DesignerInc, a newly launched database cataloguing hundreds of thousands of trade-only product from brands including Kravet, Stark and Hickory Chair, lets designers search across various filters, including name, category, manufacturer, price, dimensions and color. DesignerInc was founded by CEO Heather Gillette, former manager of YouTube operations and founder of NousDecor (the flat-fee online interior design firm of which the new database is now a B2B part), with NousDecor’s chief designer, Mark Cutler. It was officially launched with a presentation at Kravet during High Point Market.
The tool, which is currently free but will eventually be subscription-based, lets designers save and curate items using a feature called My Project, as well as share individual project pages to clients—sans pricing details if they prefer. The site doesn’t manage payment, though it may eventually; it links designers directly to the manufacturers’ websites, and it can also place orders on behalf of designers.
DesignerInc is the answer to a challenge its founders were facing: The NousDecor design team were spending about 42 percent of their time sourcing, as opposed to designing. “There wasn’t anything out there that would do that for us,” says Gillette. With the debut of DesignerInc, which currently counts over 1,000 designers as members, that sourcing percentage has dropped to 25 percent.
Beth Krupa, principal of Beth Krupa Interiors in Greenwich, Connecticut, names the challenges she runs into while sourcing product as “out of general design focus or price point. For example, I’m working with a client who loves the Pacific Northwest feel. Specifically, I needed an overly large cocktail table with an iron base and casual wood top. Designerinc.com allowed me to search many, many vendors at once...by size, etcetera, and get what I needed.”
The tool searches across the spectrum from low- to high-end. Explains Cutler, “This is how I really design. We use some inexpensive stuff in the guesthouse and pool house, and expensive stuff in the living room. It was important to have sources from across the board.”
As for what kind of projects she’d use the tool for, Krupa reflects, “[Y]ou’d probably start with needing multi-vendor sourcing for items you don’t have an expertise or comfort level with, but I can see this in any project, for anything. For me, seeing the [founders] and looking at their background really made me take notice. They were solving their own sourcing problems with technology and organization, and it looks like they’ve come up with a solution all of us interior designers will find valuable.”