John Edelman on His Path From Shoe Salesman to Design CEO

Design Milk is excited to present the last lecture of the 2022/2023 academic year of The Vignelli Center for Design Studies Design Conversations Lecture Series featuring John Edelman, president and CEO of Heller. A mention of Edelman’s name in the design world will immediately conjure up an impressive list of brand’s he’s put his mark on, including Design Within Reach, Herman Miller, Edelman Leather, and now Heller. Edelman talks about his storied childhood surrounded by design, going into the family leather business after selling two-million pairs of shoes in one year, learning about modern design from scouring flea markets, and how his life experiences led him to Design Within Reach and beyond.

Watch to learn more:

John Edelman

angled view of white dining table with rainbow colored dinnerware

Hellerware Rainbow Dinnerware

minimal modern red outdoor rocker

Vignelli Rocker from Heller

minimal modern green outdoor bench on a deck

Vignelli Bench from Heller

To learn more about The Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT, they have launched digital access to the archives through Google Arts & Culture, joining over 2000 cultural institutions from around the world. The initial launch includes nearly 900 high resolution images of artifacts from the archives so that now anyone with access to the Internet and Google Arts & Culture can search the Vignelli archives or browse it by color or chronological order.

This lecture is presented with the support of RIT’s MAGIC Center.

This lecture series is made possible in part by the generosity of RIT Alumnus, Chris Bailey and Bailey Brand Consulting

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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