Welcome to the Explore Home podcast where we navigate design trends with furniture industry insiders, Interior Designers and Influencers who inspire the way we design furniture.

Subscribe and listen to new episodes on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Buzzsprout, TuneIn, and Stitcher-Live. Coming soon to iHeartRadio & Pandora!

Latest Episodes


Global style icon,
business woman and mother

Explore Home with Miranda Kerr, Australian-born international supermodel, global style icon, business woman, wife and mother as we discuss the launch of her Miranda Kerr Home collection with Universal Furniture


President and CEO of
Universal Furniture

Explore Home with Jeff Scheffer, President and CEO of Universal Furniture located in High Point, North Carolina. Listen and learn about Jeff’s professional journey in the home furnishings industry.


President of High Point
Market Authority

Explore Home with Tom Conley, President and CEO of High Point Market Authority. Tom discusses the role of High Point Market Authority and his expectations and goals for High Point Furniture Markets.


Internationally Acclaimed CEO + Creative Director of Contour Interior Design

Explore Home with Nina Magon, founder and CEO of Contour Interior Design headquartered in Houston, Texas. With an extensive background in the design industry, Nina continues to make a strong impression with extensive award-winning designs and multiple TV appearances

Dudley Moore

Award Winning Furniture Designer

Explore Home with Dudley Moore, furniture designer, president and CEO of Otto and Moore located in High Point, North Carolina. Dudley discusses growing up in the furniture industry, running a small family business, and how the design process has grown and evolved throughout his career.

Peyton Jenkins

Co-founder of Alton Lane

Explore Home with Peyton Jenkins, co-founder of custom men’s suit company Alton Lane, a retail shop with locations in 12 major metros across the United States. Enjoy Peyton's perspective on the current state of retail and what it is like to quit your day job to focus on launching a start-up company.

Adam Japko

CEO of Esteem Media and founder of the Design Influencers Conference

This week we invite you to Explore Home with Adam Japko, CEO of Esteem Media and founder of the Design Influencers Conference. Home to leading national and local media brands in the luxury home design, gardening and fine wine communities, Esteem Media is focused on connecting professionals to consumers through commonalities in both business and personal passions.
Listen as Neil chats with Adam about his wine blogger background and his active role as a “Dead Head,” plus his thoughts on how social media and influencers have impacted the way brands approach their marketing strategies. Neil and Adam also touch on the very important role of authenticity and how it can directly affect social engagement and influencer partnerships.

Gail Doby

Co-founder and CEO of Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting

Explore Home with Gail Doby. Gail works with interior designers earning a revenue of $250,000 or higher. With Gail’s expert help, her clients aim to take their business to the next level by implementing tasks such as taking control of their business operations and prioritizing their daily responsibilities.

Laura Thurman

Founder and Principal Designer at Laura Thurman Design

Explore Home with Laura Thurman. Laura discusses the challenges and opportunities of launching and running an interior design business, networking, vendor relationships and navigating High Point Market. Laura's inspiring designs have been featured in national and regional publications, including HGTV Magazine, Business of Home, and The Cottage Journal. Additionally, she was named best in Houzz four consecutive years.

Janine Wagers

Director of Visual Merchandising

Explore Home with Janine Wagers. Have you ever wondered how Universal's showroom gets decorated and ready for High Point Market twice a year? Listen as Janine reveals the magic behind designing the showroom, detailing how she leads the charge to design, merchandise, and space-plan to perfection every market. Janine, who began as a pre-med major, talks about her shift into art school, pursuing product design, and eventually working her way up to creative director for Universal.

Anne Sage &
Laiza Cors


Explore Home with Laiza Cors and Anne Sage of Embello, a dedicated online space for social influencers to connect with home and design brands. Listen as Laiza and Anne elaborate on their individual journeys in the influencer marketing space through the years and how it has evolved since its inception. They then touch on influencer marketing as it specifically relates to the home design and interior market, elaborating on the power it has to drive a consumer's purchasing decisions.

Franziska Neumann

FZK Franziska

Explore Home with Franziska Neumann, founder and creative director of FZK Franziska, a creative agency that helps design-oriented clients grow and steward their online presence. Listen as Franziska shares what lead her to start pursuing the interiors industry, and the "a-ha" moment that eventually became the turning point of her professional career.

Jessica Thurston

Special Projects Editor of Coastal Living Magazine

Explore Home with Jessica Thurston as she shares her professional journey in the magazine industry, from being a founding editor of Cottage Living to serving as Southern Living’s executive editor for over 10 years. Jessica discusses how the magazine industry has changed in order to suit our increasingly technology-based world.

Sackett Wood

President and CEO of Moore & Giles

Explore Home with Sackett Wood, president and CEO of Moore and Giles located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Listen as Sackett shares his professional journey starting in the banking business and eventually merging into the world of leather goods. Sackett also speaks about the growth of Moore & Giles through the years, elaborating on the company’s forward-thinking tactics, especially in regards to the upholstery industry.

