A Designer's Guide to Your First Year at San Francisco Decorator Showcase

This year, our client, Kari McIntosh of Kari McIntosh Design, was invited to participate in one of the world’s most prestigious designer showcase events, the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. This was Kari’s first time participating in the event, and her room, The Balancing Point, was a huge hit! Located between the Master bedroom and bath, the room was designed as a space in which the Woman of the House could plan out her day and work on her latest business endeavors. Featuring gorgeous St. Frank wallpaper and artwork from Simon Breitbard Fine Arts, it was a certainly a stimulating space that encouraged productivity. Below, we asked Kari about her experience and what she learned during her first year at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase.

Coupar Communications: What are the benefits of doing showcase?

Kari McIntosh: Exposure! Participating in the San Francisco Decorator Showcase is an incredible way to share your work and story with the 15,000+ people that visit the event each year. In addition, the press coverage (print, online, blogs, and social media) expand your reach to new audiences that would take years to establish. I was able to double my social media following and meet multiple new journalists/editors in a short period of time (including internationally). 

Coupar Communications: What was the one thing that most surprised you most or that you hadn’t accounted for?

Kari McIntosh: The stamina required to stay fully present and participate in the month-long series of festivities! The most wonderful part of Showcase is the ability to connect in a real way to the visitors that come through the house; including evening events that take place Monday through Friday and the five weekends of Showcase. Running the day-to-day operations, I started to feel exhaustion and burnout set in about mid-way through. There were two days where I had to step away completely and do something other than Showcase or design work to recharge my brain and refuel my inspiration. For me, this entailed a day to myself that included a leisurely solo lunch and some window shopping. By taking care of myself when I felt fried, I was able to return to Showcase refreshed and ready to give my all to the experience.

CC: What are your three recommendations for designers doing Showcase for the first time?

 KM: First, I can’t help but think of the Broadway play, Hamilton. I was “not giving away my shot.” So my first piece of advice would be to give it your all and plan to immerse yourself in the experience. I found that when I was able to personally docent for my room, the visitors left with a more clear understanding of my overall concept and the "why" for certain choices.

Second, have a good support system in place at home and at work to keep things going. I am grateful for my husband who held down the fort and for my mother who pitched-in during installation. Their assistance made Showcase possible for me.

Finally, work with a top notch PR Firm. From program copy, photographer recommendations, and press introductions/pitching; they make certain your story gets out to the widest audience possible.

Kari’s work at Showcase proved that she is an extraordinary talent. To see more of her work, head to her website or follow her on Instagram and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for future projects from this incredible designer.