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Groovystuff student design challenge unveils creations

Second vote set for Atlanta market in July

Groovystuff, a manufacturer of home furnishings and accents produced from reclaimed teak, is sponsoring 16 Auburn University students to compete in a design challenge for the company.

Two graduate students and 14 undergraduate students from the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, and the Department of Industrial Design participated in the project that gives winners cash prizes and the grand prize winner permanent royalties on the chosen design.

"We need to embrace these talented young students from across the country and encourage them to seek a career in the home furnishings industry," said Chris Bruning, co-founder, Groovystuff. "If we are going to appeal to Gen X and Gen Y consumers, we need designers with a fresh, young perspective."

Participating students were challenged to do the following:
+ Design a residential indoor or outdoor home décor accent, furniture or lighting collection using sustainable manufacturing practices that refines the Groovystuff product line to attract a more modern and contemporary audience represented in the Dick Idol celebrity brand.
+ Submit a presentation board describing their inspiration for the product they have designed.
+ Create a miniature model of their product for display at the April High Point Market and July Atlanta market.

The target users of the students' product can be children, adults or physically challenged persons. The students' creations cannot compete with other Dick Idol Collections brand partners nor infringe on the product lines of the other Dick Idol partner licensees.

Judging for the competition will be based on the popular vote from buyers at the High Point Market and attendees at the Atlanta market, set for July 13-20. These market votes, combined with the cumulative votes collected on the Groovystuff Facebook page will determine the popular vote winner. The student design with the most popular votes will be presented with a $500 cash reward.

Groovystuff will then produce the student designs and determine the grand prize winner by measuring which student design generates the most sales at the October High Point market.

In October, Groovystuff will display the original drawings along with the finished product so buyers can see the transformation of the concept into a fully executed consumer product, Bruning said. "We'll ask the buyers once again for their comments and votes, but also for their order," he said. "The final winning design will be the one with the top sales."

The grand prize winner will win a $1,000 cash prize and a permanent royalty on all future sales of the product.

"It's a huge opportunity from the start to get just a foot in the door, to design a piece of furniture and be involved with the manufacturer in any step of the process," said Brian Chiaroscuro, one of the students who met with Bruning and Dick Idol during the High Point Market. "As students, we're experimenting with different materials."

On the showroom wall, presentations displayed students' projects that merged modern designs with antique aesthetics of farm equipment.

Rustic lodge looks have given way to simpler, cleaner lines, but the comfortable, back-to-basics lifestyle is still in demand, Idol said.

MossCreek President Allen Halcomb was on hand to share the modern architectural trends preferred by high-end clientele and the opportunity they present to interior designers serving or wanting to serve this market. Dick Idol Brand partners discussed how designers may decorate the inside of home to reflect MossCreek's exterior motifs.

"The Dick Idol brand of home furnishings allows for diversity in home decor, yet the synchronization between the brand partners makes it all look seamless," Halcomb said. The Dick Idol Brand Partners include furniture and home decor constructed of reclaimed teak from Groovystuff, furniture from Shadow Mountain, area rugs from Surya, bedding and tabletop textiles from Silverado Home, and lighting, accessories, wall decor and accent furniture from Crestview Collection.

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