OFS Brands NeoCon 2017: Views from the Press

By: Lydia Goorman, OFS Brands Marketing Communication Specialist
Five straight weeks preparing the Chicago showroom paid off, with clear recognition from the media, and a showroom atmosphere of homefulness and cohesion. Stan Gray, VP of Branding and Customer Experience, celebrated OFS Brands’ hard work, saying, “In my opinion, and I’ve been at Neocon for 17 years, the process this year was the smoothest of any that I’ve been involved in, from design to implementation.”
Thus, when praise for the detail-conscious showroom came pouring in, OFS Brands cheered along with all the voices who spoke out on behalf of the beautiful showroom—and another year of hard work. Below reflects some of that support:
“OFS Brands continues to impress, with a swathe of new products, many of them, such as Elani seating and Wyre tables reflecting the show’s emphasis on breakout areas. Their versions of enclosures included Qove modular lounge units.”
“Can't help but touch this buttery soft leather chair by @grahamdesignsf for @OFSBrands #neocon #neocon2017 #ofsbrands #chicago #design”
“Meet Heya, the newest @ofsbrands lounge collection by Webb Associates. Swipe left to meet Elani, the lounge collection designed by Beck & Beck Associates and winner of a @metropolismag Metropolis Likes award! #NeoCon2017”
“If you missed the OFS space, you missed one of the most cohesive, cool spaces of NeoCon. The brand continues to impress from its design to quality.”
“At OFS, the Rowen Sofa was designed by Brian Graham and inspired by architecture and landscapes; it’s a graceful and inviting piece of furniture, featuring single chairs as well as modular components. We loved the leather buttons and elegant topstitching. Once again, Mr. Graham takes a simple idea and transforms it into something timeless and elegant.”
Jul 05, 2017 BLOG/Showroom

OFS Brands Takes Home 5 Awards this NeoCon

HugHeya, and Wyre (above) each received Contract Magazine's "Best of NeoCon - Silver" Award. Entries for this award are judged by a team of architects and designers, who visit the various showrooms prior to the opening day of NeoCon.
Elani won the Metropolis Magazine, #MetropolisLikes Award. Every NeoCon, Metropolis editors seek out the industry’s top designs.
Saven won Interior Design Magazine’s HiP Award for Health & Wellness Category. Interior Design introduced the HiP Awards four years ago to recognize remarkable industry People and Products. STAKSWyreCoact and Heya, were all HiP Honorable Mentions.
Jun 26, 2017 BLOG/Awards

OFS Brands Announces their District Sales Manager, Stacey Harloe, will be a Career Panelist for IIDA's Career Boot Camp

HUNTIINGBURG, INDIANA – OFS Brands is proud to announce that they will be sponsoring International Interior Design Association’s program, Career Bootcamp, for the third year in a row.  They are also honored to have their Chicago District Sales Manager, Stacey L. Harloe-Mowery, as a career panelist for this year’s Career Bootcamp.
Under the International Interior Design Association, they have created a program over the professional design world and how to get there. Career Bootcamp helps jump-start the careers of students and recent graduates by equipping them with tools and resources to assist them in their career pursuit in the Interior Design Industry. From creating a resume, cover letter, or portfolio, to finding out what recruiters are looking for, what to wear, how to network, and much more. IIDA Career Bootcamp ensures the next generation of designers are primed for the future.
Stacey brings a strong interior design background to her role in Sales at OFS Brands. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Interior Design from NIU, with an emphasis in store planning and corporate workplace.
“Having a design degree has significantly helped my sales efforts especially in today's world. Roles and responsibilities within the design community have more cross over, due to a changing industry. The design firms are relying on dealers and manufactures more and more. Understanding the designer’s vision, design intent and budget, is key. Once I know that, I can use my background to help make selections that will coincide with their request. The goal in the experience is timely, pain free and a solution that works. Solving for design challenges and requests is what a designer does for every project and what I do to sell our solutions,” commented Stacey.
Stacey develops and supports A+ D partners for OFS Brands in the Chicago Market with a passion for design. Within her free time, she enjoying renovating her 1975 tri-level home and giving tours at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, IL.
About International Interior Design Association:
International Interior Design Association is a membership organization that helps provide students with a support network that helps connect them to peers, clients and educators while offering the opportunity to advance their career through education, industry recognition, and relevant research. This association works to increase value and understanding of Interior Design as a profession, as well as enhancing business value that positively impacts the health and well-being of people’s lives every day. For more information regarding IIDA, visit:
Jun 06, 2017 BLOG/

