Welcome to Take 60, quick one-minute stories about new faces in our industry who could help you tick the needle to future success. Retailers, designers, manufacturers and more – Take 60 has them all covered, so check back each week for a new addition to the mix.
HAT: How did you end up in the furniture industry? Tell us a bit about your experience.
Mark Abrams, Owner and Designer, Port 68: I have a degree in advertising from the University of Alabama. I did my freshman internship with Raymond Waites, also from Alabama, for his then company, Gear, in New York, which was my first introduction to the industry in 1984.
I met Michael Yip when he was at Oriental Accents and years later was licensed under Mark Abrams Designs for OA. Michael and I wanted to start our own business, so Port 68 was born in the fall of 2008 and debuted at High Point Market in April 2009 in Interhall, where we are still located today.
HAT: Does the name Port 68 mean anything, and how did it come about?
Abraham: Michael found the name. Firstly, it was important for us to have worldwide brand rights, and secondly, our products come from ports all over the world. Everything comes in a container except for artwork and upholstery which is made in Chicago.
The numbers six and eight are very good in Asian culture, and they mean smooth sailing and prosperity. We bring products from all over the world with good karma.
HAT: What is the inspiration behind your creations?
Abraham: Inspiration comes from all over the market, antique shops and even grocery stores. I’m going to see a design on a table leg that I like somewhere and develop that design or pattern and see if we can produce it in porcelain.
HAT: Port 68 premieres in Dallas and Atlanta this summer; Are there any exciting new products that customers can expect?
Abraham: We do two major introductions a year at High Point Market, so for those who couldn’t attend, Dallas and Atlanta will be new to them. We will have new collections, works of art, lighting and accessories. Green is big right now; it’s trendy, but still classic. We also have lots of colorful artwork that you can live with for a long time.
HAT: As a decorating and design veteran, what would you say to new furniture retailers on how to create an inviting shopping vibe?
Abraham: Start at the front door. Is it clean? Are your windows clean? No one wants to walk into a dirty store. Make your windows shine all the time.
Return your store. If the product has been in the same place for six months, you need to move it.
Layer new lights and accessories and turn on the lamps. Put on some music, make the store smell nice, and tell a story with your product.
Fun facts about Mark Abrams:
What is your decorative style at home? Comfortable, eclectic, traditional Asian-inspired. Antiques. These are things that I have collected all over the world and in the market. Everything works together.
What is the trend you predict/can’t wait to see in 2023? Color!
What’s your favorite Port 68 article? This season’s bestseller! I’m excited for what’s to come and has yet to be seen.
Where do you come from? Demopolis, Ala.
Do you like living in High Point? I do. I’ve literally had 10 moves across the country, but High Point is the hub of this industry and where I spend most of my time. It is convenient.