MAXINE LAUER:
 
ALEX BURKULAS




 
 
 
 
 
Founder, CEO, and President, Sphere Trending in Waterford. Sphere Trending was founded nine years ago to bring macro and micro trend research together for original strategies, combining previously separate research into a new discipline. Lauer is a nationally known speaker for trend consulting and has led keynotes and discussions at trade shows such as Surfaces, Coverings, the International Housewares Show, Hardware, and Highpoint Furniture Market. She’s regularly quoted in such publications as Coverings, Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Big Builder, and Forbes. Sphere Trending has grown into a 12-employee company, and clients include Fortune 500 companies as well as others in retail and manufacturing of flooring, building materials, arts and crafts, tabletops, electronics, indoor and outdoor furniture, and other household consumables. Previously, Lauer was vice president of marketing and new product development for Arden Cos., leading Arden into new business areas, as well as new product lines, resulting in double-digit growth. Earlier, Lauer was director of trend and product development of home fashions at Kmart Corp. As the first in her position in non-apparel categories during the key growth period of the chain, she was responsible for significant profit growth and brand positioning in seasonal business as well as key home categories. Lauer also served as director of marketing for Caron Yarn, directing product development and trends across all product lines for a multitude of end-users from retail to airlines. She began her career with KBB & A. Sphere Trending employees take part in programs with Gleaners Food Bank and Grace Centers for Hope. Lauer volunteers with GirlTech, where at-risk girls participate in hands-on activities with computers, robotics, and other activities led by professional women. Lauer also serves as a director of the Color Marketing Group, a nonprofit professional organization that establishes trends and forecasts for those who design and market color.


WHERE BORN: “Southern Illinois.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “A boss I had at an advertising agency when I first started my career. I was a media buyer and during meetings I’d critique ads. He moved me into creative. I had not thought of myself in that arena, but it was totally the right thing to do. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. He knew I had a talent that I hadn’t identified.”

LAST BOOK READ: "The latest Janet Evanovich for fun and Growing Up Digital by Dan Tapscott and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Passionate, energetic, committed, intuitive.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED:  “We have such a different company profile. The business model is different and changes all the time. It’s probably moving to the next new level of service, which is more ethnographic and observational with research and intuitive strategy planning. Right now in business, data has been king, with validation and proof. But it becomes restrictive and a self-fulfilling prophecy. People have intuition on the right direction but don’t use it – they want substantive validation. We use intuitive mapping and pair it with validation and statistics if they choose to do so. It’s a deeper level of innovation into the company platform.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “My iPod, hands down.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Up north.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Reading, gardening, cooking.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Brownies and onion rings.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I’m an environmentalist.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “For being passionate about any endeavor in life that I undertook, that I did it with passion and commitment – marriage, being a parent, in charge of a company. I also want to be known for giving back.”