Black Interior Designer Creates Beautiful Spaces in “Buying It Blind” on Bravo TV

Interior designer Michel Smith Boyd knows a thing or two about beauty. The star of Buying it Blind, set in Atlanta, on Bravo TV, is one of the top black interior designers in the country. His love of architecture and tailored details pays off each week as he work with people in decorating their dream homes. In an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, he discusses his hit reality show; home buying for millennials; and the art of mentorship.

BE: Describe the premise of Buying It Blind and how were you approached to participate in this reality show.

Michel Smith Boyd: A team of experts, including myself, a contractor and a realtor, meet real life couples who are desperately trying to purchase a house — and all of that is dependent on budget, school district, and other factor — and have decided to enlist us to find a property.

As a team, we are present in each space as we initially meet with each and every client. I became involved in this project because I was approached by a casting agency, and due to my reputation and level of work produced, and I just happened to be the guy they needed. Actually, it is so interesting that you find yourself rooting [for] and identifying with the couples. These strangers are making decisions, entrusting you with their life savings which makes the stakes much higher to deliver a stellar product. I find myself creating spaces I have never done before especially when preservation comes into play.

Tell us about your career as a celebrity interior designer.

That term is such a strange one because I tend to focus on being excellent and making a huge contribution for my clients every day. If it is based on doing amazing work, and then only if I am being great is being an inspiration to kids who look up to me — then yes, I accept that title.

buying it blind

Photo Credit: Tomas Espinoza


 What advice do you have for millennials or those seeking to purchase their first homes?

The most important thing to remember is to spend money once! Buy good quality over quantity. Never be in a rush to complete a space; make sure you design in phrases. Start with what you would use the most: sofas, mattresses and multi-functional pieces like dining tables. Always remember: Function before form.

 If you had your choice of a dream client who would it be and why?

My dream client is not necessarily a celebrity. My client who allows me to do my job. Interior design is all about Romanticism and we’ve lost the idea of letting us completely transfer a space without interruption. And big budgets don’t hurt either!

As a black man in this field how do you distinguish yourself in the design world?

The only one thing you can be is yourself; present your full authenticity. I don’t water down my presentation for no one. I always present myself as a professional and consider myself a student — always learning and constantly growing to be excellent in all areas of my life. I am obsessed with hospitality and design and love the genre. I love the idea that people live better in hotels than homes and I am changing that one home at a time.

Who are some of your mentors/colleagues in the business; and explain the importance of having mentors in your life.

Honestly, I never had mentorships and have suffered and oftentimes wondered if it is too late. Guess what? It’s not. I have a group of incredibly smart friends who have inspired me tremendously. In the beginning, I wanted to mimic Tom Ford, Kelly Werstler … and their career paths have somehow mentored me. My journey is different, but I don’t see myself as less than. I mentor young designers all the time and one of my favorite things to go (one of the few things I like about exposure). I teach them the importance of deciding what they want from this industry. You need to figure out what contribution you wish to make and then you will find direction, identify and supply your point of view.

Any words of advice for aspiring or burgeoning interiors designers of color?
Once you know your value, you can approach meetings and clients in a much more positive and confident manner. You should be well versed in art history, fashion, textiles. You cannot deny excellence regardless of what you look like or where you come from … Remember — if you don’t know who you are then you can’t offer expertise.

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Goodr Creates Free, Pop-Up Grocery Store for MLK Day

Goodr, a company that previously won the BLACK ENTERPRISE Tech Connext Pitch Competition is continuing to make a footprint in the community. The startup recently partnered with the Atlanta Hawks for a special volunteer service project as part of the Hawks court dedication at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation & Aquatic Center, just in time for MLK day.

Approximately 100 Atlanta seniors were invited to partake in a signature Goodr “Pop-Up Grocery” event, where delicious surplus food from multiple Atlanta grocery partners was available for free.


Goodr and the Atlanta Hawks Partner to feed Atlanta Seniors for MLK Day (Image: Kat Goduco Photography)

“In the spirit of Dr. King’s commitment to service, the Hawks are proud to partner with Goodr to provide a pop-up grocery store for seniors at the MLK Recreation and Aquatic Center,” said Andrea Carter, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility & Inclusion. “This added element to our MLK court dedication allows us to serve not only the youth who play on the court, but seniors who often times need additional assistance when living on a fixed income.”

