When you walk into a room, you don’t think about where you put your keys down or how your living room is arranged. The furniture that your keys call home is just something you liked and bought. But what’s the story behind that piece? What inspired the designer to create that? Why those colors? Why that shape? I often ask myself these questions at my job. Little details that the normal consumer doesn’t even consider are the big questions that only designers can answer.
Interior decorating is an art in my opinion. The furniture designers are inspired by the things around them like fashion and street art to create their pieces. Even though I deal with high-end merchandise, I can see that stores like Target or Pier 1 ‘copy’ these high end looks at a much cheaper price. They aren’t the best quality but this allows hard working people to create a high-end look.
For example, this year’s fashion week in New York City, featured see through and plastic clothing from many well-known designers. Furniture designers took this inspiration and turned it into acrylic statement pieces. Now, these statement pieces are our best sellers in my office and I’ve been seeing them pop up everywhere. It adds a modern edge to a chair that used to be seen as ‘cheap’ or ‘mundane’.
Like journalism, you have to have a target audience. Not every look is appealing to every customer and you have to put aside your own opinions to try and please them. You have to take into account the environment and the atmosphere you want to create.
One thing I do at my job is market these amazing products for clients around the Tampa Bay Area. We represent more than 20 manufacturers in the biggest (and wealthiest) part of Florida. This gives us an advantage because a lot of clients are swayed by our opinion because they trust our knowledge in trends. The most important part of my job is to kind of predict the trends for the upcoming season and market those pieces or lines. The best way I do this is to look through the new products that we have and mark the ones that I think will do well in this region. We market toward the companies who have money (because who doesn’t) and we make them aware of the profit and business they’ll receive if they buy these pieces. I also do a lot of research in what’s trending in the fashion world and art world because it seems that a lot of designers are very influenced by this. I also like to look at interior design magazines that feature celebrity homes because some clients like to have what celebrities think are trendy pieces.
After that, the best way to market these pieces is to pair them with furniture that they would already have. This way it seems more plausible for them to put down the money for a new, daring piece. Also, people like to look at things visually when it comes to adding something new to a house or office.
Another thing that I’ve learned in this program that I’ve used in the working field is to know what you’re talking about. I would never go into a client meeting and list off fabrics and layouts that I have no knowledge in. Just like writing an article, there’s no such thing as too much research. This way, you know what you’re talking about and better yet, the client trusts you. The business I work for is more face-to-face and personal than writing for a newspaper but I think the skills I’ve learned in my various electives have helped me tremendously.