Miranda Kerr: Bringing a vision to market – Furniture Today

Carisha Swanson, market director for House Beautiful, chats with Miranda Kerr, Australian model and businesswoman, about her new Tranquility collection that was developed in partnership with Universal Furniture.
HIGH POINT – Celebrity furniture licenses are a mixed bag regarding the amount of real input the marquee name puts into the actual design of the finished product. In some, even many cases, the license counts on the star power alone to boost products developed mostly or purely in-house by the agreement’s manufacturing partner.
The opposite was true with Miranda Kerr Home, the collaboration between Universal Furniture and Australian supermodel and businesswoman Miranda Kerr, which unveiled the license’s second iteration “Tranquility” at this month’s High Point Furniture Market.
In an interview with Furniture Today during Kerr’s first market showroom appearance, she discussed the push-pull that took place during the development of her first collection with Universal that debuted two years ago, “Love.Joy.Bliss,” and how lessons learned in the original process played out in the latest rendition of Miranda Kerr Home.
“For our first meeting ever, I came to the meeting with a whole visual presentation of what I wanted the collection to be,” Kerr said. “They said they’d never worked with (a licensor) so prepared and committed. I was very specific.”
During the second meeting with Universal, the company came in with market research indicating some potential changes that needed to be made. A particular difference of opinion, for example, involved the type of wood grain for the case pieces in the collection. Kerr examined the other options.
“Everything about me said ‘No,’” she said. “I told them ‘I respect your business and experience, but this is not what I envision.’ We finally came to a wonderful place where we were both happy with the fine grain detail. They realized early on I’d be involved in every style detail in the design.”
The eventual success of Love.Joy.Bliss gave Universal trust in Kerr’s design instincts for the furniture license that smoothed the development of Tranquility. “With the second collection, it they said ‘What do you want to do?’” she explained.
For example, Kerr has an affinity for mushroom shapes and other natural themes that played out in several uniquely shaped tables for the latest collection.
Other themes in Tranquility emerged from time spent living in Paris and the blend there of new and old.
“I love how you see furniture with sophisticated, modern lines in traditional architectural environments,” Kerr said.
That theme emerges in Tranquility, for instance, through incorporating burl wood veneers inspired by a dresser her parents had when she was growing up in New South Wales. Those wood tones created an intriguing counterpoint to the plaster finishes on the mushroom-inspired pieces and other accent-oriented SKUs.
“The chairs and table together were an effortless and timeless blend,” Kerr said.
I’m Powell Slaughter, senior editor at Furniture/Today. I returned to the publication in January 2015 after nine years of writing about furniture retail strategies and best practices at a monthly magazine focusing on home furnishings retail operations. Prior to that, I spent 10 years with F/T covering wood furniture, the last five of those as case goods editor. Upon my return to F/T, I developed coverage of the logistical and service aspects of the furniture industry as well as following the occasional, home office and home entertainment categories. In April 2018 I took over the upholstery category, with responsibility for coverage of the fabric and leather stationary and motion upholstery, recliners and massage chair categories.

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