Because designers’ purchase lists are so long, sometimes it seems professionals don't even know where to begin with procurement—or at least that’s what Dan Salk, founder of new digital tool Design Valet, has seen in his years as an antiques dealer. “Instead of spending hours searching, why don’t the dealers go to them?” asked Salk, adding, “Design Valet gives dealers the opportunity to proactively go on the site and look for a sale.”
Salk has created a way for designers to confidentially list items they want, with the plan that dealers will come to them with their wish list in tow. It’s called Design Valet, and it’s meant to make the lives of designers and dealers just a little bit simpler.
The site launched in beta on Jan. 5, and is only available to trade professionals. Designers can create an account for free, then upload their purchase list—an index that specifies the budget and details for each piece—then watch the bids come in.
“Now is certainly a perfect time to introduce Design Valet,” said Salk. “With our current economic climate and the growing assumption that individuals can design and decorate by themselves, everyone needs to operate more efficiently. Designers need to offer more value to their clients and dealers must find new ways to reach new buyers. Fortunately, Design Valet gives them those abilities.”
With a diverse pool of dealers from the U.S. and Europe—from mid-range to high-end furniture dealers (new, bespoke and antique), to rare and unusual fine-art dealers, Design Valet plans to continue expanding, adding hundreds if not thousands more in the coming months.
While Design Valet is not directly involved in the transaction—the site simply connects the dealer and designer and the sale happens off the site, therefore there are no commissions or mark ups—the quality of dealers is still a priority.
"Basically, whatever interior designers are sourcing for their projects, our dealer/vendors can provide," said Salk. "We are strictly looking for dealers of high-quality furnishings with impeccable track records. We are committed to assisting designers by making sure the dealers are exemplary.”
Design Valet is free for designers to use and dealers pay a membership fee. Designers can sign up online and dealers can request a membership. Each dealer will be reviewed and contacted by one of the Design Valet team members.
“This is an exciting time for our trade. Our designer members will have a way to add additional value to their client projects because their clients cannot access these resources,” said Salk. “What’s more, dealers no longer have to wonder from where their next sale might come.”