About Us:

ThinkLab is Researching the World of Design.

We leverage research on the interiors industry to help you replace assumptions with facts.

Our passion exists at the intersection of business and design.

The interiors industry is complex. We know, because we’ve worked in design firms and manufacturing headquarters. So, we’re uniquely positioned to capture market sentiment, help you track trends, explore emerging markets, validate product concepts, and make your next move well ahead of the competition.

Our Story:

ThinkLab is the intelligence division of SANDOW.

Our global reach expands to millions of A&D professionals who directly and indirectly affect the specification of $263B in various product categories annually, including furniture, lighting, kitchen and bath fixtures, and paint. That means we have access to thousands of specifiers who offer hundreds of insights that translate into one big dose of perspective. But we didn’t start here. Originally founded by Amanda Schneider in 2011 as an independent consultancy, Contract Consulting Group (CCG) grew rapidly by 100 percent word of mouth referrals and aided by her role as a blogger for the Huffington Post. As the only market research firm truly focused on the design industry, many discovered that rather than trying to help outside consultants get up to speed on the complexities of our unique industry, CCG could help their businesses through a deeper understanding of the intricacies of the design industry.
Portrait of Amanda Schneider of ThinkLab

In November 2018, CCG was acquired by SANDOW (the parent company of Interior Design Media, Material Bank, Metropolis, and many other design-driven brands in media and beyond) and rebranded as ThinkLab This move coupled SANDOW’s design industry leadership position and broad reach with CCG’s passions, expertise, and research methodologies. Amanda and much of the core CCG team remain on to grow the company and scale to serve a much broader audience: from commercial to residential, and including product categories from lighting to furniture to flooring and everything in between.

Today, we are proud to harness the power of the SANDOW family of brands to gather meaningful insights for the industry and share those broadly through research, editorial, and national speaking engagements.

“One of our passions at ThinkLab is looking at the less sexy underbelly of design—the business side of design. We dive into everything from economics to business to innovation, and explore not just the objects being designed, but the process of design itself.”

Amanda Schneider, President

Meet the Core Team:

We’re designers who think like researchers, and researchers who think like designers.

ThinkLab’s core team is a diverse group of former product and interior designers, marketing directors, showroom managers, sales reps, and sustainability gurus united by our expertise in, and love for, the world of design.

And we leverage our extensive network to curate the expertise needed to solve your most pressing business challenges.

Amanda Schneider

Amanda Schneider

Amanda Schneider, LEED AP, MBA is a researcher, writer,and founder of ThinkLab. Amanda is a strategic thinker with a strong background including industrial design, market research, product management, sales, and strategic launch practices with a breadth of companies within the interiors industry. Amanda’s creative process stems from her education in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, while her natural business sense is augmented by her MBA from the University of Iowa. She is passionate about studying the latest workplace trends to make meaningful connections for the industry and regularly blogs about them in various industry publications. When she’s not busy working in her suburban Chicago office or visiting clients, you can find her trail running at freakishly early hours of the morning, dreaming about that book she’ll write someday, or ambushing her secret stash of dark chocolate and red wine.

Olga Odeide

Business Development
Olga Odeide
Olga Odeide, LEED AP, is an interior designer and strategist who thrives at building successful long-term partnerships with clients. Olga started her career in electrical and computer engineering with her degree from Clemson University. Her success in this field involved her in a large-scale commercial campus makeover that sparked her love of interior design. With an interior design degree from the Art Institute of Charleston, Olga brings the perfect balance of tactical thinking and creative strategy to her new-business development role. Olga is outgoing, energetic, and committed to best-in-class client engagement and solutions—a natural fit for ThinkLab! She gets fired up when presented with a marketing problem or is asked by clients to find new ways to engage and connect with their target audiences. An on-the-go city dweller, Olga is a seasoned traveler, repeat TEDx attendee, and fitness instructor who enjoys the vibrant Washington, D.C., community in which she resides.

