Digital design tool TODL (Trade Only Design Library), is getting retooled. TODL, which was founded in 1997 as a digital library of interior design product catalogs, has been relaunched as Steelyard, with a new digital platform that’s accessible online and via mobile device. Over time, it was developed into a resource for assisting designers, architects, builders and facility managers with finding, specifying and purchasing products.
“Since we opened our doors 18 years ago, we’ve never stopped focusing on design professionals and the brands that serve them,” said founder Stacey Tiveron. “Our innovative use of technology has enabled us to build a completely unique Wweb and mobile experience that flows with the actual process of design. We’ve streamlined the design process end-to-end, to enable professionals to digitally search, locate (online or in-person) spec, and organize products within projects, as well as initiate product orders. We’ve created a place where designers can work efficiently, seamlessly engage with the industry’s best brands, and be continuously inspired—all in a protected environment just for them."
Designer John Eason of John Douglas Eason Interiors uses the site to source particular products as well as save and categorize brands, including Baker, Hickory Chair and others. He calls it “an incredible way to organize my shopping lists, find products for clients and source lists from vendors/artists for future reference. It’s a great organizational tool.” He admits there are some hurdles: “There are still some glitches they’re working through with regard to narrowing the range of what you are looking to find. They could use more high-end vendors,” Eason says.
In addition to the rebranding, the site includes newly added functions like an improved search and project-management tools. For manufacturers, the site has launched a new analytics platform and sales portal. The customizable site can be tailored to designers’ preferences, including how they conduct a search. It also allows users to upload data outside of the site directly into project folders, with the option to tag favorite products, request samples and ask for pricing quotes. It also links users to markets, with tools to help designers plan visits to High Point Market, Hospitality Design Expo and Las Vegas Market.
Designer Michelle Workman of Michelle Workman Interiors uses the site for research, calling it a “virtual design assistant.” She explains, “It’s like the visual of Pinterest, but within a closed and protected community, so that I know my bottom line as a designer is protected.” Workman also appreciates the smaller scale of the site. “It is a place where newer and smaller manufacturers are placing their goods, vendors I don’t see at market, or in the design centers, which gives me a wider pool to specify from.” She echoes Eason’s concern about adding new brands, explaining, “I need to see more of the luxury brands, and more of my ‘go-to’ fabric houses, but I know they are working hard on that, and have already started to sign some of my favorite design center brands.”