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Podcast Episode 24

Welcome back to Couture & Construction, an uplifting podcast dedicated to the many different aspects of the luxury building industry. In episode twenty-four, we’re joined by Julie Burns, Executive Director for Monogram Appliances, a Haier Company. Julie helps shape the strategy and messaging for the Monogram global luxury brand and is intimately familiar with the luxury appliance landscape. The world of luxury appliances is vast, complex, and driven by form and functionality. Sleek designs and trendsetting colors are just some of the hallmarks of today’s luxury appliance suites. Packed with technology, performance, and innovation, in episode twenty-four we discuss what fit, finish, and feel is appropriate for your home.

It’s the details, it’s the purposefulness of it and just making life a lot easier and convenient. That is luxury.

Julie Burns

What makes an appliance luxury?

When considering what sets luxury appliances apart, Julie remarks, “In addition to the performance, there’s a real kind of state of the art in the engineering that happens and there’s the thoughtfulness and purposefulness that is taken. So, you’ll use materials that are synonymous with other luxury brands.” Within the luxury market, every brand has its own design cue:  Monogram’s is the touch of brass, Wolf has the iconic red knobs, Thermador has the star burners. Luxury brands tend to rely on three core tenants: heritage in terms of longevity of the brand, craftsmanship, and also attention to detail, but all of them will be rooted in story-telling and why that’s important. And, the technology incorporated in appliances make life more convenient and comfortable, a key differentiator when it comes to the luxury lifestyle. 

What does the luxury market look like? Luxury appliances are projected to be a $240 billion-dollar industry worldwide, so we’re talking about 2% of the population who’s building. They’re installed in single-digit million-dollar homes and upwards. A luxury appliance suite for a kitchen has evolved over time, so when you look at a suite in 2020 it’s certainly going to include the regular core basics:  a range, a cooktop with proper ventilation, an oven, a refrigerator, a freezer, a dishwasher, but when you think of luxury you think of all the additional components as well. Outside of the core kitchen, there are other pieces that make-up a luxury kitchen from nuances in refrigeration or wine columns to under-counter integration, or water, ice, and coffee built-ins that are meant to blend into the design aesthetic overall. Additionally, other pieces such as rotisserie and hearth ovens are statement pieces in your kitchen that allow you the luxury to cook whatever you want.

Although the kitchen is typically the crown jewel of a home, there are other areas within luxury homes that utilize luxury appliances. Some less talked about are outdoor kitchens equipped for entertaining, playrooms with under counter drawers or beverage centers for kids’ snacks and beverages, even a warming drawer to warm your towels in your bathroom, or a refrigerator drawer to keep cosmetics, moisturizers, serums at the exact right temperature.

Who should you lean on to help guide you through the appliance decision-making journey? In the luxury space, a designer is a part of the team and can help guide you through all the various brands and will be a seamless part of the conversation that helps shape the design of the kitchen. There are also amazing showrooms to see and experience the products, and the dealer’s salespeople are armed with the knowledge to help educate the customer. Your architect and builder may be available to help as well.

Julie gives us a behind-the-scenes look into the research and development behind the design and technology integration in luxury appliances. Convenience is a major influencer when considering design and technology in appliances. With technology, there are even more features being developed around smart appliances through apps and LCD screens to make life easier, whether it’s pre-programmed recipes or the ability to see what’s happening inside your oven in real-time through an app.

Today, energy efficiency is a major consideration when it comes to appliances and we’re in a place where changes are being made from a technology standpoint. An induction range is the most energy-efficient and precise because it uses electromagnetic energy, heating the pan not the entire surface. In comparison, induction is delivering about 80-90% efficiency, versus electric at 70%, and gas around 38%. 

Finally, Julie and Andrew discuss the design trends and cost of luxury appliances. When we look at design styles in the kitchen that are trending, the minimalist design had been the fastest growing trend, but it’s starting to level out – currently, it’s about 11% of the total market. The farmhouse kitchen is emerging and is very popular, followed by “transitional,” the merging of traditional and contemporary styles. Cost is, of course, a varied range depending on all of the options available. You could spend between $35,000 – $50,000 on your kitchen suite. Figure out what’s most important to you and hone in on that when you’re picking your kitchen.

Tune in to Episode 24 to hear more from Julie Burns and the vast world of luxury appliances.

More About Our Guest

Julie Burns recently joined Monogram Appliances, a Haier Company, as the Executive Director. With 20 years of luxury marketing experience, Burns now leads the ultra-premium Monogram brand and works to elevate it to new heights. “I am thrilled to join a brand that is so committed to high-quality materials, performance, and the ownership experience. Monogram has a rich history, and it’s an exciting time to join the brand as it redefines the world of luxury appliances,” said Burns. “I look forward to using my experience to continue building Monogram into a luxury brand experience that consumers can see and feel.”

Julie has experience in luxury markets and brands and has been a leader of large organizations. She consistently creates modern omni-channel marketing strategies including CRM, loyalty, and e-commerce.

 

Mostly recently, Burns held a position as VP, Marketing and Sales at ABLE, a global, ethical women’s fashion lifestyle brand headquartered in Nashville, TN. In this role, she had responsibility for driving sales growth across retail, wholesale and online channels through the development of innovative and engaging marketing campaigns. 

 Prior to ABLE, she spent several years at L’Oreal USA, Inc. in New York, NY in the roles of Assistant VP, Omnichannel Marketing, Kiehls and Assistant VP, Customer Relationship Management and Loyalty, L’Oreal Luxe, a role in which she created the vision and strategies for customer relationship marketing and loyalty to drive digital and brick and mortar innovation projects within the luxury portfolio. Her luxury marketing experience also includes time with Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., where she was responsible for driving global brand and business strategies across the Luxury and Lifestyle brand portfolio.

 In her new role, Burns will lead the Monogram team, including the Monogram Design Center, Monogram Experience Center, and our team of Designer Engagement Leaders (DELs). She will also be responsible for developing, implementing, and executing brand strategies and initiatives. She will be based at Appliance Park in Louisville.

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