Erica Waayenberg

Research & Content Development
Erica Waayenberg
Erica Waayenberg, LEED AP, is an interior designer, marketer, and a strategy-minded problem solver. Erica embraces design thinking with a career that has encompassed interior design, sales, strategic program development, marketing management, and consulting within the design world. Erica’s enthusiasm for design and how we connect to our surroundings was fostered in her education in interior design from Michigan State University. She is passionate about the creative process, authentic marketing, the built environment, and connecting people with inspired and thoughtful design. To her role at ThinkLab, Erica brings a well-rounded industry perspective paired with eagerness to inform and inspire industry members of all types through research-based insights. Outside of her office, Erica loves to travel, be outdoors, dive into messy creative play with her boys, and savor great conversation with friends and family over coffee or a French 75.

Allison Roon

Allison Roon
Allison Roon is an interior designer, marketing strategist, and storyteller. With deep roots in the contract furniture industry, Allison offers unique insight to what makes spaces and stories meaningful, and how they can be used to engage an audience and impact change. Allison has her BA in Interior Design from Kendall College of Art and Design, and went on to get her Masters in Adult and Higher Education from Grand Valley State University. With a background as Director of Design, Marketing & Product Management, Allison has an incredible ability to create meaningful conversations around the future of work and workplace, and draw out information and conclusions from client discussions that lead to high level product and market strategy decisions. Her energy is contagious, and communication style engaging. Aside from work, Allison loves sneaking out for a run with the dog along West Michigan’s lakeshore, meandering through a greenhouse, and scouring Zillow in case the next fixer upper catches her eye.

Giselle Walsh

CEU Development & Training
Giselle Walsh

Giselle Walsh is a corporate trainer, sustainability guru, and avid researcher. With 20 years of experience in the commercial wallcovering industry, what makes her an exceptional asset as a consultant is her innate ability to communicate technical details to an audience conversationally and a contagious enthusiasm that engages her audience to learn. One great example of this was partnering with BIFMA to take on the monumental task of creating a CEU, “Demystifying Furniture’s Role in Sustainability,” in an effort to explain the interrelations of all the different rating systems in a simple, understandable way and train the presenters to master the content as well. Giselle’s background in sales leadership makes her an intellectual asset for CEU training and presentations just like this one. She has her BS in Business Administration from Culver-Stockton College and loves to cook, read, and volunteers her time running ZeroLandfill Chicago, a volunteer organization committed to saving design samples from landfill.

Katie Shaykin

Katie Shaykin
Katie Shaykin is a writer, social media strategist, and communications consultant. Katie specializes in blog, byline, white paper and press release creation, in addition to her extensive experience in digital marketing including website content creation, social media, and SEO analytics. Katie earned her BS in integrated marketing communications from Illinois State University. Her experience in a multitude of industries including two Fortune 500 companies, gives her a results driven mindset for her clients marketing initiatives. Katie’s passion is listening to her clients story and translating that narrative into a powerful message that connects them to their target audience. Outside of her passion for the written word, Katie loves to cook and can often be found trying new recipes with her three small sous chefs in her suburban Illinois home.

Need to make data-driven decisions?

Let us create the market research solution that’s perfect for your unique challenge. 

Got a Question?

We've got answers.

We think the better question is, why not? Change is happening fast, and the interiors industry is evolving rapidly. If you want to replace assumptions with facts and make decisions with more confidence, research is key to avoiding investment pitfalls.

Our network is extensive, with thousands of participants, and it’s growing every day. As part of the SANDOW family of brands, we leverage their reach to curate expert opinions and advice that help solve your unique challenges most effectively.

Depends on the project, but a good estimate is anywhere from 4-12 weeks from project kickoff. That’s fast enough to let you keep your feet moving, and thorough enough to cover all our bases.

ThinkLab works in all market segments and product categories, from commercial to residential, furniture to flooring, and just about everything in between.

We don’t expect you to know, we’re here to help and can often craft a better solution when we talk first, and plan from there. Contact us to brainstorm!

Join in here, fill out a few simple questions, and we’ll reach out with opportunities specific to your areas of expertise.

Opportunities to get paid for your thoughts and obtain exclusive sneak peek access to the results. We call that influence + information (and a few rewards along the way)!

At this time, they are not. But they’re still packed with insights that are well worth an hour of time. Check out our sister companies, Metropolis and Interior Design, for CEU-approved seminars.