COPING WITH CHANGES IN THE INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS
by jgrimplin |
February 28th, 2018 |
Are you a designer who’s wondering how to cope with the many changes in the world of interior design and home furnishings? Houzz’s recent acquisition of IvyMark has raised eyebrows in the design community, spurned many articles, and prompted webinars and online discussions, among other responses.
However, this disruption is only the most recent in a series of challenges that have surfaced in our industry. If you’ve been around for the last several years, you can name them. From the big box stores to Wayfair and Amazon. From DIY to HGTV actually teaching DIY. From build-your-own-sectional online to design-your-own-room online. It all might make you wonder if there’s a future in the interior design business!
WE ARE CONFIDENT THE INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS FUTURE IS BRIGHT
The residential home furnishings industry is more than a $100 billion dollar business and a real estate market that is now steady and growing again; however, with the existing furniture stores and the internet…consumers are still left with ONE BIG challenge – “…how do I pull it all together? How do I decide what furnishings are going to work?” There are plenty of those consumers who need and want help in pulling it all together in a room, or the entire house. There is much they don’t know. Many don’t even know what they don’t know.
What makes one sofa last longer than another?
How do you create scale and balance in a room and make the room “come together” in colors?
Are there differences in performance fabrics?
And on and on….
As a designer, you see and hear these type of comments from consumers every day…so the need is GREAT; but the ability to have and run a fulfilling service design business with business tools, support and not feeling all alone… seems to be missing in today’s home furnishings business solution marketplace.
STILL, YOU MAY HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT GROWING AND MANAGING YOUR OWN BUSINESS
In todays rapid paced business market proven, simplified and fast business solutions are critical to surviving and having a competitive edge to grow and achieve success. Would you like the answers to these questions?
How do I improve my margins?
Which software should I use for managing my projects?
How do I keep my projects and information private?
How do I get more and better clients?
What’s the right balance between selling products and selling design service?
How do I pursue more profits without putting in even more hours?
As we have seen with… IVYMARK AND HOUZZ, OUR EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN THAT THE RIGHT COMBINATION OF RETAILING, DESIGN SERVICES AND TECHNOLOGY CAN BE POWERFUL.
Many designers, for various reasons, are not able to have direct relationships with suppliers that enable them to purchase at wholesale prices so they can compete with retailers. Some are able to get modest discounts from retailers. The result is that they rely heavily on making their money from fees for services.
But there are only so many hours in the day for which you can bill. And, clients frequently wonder if they are really getting their money’s worth for the fee they paid.
Our company Decorating Den Interiors, has been providing business solutions, tools and resources for designers and those wanting to become designers for over 45 years. Unlike the single technology solutions that you see like IvyMark and Houzz, we have combined all the business solutions into a turn-key business model.
For current designers, this eliminates the need to spend months trying to locate/negotiate with suppliers; create a method to track finances and clients; and so much more. Designers that connect with Decorating Den Interiors simply apply themselves to the existing solutions and then accelerate their business. As an example:
Think about the possibility of offering your design services as part of the total project, one that includes providing products that you have sourced at wholesale, through a direct relationship with the supplier, and then have included in a turnkey price to your client. It’s a transparent business model that is simple and profitable.
The client knows what they are getting and knows the price. Additionally, the client knows you are handling everything from inspiration to installation.
To do this, however, you would need a wide array of suppliers in a broad range of costs. Vendors in “Good”, “Better” and “Best” categories would allow you to accommodate a range of budgets and styles for all types of clients.
Our Decorating Den Interiors’ independently operated design businesses have just that through our LIVV Home Collection™ from more than 130 home furnishings suppliers. We negotiate product pricing unique to us, along with other financial incentives and quarterly promotions. Each design business has its own individual accounts and direct access with suppliers. Suppliers also provide field reps for additional assistance and training.
MARKETING DESIGN SERVICES
Marketing design services can be challenging. Many clients simply do not understand the benefits. Our 47 years of experience enable us to assist our design professionals, and for them to assist each other, in honing their skills for educating prospective clients.
We know that without top-notch selling skills, you do not get to design. We are truly an organization in which we learn from each other. Our education department is made up of experienced professionals, supplemented by outside resources. Just one look at our online library of training and education topics shows the breadth and depth of what is offered.
There also is what we learn from each other at regional meetings, international conferences, organized visits to High Point Market, and our LearningZen online course in all facets of a design business.
Managing your business and design projects for optimal profitability and time management is more important than ever in the design business. We are beyond spreadsheets and digital file folders. The discussion groups on LinkedIn and other places are full of evidence that designers have questions about what works best, what is most cost effective, what is really design oriented, etc.
Our own customer relationship technology has been developed for our businesses. When complementary technology is required, our technology team and community of peers evaluates what makes the most sense. Our motive isn’t selling you something. Our motive is helping us all achieve our goals. Being in business for yourself, but not by yourself!