London Design Festival, Blog Tour 2011 and

The 9-day London Design Festival and all its 300 events throughout the city commences today! In a few days, I will be on a plane to London with 18 other U.S. design bloggers to do nothing but observe, learn, interact with, breathe, and talk design. I am honored to be a part of this impressive initiative to bring US design bloggers to London. The concept to sort of comingle bloggers from the US and from the UK was that of Veronika Miller, founder of the design-rich website, Modenus. In a moment, we will hear Veronika's own words, as she describes the creative thinking behind BlogTour2011.
As a kitchen design professional, I am especially grateful to be included in this group. I have paid increased attention to the world of interior design, apart from kitchen design, in recent years having taken the time (and money) to travel to many design shows and events. As the kitchen is ever more connected to surrounding rooms and products and materials from surrounding rooms are finding their way into the kitchen, it is very important to be an astute observer of what's happening in interior design today. I will look for products, materials and design concepts which can be brought into the kitchen in a seamless way to create the "flow" that connected well designed spaces have. I just cannot WAIT to take it all in!
Here is some great information about Blog Tour 2011 and its fearless leader, Veronika Miller. Oh, and Veronika? She goes to an ENORMOUS number of design shows throughout the year. She may be one of the most knowledgeable people on interior design products and materials there is and that is no exaggeration.
Events in London just on one day!1. Veronika, how and why was this idea born, to bring US design bloggers to the UK to find design inspiration? 
Blog Tour was born, as are many good ideas, over a drink and some scribbles on a paper napkin. We had just created a very successful gathering for bloggers at Arch Digest Show in NYC in March at which bloggers kept telling me that Modenus should host blogger events more often. People see us as a hub for interior design resources so it was a natural next step to create something that would boost design bloggers' visibility whilst helping Modenus report from trade shows and design exhibits with content from select groups of bloggers. 

 It was a spontaneous moment between Troy Hanson at MMPI and Modenus which resulted in such a fun and inspired concept, something with a distinctly international tinge reflecting Modenus as a platform that is based in the US and the UK. So, over a few dirty Martinis in Hell's Kitchen NYC, BlogTour was born.

2. What are your professional goals for this trip; what does success look like?

Bloggers have an opportunity to immerse themselves in design inspiration, meet international designers, journalists and peers and flex their social media muscle to show just how much buzz they can create for an event or a brand. I think it's important to show that design bloggers can be very influential and professional contributors to digital media. Many of them should absolutely be considered as media partners for larger brands or design related initiatives.

Sponsors benefit from the immense buzz created through each BlogTour group prior to every event and by actually meeting bloggers in real life at their showrooms or at one of the exciting venues we've chosen to include in our itinerary. Making a brand visible through digital and social media is, of course,  very important but making it tangible through real life relationships is vital

Modenus was launched, and has grown, exclusively through social and digital media. BlogTour is a natural extension of Modenus and, as well as everything else, has further increased the visibility and reputation of Modenus in the US, UK and around the globe.

3. The agenda is so well rounded outside of the Decorex event. How do you hope these other opportunities for design exploration will inspire design bloggers?

London Design Festival is unique in that it offers 9 days of design events which are anchored by big trade shows like 100% Design, Tent London and just after LDF, Decorex. We've covered London Design Festival for several years now and know how inspiring British design can be and how important it is to focus not only on the larger brands but on the hundreds of creative artisans and artists who exhibit independently or at smaller venues or even through pop-up shops.

Designs can be over the top and  provocative and other times just beautiful and inspired but the point is that that, in my eyes, it is in those smaller shops and venues that great design trends are born. I think bloggers will take away a lot of inspiration for future blog posts or design work and hopefully benefit from the great personal relationships they'll be able to forge while in London.   

4. I know that I, as a design blogger, welcome opportunities to get up close and personal with manufacturers' products any way that I can. It's always a learning experience. I'm curious - what are the BlogTour sponsors' expectations and plans to interact with the design bloggers in an effort to showcase new design or technology in their products? 

We are thrilled and honoured every time a sponsor steps up to join BlogTour in London or any of the tours scheduled for 2012 because it is such a new concept but we realize they are seeing the same potential we're seeing.

Some of the sponsors will indeed be meeting us at  their showrooms or at a dinner venue in order to spend some time up close and personal with our American bloggers as well as some of the UK bloggers, while others appear to be quite happy to allow BlogTour to promote their brands through Twitter and other social media outlets to help them grow their own social media following. 

 Modenus has always worked with every vendor on a customized basis to meet their marketing and budget needs and BlogTour is no different...we listen and come up with a solution that will give them the type of exposure they seek. 

 Thank you to all of our BlogTour sponsors: 

BLANCO America
Samuel Heath
Victoria & Albert Baths
Achica Living
DuVerre Hardware
Spirit of Sports