Alongside our Berkshire interior design firm– in fact, just next door — we’ve watched a new Caligari generation transform our sister business, the E. Caligari & Son retail design showroom.
Kaitlyn Caligari, in a circular journey from a small-town childhood in the Berkshires to high-end design showrooms in Boston and New Zealand, has brought her talents back home. As the showroom manager of E. Caligari & Son in Great Barrington since 2017, Kaitlyn has brought a new generation of sophistication and style to the family’s retail decorating business.
“I spent my first year back at E. Caligari & Son observing the buying habits of our Berkshire interior design customers, what styles they’re attracted to, what their needs and concerns are when designing a space,” says Kaitlyn. “That allowed me to streamline our product selection to better cater to the Berkshire market.”
Using this fresh insight, Kaitlyn and her uncle, William Caligari collaborated to renovate and modernize the E. Caligari & Son decorating showroom in 2018. The spacious layout offers organized samples, large worktables, new product displays, and beautiful vignettes for inspiration.
With curated collections of carpet, tile, wallpaper, fabrics and window treatments, Kaitlyn has transformed a potentially overwhelming decorating process for clients into a creative, exciting experience.
“The design industry is changing, with so many products and services being available online and in big box stores,” she says. “What differentiates us is the level of personalized attention we are able to give our clients. Our on-site consultations allow us to give educated advice and narrow down the sea of choices for the customer.”
At the north end of the Main Street store is the paint operation, popular among contractors and do-it-yourselfers alike. Custom color mixing – and loyalty to Benjamin Moore paint products – is considered top-notch at this store.
“Our paint department is so valuable – that’s where a lot of people start their projects,” Kaitlyn says. “So it’s no accident that paint and decorating live in one store.”
After graduating from Boston College in 2009, Kaitlyn entered the design industry working at the luxurious home furnishings showroom, Donghia, in the Boston Design Center. After five years of sales, Kaitlyn left Donghia to launch the New England division of another luxury showroom, Holland & Sherry.
She was thrilled to be working for a world-renowned textile company, but a wave of wanderlust overcame Kaitlyn and she took off for Australia. It was there that she met a fellow backpacker, Ryan Laverdiere, and fell in love. Ryan and Kaitlyn moved to New Zealand in 2015 where she furthered her retail design experience at the international furniture showroom, EDITO. Then her dad, Jeff Caligari, president of the family business, encouraged her to come home from New Zealand to take over the retail design showroom in 2017.
“We couldn’t be happier living here,” Kaitlyn says. “Having the Berkshires as a home base is right where we want to be. We love the community, culture and range of outdoor activities available to us here.”
Kaitlyn and Ryan work side by side, making sure the customer experience is nothing but positive. “Customer service is of the utmost importance to us, and in return, we continue to build a loyal client base. Whether it’s an in-home consultation, site measure or installation day, we want our customers to feel relaxed and confident, knowing we will deliver a quality finished product, as promised,” Kaitlyn explains. This philosophy is reflected in E. Caligari & Son sales figures — which rose 5% in 2018 and another 20% in 2019.
At a time when family business succession is no sure bet, Kaitlyn is now the fourth generation Caligari to carry the retail design company. And if her first three years are any indication, Kaitlyn is on the road to success.