I received my copy of a Home Accents Today special issue magazine today. In it, I found an 'annual report' of sorts on the home accents industry. Lots of facts & figures, lots of info, and a few of those things just jumped out at me:
Consumers look for decorating ideas in magazines (67%), store displays (60%), tv design shows/channels (53%), and the internet (38%). Other sources are friends & family (43%), decorating books (36%) model homes (27%), and home shows (25%). Designer showcase homes, newspapers, interior designers, and store sales people are low down on the list at @ 10%. (I sure hope store owners are reading this study, and focus on those store displays!)
Only 4% of households in the study hired an interior designer. Reasons given by the 96% who didn't hire one include that they wanted to decorate by themselves (59%), Designers are too expensive (40%), didn't even think of hiring a designer (14%), they were afraid the room would be decorated in the designers' taste and not their own (10%), and they didn't know how to find a designer (6%).
O dear. I'm going to ramble here for a moment.
That whole 'designer ego' issue scares the bejeebers outta' people. Hildy Santo Tomas and Doug Wilson are very talented designers, but they did more damage than good on Trading Spaces when they forced their wacko design aesthetics on wary homeowners who were used to white walls and overstuffed couches. (CHICKEN FEATHERS ON A WALL???? Hildy, good lord, what were you thinking???!!!) I actually never say the words 'interior designer' when someone asks me what I do. It just conjures up horrified responses. I say 'Creative Visual Designer' and they look at me like ....'oooooohhhhhhhhhh', meaning they have no clue. Better than a jaw drop and rolled eyes!
This report has helped clear away a bit of the clutter in my head. I've been working on clarifying just where it is I want to take my business in the coming year...considering options, looking at new opportunities, facing changes that landed on my doorstep within the past month (two major clients making massive changes in January, ending my consultancy with them), and creating a new plan.
I do find it interesting that the Holiday retail reports on the news focused on the big box stores, with no info at all on independents. The women entrepreneurs I know reported that their sales - both online and in brick & mortar shops - were up over last year. Those news reports and the Home Accents Today articles did not take into account sales of handmade merchandise through blogs, web sites, or boutique brick & mortar shops. This avenue of retail is growing by leaps and bounds as we all redefine the way we shop, live, work, and interact.
Part of my plan is that I am going to focus on the 'end user' a bit more - the consumer who is buying boutique merchandise and furnishing her home with it. I want to provide inspiration & resources & information that will make the entire design process better, easier, more fun for her. I'll be looking at opportunities to speak at home shows & conferences for decorators, and writing for shelter publications. I am really excited about retreat, the new venture I've started with my husband. We are creating products out of vintage & reclaimed materials, driven by our philosophy of 'rethink, recreate, reuse' and selling them through booths in cooperatives, at shows, and eventually online.
I'm not cutting wholesale shows, retail clients, or gift shows out of my picture, by any means, but that realm is changing and so am I. 2008 will certainly bring changes, clarity, and challenge my way! And this Diva is ready......
....no chicken feathers required. wink.