New York Design Center
Kravet president Cary Kravet offered his commentary on the current state and future potential of the home furnishings industry. He gave his insights and recommendations for interior designers.
MARKETING AND THE CHANGING NATURE OF CLIENTS
Kate Kelly Smith, SVP of Hearst Publications, and Sophie Donelson, Editor of House Beautiful, spoke about the magazine’s future direction. They discussed the publication’s goal to “show the impact of design on living” and to help consumers understand how design can enhance their lives.
Chad Stark, Executive VP of Stark Carpet, explained how technology has changed consumer access to home furnishings products. What vendors are doing to “inspire, inform and engage” with designer-supportive showrooms, value-focused sales approaches and strategic “content marketing” on websites.
Century Furniture President Alex Shuford spoke about how the furniture market has been transformed by the explosion of ‘vertically-integrated retailers’ and the growth of e-commerce. He emphasized the importance of interior designers to high-end furniture manufacturers and noted the potential for increased business through the trade as millennials mature.
COLLABORATION IN ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN
Architect Blaze Makoid and interior designer David Scott discussed their experience with collaborative projects, citing the benefits to both the clients and themselves in providing complementary abilities, joint oversight and a unified advisory voice.
LEADING CHANGE IN OUR ORGANIZATIONS
Design Trust members Susan Brunstrum and Skip Sroka introduced a provocative set of questionnaires to determine attendees’ individual leadership styles. They led the group in a frank exchange of information and insights into the challenges of running a design business and dealing with both clients and employees.
PRODUCTIVITY AND OPERATIONS
Design Trust member Sharon McCormick demonstrated how analyzing a firm’s client base can lead to a redirection of goals and a more precise and targeted marketing approach.
Design historian Judith Gura gave an illustrated talk on landmark interiors, highlighting the challenge of changing uses for interiors, and the importance of balancing preservation with the need for development.
LICENSING, SUCCESSION PLANNING, LEGAL ISSUES OF THE DAY
Attorney Steven Sonet of Levy, Sonet & Siegel offered the attendees advice on three key issues -- succession planning, partnership possibilities and licensing – all of which are emerging priorities for interior designers in single-owner businesses.