digital disruptors | Jan 23, 2017 |
Behind the curtain with Design Trade Service

By Katy B. Olson
An online trade marketplace for interior designers, Design Trade Service provides designers with access to designer net pricing—without requiring a unique account with the manufacturer. The site, which currently offers access to 100,000-plus products and more than 50 manufacturers, is password-protected and offers non-fluctuating prices based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing. DTS president Kitric Kerns shares the story with EAL.

Behind the curtain with Design Trade Service

What are the benefits to residential interior designers?
Kitric Kerns: Yes. We provide considerable value to independent interior designers by saving them time and money. Contract and hospitality designers are able to buy in large quantities, which allows them to attain product at very competitive pricing. Independent designers who order individually do not have that buying power and therefore have a problem with sourcing products quickly and easily at great prices. We solve that problem especially for designers who must meet order minimums. We have no minimums. We are highly designer focused and thus have made sure to enable restricted access to only interior designers so their clients cannot shop them.

Additionally, you should know that natively, as a benefit of our platform, we can also offer the interior designer their own online catalog—basically a version of our own site under the designer’s brand, if they would like to extend shopping to their client base. We are able to hide product names and numbers and only show MSRP to minimize competitive shopping. You can see an example of this by going [on the website of DTS designer member Valerie Garrett Design] and choose “Shop Furniture.” Everything there is essentially our product catalog customized for her business.

We actually founded DTS because an array of sourcing problems experienced by designers. We provide what no one else has been able to provide to date—the ability to source products from major vendors quickly, easily and at competitive prices.

How does the back end work? Do customers buy directly on your site?
Yes. Purchasing can be made directly from our site and it’s really quite easy. After a designer joins, they must provide us with one of the following: (1) A current professional license in a residential or commercial design-based business; (2) a W9, Federal ID form, or official document showing EIN number; or (3) Resale or Sales Tax Certificate. During business hours, this takes minutes. From then on, that designer can order anytime they like, directly from our site, instantly. In fact, they can order from multiple manufacturers all on one order, and we do the rest. After we receive the order, we provide frequent order status updates, like any other e-commerce site. We have a very high “re-order rate,” so our members seem to be thrilled. If there is ever an issue, our customer support staff is quick to help. They are actual interior designers!

How long have you been in business? Who are the founders?
We have been live since July 2015. We have two founders: Greg Wyers, our CEO, who has 25 years of experience in the furniture and design industry, formerly as EVP/COO of Expressions Custom Furniture, founder/president of Norwalk Franchise Services, and president of Luxe Home LLC; and Frank Goldoni, our COO, who has 40 years of experience in the home furnishing and interior design industry, formerly as owner/operator of six Norwalk Furniture & Design stores, VP of Tui Lifestyle, and VP of Designs of the Interiors.

Was DTS founded in response to a particular sourcing problem designers had?
Absolutely. We actually founded DTS because an array of sourcing problems experienced by designers. We provide what no one else has been able to provide to date—the ability to source products from major vendors quickly, easily and at competitive prices. We solve all three of these issues. We are a young company with 50-plus manufacturers and 100,000 products available at designer net pricing. Many of the manufacturers require minimums that the independent designer just can’t meet.

Behind the curtain with Design Trade Service
Design Trade Service

Do you have any new partnerships in the works?
We do not have any other strategic partnerships to announce at this time, but we do have some great manufacturers that are being added to our site as I type this. We’ve recently signed Currey & Company, Henredon/Drexel, Gabby, Summer Classics and Resource Decor, with more coming soon. If we do not carry a brand a designer is looking for, all they need to do is call us and we’ll help them the best we can. We have very deep relationships in the furniture manufacturing industry.

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