If there is a woman who wears many hats and is beyond brilliant, that is Veronika Miller! She is the brains behind Modenus, Blog Tour, Design Hounds and the DXV Panel.
Her company, Modenus Media is the hub for all of her digital, social and real life initiatives. Here is a description of these amazing platforms:
The first platform we created back in 2009 was Modenus.com, a directory for products and design portfolios that is open to consumers but, maybe more importantly, has a cool design pro side for vetted designers only, that offers more in-depth product information, brands that are to the trade only and, where it makes sense, trade pricing or terms. You can even follow favorite brands on the site so you’ll receive a notification when they update their product information or make a special announcement. There’s a new element coming up in spring 2018 that will help especially smaller design firms who just can’t open dozens of manufacturer accounts.
A big part of our media platforms has always been blogging and social media, for our own sites but also as a connector between brands and potential buyers. We quickly realized that not everything can or should transpire online so we created BlogTour, a sponsored design tour concept that brings design pros in their capacity as bloggers and social influencers to national and international design destinations. Basically we cover flights, hotels, ground transport, meals and cocktails (those are key) and in return our sponsors receive social media love and great blog coverage. We started this in 2011 with a tour to London and have since become and remained the largest sponsored design blogger initiative out there. Yay!
Here is a Modenus Blog Tour we attended in 2014 in Milan, Italy.
Back row left to right: Carmen Natschke (The Decorating Diva) , Lorenzo Marquez (Cosentino), Tamara Stephenson (The Nest), Holly Phillips (The English Room), Krista Nye Schwartz and Tami Ramsay (Cloth and Kind) , (4vallees.info & Interior Designs, Inc.), Eric Schimelpfenig (Clever Storage), Lisa Smith (Decor Girl), Veronika Miller (Modenus), Robin Horton (Urban Gardens), Bill Darcy (NKBA).
Front row left to right: Joann 4vallees.info (me- 4vallees.info & Interior Designs, Inc.), Pamela Copeman (Posh Palettes) and Florence Van Pelet (Modenus).
This is where my “Men of Italy” Blog became famous!!
And our BlogTour to the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) in Las Vegas!
Celebrating Cosentino‘s new collections – Back Row – me, Rose Dostal, , Laurie Gorelick and Julia Buckinham. Front and center – Mark Williams!!
All was going swimmingly but then, guess what – the world changed. In most instances to the better and a few years after the 2008 crash and millions of social media and blog posts later, design pros were getting really busy again doing what they do best – design really great interiors. There was a decline in blogging and a move toward social posts and a few other changes too but people were still kicking down our doors to get on our tours so we changed some of our concept and created Designhounds. This one gets complicated but here’s the gist:
Designhounds as an online platform is super easy to use. You create a profile on Designhounds.com and use our hashtag #designhounds on all social platforms and even your blogs. All those post automatically land on your Designhounds profile, aggregated in one very pretty profile. People can like or comment directly on the Designhounds profile or they can click through to the original post wherever it may be.
Benefits for design pros?
All your social and blog posts in one place and people can still engage with it.
Brands tend to reach out to us and ask about engaging Designhounds so we can connect them with just the right folks to blog, tweet, Instagram about them or to be involved in a design project or….well really, the possibilities are really only limited by our imagination. Brands always want something (and someone) new and fresh and exciting wrapped around their products and we’re the hub that can often make that happen. Opportunities may be trips or paid or product or a combination. #WinWin as they say.
Designhounds also travels in two ways: Our Designhounds Tours are partially sponsored so you pay a net price to go which covers overhead and keeps our style and culture obsessed souls clear to produce some amazing behind the scenes events and insider tours but with sponsors on board, you can earn money back for coverage OR you just come along to learn and get inspired and don’t worry about media coverage. So it’s just all very flexible.
In 2018, and you can say you heard it hear first, we will also be offering Designhounds retreats that are not sponsored. These are getaways that vary in length from 2 to 7 days and that are hosted by a local designhound. They may include anything from business education and tools like photography, styling or software as well as lots of personal growth, wellness and local culture. It’s a holistic approach to making us not only working smarter but feel better while we do it.
The timing of this blog is perfect because you are one of the first to hear about another new venture.
Good Home Source
Good Home Source is a bit like Designhounds in that all you need to do is tag our hashtag at #GoodHomeSource with products or design ideas that make a home (or really any interior) GOOD. We’re looking for sustainability as well as physical and emotional wellness with the Good Home and want to find solutions that make people live and feel better and that help designers find new products and ideas to incorporate (read: sell) in their design projects.
The Design Milk X Modenus Talks Lounges
We’ve been busy developing a series of talks that range from design business to design how-tos and from social media best practices to Good Home and Global Design Opportunities. The setting is usually intimate and it’s all about conversation with the audience. You can find us at trade shows like KBIS and Wanted Design or in your local showroom. Local showroom lounges are hosted by local designers – so like with everything else we do, we try to find ways to connect with people who know about their own backyard and who want to share their knowledge (and get some exposure…and earn some spending money too!)
