As the President /Chief Creative Officer of international branding agency, Marketing Performance, and a faculty member of the University of South Carolina, Robert Butt brings almost 30 years of expertise in brand and product management, positioning, and creative strategy to not only his company’s clients but to the students he teaches as well.
Butt began his career 27 years ago as an Advertising Director for Belk Department Stores quickly gaining national notoriety for eye-popping special events for brands such as Giorgio Beverly Hills, Elizabeth Arden, Swatch, and Ralph Lauren and amassing awards from organizations such as the American Advertising Federation, PRSA, and the Television Bureau of Advertising. From there, Butt moved into the ad agency world focusing primarily in the luxury real estate and hospitality markets. His company, Marketing Performance, LLC recently celebrated 17 years in business working with international clients in the UK, Sweden, Germany and the US while maintaining its practice in luxury lifestyle branding, working with such companies as Ritz-Carlton, Related Group, and Cliffs Communities on projects from Lake Tahoe to Miami to the British West Indies.
A recipient of the American Advertising Federation's G.D. Crain Award for Public Service and one of only two recipients of the University of South Carolina's “Aid to Advertising Education” Award, Butt also serves on the faculty as an adjunct professor in the College of Mass Communication & Information Studies at USC- Columbia.
Margaret Hansen is a self-taught artist born in California. Her jewelry and handbag brand, Ecolibrio was launched in 2007. It all started with a small bag of electrical wires and cables. Margaret had been making beaded jewelry as a hobby for about 10 years when her husband encouraged her to try to work with an old bag of wires. The first piece, a bracelet, caused people to curiously ask, “What IS that?”, which she took as an encouraging response.
Continuing in her spare time, she started collecting wires, which were being thrown out by what seemed like the truckload, and experimenting since there were no books or training on working with the material. Slowly a collection of jewelry made from the recycled wires started replacing her beaded work. Encouraged by her husband, and driven by the freedom that being creative unleashed, she decided to make it her career. Her first handbag, a very bold piece, won 2nd place in a local art competition, providing further encouragement. A picture of that handbag later led to an invite to Charleston Fashion week.
While preparing handbags for the Style Lounge portion of the event, she decided to follow advice she was given to “just do it” and entered one of the handbags into the Independent Handbag Designer Awards in 2010. It made top 5 for Best Green Handbag, leading to a trip to the awards ceremony in New York City, where she learned that her competition included designers on an international scale. Seeking advice from anyone who was willing to offer it, she learned a lot and came out of the whole experience with more confidence and the realization that she really has a special talent worth pursuing. Currently, she is working on increasing her online presence and pursuing large scale orders.
Anna Lassiter was featured as an emerging designer in Charleston Fashion week. Her pieces have been featured in many publications including Charleston Magazine, Vent, Charleston Style and Design, and Art Magazine. Additionally, various runway shows have been done around her prolific collection.
The popularity of her line has lead to the formation of Anna Lassiter, Inc. which will be her national brand launching in 2011. Her Corporate Headquarters will remain in Charleston, SC. Ms. Lassiter is also nominated as a candidate for the prestigious Fashion Group International (R) Emerging Designer Award in 2011.
SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR
Paula Jean McIntosh is the owner of PJM Interiors, a Charleston-based interior design studio offering a full spectrum of residential, hospitality and commercial services.
In her 10 years in the industry, Paula has collaborated with architects, designers, builders and developers on projects including multi-million dollar homes, medical center additions, international mixed-use developments, and projects for one of the world's largest multi-brand hotel and resort companies. Utilizing a mix of custom and found pieces and encouraging clients to surround themselves with things they love, she designs spaces that are understated, authentic and full of personality.
Paula grew up in the Seattle area. She earned a BA in Interior Design from the Interior Designers Institute in Newport Beach, California before returning to the Seattle area where she worked for two of the city's top firms: Susan Marinello Interiors and Callison, one of the world's leading international architecture and design firms. After a stop in Boston, Paula and her husband Tim have settled into downtown Charleston, where PJM Interiors was born in 2013.
KRISTA BETH HUFF
Krista Beth Huff is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fashion design and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fashion merchandising from the Academy of Art University.
After a brief stint in New York where she worked at Bloomingdale’s and interned for fashion designer Jill Stuart, fashion showroom Nexus, and as an assistant stylist, Krista returned to South Carolina and continued her achievements in the local fashion scene. In 2008 she earned an opportunity to present a collection at the first Charleston Fashion Week “Emerging Designers” competition. She has continued to participate in local charity fashion shows and has lent her talent to a local college theatre group.
ROSANNA GIACALONE KREKEL
ADVISORY DIRECTOR/FOUNDING REGIONAL DIRECTOR
Rosanna Giacalone Krekel is the founder of the marketing advisory company La Vita É Bella which was launched in 2008. Her clients have included the International Management Group (IMG), publisher of The Daily, The Acting Company, Evening Post Publishing and Garden & Gun magazine.
Ms. Krekel has extensive experience in all aspects of advertising and publishing. Her last industry position was Vice-President and Associate Publisher of the Robb Report where she lead her sales and marketing team to one of the magazine’s most profitable years.
Previously, Ms. Krekel was the launch publisher of Life & Style Weekly where she created a successful celebrity news weekly alternative in a highly competitive market. From scratch, Life & Style Weekly hit the 1 million mark in circulation during her tenure.
Over a span of nearly 20 years, Ms. Krekel has enjoyed record-breaking sales performances as the Executive Beauty Director at Glamour (earning her the Salesperson of the Year award), Fashion Director at Rolling Stone, and Accessories & Jewelry Manager at Elle. Also, she was one of the founding officers of the multi-media start-up, 2D Interactive.
In addition to her work with La Vita É Bella, Ms. Krekel will be launching the first Charleston regional chapter of The Fashion Group International ® which is a global, non-profit, professional organization with 5,000 members in the fashion industry including apparel, accessories, beauty and home. The FGI mission is to be the pre-eminent authority on the business of fashion and design, and to help its members become more effective in their careers. Formerly, she has been an active member of FGI since 1994.
In addition to her professional responsibilities, Ms. Krekel is a member of Cosmetic Executive Women, The Center for Women’s Business and the Gibbes Museum.
Ms. Krekel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and attended graduate school at the University of Salamanca in Spain. She resides with her husband in Charleston and New York City.
Marshall Simon is a name synonymous with retail in the Charleston area. He bought the top specialty store, Gwynn’s in 1990 and moved it to its current location in Mount Pleasant in 1992.
Mr. Simon has created a store that is associated with professional, friendly service and beautiful merchandise in menswear, womenswear (including furs, jewelry, accessories & footwear) beauty and home. Mr. Simon continually upgrades the store’s product mix providing his customer with an edited version of the best established and newer designer names.
Prior to running Gwynn’s, Mr. Marshall was a manufacturer’s rep for Napier Costume Jewelry and several divisions of Leslie Fay.
Mr. Simon is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate. He is married to Abigail Temple Simon and has two children.
Linda Burnside is a native South Carolinian, but she enjoys a national, even international, reputation as a leader in the interior design industry.
Ms. Burnside opened LGB Interiors in 1987, and it wasn’t long before she began making a name for herself. Ms. Burnside’s formula for success is simple: Listen to your client. Then take those visions and develop a strategy. This blueprint for business provides the benchmark of Ms. Burnside’s achievements. She understands her designs are only as good as the client’s satisfaction and enjoyment.