More attracted to what’s not trending than what is’: Gabrielle Davis reveals her unique design perspective

Welcome to Take 60, quick one-minute stories about new faces in our industry that might help you move the needle toward future success and with time at a premium. Retailers, designers, manufacturers and more — Take 60 covers them all, so check back each week for a new addition to the mix.

Home Accents Today talked with Gabrielle Davis, designer at M2C Studio based in High Point.

HAT: The furniture industry is deep rooted in your family. Tell me why you also decided to go into the industry?

Gabrielle: I think this industry chose me every bit as much as I chose it; I’ve never really known any different. As a third generation “legacy,” I grew up with everything revolving around April and October furniture markets.

I have been heavily influenced by my grandfather, James Stanton, and my mother, India Stanton Miller. Most people I meet in this industry either know or have worked with one or both. I am constantly being told stories or hearing someone express high admiration for my mom and grandad, and it always makes me think, ‘Man, I hope I can have that kind of impact on people.’

As the saying goes, “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Design is what I love, and this industry is home.

HAT: You’re currently working at M2C Studio. Talk about your position and what your role is for the company.

Gabrielle: M2C is one of three companies owned and run by Stuart and Leyla Gans. Everything started with their first company, Classical Elements, and from there they also launched a jewelry line and then M2C Studio, producing custom lighting and drapery hardware.

My position here is really undefined and gives me the ability to always be doing something different. Although I am very creative, I am also very analytical, so I thrive in an environment that allows me to switch back and forth between the right and left side of my brain. My role here allows me to do just that.

My “left brain days” are spent with Stuart navigating through and constantly improving our computer systems and production processes. Leyla keeps me on my toes for my “right brain days,” always sharing ideas and asking my input. They have trusted me with a lot of important responsibilities such as the website, product photography, customer interaction and order entry, social media content, and even technical drawings for renovations on their home.

Stuart and Leyla are incredible people with so much talent and a really cool vision for their companies and how they can make an impact on this industry and this town. I love being a part of their team, and I am so excited to see what the future holds.

HAT: What lighting trends are you currently seeing?

Gabrielle: I don’t think I have a good answer for this question, and here’s why: I’m more attracted to what’s not trending vs. what is. My style is a mirror image of my personality: weird, bold and adventurous. Although there are a lot of beautiful trends that come and go, some even lining up with my taste, I don’t really pay much attention to them, even more so working for a company that does the same.

In a world where so many try to stay “on trend,” M2C has its own specific niche in the market and really no desire to be “everything to everybody.” I think that’s really cool. I’ve always danced to the beat of my own drum, and I like what I like, and I think it is so important to stay true to who you are in order to curate your own authentic style.

HAT: What three tips can you give other designers when it comes to merchandising?

Gabrielle: Piggybacking off my previous answer, my best advice would be to stick with what you love. Merchandising also has a lot to do with composition. Once you find a balance between that and your own style, everything else just comes natural.

HAT: What are you excited to see/expect at this falls High Point Market?

Gabrielle: I’ve never been involved in High Point Market in the traditional sense; I’ve always been more behind the scenes and have never spent much time shopping market.

Starting at about 14, maybe even before that, I would be in the Lillian August/Hickory White showroom on weekends and every day after school in the weeks leading up to market. Even in college, I would drive home from Charleston, S.C., to help. I was there to do anything my mom asked and was able to learn so much experience and knowledge that I took and applied in my previous position at Caracole.

This will be my first market not working for a furniture company or executing the showroom design/set-up. I am excited to see what an M2C market is like – we show at the Verellen showroom – and meet a lot of the customers I have been interacting with since coming onboard in April.

Five fun facts about Gabrielle Davis:

  • What is your favorite furniture purchase to date for your personal home? I have a gorgeous Lillian August poster bed. It was a sample from several markets ago, and I loved it so much that I had to take my bedroom door and casing off to get the thing in my room. It is a soft ivory color and has strict, sharp lines on the detailing of the headboard and footboard, but a whimsical flair thru the bamboo posts.
  • What is your favorite past time? I love doing anything creative, shocker, but I also enjoy being on/near the water, listening to music or seeing live performances, and anything family oriented. Since purchasing my house a few years ago, I am always doing projects around the house, changing things around and working in my yard. I am super close with my brothers and love when they include me to do their boy things. I spend a lot of time at my moms and usually have my pointers, Walter and Duck, in tow. It’s the simple things in life that bring me the most joy.
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? Believe it or not, High Point. I’ve never been a big traveler and even though I loved my time in Charleston for school, home is home. My family is here, my career is here, and I’ll be content in a farmhouse on some land right here in Davidson County.
  • What is your one guilty pleasure? I love a good lazy day. There is nothing more relaxing than curling up on the sofa with my dogs to binge watch the latest Netflix series.
  • What is your favorite product from M2C Studio? I really love them all, but I think our Dawn chandelier is my favorite. Every M2C light is so much more than just a light fixture, but a piece of art for your home, and every aspect of it is customizable. With so many options to choose from, our customers get to create something truly unique to their project and space. You can’t really grasp the true beauty of these fixtures, especially one of our larger sized Dawns, without seeing it in person.

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