The DXV Panel
This one isn’t one of our products but I manage the production for our client DXV now for the 5th year and it has been an epic experience for me. Each year, we select 4 designers or design teams to create 4 bathrooms or kitchens inspired by DXV’s 4 movements or historical periods. Selected designers create all required documentation and our studio in Minneapolis builds the life sized sets in minute detail. DXV then brings everyone up there to shoot the sets, do interviews, headshots and also to just spend some time with these talented designers. Once the final images are ready, DXV produces a gorgeous magazine called DecadeFifteen and best shot from each set is used for DXV’s national ad campaign in just about all major shelter magazines. It’s a huge opportunity for designers and I have to say I don’t know another brand that has pulled all the stops in this way and allowed us to just create. It’s truly wonderful to be a part of this.
The 2017 Panel
The 2016 Panel
The 2015 DXV Panel
From left to right: Regina Sturrock, Tami Ramsay, Krista Nye Schwartz, Justin Shaulis, Rebecca Reynolds, Lori Glider and Lisa Mende
Joann: With all this great work that you have done, what are you most proud of?
Veronika: Personally, my super awesome daughter Florence who is my left and right hand in the business.
Professionally, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve prevailed. I was a designer myself and closed shop just before the crash for personal reasons (OK fine, hubby left for the obligatory 23 year old) . I didn’t really know what to do next for a while but finally decided to create the Modenus Media platform and bring people together since there’s a lot of strength in collaboration. Right around the time when I launched my first website, several big players came out of the woodwork and I would not have made it through as lil ol’ me had I not shifted from purely digital to connecting digital with real life. Lots of people appreciated that and even more people lent their helping hands along the way. Many of our competitors never made it but 8 years later – I’m still here and quite happy with what we’ve built.
Let’s get some background:
Joann: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Veronika: I was born in California but grew up in Southern Germany with some of my teenage years spent in the South of France too.
Joann: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Veronika: Something different every month – mostly an ABBA girl, I believe. When that didn’t pan out largely due to my lack of Swedish language skills I became a makeup artists and then got my degree in marketing and communications. The idea was to become CEO at Revlon which, apparently also didn’t pan out. I then honed in on design for a number of years and today, I use marketing and design together all whilst remaining fearless with the makeup brush.
Joann: You have travelled to so many beautiful places around the world. A favorite? Why?
Veronika: There are many places I love to visit, currently I’m aching to get back to Venice which will happen next April BUT the love of my life has always been the UK. You can often find me in London or Brighton, I love the Cotswolds and the Kentish coast and most recently on my honeymoon (YES honeymoon) we explored Scotland. Even after only the one trip, Scotland suits me best. The climate doesn’t bother me at all, nature is indescribably beautiful, people are friendly and welcoming and all I really want in life is to have one of those romantic stone cottages and a large library full of great books. I’m a hermit at heart so that would suit me perfectly – just need my hounds and the new hubby I suppose 😉
Joann: You are a mother to 3 beautiful girls. Biggest joy? Biggest challenge?
Veronika: Proudly so. Florence, my eldest is the Florence at Modenus everyone knows and my wingman in every sense. She’s having her first baby girl in about 4 weeks and I cannot wait! Sarah, just moved to Philadelphia to attend Temple University and save the world immediately upon completion of her poli sci degree – finally Celia, the youngest, recently graduated high school and has held a full time job for almost three years now, she’s a workaholic and I have no idea where she gets that.
The three are my reason to get up again when I fall down. (Which I do often, usually right on my face).
Joann: Favorite Book?
Veronika: Usually the one I’m reading at that moment. Some examples :The Goldfinch, Glass Castle, Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, anything by Neil Gaiman and most things by Margaret Atwood.
Joann: Favorite Movie?
Veronika? I have no idea, honestly. For years it was Love Actually and I just can’t handle it anymore. Haha!
Joann: Guilty Pleasure?
Veronika: Really good chocolate. Really, really good gin.
And most of all, my brand new hubby, Ian. He keeps me in check with work, life and when I pursue the other two pleasures with too much enthusiasm!!
Joann: What do you have cooked up in the near future?
Veronika: I recently attended the London Design Festival last month to host some talks about Thinking Global. I feel it’s time that the UK and North America connect in better ways to source product and work together in design.
For next year, you’ll find us at KBIS with BlogTour and the DMM Lounge; Milan and Venice in April and a retreat in Copenhagen in September. More to come but those are the fun ones to look forward to. The biggest highlight however coming up, first Christmas with baby Madeleine and hubby Ian.
Joann: What do you see for the future with all of these great brands that you’ve created?
Veronika: I have one other company, Digilush that I didn’t mention before because it’s not design related. Digilush builds the software that Designhounds and The Good Home Source are using but it’s capable of a lot more than that and will help people manage their social content in a way that it benefits them and not just the social sites they’re posting it on.
At some point I would like to remove myself from Modenus Media day to day operations and focus on our tech products but still be available to produce creative campaigns that connect brands and influencers. Well, and I’ll be front and center at our retreats and tours, because I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by friends and favorite industry peeps.
Veronika – from so many of us “thank you for being you”!!
A contest is currently being run for the Design Hounds Top 100 Bloggers and Influencers. 4vallees.info & is in the running and currently at #33 (it’s always changing and being updated). We would love your vote! Click HERE and scroll down to find 4vallees.info & . You can vote every day until 5pm Eastern Time October 10th!
Thanks in advance!!