Audrey Gray

Audrey Gray
Emerging Market: Multimedia Memorials

First, the cold facts: the annual death rate in the U.S. currently is about eight people per thousand, meaning that approximately 2.5 million of us will not live to see 2010. Kind of puts recession-stress in perspective, doesn't it?

Slimming Down, Smartening Up

In Part 3 of our Luxury Market series, we examine how vendors plan to make it through '09 with their business acumen (if not profits) intact.

Sony Presents Its '09 Product Lineup in Vegas

Facing a diminished press corps at a scaled down line show called "The Sony Open House" in Vegas Monday night, Consumer Sales president Jay Vandenbree didn't pull any rah-rah happy talk about new product specs.  He went straight to what was on everyone's mind:  selling tech during a recession.

Away From Home

With the Dow recently dipping to 11-year lows, what’s the
commercial job a New York-area integrator might be least likely to snag right now? Perhaps, say, a brand-new stock trading floor in mid-town Manhattan? 

Samsung: The Era of Passive TV-Watching is Over

Like many of the major CE manufacturers exhibiting at CES 2009, Samsung is planning to battle the recession with tech innovations to tempt Americans out of their sudden spending reticence.

When the Rich Are Wary

Old Westbury, an exclusive community in Nassau County, just north of New York City, is a luxury-dealer’s dream market. Median annual household incomes in the “village” hover around $250,000, and many families enjoy a net worth of penta-millionaire proportions.

Cash, Carry and Custom Audacity

Here was the plan: Open up “discount superstores” adjacent to major CE retailers; make TV’s the #1 attraction; offer the absolute lowest prices anywhere; and rapidly expand, opening up new stores every two months.

Mountainous Profits in the Dead of Winter

A West Coast developer sits down at his office desk with the intent of vetting the day’s deluge of e-mails, but a few minutes into the chore, his mind begins to wander to his second home, the one in Breckenridge. 

The Rich Get... Pickier

When the U.S. economy slumps, as it has cyclically over the last many decades, conventional wisdom among luxury purveyors goes something like this:  “Don’t worry, the rich actually get richer during a recession,” and, “Once you get to a certain level of wealth, market fluctuations are irrelevant.” 

Looking For a New Way to Network? Teach!

In the over 10 years since Josh Christian has been teaching architects and interior designers the basics of low-voltage technology, he’s learned some critical lessons: First, say “drapery,” never “drapes.” Second, make sure you have something touchy-feely on hand, like acoustically transparent fabric samples. Third, and most importantly, watch your tongue when referring to the profession of your students. “Never ever call them decorators!,” said Christian. “That’s a slap in the face to interior designers. They’ll hate you for that.” As vice president of marketing for DSI Entertainment Systems, a custom retailer based in West Hollywood, Calif., Christian’s primary responsibility is to

Seduction Via Projection

The Empress Joséphine, one of history’s master seductresses, once ordered her decorators to fashion a bedroom in the manner of a luxurious military tent so that Napoleon might feel the excitement of his many field campaigns right at home. The ploy got rave reviews from her general, earning Joséphine love letters full of phrases like, “the memory of last night’s intoxicating pleasures has left no rest to my senses.” Flash-forward 200 years to the floor of the Philadelphia Home Show, where Dave Gilbert, Vice President of custom retail operation, Hi-Fi Sales, and his staff recently spent an entire day constructing a luxurious royal blue

At CEDIA, Specialty Dealers Do Design Too

Learn this word, it could make you money this year: wenge (pronounced “WHEN-gay”). Originally, it was the name of a type of dark, rich, brown wood which grows in Africa, but for specialty CE dealers this year, it’s the color of A/V furniture manufacturers say will be hotter than roasted chestnuts this holiday season. Omnimount design specialist Zachary Eyman got a good look at wenge-colored products-- what catalog-savvy Americans might also call “espresso” or “cocoa”-- at this year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. “I go every year to see what trends are developing,” said Eyman, “and with the

Leveraging Luxury Living

Though it is deliciously tempting to embrace a French proverb as luscious as “Il est impossible de trope de luxe” (It is impossible to overdo luxury), a quick survey of real estate marketing these days might persuade you otherwise. The words luxury, luxurious and the hipper “luxe” have become as common as the words “For Sale” on signs, regardless of a condo or loft’s actual attributes. And in what’s increasingly becoming the buyer’s market of 2008, developers are being forced to come up with substantial specs to back up their exuberant claims of luxury living. Enter “technomenities,” pre-wired A/V and smart-home applications

Business Climate-Conscious

Perhaps you have yet to rent “An Inconvenient Truth.” Maybe you honestly don’t lose sleep over the use of paper OR plastic bags. Do you cast a suspicious eye at “green” packaging labels, figuring much of it is marketing hype, and try to gracefully avoid those folks with the clipboards at your local Whole Foods urging you to sign a pledge to reduce your carbon footprint? It’s O.K. You don’t have to be a Prius-driving, meatless chicken salad-loving environmental activist to keep reading this article. You can be weary or even wary of the “green movement.” Though there are likely untold

Hot House

t’s become a standing joke out at Progressive Audio in central Ohio: customers all want to know, could CEO Les Viragh use a night watchman? It’s not only that Viragh’s Columbus showrooms, originally an elegant set of Arts & Crafts-style apartments, feature a luxurious master bedroom. It’s also the bright sunroom with a comfy porch swing, the welcoming dark-wood dining room, and the media den with a faint-on-me-now chaise lounge that have folks confusing Progressive’s headquarters with what could be a nearly perfect bed & breakfast destination. It’s an impression that Viragh celebrates. “Successful retail spaces don’t feel like stores,” he says. “They