selling to interior designers

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selling to interior designers

Postby Kwik Picture Framing » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:00 pm

We are looking to expand our customer base and sell to more interior designers but we find it very hard to get their attention and for them to remember us when selecting products for their projects.

Please express your ideas or let me know if you have any experience in selling products to a customer group like interior designers. Which magazine and trade journal is best to advertise on
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Re: selling to interior designers

Postby Not your average framer » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:49 am

I have sold to interior designers. At times it has been good, but it can be a bit hit and miss. Interior designers come and go, some make it for a while and then run out of customers, while others make it and decide to buy frames from somewhere else and keep more of the profit. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I don't there is any magic formula to getting into this market. It's about making the right connections, sometimes by chance.

Many interior designers are buying frames and artworks directly from specialist sources and much of this is from imported sources. The interior designers that I sell to are either people that I had got to know, or those who have approached me directly. Mainly it is my hand finished framing, or my ability to create stacked frames with large moulding profiles that get me the work. This can be a lot like the contract framing market.

Selling to interior designers is not always as profitable as some might suppose. Don't ever think you have a captive market, a lot of these people are very driven by price and are competing with other interior designers to secure work from their customers. They also don't like waiting for their work and can be very pushy. My experience is that I only get the orders for anything that the cannot get elsewhere and therefore cheaper.

I am working with a local interior designer, who is a personal friend and that's a lot more straight forward, than dealing with some.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer
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Re: selling to interior designers

Postby JFeig » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:38 pm

Other than with one large industrial account $75,000/yr. I found "infernal desacrators" (a Frank Loyd Wright coined term) to be very demanding. Others were a charm to work with.

Here are some of their traits:
-Always wanted a larger discount, even for one and two's.
-Often wanted a discount for their personal items, sometimes their only orders.
-Took as much time as an off the street customer.
-They thought that they knew more about design than I did.
-Always claimed to be exempt from sales tax, even for personal items
Jerome Feig CPF®
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Re: selling to interior designers

Postby Not your average framer » Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:53 pm

Here in rural Devon the economy is not all that helpful for everyone, when it comes to finding employment and there are those who have set themselves up as interior designers. Many are not formally trained and rely on knowledge gathered by watching television programs, youtube and reading magazines. Some do better than you might expect, but finding customers with money to spend is not necessarily easy.

Not all of the interior designers around here have the same ideas of what looks good and there's more than a few who want something in an old frame tarted up to look more marketable. They also buy bits and pieces on eBay, flea markets, car boots and stuff like that. Some of them are very good at buying and reselling stuff they have picked up here and there, but to be honest I think that most of them are just getting by and not making a fortune.

I reckon that the situation might be a lot different in more fashionable and trendy larger population locations, but if you don't mind the fact that not all of them have lots of money to spend and some are willing to accept a bit of give and take, there's still some useful business to be had. Being dependent upon people who are looking to spend money, it is also a volatile market and there's no telling when people are wanting to spend the money, or not.

It's probably worth doing a bit of research to know what sort of product works well in this market. I would not call myself an expert, but I have a few of the right sort of books and look at the right magazines while waiting in my local chinese take away. Some of these interior designers are looking for a bit of guidance, but at the same time don't like to appear out of their depth - you discretely help them and they hopefully will be back, but don't hold your breath, maybe they won't.
Mark Lacey

“Life is short. Art long. Opportunity is fleeting. Experience treacherous. Judgement difficult.”
― Geoffrey Chaucer
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Re: selling to interior designers

Postby A3DFramer » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:17 am

For years I sold to interior designers without realising it, because I sold to the wholesalers they went to. My product was on the walls of the places previously decorated, which they wanted a slice of the action, I made a rule not to bypass my main customer base, which was those outlets with multi-buyer potential and this loyalty soon got recognised and served me well.

It was galling when pure picture framing businesses tried to copy my product, but many fell beside the wayside and often I was able to tell the wholesalers the weakness in my competitors product before it got out there and did some damage. That was before the age of the internet, :giggle: I was able to deliver a van load of glass cases, onto the loading bay and see the packed selections leaving alongside on their outward journey. Thankfull that my product stood up to the rough and tumble of that journey, as copies made with 2mm glass lay discarded on the platform.

I find JFeig's description most entertaining and also accurate, love the term 'infernal desacrators', I wish I had had it to use when I was in business, it so accurately describes so many of the interfering Justins or was it Marcus' who got in the way of Fred the fitter, tripped over the tangle of electric cables, then complained about the painter, who helped him up but got paint on his £2000 full length raincoat, which completed the indoor image of the infernal desacrator.

Thanks to the wholesalers like Hugo Russel, Andy Thornton's, Turnpin Contracts, Inn Gear, Inn Fillers, Plum and Co., Dutch Connection, JJ Vaillant, Coach House Antiques I was able to design and develop my product. I suppose they are all, those still in business under the shadow of Amazon and the likes. I forget a few, who could slip into the lower category, working framers, who respected my specialty and I supplied them, with great pleasure. One told me as the great bonanza of pub decor was slipping away into minimalism, that his main source of supply was a Finnish outlet with large warehouses on the fringes of our larger cities.
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