Today, we continue to feature a few of our new products chosen by our sales reps as their favorites. We’ve loved seeing which light fixtures and pieces of furniture have captured their attention and what they’ve had to say about them. Vivi Mira-Culmer, based in Melbourne, Florida; and New York City-based rep Russ Jones with the Ivystone Group are dishing about their top product picks in this installment. Before we present their favorite finds, we’ll share a bit about their backgrounds.
Introducing Vivi Mira-Culmer
Nearly 25 years ago, Vivi earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and interior design. “Who knew that after all these years, these two would work so well hand in hand!” she quips. She launched her career as an intern at a prominent design firm in Winter Park, Florida. After graduating, she accepted the job offer to work full-time as a member of their team. On one of the buying trips to the High Point Furniture Market, she instantly fell in love with the energy, the vast designs, and the inspiration the industry offered. “There was so much more to design than just creating beautiful works of art in our clients’ homes,” she notes. “The furniture industry opened my eyes to that.” This inspired her to switch gears and become a sales rep with a multi-line rep organization. At any given time, the company carried upwards of 20 brands. This experience exposed Vivi to some of the most amazing industry professionals with endless talent and a passion for the world of furniture, lighting, and design.
After 15 years with the Georgia-based rep group, she decided it was time to branch out and become an independent representative, and as timing and Lady Luck would have it, we were actively looking for a Florida rep. “This was the launch-pad that catapulted my career,” she says. “Each of the vendors I represent complements the other, and each works beautifully as a whole in both retail and interior design.” Vivi loves the travel she gets to do, the markets and trade shows she attends, and, especially, the relationships that she has cultivated throughout her career.
“I love that every day brings its own challenges,” she says. “I travel to different parts of this state and find myself collaborating with some of the best and most sought-after designers throughout my territory, which makes it that much more rewarding.” Many of her client and vendor relationships have grown to become close friendships, ones that feel like family. Her past experiences, the professionals she has met, and her vast array of clients have allowed her to keep her finger on the pulse of the ever-changing world of interior design and trends. “Who wouldn’t love going to work to meet with friends and family on a daily basis?” she asks.
Vivi Mira-Culmer Top Product Picks
About our new white introductions in our Morombe family of furniture, Vivi says, “The cerused white introduction fits beautifully with our various design styles and Florida aesthetic. It can play into a coastal, transitional vibe and it has enough texture to give it some depth and dimension—it’s not just another white finish.”
Our Luzon Console Table caught her eye for its outdoor-worthiness. “Outdoors is where it’s at here and this light colored faux bois console is a perfect complement to outdoor living,” she explains. “The hand troweled ‘branches’ are subtle enough to be used in a multitude of indoor applications—such as a beautiful sunroom, a cabin, or a she-shed—while still maintaining the ‘wow’ factor.”
“We have had this collection in a warmer brass and wood combination, but the contemporary silver on the wrought iron accented by the chateau gray finish on the wood really makes this version of this chandelier stand out,” Vivi says of the Bastian Gray Chandelier.
About our Nefertiti Pendant, she says, “This piece, which was inspired by an earring, is the essence of what we say when lighting is the jewelry of the room. This pendant is a larger scale than expected, which continues to enhance the statement it makes when the LED bulb shines down through the crackled glass bowl.”
“For the sheer attention I have already received on this one, it is on its way to being a bestseller,” she says of our Piero Chandelier. “I have received many calls and inquiries about this piece. It is an amazing example of the many talents our design team and craftspeople bring to their work when collaborating. The ‘basket,’ when seen from afar, looks like it is woven from natural materials but if you look closely you see that it is actually made of hand-woven, braided metal. Its light finish continues to play on the causal/coastal flair that is so prominent in this territory.”
Introducing Russ Jones
Russ Jones takes wholesale very seriously. This is clear from his riff on “I Can Get It for You Wholesale,” a Broadway play that opened at the Shubert Theatre on March 22, 1962. “I am thrilled to continue my representational role in ‘I Can Get It for You Wholesale’ that is still playing an open-ended run in NYC. I originated this role in February of ’06, and feel a great connection to it since it was originally produced on Broadway the same year (1962) that I was produced by my loving parents MC Carl & La Tricia Jones.”
Russ was torn between showbiz and retail from a very early age. At five, not content to sit quietly while attending his older brother’s choral performance highlighting tunes from The Sound of Music, little Russ stood on his chair to sing louder than all 12 seven-year-olds put together. Much to his brother’s embarrassment, he stole the show! Whether working in his grandfather’s shoe store; selling self-designed, hand-made potholders door-to-door; or performing in nursing homes and churches, Russ has always enjoyed the spotlight. Russ’s musical talents landed him at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he majored in vocal performance. He has performed in numerous Broadway shows around the globe, the last being Hello Dolly! with Carol Channing.
In between shows, Russ found himself working at the gift shop Flights of Fancy on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Becoming the owner of this gift shop was one of his proudest achievements. The shop was the perfect stage for Russ to blend the worlds of retail and musical theatre. His loyal fan-base always knew they would be able to find a special gift, beautifully displayed, amidst the backdrop of show tunes (sung by Russ of course), each time they walked through the door.
After a brilliant ten-year run with Flights of Fancy, Russ was fortunate enough to audition and book another gig in wholesale with Ivystone Group, which has allowed him to share his talents with the entire city and beyond. He has won national sales awards and contests, and leadership awards; and he has had much success partnering with his vendors on custom design and special orders. As the retail environment has changed over the years, Russ has changed right along with it. And he has won rave reviews for his attention to detail, his ability to follow through, and his passion for building long-running relationships, all while making the world more beautiful. Take a bow, Russ!
Russ Jones Top Product Picks
About our Persian Large Mirror, Russ says, “I just love the look of this with the natural bone and wood combination. It fits into many different settings and is so well made: the craftsmanship is stunning!”
Our Marcel Nightstand was a shoe-in with Russ because it is so chic and clean. “The navy lacquered linen gives the piece such texture and depth, and then the acrylic pulls and the metal base make it so well-dressed and fabulous.”
This piece is really bringing the outside inside,” he notes about the Nightfall Wall Sconce. “The organic shapes and the feel of the piece is fun and cultured at the same time. I want one!”
About our Zoe Sand Chair, he says, “It looks so comfortable and easy, yet it still has a classic look that will fit in any setting.”
He chose the Nefertiti Pendant because: “it is truly a beauty. It drips elegance and high-fashion. It is essentially the Jewel of the room.”
That’s a Wrap
We’d like to thank Vivi and Russ, two of the most vibrant personalities of many among our sales reps, for their top product picks. If you’d like to see the choices made by Andrea Combet and Margarethe Martin, they shared their favorite product picks in this post here on the blog, which also includes our Morombe family of furniture in white. That’s a wrap for another week in Currey land. We hope everyone is staying cool during these dog days of summer.