One Kings Lane is romancing the trade. Launched just a few weeks ago, the brand’s trade program is designed to embody its evolving focus. OKL began in 2009 as a pioneering get-it-while-it's-hot flash sale site, and while shoppers loved the concept (the company was valued at $900 million in 2014), it was not ideal for designers, who depend on consistent inventory.
Suki LaBarre, OKL Studio Director, explains, “We provided access to great home decor product, for a limited time only and at a discounted price. That business model made it challenging for us to work with the trade community, because the inventory we had available was changing constantly.” The new To The Trade initiative aims to address that.
Another new initiative? The Studio, a brick-and-mortar resource located in San Francisco and New York that provides design services to shoppers.
First, the nitty-gritty: What sets the program apart, says LaBarre, is the Trade Specialist, a team member who works one-on-one with designers to source items, match specifications and address product questions. The specialist gathers product—a virtual, personal sale—specifically for the designer’s project, from a single item (say, a Turkish rug) to an entire home. The process runs between five days and two weeks, depending on the scope of the project. Designers also receive an automatic 10 percent discount off branded, vintage and exclusive furnishings, without a minimum purchase or volume requirement to shop the site’s inventory of 40,000 SKUs, with about 1,000 new items added weekly.
Explains OKL Trade Specialist Jessica Smith: “I have deep product knowledge of everything on our site and can pinpoint what works best” for the designers, based on their submitted needs. (Designers apply for access to the complimentary program.)
“Over the last few years, our focus has remained on the product and optimizing our assortment to be the best offering possible, and with that came more steady access to inventory,” says LaBarre. “While we still filter in new product daily and do not have long inventory reserves on all of our product, we have evolved into a home decor destination that is a consistent and reliable resource for our customers. This new inventory approach has finally allowed us to start engaging with the trade in a more direct way.”
The brand won’t reveal the names of some of its early designer adopters. But designer Jon Call reflects on the new mission, “One-of-a-kind pieces are truly what bring design projects to life. [The new program] is an invaluable resource in acquiring these pieces on time and within budget. The fact that they have dedicated assistants ready to help find the items I need, and an increasing inventory of home decor stockpiled to choose from, makes OKL a one-stop resource for quality pieces that provide great value.”