OFS Brands featured by Interior Design

Jun 02, 2017 BLOG/Design

OFS Madrid Chair Donation - Umlauf Sculpture Garden

Written by Ally Maxey, Ind. IIDA of MDI Resources.
When I moved to Austin, I discovered the most beautiful & creatively inspiring place on earth. Tucked in the heart of 78704, across from famed Zilker Park, Town Lake and Barton Springs Pool, is my favorite gem of all; The UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum. The former home & 8 acres of noted 20th century American sculptor, Charles Umlauf, now a hip oasis where art+culture meet nature, only blocks from the heart of a sprawling capitol city.
UMLAUF is proud to be fully accessible, beautifully lit, and perfectly maintained. We recently added plaques with brail to every single sculpture, and all sculptures are coated with wax so that everyone can feel art. We work closely with the Texas State Schools, and offer after school programming to children all over Central Texas. UMLAUF offers health & wellness classes, event space, and rotating exhibits showing work from both Umlauf and other artists. Right now we are displaying the work of Umlauf’s most famous art student at The University of Texas, Farrah Fawcett. She and Umlauf remained close for decades, and they both made great impression on one another’s point of view.
After 5 years volunteering at the Umlauf, I am now serving on the board as this year’s Garden Party Chair. The Garden Party is our biggest annual event, where we raise the money used to keep the Garden & Museum preserved throughout the year. Now in my 8th month at MDI Resources as a rep for OFS Brands, would you believe I had the BEST idea for an amazing silent auction item that would wow the 1000 people in attendance!?! Words can’t express how grateful I am… the Umlauf is… for this donation; a Madrid High Back Lounge Chair. With Natural Walnut Shell and the perfect crème shade of Camira Flow, people were literally freaking out over the chair. I had to print off a second bid sheet because we had over 75 bids. At the close of the night, the chair sold for $4,200.00. That’s enough to provide a bus for over 60 Austin area classrooms to take a field trip to the garden.
There’s a common denominator between my job, my personal life, and my volunteer gig; creativity & nature preservation. During my speech at the Garden Party last week, where we raised over $300,000.00, I signed off with: “ART. CULTURE. COMMUNITY. Like the sculptures, life, and supporters around me tonight, we are all planting roots, sharing the same sun, and growing the only way I know how: together.”
May 15, 2017 BLOG/Design

Patient-Centered Design Innovation Summit

April 6th - 9th, 2017
Heather Shoop, Healthcare Specialist, OFS Brands
“The Institute for Patient-Centered Design is on the forefront of thought leadership and innovation in the patient environment and we were thrilled to be both a sponsor and participant in Patient-Centered Design Innovation Summit, April 6 - April 9, 2017, in Savannah, GA.  Delegates representing health systems across the US collaborated with design practitioners, researchers, clinicians and patients to develop solutions for health facility design and accommodations. 
The conference was held at SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, which fostered the creative and open thought processes to understand the challenges in existing healthcare design and propose new solutions moving forward.
Personally, I found it very informative to interact with the clinicians, nurses, patients and patient families to understand their view of the role that design and furniture plays in the healing atmosphere. Listening to their personal experiences in healthcare systems with frightening diagnoses, I didn’t think the furniture would be important at all. So I was surprised to have a patient tell me she thought it was the most important feature in the design of the space. Our furniture does matter!”
Here is what a few of my colleagues thought:

Allison Ruff, Major Accounts, OFS Brands
“The Institute for Patient-Centered Design summit was an interactive, hands-on experience.  All weekend, I was surrounded by Clinicians, Architects, Interior Designers, Stakeholders, and Patients.  We all came together to problem-solve several different aspects of the Continuum of Care in Healthcare: Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, Women and Infants, Chronic Illness, Major Surgery ICU, and Emergency Department.  Hearing every perspective on these topics was informative, eye-opening and a little humbling.”
Lauren Coffey, Healthcare Marketing, OFS Brands
“The Institute for Patient-Centered Design and Health Environment Innovations asked OFS Brands/Carolina to participate in a focus group during the Innovation Summit this year. We decided, what better opportunity to show our newly-launched Serony Behavioral Health lounge furniture than this! Having registered nurses, architects and interior designers review it as a group allowed us to gather feedback from all perspectives. We concluded the focus group with survey questions:  what are your first impressions, what applications would you see this product in your facility and what improvements would you make?
What we took away from the focus group is truly invaluable. It reminded us of the importance of listening to the field and what Human-Centered Design really means.”
Tammy S. Thompson, AIA, EDAC Director Institute for Patient-Centered Design, Inc
"Our goal for the 2017 Patient-Centered Design Innovation Summit was to connect patients, families, clinicians, designers and students to allow them to share experiences and brainstorm on new solutions.  The synergy in these teams exceeded our expectations.  They made lasting impressions on one another and took away great ideas and fresh inspiration."  
May 11, 2017 BLOG/Design

Designology Wellness Symposium

Written By Jane Colclasure
The OFS Brands Dallas showroom was the site of the first annual Designology Wellness Symposium on April 19, which also coincided with Earth Week 2017. The Wellness Symposium was conceived as a curated educational forum and a sustainable product showcase, sponsored by a group of industry reps aptly called Designology. It was a fun and educational day comprised of CEU offerings, a round table luncheon, and an interactive terrarium class. CEU topics focused on evidence-based design, acoustics, workplace wellness, and WELL building certification. Designers from all around Dallas attended to learn more about the relationship between human health and the built environment.
The highlight of the day was the lively lunch hour round table discussion titled The Whole Wellness Story: how to increase employee engagement, design spaces that foster social connection, and encourage occupant health and wellness. The moderator for the discussion was Kaitlin Snow, A+D Market Manager with OFS Brands Dallas. The panel members that participated were:
Jose Montoya, LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M – Project Manager, Corgan

Angela Ramer – Design Anthropologist & Research Analyst, HKS

Melody Lenox – Vice President of Human Resources, Axxess

Vanessa Englert – WELL AP, LEED AP, Director of Product Education, OFS Brands
The conversation got off to a very insightful start with Melody Lenox providing her perspective on how HR professionals can encourage employees and stakeholders to embrace WELL building concepts. She stated that a key step is to ensure there are policies developed with consideration for all occupants and how they will be using the space. Once they are put in place, it is essential to educate employees on the policies and continue to evolve them as needs change. She noted that the development of such a program can be a lengthy and intense process, and you don’t always get it right the first time, so you need to be prepared to tweak the program.
This led to a shift in the discussion regarding the fact that design is now less “transactional” and is more collaborative. This puts the designer in the “driver’s seat” as she is now interacting with a wide variety of users, and it is essential that the perspectives of those users are accounted for in preliminary project programming. All the panel members agreed that this can be a very messy process, but is worth it in the end. Jose Montoya also noted this can help to scale the project appropriately, while also planning for future growth. 
Angela Ramer, providing an anthropological perspective, had some ideas about methods that might modify behavior in constructive ways. Employees may be more prone to buy into a program by using a “gamification” model which allows users to make a game out of healthy behaviors such as exercising and achieving ideal circadian rhythms. 
Vanessa Englert ended the conversation by again focusing on the role of the designer and stressed that it is necessary that the designer tie together information from all different directions: code, building systems, human behavior, LEED and energy consumption, and possibly WELL building standards. The client needs to understand at the beginning of the project the scope of what is being addressed. 
After the educational portion of the day, each attendee was able to participate in a succulent plant terrarium workshop led by Energy Gardens of Dallas. Everyone was able to get their hands dirty and learn about how to take care of the plants.  The Designology Wellness Symposium was so well-received, it will be held at the same time in 2018.  The topics and discussion will evolve and focus on principal-level involvement at design firms to make next year even better.
Questions about the development and planning of this event can be directed to Kaitlin Snow at
May 08, 2017 BLOG/Showroom

