BOLD (Business of Luxury Design) Summit 2015 brought 150 principal designers from around the globe, including Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Cayman Islands, Chicago, New York, California and Connecticut to the Riviera Resort and Spa in Palm Springs for two-plus-days of high-quality lectures, panels and networking to re-energize their business models and build strategy.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Kelly Hoppen and Joan Behnke were honored with the BOLD Master Award, sponsored by Baccarat, for pioneering new ground and realizing a lifetime of noteworthy projects within a framework of strong business practices. Each designer imparted powerful advice through sharing his or her personal design journey in keynote talks during the action-packed conference.

Joan Behnke, who has built a strong business with repeat clients—one billionaire client has come to her for eight projects—presented a personal lecture on her beginnings and how they have shaped her approach to design. “I am so in debt to family for making me who I am,” she said graciously as she began her presentation. Behnke’s introduction to the arts began with dance, where she worked her way up to New York’s Alvin Ailey Ballet. She encouraged everyone to open their minds to every aspect of the arts, as ballet often inspires Behnke’s space planning ideas. She explained business virtues. “When I commit my company to a project I must show up. Clients see me 98% of the time so nothing gets watered down.” She empowered the crowd, exclaiming designers are “just as important as architects and speaking the same language is of importance.”

After a kickoff cocktail party Wednesday evening, Thursday morning featured BOLD Master Kelly Hoppen, who sat down with BOLD Summit conference owner and design business expert Julia Molloy, where she spoke about starting an international brand at the age of 16. Kelly’s method for building a team: “You can only build a business with people who think the same way; and her entrepreneurial spirit helped propel her company into two design firms, Studio Hoppen and Kelly Hoppen Couture, allowing her to author nine books and star on BBC’s Dragon’s Den.

In an exciting presentation by BOLD Master Martyn Lawrence Bullard, attendees gained an understanding of how a busy international designer operates by implementing key strategies for success. While indulging the audience in juicy professional anecdotes, Martyn asserted, “Everything I do is inspired by my travels.” Details on his inspirations followed his personal steps to building a successful company with many branches—from residential and commercial design to product design.

“As a business owner, I am taking back a pretty clear roadmap, and a network of support to take my business to the next level. I feel focused; the noise has gone away,” reported president of Clive Christian, Julie Lloyd, after the event.

Join in on the discussion at BOLD Summit 2016

Image Credits: Photos by Alan Barry .