In addition to the esteemed panel of judges who took seats across a stage: Cindy Edelstein and Andrea Hill co-creators of the event, Kate Peterson, Jim DeMattei (who Helena Krodel filled in for at the finale) and Mendel Rotenberg, there were also members of "The Dream Team" — Erica Courtney and Robert Lee Morris ( just two of the established talented designers comprising the "team") which also include Gurhan, Penny Preville, Lisa Jenks and Toddy Reed ( Each of these designers will provide a mentoring meeting for the six semi finalists of the contest).
Courtney and Morris sat in the front row of the event and in other rows sat the sponsors, including our own publisher, Dan Kisch, and associate publisher, Matthjis Braakman, key retailers in our industry, trade press and other designers and semi- finalists.
The finale featured the three designers who made it to this last round. Each time one of the three got up to speak and share their philosophies and visions for their businesses and do a power point presentation, I felt my heart in my throat for each of them (having been an independent designer myself at one time and now being major supporter of the emerging designers of our time).
After the presentations came the hard-core questions from the panel of judges and people in the audience, all of who asked smart and relevant questions as you could almost hear the contestant's hearts beating in their chest.
After the Q&A, introductions to sponsors and the judges deliberation — a new star was chosen to shine: Bree Richey.
The contest, which was the brainchild of Cindy Edelstein and Andrea Hill, was a rigorous process. After reviewing all the applicants, the judges gave feedback to each (electronically) and chose six semi-finalists. Three semi finalists: Bree Richey Jennifer Dawes and Elizabeth Garvin were chosen and will gain industry recognition via press releases and exposure on the FutureofDesignContest.com website. The semi- ﬁnalists had cyber-interviews with our judges via Skype so that the judges got to know the designers and learn more about them, their businesses and their ability to become “the next big thing.” There were all rules for eligibility to follow which can also be read in the FutureofDesignContest.com website.
Explains Edelstein, "We came up with a clever way to help a lot of designers learn more about their businesses (the application was an intense 78-point questionnaire that challenge and enlightened all designers who entered) We did this to revitalize our segment of the industry. We wanted to add a great big ole shot in the arm of energy and forward momentum and we wanted a way for our industry to come together to support designers — those that are the future of design."
Hill adds, "We learned a lot about what designers need today to help them. They learned even more: how to evaluate their own dreams and proof their own hypotheses and flesh out their business plans so that they can clearly see their strengths and weakness and most of all -- how to strategize their own way to their ultimate success."
Edelstein concludes. "This has been an incredible journey and we are thrilled that our sponsors, judges, and designers helped to create a prize package worth more than $250k worth of services and support."
Finalists: Elizabeth Gavin, Jennifer Dawes. Winner: Bree Richey.
From left to right (Designer) Elizabeth Garvin speaking and panel of judges: Cindy Edelstein, Mendel Rothenberg, Kate Peterson, Helena Krodel (standing in for Jim DeMattei) and Andrea Hill.