Styline Logistics Receives Award

You've probably passed them on the highways or have seen them on your job sites. Styline is the name of our logistics division that hauls our furniture around the country. Our dedication to company-owned freight has been a true differentiator. "It's all about controlling the experience and making it easy for our customers." says SVP of Sales and Marketing, Ryan Menke.

Craftsmanship goes beyond just furniture; it's about taking care in what you do and owning your outcome... And these guys are great at what they do.

The Indiana Motor Truck Association held its annual Spring Transportation Summit Awards Luncheon in Indianapolis, IN, and we are very proud to announce that Styline Logistics, once again, was honored with a top award.

Styline was designated as the 2016 Indiana Fleet Safety Grand Champion for having no recordable accidents in our local and over-the-road fleets within the state of Indiana.

See more photos from Scott Raffensberger on Instagram @highway_man
Apr 27, 2017 BLOG/Awards

Environmental thinking, years ahead of its time

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” — Greek Proverb
On Sunday, January 28, 1968, the Indianapolis Star published an article detailing a vision for the future of southern Indiana’s environment and inhabitants. The article used language around conservation and environmentalism that was uncommon for the time, but we hear frequently today. The vision proposed collaboration between people in government, academics, and private corporations to create a conservation project that would benefit the natural ecosystems, communities, and economic activity of this area. 
The author of the article was Robert H. (Bob) Menke. At the time, Bob ran Styline Industries (which would later become OFS Brands), and was an Indiana University trustee and former state representative. His unique experience in these different domains equipped him to lead a new effort to revitalize the region’s forests.
Bob wrote fervently and often about the immediate need to introduce forest conservation programs in the region: “Time is running out. Forestry conservation is needed to save the land and the prosperity of its people in Indiana.” 
At this time, agricultural lands (originally created by clear cutting native forests) were beginning to be depleted of their nutrient bearing soils. Poor soil results in poor crop production, which in turn leads to poor farmers, poor economic growth, poor communities, and continued deterioration of the environment. 
Bob saw a solution but needed help to achieve it. So he reached out to his broad network, formed new relationships, and called on multi-disciplinary partnerships to create a proposal for associating natural land with a dollar value through new zoning policies, increasing conservation education, and implementing basic changes in Federal agricultural policy to protect natural resources, reduce waste, and avoid over-farming.
In 1985, the first farm bill was introduced and the modern day Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was established. The new CRP included incentives for landowners to plant trees for long-term vegetative cover, wildlife habitat, and native plant habitats. The program addressed not only erosion control but water quality and environmentally sensitive areas. Much of the bill’s language was very similar to what Bob had written 17 years earlier. 
As we celebrate Earth Day this year, it’s amazing to see how environmental sustainability and human health and well-being have become central focuses for organizations today. Most have even integrated these priorities into their mission statements and business practices. 
Five decades ago, Bob was labelled a “conservationist” for these views—not necessarily a title many people admired at the time. But Bob pushed on despite the naysayers. Maybe because he saw that the status quo was causing severe damage. Maybe because he could feel the impending departure of something he cherished and felt responsibility for. Whatever his reason, he felt time was running out. So, Bob put pen to paper and proposed a set of priorities that were years ahead of their time. 
From helping to develop the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs to playing a key role in establishing the Indiana Forest and Woodland Owners Association and Indiana Forest Education Foundation, Bob and his colleagues’ efforts both figuratively and literally planted the seeds of conservation for this region. Today, in this small corner of the state, we can delight in the shade they knew they would never sit in. 
- by Jarod Brames, Director of Sustainability
Apr 21, 2017 BLOG/

