Sunday, July 3, 2011

Interesting thoughts on the independent kitchen/bath design industry

      Today I read an article in Modenus Blog. I want to share this article with you. Not only is wonderfully written but it reflects exactly what I feel is happening to our industry. Here is the link to the blog post.  Darren Morgan is the author of this article. Thank you Darren for sharing your insight.

 Modenus interior design blog  

    Below are a few responses from designers around the world that I noted as having interesting points to make.

Brendan Watson • "In my experience the very best Design comes 'through' the designer, not from the designer.
The best Design expresses *itself * to the eye of the beholder with little need for superfluous commentary or promotion.
The best Designers understand that talent and ability are not *dependent* on recognition, awards and celebrity status, though these may well follow.
The best kitchen design practice is a collaborative and cooperative enterprise of which Design is just one (significant) component. Project management, for example, is a very significant component and also has to be intelligently 'designed'.
The client,her aspirations and expectations, are at the heart of this, not the designer."    

 pete walker        
"If it were easy, everyone would be doing it...people who fail to research the road ahead of them will likely find bandits or natural disasters to navigate."

"Design = thoroughly researched intent. People who believe they can go to Home Depot or equal on a Saturday and have a kitchen installed by Monday deserve what they get."

"We as designers need to focus on our own practices or businesses instead of complaining about what these people do...they weren't ever our clients in the first place. Complaining about others' business models is...not focusing on our own."

"Be great at what you do. Run an organized, systematic business, in an honest way. Don't plan on becoming a millionaire, this isn't the business for that. Enjoy your life as a result of the gratification that comes from helping your client achieve their goals."

"Remember they cannot ever pay enough for what you do for them: what you do is permanent; the money they pay you disappears all too soon."

Ann Porter                                           

"I am a sole proprietor. I offer kitchen and bath designs but I opened a boutique showroom not too long ago because I feel it's important for customers to touch and feel the cabinetry so they better understand what it is they are getting."

"I've noticed a new trend of manufacturers selling directly to builders and while this may be a nice opportunity for people who only offer design services, it does nothing to promote the value of a kitchen and bath designer. If K&B designers only work under contractors I fear their value (and compensation) will mostly likely fall to the level of a draftsman working behind the scenes."
"So spot on! Well said, well done. This needs to be shown and discussed to everyone in our industry. It's been slow, yet it's been extremely quick at the same time. The Internet, the economy, the influx of knockoff cheap imports have all help erode our industry at a momentous pace. Manufacturers who do not defend their products from massively discounted Internet sales are aiding & abetting and will soon see the demand for their products vanish. No matter how cheaply they are sold. Designers and Showrooms are being barraged at every corner and I sincerely feel it has to begin from the Manufacturers policies and then having the backbone as a industry enforce them. A very few manufacturers really get it. Some see the writing on the wall as they overlooked it but now see large wholesalers importing their own lines and cutting their products back, They don't know what to do. They know they need to get back to basics, get back to the party with the ones who brought them. But they're afraid and don't kn ow how. They made their bed and are trying to figure out what next? As designers and Independent Showroom operators, we must work together. The large Wholesalers and Manufacturers who choose to bypass us all are not our allies, not our friends. Their greed is so large a appetite it cannot stop, only consume. The quotes I've heard from our "friends" would shock you, they do not care who they sell to. Period! So don't be fooled that they are "really interested" in your input, your voice. If they are supporting the giants that are all bypassing you the Designer, you the Showroom operator, then ask "why am I supporting their cause, because of their name?" Support the Manufacturers and Showrooms who really do look out for your interests, who really do want to help. Don't let them devalue the services and knowledge you provide by taking away all of your tools and selling on price."
          All of these designer have wonderful points in the responses. I feel our industry must find a new path. The economy has changed and our industry needs to change with it. We can not simply keep doing business the same way expecting different results. Just changing employees is not the answer either. The change must be a the core of the business. How do we want to define our industry? The successful designers and companies have looked deeper and adjusted the way they do business. And as a Independent designer I feel we must change or get left behind.
Sincerely Yours
Angie Keyes CKD

1 comment:

  1. Great perspective Angie - I appreciate Ann's insight on the need for clients to touch and feel the cabinetry.

    It is very interesting to hear designers speak about their businesses in such a candid way.