By Steven Feldman Newport Beach, Calif.—Floor covering specialty retailers may have lost the Stainmaster brand, but something new is coming down the pike that has the potential to have the most exposure at the consumer level since Pergo. The buzz is around Christina Haack, the face behind the “Flip or Flop” and “Christina on the Coast” HGTV series. In this FCNews exclusive, we sat down with Christina to learn more about her namesake SPC launch.
Maybe she needs no introduction since her HGTV shows, “Flip or Flop” and the more recent “Christina on the Coast” attract more than 20 million viewers a year. (The latter is now in its 11th season.) Add that to her 1.6 million following on Instagram and suffice to say she reaches and influences tons of consumers.
Christina Haack is about to launch her first branded line, the Christina Collection, which will consist of 21 high-styled SPC products. From an aesthetic standpoint, the collection is designed to be as good as anything on the market today. “I would stack it up against anything I’ve seen,” she told FCNews. “I would never sell a product that is not attractive.”
It’s a line that is curated by a professional designer with a huge following. Not only were the styles carefully selected, but it’s a wide variety of designs that could suit every single person’s style and reflects her tastes and the latest trends. “My style is more California contemporary,” she explained. “There’s some of that. But the house I just bought is Spanish. I love styles for different reasons based on the But that’s just the beginning. The collection is designed to perform and withstand the test of time. And dogs. And kids. This will be demonstrated via a video showcasing her rottweiler running all over the floor.
“Every time I do a house, here’s what I say: I have young kids and I have dogs. I do not want a floor that scratches, and I do not want a floor that will be ruined if I spill something on it. That’s what everyone wants. So, that’s why this floor is so important. It’s all about reducing a mom’s stress.”
Haack equated the popularity of SPC flooring to the evolution of countertop materials. “It’s similar to the quartz counters that used to be the marble,” she said. “Once upon a time, people wanted marble because it’s beautiful. Well, it’s also porous. You leave a cup on it, you’re screwed. You spill red wine on it, you’re screwed. So, I will only use quartz in houses that have families, because that relieves the stress. No mom wants to worry about someone spilling or dropping something and getting mad at somebody. These SPC floors are to hardwood what quartz counters are to marble.”architecture of the house.”
Design is a skill of yours.
It was never something I wanted to do. I never went to design school. I wanted to be Jerry McGuire and be a sports agent.
So how does Jerry McGuire become a designer?
Design just came to me because I had to do it on “Flip or Flop,” and then I just discovered I was good at it. So, “Christina on the Coast” was born because I was doing design on “Flip or Flop” and it’s what I knew. I approached the network and said, “I like design, I would love to do a show where I design for a person or a couple.” And they said, “Let’s do it.”
So does ‘Christina’ get involved in flooring ‘on the coast?’
Yes. Different flooring levels. If it’s someone who has a decent budget, it would be wood from Warren Christopher. If it’s someone who has a lower budget, a lot of people are using SPC or laminate.
So you like SPC so much that you decided to do a branded collection. Is this your first branded line?
Correct. Since about 2014, I always knew that someday I would do a flooring line. There was no rush because I wanted to do it right. The one thing I know is quality. I’m very particular. I would never refer someone to a product, especially a friend, unless I knew 100% it was a good product.
You’re a brand, but you needed a manufacturer.
Correct. I never even heard of SPC to be honest until about two years ago. Before that, we were always using laminate. I mean, we have to turn and burn on “Flip or Flop.” I knew of SPC because we started using it in bathrooms, because I had clients who wanted to run their flooring from the bedroom into the bathroom. So, we discovered this product that started looking better and better and was really affordable.
When did this branded SPC line get legs? Or should I say, from concept to reality?
