Posts tagged ‘Design Economy’

Redefining Luxury

Contemporary luxury is, in large part, removed from product. Most consumers today describe luxury as immaterial: time, peace of mind, space, tranquility, etc. Luxury is what is missing from our over-scheduled, over media-ed society, and what’s missing is certainly not product!

So how do you take your product offerings, your skills, your services and redefine them in the client’s mind as a form of contemporary luxury? Take a look at the success of California Closets. They took the process of reorganizing your closet (ugh) and transformed it into a vision of your home as a calm, well-thought out space. (aaah) 

How does what you do:

     * provide more free time (for family/friends/personal interests)?
     * create more or improved space in the home?
     * improve peace of mind?

Think about your products and services in terms of what intangible things you’d most want in your life and try out some messaging around this dematerialized sense of luxury.

1 May 2008 at 3:36 pm 1 comment

National Press Opportunity: Act NOW!

A freelance reporter for BobVila.Com is looking for window treatment specialists for a piece she’s working on. Here’s her request: 

“I am looking for information about all the available options in
window coverings for a piece I’m working on for BobVila.com. From
protective films to Roman shades to blinds encased in double-paned
glass, I want to hear about all the options consumers have. I also
am looking for ideas on when it’s best to use each option.”

Deadline: 5:00 pm CST, April 23.

For many of you, “getting press” especially national, was listed as a goal on one of your first assignments. Well here’s your chance: Go for it!

contact: alyson(dot)english(at)gmail(dot)com

16 April 2008 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

Four Great Content Ideas…

When it comes time to work on your business, rather than in your business, do you sometimes struggle with what to include in your next newsletter or an interesting theme for your next promotion? If so, here are four easy and effective ideas.

1. What’s the biggest design disaster you’ve experienced and the lesson you learned? 
I know it seems counterintuitive to tell your clients and potential clients
how you may have screwed up in the past; but people want to deal with
people, not faceless, soulless corporations, and people make mistakes.
Or, if you feel uncomfortable being that confessional, flip the concept
and explain how you solved an unusual decorating dilemma.  

2. Offer a time-saving tip.
Everyone realizes that in our over-scheduled world, time is indeed
a luxury. So give your audience a time-saving tip: how to clean blinds
faster and easier, how to organize their design inspiration files, the
top five questions they should ask when interviewing a designer, etc.

3. Give them an “Industry Insider’s” secret or perspective.
Consumers today are information sponges, looking to absorb as much
as they can about a subject that interests them. Help them out by
giving them some insider knowledge: a drapery dressing or styling
trick; a preview of new fabric collections or products that won’t be
launched for a few months yet; it can even be as simple as defining
a few industry specific terms for them.

4. Provide a tutorial or guide for a complicated process.
This is a bit like #3 above, but more detailed and specific. It could
be in the form of word document, describing all the steps, it could
be a complicated pattern that you further customized, or it could
even be in the form of a video. Perhaps you have a complicated
install coming up: A series of time-lapse photos, showing your
arrival in the morning, the removal of the current window treatments,
the process of installing the new treatments, the dressing and styling,
the clean-up, etc. All of sudden it’s hours later…and that’s just one
part of the job! This concept of giving away a bit of your specialized
knowledge helps the consumer truly see that there’s in much more
involved than they ever realized!

Are any of you already using any of these approaches? If so, please tell us about your experiences.

15 April 2008 at 2:32 pm 2 comments

Storytelling: The Followup

At the DBRx meeting in Atlanta, we started you off with the “10 stories” scenario. Here’s one way to take that idea and apply it more directly to your business.

Ask yourself:

What has happened in your life, good or bad, that would be the most useful to share with others?

Answering this question helps define what separates you from all the other design choices out there. Because most likely whatever services you provide and skills that you offer, there was a path that led you to want to do what you do—and people are interested in that path. Telling people your story—how you got to where you are and why you are doing what you do—makes a connection. It helps potential clients get to know you, learn to like you, and to trust that you are who you say you are.

This story, your story, will help you answer the “So, what is it you do?” question with more than just the generic “I’m a designer”, or “I’m a window treatment specialist.” It gives you an authenticity and uniqueness that no one else can match…because no one else has your exact story.

The goal is to be able to answer the “What is it you do?” question with a honest, clear and compelling statement that leads them to then say…“That sounds really interesting, I’d like to know more…”

Remember, being a designer is no longer enough.  Design clients, like all consumers today, want more. How do you make the design process faster, easier, more enjoyable, more entertaining, more fulfilling, etc. What is your design niche?

For example, if you were a high-school guidance councilor, saying, “I’m a guidance councilor“ is not particularly interesting. The person asking already has their own idea of what a guidance councilor is and does. However, saying, “I help kids plan and prepare for the future they believe in,” may just prompt them to ask, “Really? Tell me more…”

Ask your current clients what benefits they receive from working with you. You may be surprised by their answers, and those answers will help you craft a compelling answer to the “What do you do?” question. When you ask your clients this question, get them to think past the superficial. Ask them to get to the root of what value your service gives to their lives. Ask them to describe the most enjoyable, most surprising and/or most unexpected aspect of doing business with you. 

14 April 2008 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

Story-selling

We started out the DBRx Atlanta session with the 10 Stories exercise…and I know some of you probably thought we were a bit odd! But just this week I received an e-mail promotion from a show called the Buyers Market of American Craft.

Part of an e-mail promotion for the Buyers Market of American Craft

This is a perfect example of story-selling, giving a bit of personal history, individuality and authenticity to a designer in what I’m sure is the very crowded jewelry-design market. Which of the 10 stories does this sound like?

12 April 2008 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

Window Shopping and the Wall St. Journal

A recent article in the Real Estate section of the Wall Street Journal Online provided interesting insight into the mind of “semi-typical” (quotes mine) consumer when it comes to buying custom window treatments. The writer test-shopped five different options, four shop-at-home brand name services and one online service.

There are two things that really stick with me about this piece: First, the appreciation the writer feels for the non-window design suggestions she was given and two, her seemingly instinctive price resistance to the actual window treatment suggestions.

Take a look and let us know what you think.

9 April 2008 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

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