Hundred Mile: Josh Ingmire and Kristina Albaugh’s Modern Design Showroom Makes Homes Cool Yet Cozy

 

Hundred Mile: Josh Ingmire and Kristina Albaugh, Rhinebeck, NY 

Making a Cool Yet Cozy Home Easy

100 MileTo live in casual comfort is surely every home owner’s Holy Grail. To that end, Josh Ingmire, and Kristina Albaugh, both 38, reversed the trend to move from suburb to city, choosing instead to locate themselves and their uber-stylish home décor business in the Hudson Valley, leaving Manhattan in the rear view. Their mantra: to be smart and stylish, and cozy and relaxed at home. Their start-up venture, Hundred Mile, helps you achieve this delicate balance between the informal and the chic that can be so perilously hard. In addition to laid-back modern luxe furniture, lighting and housewares, they sell scents and jewelry. They make it easy to convey winter warmth with minimalist woodless fireplaces and scents of cinnamon, coffee or amber, and the crisper smells of spring and summer, when windows are flung open, with lighter floral scents for both you and your decor. Think of them as crafting your space in every sensory direction, with color, light, and balance– guaranteed to have a positive effect on your soul. A small business loan from Community Capital enabled them to invest in modern stock and start up a retail venture.

How did you get into the business of modern lighting, furniture and housewares?

Josh:  I studied as an architect, but had worked for the GAP for 10 years, starting off with five hours a week seasonally, working up to manager, and moved from Oklahoma to Chicago, continuing to grow with the company. In the end, I was designing and sending visual displays to San Francisco (GAP HQ). After 10 years I wanted to do something more closely related to design and put my resume on Monster. Nasir Kassamali, the CEO of Luminaire, a furniture and lighting showroom in Chicago that represents 130 different lines, found me. I was very green. I never knew this level of design existed. I was 28 years old and found myself managing 25 employees many of whom were twice my age. For six years I worked as Luminaire’s showroom manager, developing relationships with architects and designers, going to important trade fairs like Milan and working on amazing design projects. Then I moved to New York as brand ambassador for Paola Lenti, another Italian design company, helping to promote and grow the brand, and open a showroom. The showroom never materialized and our kitchen became the sample room and I was selling out of a suitcase, going from design office to design office. What I found was that they knew the products well, and knew the quality, and knew me. I knew I was knowledgeable.  Kristina and I decided we could create our own showroom and have full control of every aspect of the business, something I couldn’t have as a rep.

Kristina: I’d worked in luxury retail for years, first for Gucci in Chicago and then as manager of the Maxmara Madison Ave store in New York. We both had a strong retail background that we could use to start up a business.

How did you get your business off the ground?

Kristina: Community Capital was instrumental in helping us start the business. There is a certain amount of investment with product that we had to do to satisfy manufacturers and get the license to distribute for them, and the $50,000 loan made that possible. It also paid for renovation of the space, including the side alley, which is the retail entrance to Hundred Mile. Without the loan we had no jumping off point. I was still working in Manhattan—so I could contribute—but the loan was what we needed to get the business started.

Josh: We spent time outside NYC in Rhinebeck and noticed that there was a lot of crossover with Manhattanites having second homes in the Hudson Valley. We found there was a lot of culture, and residents like editors from ELLE Décor and the architect Steven Holl, but no outlet here for modern design. We could be based in Rhinebeck and still call on architects and designers in the city, and thought our money would be better spent not renting in Manhattan. The business started with that idea. Finding the space was the more difficult part. An antique shop owner was selling her building. We ended up renting and renovating the second floor into a 1400-square foot showroom and office, and it helped her sell the building. The new owner is putting in a café below us, and wants to work with us on design, furniture and lighting.

Kristina: We renovated the space with the same aesthetic as our products, continuing it outside with simple paving stones and our lighting. We’re always looking for products you can live with that are well designed and unique. Good design doesn’t need to be expensive–just good. It usually is more expensive, because of the quality of materials. Our furniture and lighting is a little more of an investment because they’re not a throwaway purchase. The manufacturing process of each item we carry is important. How it is produced is as important as the outcome of the piece. We also sell housewares, scents, jewelry, bathrooms, carpeting, mattresses, bed linen, even scarves. It’s a lifestyle.

Josh: The showroom is critical for showing clients our physical capabilities, how pieces look, work and interact, so when we make a suggestion they trust us.

Josh: If we wouldn’t put it in our own home, we’re not about to carry it.

Why “Hundred Mile?”

Kristina:  When we were having one of our ‘board meetings’ in the car driving around the Hudson Valley we saw a sign that said ‘New York City 100’ and Hundred Mile was born.  Our name highlights our concept of offering collections typically found only in major metropolitan areas like Manhattan, Chicago, and Los Angeles in Rhinebeck.

What was the best advice you got along the way?

Josh: To stay small and stay flexible. We want to grow the business, but economically and financially we don’t want the big ups and downs. It’s not good to be stretched too thin. We want to be able to get back to people right away, and be consistent, and be the person people can count on. We also have to be responsible to our manufacturers, so we can’t take on too many lines. Working with Nasir at Luminaire was the best university I could have gone to, he taught me a whole way of seeing the world.

How did your business evolve?

Josh: We represent Moroso, Roda, Carl Hansen, Moooi, Nanimarquina, Alessi, Tom Dixon, Edra, COR, Interluebke, Poliform and Flos. We had an article in The New York Times. It’s very rewarding to have your own business, to be able to really put yourself into it. It amazes us to be able to make a living doing what we enjoy and what we love.

What’s next?

Josh:  New lines from the Milan Furniture Fair.

Kristina: Understanding the salesmanship of retail, very different from working with designers and architects.

Josh: We’d love to expand to the roof space to show our entire outdoor collection.

Hundred Mile, 6380 Mill Street, Rhinebeck, NY 12572, 845.516.4522; Thursday- Saturday, 10-7 , Sunday 11-6, Monday-Wednesday,

by appointment, www.100Mileny.com