Industry Views - September 2012

On Creating Hotel Maison

The Hotel Maison brand, launched in 2010 by Judy George and Kim Salmela, includes furniture, mattresses and a recently announced fashion bedding program with Divatex Home Fashions. George, founder of Domain Home, now heads up Judy George International, a creative think-tank that develops home furnishings concepts. Salmela, president of Kim Salmela Atelier, formerly owned several retail venues, including Hautehouse Home Furnishings.

Q: How did Hotel Maison come to be?

George: “After I left Domain, I worked with research company Steen Kanter International looking for answers on why consumers had deserted the furniture industry, and if they had money to spend outside of family obligations, how they would spend it. Most thought about a certain trip they took and a great place/hotel they had dreamed or heard about. They wanted that experience, and more than anything to stay at a five-star hotel with all the bells and whistles. Within a year, the Hotel Maison concept emerged.”

Salmela: “In the ’90s, while I was traveling to Paris to shop for my stores, I would check out boutique hotels to gather inspiration for my own designs. It only took me a few months to develop the collections for Hotel Maison, because I had years of inspiration stored up.”

Q: What makes Hotel Maison different?

Salmela: “Most ‘hotel collections’ try to capture a clean, modern aesthetic, and their interpretations give us solids, void of pattern. We are inspired by the boutique hotels that express an individual style and that don’t look like part of a chain. Our look is clean and modern, but also captures a chic, global essence that makes it unique. Hotel Maison will be known for color and pattern, capturing today’s trends.”

Q: Who is your consumer customer?

Salmela: “Hotel Maison hits medium to medium-high price points with looks that appeal to almost all age groups. We created a sub-brand, Chic Boutique by Hotel Maison, because we know the younger consumer, generally with a lower budget, also desires these looks.”

Q: Where is the brand sold and how will it grow?

Salmela: “Hotel Maison will be targeted towards brick-and-mortar retailers, while Chic Boutique will be sold via big-box retailers as well as online.”

George: “We hope to build off the Hotel Maison furniture concept with textiles, decorative accessories and, ultimately, with the hotel industry, where boutique hotels are growing at lightning speed.”

For more on Hotel Maison, visit hotelmaison.com.


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