LiveSmart Spotlight: Kay Lawrence
In 1987, floral patterns and pastels were all the rage, according to the pages of House Beautiful magazine. It was also the year that Kay Lawrence, currently a design and sales consultant with LiveSmart, kicked off her career in the human resources department. “I loved the company and people,” said Kay, a 31-year Culp veteran, “But HR just didn’t seem like a career I wanted. Fortunately, I was given another opportunity in the company and made Culp my career.”
Lawrence blossomed in a sales role at Culp. “My sales career started as an inside sales position and eventually led to an outside sales position,” she said. Customer service is a key differentiator and a main focus for her. “I strive to give customers answers immediately when they are in their work rooms and have questions about our fabrics, I know they want answers right away.”
After a career spanning 31 years, Lawrence balks a bit when the word expert is applied in front of her name. “I don’t know if there is such a thing as an expert in this industry,” she said. “It’s a continually changing environment. I draw my knowledge on the experiences I have lived— the successes and failures; the mistakes and triumphs; and, mostly, from getting to know my customers, and being a human being.”
She isn’t afraid to give credit where it’s due. “There have been so many people I have encountered in this amazing career that have taught me so much, including the team I work with every day.” In fact, she attributes her favorite quote to Liam Waters, who has been a mentor and an inspiration in her career at Culp. “Abraham Lincoln said, ‘I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.’”
Lawrence is inspired by green for the 2018 fall season. “Greens and layers of green are one of my favorite color stories this season and moving on to next season. Seasalt, which is a very earthy neutral green, mixed with pops of color is very soothing to the eye and easy to design a room around. It is so versatile and calming.” She also likes textures this season for new collections. “I love the heavier textures with bulkier slub yarns and boucles. These give a sofa so much character. Then throw in your accents and anchor patterns for pillows and ottomans, which is what I consider the jewelry or eye candy.”
This season she is also working more with simple patterns for accents. “I like the simpler patterns for accents,” she said, “such as small-scale plaids or stripes. Then, I would throw in a bold pattern for a focal point.”
Lawrence enjoys working with the LiveSmart line at Culp. She said, “LiveSmart is by far the most exciting and innovative product we have ever offered in the market place. It is becoming a household name and I feel proud to be involved with this performance brand.”
When asked what factor she keeps in mind when advising clients, Lawrence was matter-of-fact. “Honesty,” she said. “I don’t promise anything I can’t deliver.” Kay Lawrence does deliver, time and again, for Culp and for her customers. “I love projects. If a customer sends me a frame and wants options, that’s where the design element comes in to my job. The color, scale, and, usually, price point is key to getting our fabric on their frames.”
Lawrence, a self-described couch potato who loves binge-watching shows, cooking and reading, lives with her husband of 18 years, Steve “Bolt” Lawrence and their fur baby, Andy. Her stepson, Ben Degner, is a geologist living in Chicago.
When asked who she would recommend performance fabric for, Lawrence smiled and said, “Anyone and everyone, of course!”
Thanks, Kay, for taking time out to let the spotlight shine on you!
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