Modernism and antique dealers have a new home on the web, courtesy of the brains behind Chairish. DECASO, short for the Decorative Arts Society, went live November 15 with plans to have an inventory of some 20,000 pieces activated over the following week—one of the largest edited offerings of its kind online. Think: Laverne cabinets, Grosfeld House tables and Karl Springer desks alongside decorative objects, art and design both antique and modern. The hook for designers? The site lets them privately negotiate trade pricing with dealers.
Anna Brockway, co-founder of Chairish, is pioneering the new platform, which links interior designers, collectors and other design lovers directly with a cap of 500 vetted dealers. As of November 16, DECASO has 120 dealers enlisted.
Dealers themselves recommend other dealers, adding to the intended insider’s club feel, and they are encouraged to communicate one-on-one with clients. The platform doesn’t process payment for items, and is currently invitation-only. The service is complimentary for dealers until April 1, and after that point, existing members will be charged a subscription fee ranging from $700 to $1,100, depending on their volume of listings.
As Brockway explains, "DECASO was founded in collaboration with a tight group of leading modernism and antique dealers. DECASO's founding dealers will help vet new applicants to insure all DECASO sellers offer both outstanding inventory and solid professional reputations in the industry."
“I have been waiting for a website like DECASO to present itself,” shares Peter Pap of Peter Pap Oriental Rugs. “One that will recognize all the best qualities of a dealer and their inventory, and re-establish the important, direct relationship with that dealer. A site where the consumer can buy vintage and antique furnishings with complete confidence, knowing the offerings are represented correctly, with the dealers standing behind what they sell.”
The full roster of dealers won’t be made public until the launch next week, but Peter Pap Oriental Rugs, Van den Akker and Fat Chance Los Angeles are on the list. In addition to the direct connection between dealer and buyer, another of DECASO’s selling points is its sheer volume. Explains Brockway, “DECASO enables designers to connect directly with sellers to privately negotiate trade pricing, preserving the designer’s privacy on their markup. We’ll offer over 25,000 items on day one, making us at launch already the second-largest curated offering of high-end furnishings and decorative arts online. With this breadth of selection, designers won’t have to visit multiple sites to find what they are looking for. In addition, DECASO will offer advanced search functionality to make locating the right piece from our vast inventory a snap.” (Though they share a founder, DECASO and Chairish, known for its vintage and “nearly new finds,” will be run and marketed separately.)
With the number of digital platforms emerging, how does a dealer decide which route to take? Ray Raymakers of Van den Akker explains his three requirements for choosing an online platform: "One, the ability to create visibility for my shop among qualified buyers and to connect me directly with buyers so I can form long-term customer relationships; two, a vetted seller community held to the highest standards of integrity, authenticity and connoisseurship so sophisticated buyers can shop with confidence; and three, management by a proven team like the one behind DECASO."
His is an industry that’s been in the news for its recent state of flux. “More sourcing than ever is done digitally, and for high-end dealers, online presentation was historically dominated by one primary player,” says Raymakers. “It created an unhealthy reliance and one where dealers began to feel taken advantage of. As an industry, the luxury dealer community is seeking alternative online distribution alternatives.”
Decorative screen, premiering on DECASO; all photos courtesy DECASO
“As dealers, we’re looking forward to having a voice in DECASO’s development and a stake in its growth,” concurs Jeff Schuerholz of Fat Chance, “all while reclaiming our ability to sell in a truly curated environment that allows direct connection with customers.”