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Spring into the 2015 BKLYN Designs expo

Liz Collins of Liz Collins Designs, a Brooklyn-based

Liz Collins of Liz Collins Designs, a Brooklyn-based home decor company, at the May 2014 BKLYN Designs expo in DUMBO. Photo Credit: Georgine Benvenuto Photography

Brooklyn furniture and decor designers, it's time to get off your seats.

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications from vendors for BKLYN Designs, an expo featuring new styles from local manufacturers of home furnishings and accessories to be held from May 8 to 10. Early-consideration applications are due Feb. 1.

Now in its 12th year, the event which was formerly held in DUMBO is moving to the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint.

BKLYN Designs is "really a showcase of Brooklyn's coolest, hottest designers," explained Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the chamber. He said that as in many cities, Brooklyn designers face obstacles such as limited space to manufacture in and challenges in getting their names out to the public.

"Being a part of BKLYN Designs allows you to showcase who you are and what you do," he said. "We want [designers] to sell their products. We want them to make money. We want them to grow their business."

With the Brooklyn-made brand achieving global popularity -- it's especially hot in Japan, according to Scissura -- BKLYN Designs attracts roughly 5,000 visitors each year.

The expo thrived as the DUMBO neighborhood boomed in the art scene and real estate market, but Scissura said it was time to change the scenery.

"We were really looking at what's another place in Brooklyn that's kind of ready to explode where there are a lot of designers," he explained. "And we looked at Greenpoint and just fell in love."

Plus, with 28,000 square feet and capacity for up to 2,000 people at a time, the Expo Center will accommodate the entire event, unlike in previous years when it was held across multiple venues.

The space is also aesthetically pleasing for visitors, according to Chris Rechner, venue manager at the Expo Center.

"It's sort of a crisp, new minimalist design with a lot of natural light coming through the glass exterior," he said. "I think that lends well for these designers to show off these innovative new products."

He agreed that Greenpoint is a fitting neighborhood for a design expo.

"Between Williamsburg and Greenpoint so much has been happening in the last five years that there's really no reason not to have the innovation in one of those spaces in those areas," he said.

Scissura said the chamber plans to take advantage of the expansive layout with new programs this year, but couldn't yet provide specifics.

Last year's expo featured 10 designers from Osaka, Japan, a speaker series, a moderated panel discussion, community yoga and other activities.

The chamber will select roughly 45 vendors for booths at BKLYN Designs.

Susan Doban of Think Fabricate, a Downtown Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary design company that manufactures furniture, custom designs and art installations, is applying for what will be her fourth year in the expo. She said BKLYN Designs is ideal for vendors to meet with potential customers and give them hands-on consultations about their work, and it makes shopping locally for the latest in home decor easy for consumers.

"If you don't have a large showroom or place to otherwise display your furnishing, this is an ideal situation because you get to meet one on one with customers," said Doban, whose new line for the spring, the Kinetic Collection, features multiuse furniture, such as a coffee table that transforms into a desk.

Booths start at $1,500. To apply to be a BKLYN Designs vendor, visit


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