trade tales | Nov 5, 2021 |
6 designers share their thoughts on sourcing product online

The pandemic has made us all more comfortable working online, but are designers really looking to the web to source product? We asked six pros—Layton Campbell, Iantha Carley, Harry Heissmann, Christine Jahan, Travis London and Ana Claudia Schultz—if they prefer online or in-person sourcing.

Travis London
Travis LondonVenjhamin Reyes

Value-driven
“I love sourcing from e-commerce and digital brands, and spend hours doing so. A lot of companies, like Anthropologie, have such great home items but can’t put them all in their stores, so the inventory online is huge. Also, if it’s a direct-to-consumer brand, that means they have no brick-and-mortar upkeep cost, and that shows in the price, so you get a great value. I’m all about customization, which is the truest form of luxury, so I will find an in-stock item online at a great value, then reupholster it to personalize it for the project and customer.” Travis London, Studio London, Miami and Los Angeles

Harry Heissmann
Harry HeissmannCourtesy of Harry Heissmann

The right combination
“Right now, I prefer a combination. During lockdown, I found myself working on various bathrooms remotely. I love working with [Portland, Oregon–based tile and stone brand] Ann Sacks, as the sales staff, particularly my dedicated salesperson, are always very helpful. The initial selections were made online, but as I always say, one has to touch and feel—and sometimes smell—the material. Only an actual-size sample conveys the scale, presence and actual color of something. That can’t be done online.” Harry Heissmann, Harry Heissmann Inc., New York

Ana Claudia Schultz
Ana Claudia SchultzCourtesy of Ana Claudia Schultz

Timesaver
“E-commerce has always worked for us. Before the pandemic, I presented virtually at least half of the time because of my clients’ work schedules. We also send our proposals before the meeting, so they have time to review and discuss the selections.” Ana Claudia Schultz, Ana Claudia Design, New York

Layton Campbell
Layton CampbellCourtesy of Layton Campbell

Loyal Customer
“I generally stay true to the brands that I have had relationships with for many years. That said, I have used e-commerce brands such as 1stDibs and Etsy to fill in some important gaps in projects. [But overall], I feel the confidence level of having worked directly with brands I utilize is more comforting for both client and designer.” Layton Campbell, JLayton Interiors, Charlotte, North Carolina

Iantha Carley
Iantha CarleyCourtesy of Iantha Carley

Best of both
“I source from both. It’s important for me to provide bespoke design and services to my clients, so I’m always in search of new furnishing lines and accessories. Social media has been a great resource for identifying new products and e-commerce vendors.” Iantha Carley, Iantha Carley Interiors, Silver Spring, Maryland

Christine Jahan
Christine JahanCourtesy of Christine Jahan

All-access
“One of my biggest timesavers is taking advantage of trade-only online platforms. Scrolling through product online makes narrowing down my search so much easier, no matter what I’m looking for. I already have a lot of samples in my office, but when I don’t, I can get samples sent straight to my office—sometimes the next day. I’m always looking for innovative products and pieces that are different, so looking outside of the traditional brands is something I do often. I still feel like in-person showrooms are extremely valuable, but having the online route makes things so much better all-around. It feels like I have access to everything and anything I want.” Christine Jahan, Christine Jahan Designs, Glendora, California

Homepage photo: A living room by Studio Londo | Photo by Venjhamin Reyes

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