My Resource Library’s New Architectural Division
My Resource Library revolutionized the way designers and specifiers discovered furniture products through its powerful suite of digital binders. Led by Laura Carlson, the company is now looking to do the same for the rest of the commercial interiors industry by adding an additional new focus on textiles, flooring, wall coverings, acoustic products, demountable walls and other products found in the built environment.
The director of MRL’s newly created Architectural Division, Carlson is helping to create an even more robust and complete platform for designers, specifiers, dealers, reps and manufacturers. The company is also launching a new sample program, set to land at the end of the month, which will be embedded into the current MRL subscription at no extra cost.
MRL, which launched more than a decade ago as a digital library to replace the wasteful, cumbersome and quickly outdated printed product catalogs has grown to be an important hub for designers. It was basic at first, simply a visual representation of the manufacturers’ existing catalogs. But over the years and as new versions of MRL have been released, it has become a powerful tool for creating virtual project ideas.
“My Resource Library is a robust platform for a repository of digital marketing assets. We also do have other tools that specifiers can use to make their job a little bit easier and more efficient,” she said. “You have access in a single spot for digital asset management as well as being able to load up project files or drawings. Another component really is keeping everybody on the same page with our Pro Notify tool and our Project tool. Dealers can share information with design teams, design teams can share information back with their clients. So it really creates that perfect trifecta. Even reps can come in and share information as they’re responding to RFPs. So MRL is not just one thing. It really is a platform that specifiers, designers, dealers, reps and manufacturers, can work within to create that consistency and have really a very organized project at the end of the day.”
It’s come a long way since its origins as a digital product catalog, but maintains one of its most valuable benefits to designers — keeping everything for a project organized and in one spot. And now, MRL is doing the same for other product categories and companies in the industry.
“In addition to the existing tools that we currently have, we also are really excited with MRL version 6.0 to be offering a sample program that’s embedded right in their subscription,” she said. “The sample program is not being fulfilled by a third party. Our sample program is merely collecting the data and making that connection, sending it back out to the companies so they can fulfill the requests in the same manner that they would fulfill any type of inbound sample requests.”
Carlson has a deep background in the industry. She has a degree in interior design and practiced for a few years at the beginning of her career. She then moved on to Virginia Tile Company, a tile and natural stone distributor where she worked on the commercial team. Carlson also worked for a Herman Miller dealer and Teknion dealer. Most recently, she ran her own rep group — Blue Sky Contract Furniture — for about 10 years in the Phoenix area where she lives with her family and husband, Jeff Carlson, who founded MRL.
“I really became very much-involved and good partners to the dealer community and the architecture and design specifying community through my work with Blue Sky,” she said. “What I’m able to bring to the table, to My Resource Library, is the intel and the knowledge of our potential partners on this robust platform. I have a passion for the industry, so I can bring that to the table as well. And I really understand how designers like to work and how they like to specify projects.”
When MRL was focused just on furniture, a sample program wasn’t necessary. Yet it is an important addition for companies that deal in fabrics, wall coverings and finishes. And it will be an important part of MRL and its new Architectural Division that Carlson leads.
Since officially starting with MRL in January, Carlson has attended several trade shows to outline and explain the Architectural Division. She attended the Coverings show in Orlando and was part of MRL’s successful NeoCon programming. “It has been exciting to get these conversations started and open up the dialogue,” she said.
Carlson said the best way to experience MRL and leverage everything it has to offer is to actively engage in the platform. The activity must go both ways, with MRL continuing to add features and updates to make sure it remains a valuable tool to designers and with manufacturers and brands actively connecting with MRL.