Goodr is a sustainable food surplus management platform that leverages technology to reduce food waste and combat hunger. They have produced a variety of events to distribute surplus food to needy Atlanta locals in creative and uplifting ways, but the “pop-up grocery store” seems to be a fan favorite.

“It’s an honor to be able to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King through the service acts that Goodr performs each and every day,” Jasmine Crowe, CEO, and founder of Goodr told BE. “To be able to partner with the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm is a dream come true for a startup from Atlanta,”

Every product is free to the guests and they range from fresh produce to prepared deli foods to fresh-baked bread. Everything is picked up that day from local vendors and partner stores and brought directly to the event. Each attendee gets their pick regarding what items they want to go home with.


Goodr and Atlanta Hawks for MLK Day (Image: Kat Goduco Photography)

The Hawks have been dedicated to the community as well. Off the court, the organization has built a culture of inclusion, diversity, and innovation, all with a touch of southern hospitality. Their goal is to build bridges through basketball, whether by constructing and refurbishing courts in Atlanta neighborhoods, providing scholarships to our basketball camps, or participating in unique partnership events like this one with Goodr.

The post Goodr Creates Free, Pop-Up Grocery Store for MLK Day appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Black Entrepreneur Creates App for Motivational Affirmations

New Year, new you! Need help getting it all together? Florida A&M graduate Shelby Tinsley created iShallBe, an app that delivers daily motivational affirmations straight to your mobile device. The platform sends you quotes, inspirational videos, and affirmations once a day in an effort to encourage you to get motivated.

“I do have faith that iShallBe will motivate other people,” stated Tinsley.

There are several apps currently like this on the market, including Thinkup, Motivate, and Shine, so what makes this different? For starters, it was created by an African-American founder and the backdrop is interfaced with African Americans connecting it back to the community. Additionally, the content and community showcases tons of African American users.

This is great for the culture as there are so many negative images and messages in social media currently being unearthed that it gives the multicultural community a place where they can go to embrace positivity.

“iShallBe was created with the strong desire to encourage others to get through all trials and tribulations, and remind you that there will be victory at the end of all troubles,” states the site. “iShallBe will supply nourishment to both mind and soul. However, it is up to you to remain faithful and speak nothing but love, joy, and positivity in your life. For if you speak it, it shall be.”

Motivational Affirmations

Motivational App, iShallBe (Image: Instagram)

Current app features include:

  • Receiving daily affirmations via quotes, inspirational videos, and music

  • Providing app users the daily motivation to clear mind, achieve a dream, or fulfill a goal

  • Staying motivated with weekly and daily themes

  • iShallBe TV: Watch all iShallBe motivational videos

  • Goal Tracker: Hold yourself accountable when setting long and short-term goals

  • Ability to create your own affirmation and share with others

  • Communicate with others via a timeline, sharing quotes, goals, and inspirational messages

The app is currently celebrating it’s one year anniversary of being on the market and is currently available on Apple and Android in 8 different countries. For more information on the platform, visit the site here.

The post Black Entrepreneur Creates App for Motivational Affirmations appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Hoorsenbuhs Opens First Store, Creates Eyewear

Hoorsenbuhs, the American fine jewelry house and lifestyle brand known for its bold rings, cuffs and open-link chains, has opened its first store, in Santa Monica, Calif., within a 5,000 square-foot, two-story space that also houses its atelier, headquarters and event space.
Located at 2217 Main Street across from its previous headquarters, the 1,500-square-foot retail store was designed by creative chief Robert Keith and partner and brand director Kether Parker.
“We’ve kept pretty private,” Keith said of the previous space, which was used for private appointments. “But we’re ready to invite people in to show how we’ve evolved over the last 13 years. Plus, I need a place for all the weird things I design,” he said of the furniture, fixtures and sculptures.
As guests step in, they see elements from the by-appointment-only studio and Soho gallery pop-up, including the life-size brass bank vault and artworks from friends and collaborators such as Damien Hirst and Wes Lang. New are signature elements such as black wood panels, logo-stamped brass bolts — there are 3,500 outside and 1,400 inside — and custom-built cases suspended from anchor chains, along with furniture that pays homage to the best-selling Phantom Ring.
Also on display is the newly launched luxury

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Faherty Creates Capsule to Support LGBTQ Community

Faherty is in the giving spirit this holiday season.
The New York-based casualwear brand has created a new women’s collection, the Rainbow capsule, and will donate 10 percent of sales to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth.
The collection, which will be available starting Monday, consists of a sweater poncho for $ 269, a pom beanie for $ 78 and a cotton-acrylic scarf for $ 118.
To promote the initiative, Faherty will team with Brooklyn-based fashion blogger Allison Graham of “She Does Him,” who will produce and share a campaign featuring the Rainbow capsule with more than 27,000 of her followers.