Jack Eger & Elise Gabrielson

Crypton Home Fabrics

Explore Home with Elise Gabrielson and Jack Eger of Crypton, a leading manufacturer of performance fabric. Listen as Jack and Elise each detail their unique career journeys that ultimately led them both to Crypton. Then, they delve into the importance of performance fabric especially within the furniture industry and how Crypton presents a premium solution, focusing on wear-ability and cleanability.

Jane Dagmi

Editor-In-Chief of Designers Today

Explore Home with Jane Dagmi, Editor-in-Chief of Designers Today. Listen as Jane discusses her vast background in publishing as well as interior design. Jane also shares more on her unique professional journey that ultimately led to her current role at Designers Today.

Sita Montgomery

Sita Montgomery Interiors

Sita shares her journey into the interior design industry while raising her children, as well as how COVID-19 has affected the design industry, and what her new day-to-day looks like currently. She also touches on social media marketing and her process for selecting content to post which best represents herself and her business.

Sean O'Connor

Universal Furniture's Senior Vice President of Sales

Explore Home with Sean O'Connor, Universal Furniture's Senior Vice President of Sales. Listen as Sean shares his personal and professional background within the furniture industry as well as how he eventually found his way to Universal Furniture. Sean discusses Universal’s upholstery offering and how that has grown over the last several years into what is now their new special order upholstery program. For more on our new special order upholstery program, you can visit universalfurniture.com. We are now accepting orders!

Kaitlin Petersen

Editor-In-Chief of Business of Home Magazine

Explore Home with Kaitlin Petersen, Editor-in-Chief of Business of Home magazine. Listen as Kaitlin shares her start to journalism and what eventually led her to Business of Home. She discusses what’s involved in putting together an issue of the magazine, from longer lead times to incorporating meaningful themes that designers will not only enjoy but benefit from, and more. They then discuss how COVID-19 has affected the design industry and Kaitlin’s personal observations on where things are headed for the future.

Rachel Shingleton

Owner of Pencil Shavings Studio

Explore Home with Rachel Shingleton, owner of Pencil Shavings Studio. A color-obsessed interior designer with a background in graphic design, Rachel chats about a recent collaboration that she and Universal Furniture completed in Oklahoma. This collaboration heavily featured items from the Coastal Living collection, proving that breezy beach style can work just about anywhere. Listen as Rachel shares how both her blog and her travels have positively affected her design studio, opening up new perspectives and trains of thought.

Carla Regina & James Andrew

Regina Andrew

Explore Home with Carla Regina and James Andrew of Regina Andrew, maker of luxury interior products with an emphasis on lighting. Carla and James take us through a brief summary of their individual professional backgrounds and detail the beginning stages of Regina Andrew. They touch on the pros and cons of running a business with your significant other as well as some lessons learned along the way. The team then discuss their home base of Detroit and how that particular location affects their unique perspective on design. Learn about Regina Andrew’s new lighting venture with Coastal Living and how that project perfectly complements Universal Furniture’s collections with the same brand.

John Hillman

VP and Broker at Crane Island Real Estate

Explore Home with John Hillman, Vice President and Broker at Crane Island Real Estate, an exclusive Coastal Living community. Crane Island was also the location of Universal’s second Coastal Living photo shoot featuring the Getaway collection.

John touches on his background in the design industry and what led him to the custom home business. He then talks about he holistic community aspect of his developments and why his clients gravitate towards this kind of living. John also explains why he loves Crane Island and what makes it such a unique place to live and work. Neil and John delve in to the effects that COVID-19 has had on not only the developmental side of his business, but also in the building and designing of a home remotely.

Stephanie Cohen

Stephanie Cohen Home

Explore Home with Stephanie Cohen of Stephanie Cohen Home. Listen as Stephanie begins with her professional journey to interior design, one that includes switching from a law student to a full-time design student. After detailing this transition, Stephanie shares more about her business which is comprised of an interior design firm as well as a brick and mortar storefront. After delving into both the challenges and opportunities associated with owning a retail storefront, Stephanie shares the unique impact COVID-19 has had on her business. They then discuss what changes have been made to adjust to 2020’s world, as well as certain design trends that have come about as a result of the pandemic, including an increased need for outdoor living spaces.

Neil MacKenzie

Meet Your Host

Hosted by Neil MacKenzie, Director of Marketing for Universal Furniture. Neil has over 15 years of marketing experience working with clients ranging from golf and recreation brands to retail banking and home furnishings. Neil has overseen the emergence of Universal as a whole home resource and launched the Universal To The Trade program. In addition, he’s been responsible for licensing partnerships like the Coastal Living Home Collection and Miranda Kerr Home.


Introducing the Explore Home Podcast hosted by Neil MacKenzie, Universal’s Marketing Director. Listen in as we navigate design trends with furniture industry insiders, Interior Designers and Influencers who inspire the way we design furniture. Subscribe to the Explore Home Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or ask your smartspeaker to play The Explore Home podcast.