Advice in the Pursuit of WELL AP™

Director of Product Education, Vanessa Englert, WELL AP™, LEED®AP, and Director of Sustainability Jarod Brames, LEED Green Associate, WELL AP™ are both associates with a long OFS Brands tenure and a passion for doing things the right way.  They both passed the WELL AP test this March.  We sat down with them to get some advice for anybody out there considering the pursuit of this achievement.  
Why was this so important for you personally to get this certification? 
As Director of Sustainability I am frequently asked questions regarding the emissions, chemical content data, and overall impact our furniture products have on human health and well-being as well as the impacts to the environment. Pursuing my WELL AP credential was the perfect opportunity for me to take a deeper dive into all aspects that affect human well-being in the built environment. 
I obtained my LEED®AP in 2008 and with jobs specifying the need for green building expertise, the LEED credential is a clear commitment to professional growth. With a renewed industry focus on occupant wellness in the built environment, I wanted to further my professional commitment to sustainability, health and wellness by obtaining my WELL AP. I believe that in addition to LEED and other established design and construction-focused sustainability rating systems, the WELL Building Standard will continue to evolve into a more prominent standard of focus in the future.
Jarod,  What did you find most interesting in your WELL education journey? 
I probably found it most interesting that Light and Sound can have such an effect on our overall well-being. We are taught from an early age that we are supposed to eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. We also have natural senses that can tell us if the air is stale or the water tastes funny. I don’t feel that it is as obvious or noticeable when bad lighting or sound reverberation and lack of absorption is impacting our moods, internal rhythms and ability to perform at our best. 
Vanessa,  What would you say to others in the industry wishing to pursue WELL accreditation? 
The WELL Building Standard is very impactful in its ability to put people at the center of design, focusing on the benefits our built environment can have on human health and well-being. When I decided to pursue this credential I had many questions – Where do I start? What should I focus on? How do I ensure I’m prepared to pass on my first attempt? For others who may feel it’s important to join this movement, here are some of my suggestions on becoming a WELL AP: 
  1. Spend an adequate amount of time studying the materials. I spent 2 months reading the materials, reviewing flash cards and quizzes, but dedicated the final week prior to my exam to focusing solely on the WELL test prep. 
  2. Memorization is key! I focused on various memorization techniques suggested in the exam preparation guides that were very helpful. Example – 12-34-45-56-65-76-88 is mentioned in a study guide and denotes the features that serve as the cutoff numbers between preconditions and optimizations of the 7 concepts. I also found or created references to remember certain features I had trouble recalling specific information on. Examples – NiCoLe is MeAn with Aresnic. This represents feature 31 inorganic contaminants, part 1 dissolved metals of nickel, copper, lead, mercury, antimony and arsenic. Once I had the reference to the inorganic contaminants themselves memorized, it became easier to memorize mg/L limits of each. 
  3. Ensure that you feel prepared, but don’t overload yourself with too many resources or references. The amount of materials available online can be overwhelming. My suggestion is to focus heavily on the WELL Building Standard, WELL AP Candidate Handbook, and WELL AP Exam Preparation Guide (must purchase) through IWBI, and additional resources available to purchase through GBES (Green Building Education Services) and GBRI (Green Building Research Institute). 
  4. We should put people first. We spend 90% of our time indoors and the buildings where we live, work, learn and relax have a profound effect on our well-being and how we feel. It’s our responsibility to focus on best practices that create the healthiest indoor environments as possible. This is why I chose to become a WELL AP. 
Jarod,  What has changed about the way you view space after this education? 
Before beginning my WELL education I felt I was fairly knowledgeable about how buildings operate and what systems influence occupant health and comfort. After my WELL education, I realized I wasn’t! The WELL Standard does a phenomenal job covering nearly every aspect that could potentially impact the health, comfort and overall well –being of a building’s occupants. It is a standard that provides guidance on how to construct spaces that do much more than providing shelter, work stations and break rooms. It provides guidance on how to construct spaces that are dynamic and truly take care of their occupants.  
Apr 06, 2017 BLOG/