I drove down to Laguna Niguel yesterday to hear DwellStudio Founder and Author Christiane Lemieux talk about outdoor design trends and to introduce her gorgeous, new line of outdoor fabrics with Robert Allen for Sunbrella®. NYC based Lemieux was one of the pioneers of online, interior design retail and like me, she was born and raised in Toronto. But what I didn’t know until I hit the licensing show last year was that we share the same alma mater. (Yesterday I learned we graduated in the same year!) When I found out Harsey & Harsey had invited her to speak, I cleared my schedule.
ask a better question
At industry events, in rooms full of designers,I’m usually the one asking questions out in “brand” field. This time though, I had a nice segue. During the presentation, Sunbrella’s VP talked about the company as a brand-focused one, which is not surprising given the fact that the company has been a category leader in marine and outdoor fabrics for 50 years. Robert Allen’s been at it for 70 and although DwellStudio is the new kid on the block, it was the company’s focused branding, that in early days had a timely emphasis on adventure, color and being green, that helped it carve out a niche.
Although the synergy between the brands was obvious, when I asked each company what the most compelling reason was for their alliance, the answer I got was an important one. Branding is a shortcut to the buying decision. In a crowded marketplace, customers know what each of these distinctly defined brands mean. So when they’re presented with a new collection book bearing the logos of all three, the purchase is pretty much a done deal.
In the case of Lemieux’s new collection, the three logos signify an adventurous palette of color and pattern, on fabrics inspired by beach-bungalow living and design destinations like Morocco and Brazil. They mean fabrics that are recommended by the skin cancer foundation, that are resistant to water — hydrophobic — and won’t grow mildew or be bleached by the sun. And to someone like me, they mean fabrics whose manufacturing processes don’t add waste to landfills. Anyone with a dog, kids or who loves living their life outdoors will be more interested in how can I get some, than they will about the cost.
The same goes for you as an interior designer. When you position yourself as a compelling brand, your customers make good and quick decisions to contract your services. When clients know what your brand promise is, what the key components of your visual aesthetic are and how your rooms make them feel, they’re willing to pay you what your worth.
What’s your favorite thing about the Dwell Studio brand?