After the New York Design Center and 1stdibs jointly announced this summer that their seven-year association would end, the newly named The Gallery at 200 Lex is getting a tech-savvy refresh. As of November 1, the space will be digitally powered by e-marketplace InCollect.
In preparation for the new collaboration, InCollect founder John Smiroldo took a hard look at the retail landscape—and found several places where he wanted to augment the shopper experience. He noticed that being able to ask questions (and get answers) quickly, having a fact sheet of information readily available, and the ability to “Like” (i.e., save) favorite items—all efficiencies users get online—weren’t often options in stores or showrooms.
“Brick-and-mortar is here to stay, but needs to integrate seamlessly with digital,” Smiroldo tells Business of Home. “We’ve seen inferences to it, as evidenced by Amazon's growing brick-and-mortar footprint. The goal is to marry the two—bring the best of online and bring it to brick-and-mortar.”
Achieving that marriage began with outfitting The Gallery at 200 Lex’s 33,000 square feet with a digital footprint. Each of the 7,000 some products on the NYDC’s 10th floor gets a QR code-enabled tag. Using a custom iOs app, “200 Lex Powered by InCollect” (which also debuts on November 1), or any of the eight smart devices at the Gallery’s front desk, visitors will be able to scan the codes to learn more about the antique piece, save it to a project board or make an offer. Each item is cataloged on the app, meaning designers can request a hold on an item prior to visiting the gallery. For those seeking a specific item, the online search bar will help filter products, then alert the shopper of its vendor booth location.
“We’re kind of the antithesis of the internet,” says Smiroldo with a chuckle. “We’re using the internet to drive people to brick-and-mortar and to build brands, as opposed to building these monolithic corporations like Amazon. Our goal at InCollect is to help gallery owners and dealers market their brands and become discoverable.”
This aligns with the priorities of many InCollect vendors, for whom the promotion of their brand name on the site holds as much value as making an actual sale. It’s one of the differentiators that won over Bradfield & Tobin interior designer Roric Tobin, who debuted his New York–manufactured, custom furniture collection on InCollect this week.
“I’ve worked with Geoffrey Bradfield for 16 years, and we’ve been partners for years too, but there’s sort of this transition phase where I want to build my own name,” Tobin tells BOH. “[The collection] is a way to do that without compromising our partnership and the interiors business. This is something that bears only my name, it’s entirely my designs, and it only enhances our partnership name.”
While the 12-piece Roric Tobin Collection is now available on InCollect’s New & Custom section, the NYDC space is reserved exclusively for antique and vintage dealers. Almost all of the gallery’s vendors will remain in The Gallery at 200 Lex following 1stdibs's exit; InCollect also brings eight new vendors to fill in the remaining spots.
“What I love about 200 Lex is that [NYDC president and CEO] Jim Druckman and I have a similar vision,” says Smiroldo. “We have a small-business focus, and we really want to drive that home. We love the home space and design world. Jim understands that the gallerists and the dealers are the eco-system of the antique and vintage business. Without them being promoted and supported, this business will not survive.”