In the last few months, the Decorative Furnishings Association (formerly the Decorative Fabrics Association) has made preparations to take the next big steps toward its mission: creating more consumers of design.
At its most recent highly-charged meeting on the 44th floor of the Hearst Tower, sponsored by Veranda Magazine, DFA unveiled the concept for its new advertising campaign: "Why a Designer," which addresses the concerns affluent consumers have about using an interior designer.
The ads feature a notable interior designer successfully interacting with a client in a well-designed living room where children are playing. Below the image, statements of 'myth' vs. 'reality' are listed: "It's too expensive" — "We met our budget" and "We thought we would lose control"—"It's so us." It's the first campaign of this nature to be presented in the industry and is expected to launch at the end of this year.
"We are really excited about the creative theme that centers on the delightful relationship between client and designer," said Steve Nobel, DFA executive director and industry consultant.
DFA's research shows that among the affluent households that can afford an interior designer, only 15% actually use one. The campaign's goal is targeted towards the 85% who could be using professional design services. The research also shows when using a professional, affluent consumers are more apt to purchase investment pieces that hold value and retain integrity.
"We must sharpen our message about why working with a designer has so many benefits, and how designers can market their businesses accordingly," said Cary Kravet, acting President of DFA and founder of Kravet. "The DFA serves as a forum for industry to communicate a vision and plan for revitalizing the market."
Media outlets such as Veranda, organizations such as ASID and design centers including Cohen Design Centers, New York Design Center and Atlanta Decorative Arts Center and Denver Design District have made progress toward this goal by collaborating on a strategic plan.
Momentum for the campaign is growing via a series of Town Hall Meetings sponsored by media outlets and design centers throughout the country. They are intended to expand awareness of, support for and participation in addressing challenges facing the design ecosystem throughout the country. The organized and open discussion also provides for all voices representing all segments of the community to be heard.
Dara Caponigro, Editor of Veranda and Bill Peters, Browning & Chandler and Director of DFA.
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