“When we designed the Rainbow Sweater Poncho and matching beanie and scarf for our holiday collection, its bright colors and cozy softness evoked in us the warm and fuzzy feeling of the holidays,” said Faherty president Kerry Faherty. “But we also know the holidays can bring up feelings of sadness and loneliness for many. We reached out to The Trevor Project to set up a partnership and donate a portion of our Rainbow Collection sales to the organization. We’re deeply inspired by and grateful for the organization’s incredible efforts in the LGBTQ community and we’re honored to support them during

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Lucy Sparrow creates a festive felt wonderland for Hermes shoppers

Lucy Sparrow transforms the shopfront Hermés in Beverly Hills with a wonderfully festive display.

Working with artrepublic, Lucy Sparrow has featured her sought-after felt creations from her infamous LA Supermarket exhibition in the Brighton Gallery. The exclusive His ’n’ Hers felt display cabinet, from a limited edition of 50, features soft toothbrushes and a hand-stitched bottle of Old Spice. Published by artrepublic this summer and now working with Hermés, she’s gone from Kickstarting a corner shop in London to Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills – and we’re excited.

Lucy Sparrow Hermes window display

Lucy, following from her huge successes including the Felt Supermarket in LA this summer and the Felt Erotic Emporium in London in 2015 offers a fresh take on a decadent classic: the Festive Window Display. A celebration of playful fun and luxury, we are taken into her felt world of wonder, discovering those luxurious purses in the midst of a multitude of jars filled with felt bonbons.

Childlike glee is what Lucy inspires in passer-bys. From seasoned fashionistas, to families returning from a meal together, no-one is safe from being stopped in their tracks with delight.

Lucy Sparrow Hermes window display (detail)

The traditional lavishness of Hermés gets taken on a trip to the funfair, complete with a felt carousel horse and a felt covered crane-game to pick up fuzzy handbags. Lucy named the horse Herman, and he is serving equine royalty with gorgeous Hermés bracelets on his ankles just above the hooves, and he doesn’t deny himself a silk scarf either.

The interactive nature of the displays is what Lucy has always provided, how we can pick up, feel and play with her art has added a new dimension of fun and intimacy to her work. The Hermés felt crane-game elevates this further, inviting shoppers to have some fun picking up a felt wallet before seriously considering the real deal.

If you’d like to have your own Lucy Sparrow installation in your home, artrepublic are showcasing her intricate felt display cabinets in our Brighton Gallery. An opportune time to grab one before her next highly anticipated exhibition at Context in Miami, get in touch.


For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page

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CVS creates new health-care giant as $69 billion merger with Aetna officially closes

CVS and Aetna have closed their merger about a year after announcing the deal to combine a drugstore chain, a pharmacy benefit manager and a health insurer.  
Health and Science


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Outerwear Brand Bacon Creates Capsule for Saks Fifth Avenue

Customers into cozy, fashionable puffer jackets have yet another option to choose from.
Italian contemporary outerwear brand Bacon — which already lists Gigi Hadid among its fans — has unveiled a small capsule collection with luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue.
The brand’s signature women’s “Puffa” style jacket was reinterpreted in two exclusive colorways: red and blue. The cropped jacket, retailing at $ 615, boasts an exaggerated collar and a tie detail.
Additional styles and dedicated colorways will be added to the capsule early next year, strengthening the tie-up with the U.S. department store.

Bacon’s red “Puffa” jacket created for Saks Fifth Avenue. 
Courtesy Photo.

“We want to shift the customers’ perspective on down jackets and we are really focused on trying to evolve the silhouettes. After a few seasons of oversized shapes, we’re gently shifting toward more refined styles, without giving up our rock soul,” said founder and ceo Andrea Pilato Barrara.
The brand delivers fall duvet coats for women featuring oversized proportions and in a number of bright colors informed by the Nineties aesthetic. Established in 2008 as a sportswear label, Bacon will launch its first summer season in 2020 with a selection of windbreakers. Starting with the current fall season, it also introduced two men’s

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