at Ballards

We so enjoyed our tour of the Ballard corporate offices.

warehouse

The warehouse looks like this, shelves after shelves of beautiful things. There are those famous Ballard pears up there!

beauty on shelves

So pretty, the fabrics and accessories.

Karen Mooney

Karen Mooney shared with us all about the creative process of putting together their catalogs, which go out 5 times a year.  That’s a whole lot of catalogs!

dropping boxes

We even got a look at their quality control process and how they drop boxes many, many times to test them for durability.  If they can’t ship their products out in one piece, they don’t make the cut.

Photo shoot house

We took a break after a delish lunch in the offices and went  to a photoshoot at this beautiful house.

copper on roof

Lovely house in a million + neighborhood.  The homeowners rented it out for a few days to Ballards to do their Spring 2013 photoshoot.

blueroom

Inside, there were all sorts of furniture pieces, props and accessories all waiting their turn to get in a photo.

Michael and Sarah

Michael (who is a delightful guy!) and Sarah (and all of us) took a turn petting Ricky Bobby, Jill Sharp Brinson’s cute pug who joined her on location.

fabric I love

I fell in love with this fabric and may have to get it this spring for my kitchen windows.  Pretty, isn’t it?

Ballard Photoshoot room

This room was all decked out for the photoshoot and you will more than likely see this in the Spring catalog next year.

Jill Sharp Brinson

Jill Sharp Brinson is an amazing creative director for Ballards and has been with them for many years.  She is one talented lady and we all enjoyed meeting  her.  She sure knows her way around a photoshoot.  I had already met her and James at the Bosch house in Serenbe earlier this year, so it was nice to chat with her again.

photoshoot with Jill

She explained how the catalog comes to life in the photoshoots.

office photoshoot

It was fun just to see the rooms staged for photos.

bookcase photoshoot

Beautiful pieces and new fabrics.

Fabric buyerWe then went back to Ballards and got to meet the merchandising team, who go all over the world looking for products to go in the catalogs and then working with factories to get them produced.  That is such a fascinating process too and it was fun to hear from all of them with their particular product lines.  This is the fabric merchandiser and she gave  us some great insight on how fabrics are chosen.  She had just returned from High Point, NC.

vintage fabric

Even vintage fabrics like this 200+ year old fabrics are used for inspiration in new designs.

So, what a fascinating way to spend the day with Ballards!  It was such a treat to be there with all of these other bloggers and I’m so happy that companies are reaching out to bloggers like me to partner up in spreading the word on design and beautifying our homes.

I’m definitely a Ballard Designs lover and even if some things in the catalog are out of my budget, I can certainly gain tons of inspiration from it.  I’ve bought my share of bargains from their outlet here in Atlanta over the years, in particularly 3 of my light fixtures in my new house.

We also got a gift certificate to spend and wow,  was that fun!

Ballards print

I picked up this little beauty in the DeFoor Ave. store and it was a really nice bargain. Marked at $50, they had a 30% off sale and I got this beautiful painted canvas for $35. It’s huge and I’m not even sure where it’s going yet, but it will be in my house somewhere. The watery tones are beachy in feel and I couldn’t pass it up.

I also got a 5 foot long shelf and brackets in black just like the ones in my office at the Roswell outlet for $26!!   Crazy good deal and this one is going in my laundry room.

So, that’s been my fun week and I wanted to share it all with you too!  Thanks for tagging along.

I’ll be sharing lots more Christmas décor next week too. 


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. Barbara (WA) says:

    Whoa, how awesome is this!! I love behind-the-scenes stuff so thank you for sharing your fun trip with us.

  2. I too loved seeing the behind the scenes footage. Amazing stuff and I’m sure it was a blast learning how a co. operates like that.

  3. Colleen Lang says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! How lucky you were to attend and how gracious of them to share so much! I love Ballards and their catalogs are so very inspiring! :)

  4. That was so interesting, Rhoda! I had no idea they rented out a house in order to do shoots, I’ve always wondered how they came up with those amazing sets.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!

  5. Wow, What a great experiance. Thanks for sharing.

  6. WOW wouldn’t it be so much fun to be able to afford a huge warehouse like that just to store you decor in for decorating your house with? Just have it sit up just like that so you can go in and change out things in your house when they become outdated or you get tired of them. THAT would be so much fun! lol

  7. Awesome. What a fun event for you. And the gift card. Rocks.

  8. Oh how fun Rhoda!! I was just drooling seeing all the fun stuff. I can only imagine what a wonderful experience that was. I love Ballard Designs!! Thanks for sharing with us!

  9. What fun! Glad you got to participate in something like that.

  10. Looks like y’all had a great time! I love Ballard Designs, how interesting to see the behind the scenes operations! Thank for taking us along,
    Debbie

  11. Well that’s a tour I wish I could have been on, these narratives were the next best thing! Looks like so much fun and it has to cause all of one’s creativity to start flowing! Thanks!

