| Apr 21, 2010 |
Design centers unite in a campaign to stimulate consumer demand
Boh staff
By Staff

The Decorative Furnishings Association (DFA), Design Centers International (DCI), Cohen Design Centers (CDC) and Merchandise Mart Properties (MMPI) are discussing steps they can take together toward an equal goal: to stimulate consumer demand and connect potential clients with designers and design services that add value to the experience of creating an interior.

In a move that joins the interests of the interior design community, design centers, showrooms, and national home furnishings brands, plans are underway to rework the generations-old restrictions that exclude even the most resourceful consumers from accessing the best that designers have to offer for the home. “We are all in this together as a design eco-system,” said Cary Kravet, president of Kravet, Inc. (a fourth-generation business) and president of DFA. “Each player in the system needs to be healthy, and we each need to work together for the benefit of us all.”

By collaborating with the design centers and design community, suppliers and distributors of decorative furnishings plan to begin a national and regional campaign to encourage consumers to discover the real value of an interior design professional’s guidance. “We are pulling back the veil of mystery that keeps too many consumers away from the benefits of a professional interior design experience,” said Olivier Peardon, President of Brunschwig et Fils (also a fourth-generation enterprise).

Christopher Peacock, founder of Christopher Peacock Home said, “The mutual benefits for the design professional and consumer from this collaboration are tremendous. It will improve the health of our industry immensely.”

“Interior designers play a crucial role in the health of the entire design industry,” said Steve Nobel, marketing consultant and Executive Director of DFA. “The suppliers and distributors of decorative furnishings remain committed to the philosophy and the practice of selling ‘to the trade’ because it is good for consumers, good for designers and good for the resources.”

"Members of Design Centers International, as managers of design centers, support this new alliance with DFA and DFA's efforts to expand the base of business," said Annette Sharkey-Beavers, president of Design Centers Int'l. and general manager of Marketplace Design Center. "Design center tenants will, of course, make their own decisions based on their business judgment, but DCI looks forward to working together with all parties to insure the successful future of our industry while maintaining its integrity."

Michael Alin FASID, Executive Director of ASID said, “pending a formal endorsement by the ASID Board, ASID supports the recommended strategy to attract more clients for designers and is willing to partner with DFA and the design centers to promote that goal."

Research by American Express Publishing, Harrison Group and Ipsos/Mendelsohn shows that many households have the means, but need “guides” who can advise them on designing their interiors for a satisfying lifestyle, and how to identify the resources they require. This campaign will emphasize new ways to empower consumers to work with an interior designer, and fulfill their desire to live comfortably in homes that reflect their taste and style. As consumers shake off the confines of recession and seek to renew and refresh the look and feel of their residences, the interior design industry is preparing to help them.

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