Dan Cahoon, the Decorative Furnishings Association’s (DFA) newly elected president, reiterated the organization’s mission at the annual meeting this month: To lead the system of supply and distribution of decorative furnishings to the interior design trade while increasing consumer awareness and access to the trade. Part of this mission is charting the course for consumers and trade across the country.
“Progress is on a deliberate pace,” said Cahoon. “Our members have united to ‘widen the funnel,’ as Cary Kravet put it years ago, between consumer demand and our system of supply."
Through a grant made by the Angelo Donghia Foundation, the DFA is now able to produce seminars on business strategies and best practices that enable designers to attract clients and operate successfully during this transformative period. In addition, the DFA will continue to collaborate with ASID’s professional development efforts to spread the message across the country in the coming year.
“Mr. Donghia was a big supporter of the profession and this grant enables us to further strengthen the loyalty between the design profession and the trade resources,” said Cahoon.
Looking ahead to the new year, the DFA has mapped out its course of action as follows:
- Media partners will continue to run the DFA ad, encouraging consumer awareness of and access to the trade for their home decoration.
- Showrooms will welcome all visitors so the industry may present products in their most favorable light, urge them to enjoy the benefits of working with a professional and at all times be clear about business practices.
- Members will invite designers to attend the educational programs produced by the DFA with support from the Donghia Foundation.
The design centers (through DFA’s affiliation with Design Centers International) will tailor their marketing campaigns and plans for events that seek to introduce affluent consumers to the design community.The meetings guest speakers Andrea Sanders, senior VP and creative director for Americana Manhasset, and Michael Phillips, chief operating officer of Jamestown, L.P., emphasized the need for design centers and showrooms to learn more about marketing to the affluent consumer. They suggested making the showroom shopping experiences similar to other luxury venues.
The new owners and operators of the Boston Design Center also shared their views on what it takes to create destinations that provide luxurious customer experiences.
“Be bold, take risks and be patient,” said Sanders. “Some of the most discerning consumers in the nation come to us because we are more than just the sum or our parts. Think going on spark vitality.”
“As we cross-over to a new way, we are evolving with our tenants to create great experiences for their customers,” added Phillips.
The meeting was held in the auditorium of the Hearst Tower, hosted by Kate Kelly Smith and the Hearst Design Group. More than 50 members attended including Jobst (Jobi) Blachy, president of Rose Tarlow/Melrose House, who was elected as a new director of the DFA.
“Jobi’s election is an example of our intention to have DFA’s mission extend throughout the country,” said Cahoon. “We are planning meetings in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas and New York. Some will coincide with ‘match-making’ events with designers and prospective clients, while others will feature educational programs.”