  12. Oh wow! If I couldn’t be there too then this was almost as good. What a great tour and what an honor to be asked along. They are one of my fave decor- go-to’s and I drool over their catalog every time it comes through the mail. I am loving the blues and greens and yes, the fabrics would be perfect in your new home. Thanks for sharing with us. xxoo

  13. Oh, how I love Ballard’s!! What a dream trip. I used to go to their old warehouse sales when you could buy scratch and dent items. I was so young then and needed a good deal, and it was always fun to re-do their seconds.

    I get so happy when I get their catalog in the mail.

  14. How fun and informative! Thanks for taking us along!

  15. I WANT that large clock. I don’t see it online… do you have any information about it??

  16. Wow! I wouldn’t have wanted to leave.

  17. I enjoyed the behind the scenes tour. Spotted your fabric on that lamp right away and love the fabric for your kitchen window but what really knocked my socks off was the 200 year old fabric, I hope they recreate that.
    Thanks for sharing your day, it was very interesting and can’t wait to see where you hang the beautiful canvas.

  18. Rhoda, thanks for taking us along on your tour of Ballards! It was so interesting to see some of the behind the scene info as to how they stage their catalogs. And that new fabric would fabulous in your kitchen, and I can’t wait to see where you hang your new artwork!

  19. Oh, what fun, Rhoda! How exciting to have opportunities like this!

  20. Awesome trip! Awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing. Love it.

  21. How fun! It is amazing to me what they can do with a room. The house for the photo shoot is gorgeous!

  22. What an awesome experience! I’m so happy for you that you were able to go but I have to say I am completely jealous because Ballard is my absolute favorite. :) I loved the behind the scenes and sneak peaks at the spring colors, fabulous colors!

    PS: I love your blog and have been lurking around for quite some time without commenting, I tried but couldn’t due to some glitch with blogger, but it’s fixed so I can finally tell you how marvelously your house is coming along! :) xoxo

  23. Rhoda what a super experience!
    I have a gorgeous mirror I purchased online about 16 years ago! Oh and also a couple of their indoor-outdoor rugs!
    I wish we had an outlet in the Kansas City area! Adore Ballard!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  24. Marianne in Mo. says:

    How fun that visit would be! I’m envious! Wish I were a blogger and could get in on some of that behind the scenes action! You are so fortunate! I LOVE Ballards too, but can’t afford most of it. Doesn’t stop me from drooling! :)

  25. How cool!! I love your photos! Jealous!

  26. Connie McCallum says:

    Oh Rhoda, I am so jealous, That must have been SO much fun. Thanks for taking us along with you, ;)

  27. Thanks so much for sharing… I know that must have been a fabulous day!

    I have several items from Ballards on my wishlist ~ their fabrics are so striking. And I love all the texture in their products… the burlap is a lot of fun, too!

  28. What a beautiful and fun recap!! And thanks for all the love. You are the sweetest thing!

    Wasn’t this such a fun trip!? I’m hoping they will invite us back again.

  29. How fun! I love the blue room at the house you did the photo shoot!! Definitely pinning for inspiration in my own house!!!!!

  30. Hi Rhoda!!!

    What fun you must have had. Going behind the scenes is great!!
    I love the new spring colors!! The house where they were going to shoot for the spring catalog, is beautiful.

    The lighting in number 9 photo is simple, but, elegant.

    Thank you for taking us on this trip!!

    Pam
    xox

  31. Wow what fun it is, I love the mirror with vintage look. Thank you for sharing this informative post. :)

  32. Dream trip!! I am so loving the behind scenes posts!! I absolutely adore Ballard Designs. I gaze through their catalogs for inspiration on many of my refinishes. Thank you for sharing sooo many great pictures and wonderful details with us Rhoda!! Have a wonderful day!! ~ Lori

  33. Wow! So way cool!!! thanks for sharing this :-)

  34. such fun behind the scenes pictures! Man, we need to plan a blogger outing to those Ballard outlets – I have never been to any of them! And you got some great deals! :)

  35. Oh wow Rhoda! How lucky are YOU?! You certainly do get to do some amazing, fun things. Isn’t it funny how life leads us to places we never could have imagined?

    Funny thing about that large clock. I have a 42″ round wood table that needs to be replaced and I mentioned to hubby we should make the top into a clock. Not sure where we would put it, but I thought of that when I saw your pic. Very cool!

    • Doreen, I know! I have to pinch myself sometimes at all the blessings that come my way. It is incredible to get to do what I love to do and be involved in all of this design stuff. Truly a dream come true for me!

  36. Rhoda,
    How neat that you got to go behind the scenes at Ballards…thanks for sharing it with all of us.

    Blessings,
    Linda

  37. Looks like you had an amazing day!!!! I’m so excited they will be sponsoring Haven this year!

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