Meet Crimson Allen

Title: Director of Marketing

Years in the education business: 24 years

When was your company founded and how?

After spending twenty years in the school supply sales for other companies, founder Kevin Worthington established his own educational furniture dealership in 1997. Schools were initially introduced to Worthington Direct through the distribution of our annual school furniture catalog, which we continue to print to this day, complementing our extensive website.

Fast forward twenty-six years, the legacy Kevin initiated by cultivating strong partnerships based on integrity and industry expertise remains firmly entrenched at the core of our current brand mission: advocating for our manufacturers and assisting our customers navigate towards the optimal solutions for their unique learning environments.

On Location Portraiture, 2022

What makes your firm unique?

Our staff is extremely experienced, with a majority having ten to twenty years of tenure at Worthington Direct. We recognize that purchasing classroom furniture is not an everyday task for most individuals, and we take pride in our ability to assist buyers in selecting the ideal product for their specific needs. Whether it’s a few desks or an entire school wing, we are fully equipped to handle any scale of project. As a furniture dealer, we exclusively focus on providing exceptional service, without manufacturing or attempting to compete with the brands we represent. This approach allows us to foster strong partnerships with manufacturers, ultimately benefiting our valued customers when they choose to collaborate with our company.

What do you like best about the educational products industry?

It has been truly enjoyable to witness a complete evolution in product design within our industry. When I initially started in 1999, school furniture remained predominantly static and square, with pieces built to conform to straight lines and fulfill singular purposes. Walking through the EDspaces show today, an entirely different landscape unfolds — one brimming with innovation and excitement.

What are you most proud of?

Promoting the appreciation of vibrant colors has always been a passion of mine. With a keen eye for trends (and perhaps it’s due to the colorful name), I take pride in supporting manufacturers who have dared to venture beyond the standard Navy and Burgundy hues on the color wheel. I distinctly recall the decision I made many years ago to feature a product in a refreshing Apple green shade, despite encountering some resistance. Navy was the go-to choice for everyone, and therefore, it was expected that the product should be showcased in Navy. However, I am delighted to share that not long after, Apple green became our top-selling color. As furniture dealers, we are uniquely positioned to navigate through the vast array of product options available, enabling us to curate the ideal choices for educational facilities and the students they serve.

{EDmarket] resources connect all stakeholders and allow us to effectively support the educational system.

How has the pandemic changed the educational marketplace?

The pandemic had a profound impact on the entire educational system, and when we spoke with educators, we could sense the immense heartache they experienced. There were resignations, technological challenges, distancing requirements, mandates, special funding, and personal losses. It was an overwhelming combination of factors, even for educators who excel at multitasking. Meanwhile, our manufacturer partners encountered labor shortages, supply delays, and an increase in logistical and material expenses. This situation made us all realize that we should not take furniture goods for granted and taught us the importance of exercising patience for quality products.

How has your firm adapted?

Currently, our operations have returned to a state of pre-pandemic times. Like many other businesses, we can’t help but feel like we successfully weathered a tidal wave of obstacles. It was two years of relentless agility and strength training. Emerging from the pandemic, we feel more resilient and ready to move forward than ever before.

How has EDmarket helped you professionally?

For more than twenty years, I have been nurtured by the EDspaces shows and the multitude of professionals who attend them. The immense passion for furniture exhibited by the attendees has undeniably influenced my own approach to my job.

How can EDmarket best serve the industry?

As a part of a niche market, our reliance on organizations like EDmarket to amplify our industry’s voice is significant. Your resources connect all stakeholders and allow us to effectively support the educational system.

What would you like to see EDmarket champion?

Continue to serve the educational market as a whole. Celebrate furniture design that drives positive change and continue to be a platform that aims to improve our educational system.

What advice would you give others in our industry?

Always remember the true final product: One which is a flourishing campus that is teaming with engaged students and empowered educators.

Crimson Allen, Worthington Direct

Crimson Allen is the Director of Marketing at Worthington Direct, an EDmarket member company since 2004. Worthington Direct is a full-line distributor based in Dallas, Texas.