I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME : Purpose & Inspiration – DKOR Interiors Visits Isaloni 2014
“I will never be the same” was what one of my interior design colleagues shared with us after only one day of visiting the Isaloni fair.
This had been my second year at Isaloni but this year was different. We were invited by Federlegno as a their guest to visit the trade show and see first hand why Italian designers and manufacturers are amongst the best in the world! DKOR Interiors represented luxury interior design firms from the United States – “WOW!” What an honor.
Even when we had arrived to Milan, we didn’t really understand the profound mission of Federlengo and our participation as interior designers until we began speaking to the vendors first hand.
What’s happening here is that there is a decline in the Italian furniture market to the European consumer because of the economic struggles that Europe is enduring. The lack of capital is affecting tremendously the furniture industry and even putting many of them at risk, especially the emerging designers and manufacturers. The Italian manufacturers are now entering a global market and the global competition is now very present. As in any business, the first step in growth is understanding your consumer, their needs and expectations. We were brought here to help educate them on what the American market is looking for on a high-end residential level. A lot of the interviews that we did, including one with the Business Journal of Milan, was based on how we thought they could increase their presence in the U.S.
We suggested the following:
1. CULTURE (you know I love that word :))
Some of the manufacturers do not seem to understand the demands that our clients have on us. Our DKOR team understands this well. Our clients need to have pricing, samples, feedback, lead times and better customer service from the factories to the vendors and thus trickling down to us and lastly to the client in order for them to feel confident that their pieces will be of great quality, on time and exactly what they expected. This also allows them less time to give up and look for something locally, cheaper and not half as great as the “knock off” version that they can get “next day.”
It is so important for us to see their products in person. For this we suggest the following:
a. Offer the vendors a better price on showroom samples. Our clients tend to go with what they can see in person – maybe they have confidence in a brand and might purchase a piece without seeing it but for the most part, they go with what their friends talk about (ugh) or what they see in person in the showroom.
b. Pop up stores. It would be great to have the opportunity to see an array of vendor offerings, even if just for a short and limited time. These trade shows are amazing but they are not often local enough to satisfy our client’s needs to see, feel, smell and touch the actual products. Thinking out of the box, we suggested sending over containers that can rotate from city to city. Whatever the solution may be, we need one fast because the typical conventions are too expensive and are not getting enough attention.
One of the most frustrating and consistent hurdles we deal with is transportation of materials. Ideally, we would love to find a company that will work with both designers and consumers directly to ship to the U.S. This way, that company is solely responsible for the importing and the designers can buy direct. Otherwise, the designers end up waiting for their local vendors to fill their own containers thus cutting the lead times in half.
Isaloni is like being a small child at FAO Schwarz in New York City for the first time; absolutely overwhelming! These showrooms invest thousands of dollars, hours and manpower to show off their creativity not only in the pieces that they represent but in their unconventional staging spaces. Remember, this is a seven day event and all of these installations are then brought back down.
Here are a few examples of the beautiful displays: