January 2, 2013
Featured Designer: Dennis Miller
New York, NY | http://www.dennismiller.com
The gleaming white floors and walls of the Dennis Miller Associates showroom at the New York Design Center showcase some of the most beautiful, premium contemporary products in the city. Having the right product is essential to the success of a trade showroom and having a great team to create and execute the designer luxury experience is equally essential. DMA has both.
When I first met Dennis in 2009 at the showroom seminar series that I was conducting for the NYDC, I was surprised that Dennis attended every sales and coaching session, and then went beyond that to bring me in to work independently with his sales team. It was my naiveté that had me be surprised; if I knew Dennis as well then as I know him now I would have known to expect Dennis to be always learning, listening, thinking about what’s next, about growing his business, about gaining the competitive edge. He’s smart, talented, perceptive, a skilled architect and designer, a lover of fine design and exquisite quality, and an astute businessperson. In short, he’s fabulous and I’m honored that he agreed to be part of the Designer Series. I hope you enjoy him as much as I do.
1. What are the biggest changes you have seen to the industry and to your business in the last 5 years?
Biggest changes in the industry and our business: The end-user client is much more informed and more demanding regarding the attainment of their “dream interior”. It is manifest through extensive knowledge of products, price points, accessibility and degree of customization. They are more informed about design. They push the design professional and the showroom to provide faster, cheaper, and more smoothly. There is no more mystique of the decorator giving access to “secret sources”.
This has been brought about by a few things: editorial coverage in shelter publications; the Internet, On-line shopping.
2. What have you done in your business to respond to those changes – and how is that working for you?
What have we done in our business to address those changes: improved operation of the website; offering Sale and Quick Ship items on view on the website. Increased advertising in shelter magazines. The new Quick Ship program is available to designers; we have mailed brochures to a targeted group, and send a general eblast. We have aligned ourself with Bolier, who offers a complete “in-stock” program of many items.
At the same time, we educate the designer and the end-user of the value of the bench-made carefully designed product; and the importance of waiting for excellent production.
3. What do you predict for the future of the interior design industry – and how can designers prepare for that?
What do we predict for the future: interior designers will continued to be challenged by retail stores and online stores: for price point, for availability, for new design. The quality of design is excellent from these sources; the quality probably less so. Designers must explain that to their clients.
And they may not continue to have clients, as retail stores reach out with design services. The desirability of couture, bench-made products is diminishing, as publications promote mixing and even entire projects obtained from mass-market design stores. Designers have to emphasize their education and expertise, not just their sourcing ability. And they must educate the client to appreciate quality.