I’m in Maui, laying on the beach, and I get about 16 texts from Jessie (Warren Christopher), who I hadn’t talked to in a while. And he said, “You know how you’ve wanted a flooring line for years? I found it and it’s perfect. As soon as you get back home, I’m going to introduce you to the manufacturer.” And because it was Jessie, there was no way he would ever bring me anything cheap, crappy, ugly, boring—if you knew him, everything has to be perfect. So, I get home and view the prototypes. Some looked great—organic colors, lighter grays—and some looked really fake. I’d never do anything that looks fake. That’s when I started designing and developing the line with the manufacturer.
So these products kind of paralleled what you were already doing in design. There was a synergy.
Because I do 30 houses a year just for TV, I know what I’m seeing from different price levels of different clients every day—I know what’s on trend; I know what people like and what people don’t like. Based on that, when I’m looking at the prototypes, I’m thinking, OK, people like totally different things. But I was going off of what I’ve seen lately, and the trends are changing. So right away I picked as many as I thought we needed. I think I picked 15 slides.
But you wound up with 21.
Yeah. I picked 15 of my absolute, 100% favorites. West Coast. And then I picked a few for the Midwest.
Who’s the target audience for ‘Flip or Flop’ and who’s the target audience for ‘Christina on the Coast?’
I would say the audience probably ranges from 30 to 70. Because the target audience of HGTV is people who could afford homes that they are currently buying or remodeling.
Who’s the target audience for the Christina Collection?
The target audience is literally anyone—a starting homebuyer all the way to anyone who is remodeling a house. It could be anywhere from entry level to luxury. Our demographic is everybody. You could have a $30 million luxury rental on the Malibu coast, where you won’t have to worry about the durability of your floor. It’s the value in the product being scratch-proof and water resistant.
The Christina Chronicles: From splitting Subway sandwiches to ‘Flipping’ fame
In 2009, my ex-husband and I were $40,000 in the hole. We just got married, we had no money, we used to literally split $5 foot-longs at Subway and put a little bit of lemonade in our water because we were so broke. And I was pregnant with our daughter. One day we had lunch with a friend’s dad who knew a little bit about house flipping and we were all about taking chances. I never heard about house flipping. So, long story short, we go to an auction and started flipping houses.
My ex-husband had this idea that people would want to watch us doing it. My feeling was nobody cares about us, that’s a weird idea, your ego’s really big.
Anyway, he put this little camera in front of us and started recording. We were talking about life and everything we were doing and what we were going to start doing. We sent it to a production company, and they liked it. And then, suddenly, there are cameras on us. It seemed very strange to me still. I felt like this is going nowhere but I’ll play along. We would film footage and it ended up becoming a TV show called “Flip or Flop.” Throughout the years, I’ve always been about taking chances. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I will do it and I will do it 10 times better than they thought it would be. It has been my story my whole life.
Back in the day, my ex-husband and I had no money, but we had an investor. We’d find the property, fix it up, sell it and we’d split the profits.
Every single house that you watch on seasons one, two and three, was our livelihood. If we lost, we were [screwed]. It was a big deal. And back in the day, we had to use materials that were very cost friendly because we didn’t have extra money to spend.
We would go to Bedrosians’ discount tile section and pick the travertine with the holes in it that costs $0.50.
As time went on, I was able to develop my skills to make things that were affordable look really good. My exhusband’s was being cheap; mine was making cheap things look good.
Then, slowly, we started making more money, got bigger projects and started doing multimillion dollar flips. I’ll never forget: We were doing our first flip in Yorba Linda. We bought a house that we really couldn’t afford for $2 million, and that’s when someone told me about a company called Warren Christopher Flooring for high-end flooring.
Here shows up a guy named Jessie and [his wife] Missy. It’s the first time I met them and they had all this flooring in their truck—it was literally like flooring crack. This flooring was amazing.
I set it down in front of my ex and he said, “This stuff’s really expensive.” I said, “Yeah, it’s more than my Jeep, but we have to do it here because this is a really expensive house.”
After that, we started using Warren Christopher for all the high-end flips.