Welcome to Take 60, quick one-minute stories about new faces in our industry that might help you move the needle toward future success. Retailers, designers, manufacturers, and more — Take 60 covers them all, so check back each week for a new addition to the mix.
HAT: How did you get involved in the furniture industry? Tell us a little about your background.
Mark Abrams, owner and designer, Port 68: I have a degree in advertising from the University of Alabama. I interned my junior year with Raymond Waites, also from Alabama, for his company at the time, Gear, in New York, which was my first introduction into the industry in 1984.
I met Michael Yip when he was at Oriental Accents and years later, I was a licensee under Mark Abrams Designs for OA. Michael and I wanted to start our own company, which is how Port 68 came to life in the fall of 2008 and debuted at High Point Market April 2009 in Interhall, where we are still located today.
HAT: Does the name Port 68 mean anything, and how did it come about?
Abrams: Michael came up with the name. Number one, it was important to us to have worldwide trademark rights, and number two, our products come from ports all around the world. Everything comes in a container, except for artwork and upholstery which is done in Chicago.
The numbers six and eight are very good in the Asian culture, and they mean smooth sailing and prosperity. We are bringing product from all over the world with good karma.
HAT: What is the inspiration behind your designs?
Abrams: Inspiration comes from all over the marketplace, antique and even grocery stores. I will see a pattern on a leg of a table I like from somewhere and expand that design or pattern and see if we can produce it in porcelain.
HAT: Port 68 is showing in Dallas and Atlanta this summer; are there any new and exciting products customers can expect?
Abrams: We do two major introductions a year at the High Point Market, so for those who could not attend, Dallas and Atlanta will be new for them. We will have new collections, artwork, lighting and accessories. Green is big right now; it’s trendy, but always classic. We also have a lot of colorful artworks that you can live with for a long time.
HAT: As a décor and design veteran, what would you say to new furniture retailers about how to create an inviting shopping ambiance?
Abrams: Start with the front door. Is it clean? Are your windows clean? No one wants to step inside a dirty store. Make your windows sparkle all the time.
Flip your store around. If product has been in the same spot for six months, you need to move it around.
Layer new lighting and accessories and turn on the lamps. Play music, make the store smell nice, and tell a story with your product.
Fun facts about Mark Abrams:
What is your design style at your home? Comfortable, eclectic, traditional with Asian inspiration. Antiques. It’s things I have collected all over the world and marketplace. It all works together.
What is a trend you predict/ are excited to see in 2023? Color!
What is your favorite item from Port 68? The best seller that season! I am excited for what is coming and has not been seen yet.
Where are you from? Demopolis, Ala.
Do you enjoy living in High Point? I do. I have literally had 10 cross-country moves, but High Point is the hub for this industry and where I spend most of my time. It’s convenient.