Interior designers will be your best repeat customers — if you can reach them.
As opposed to someone furnishing their new home with five bedrooms, designers may have five of those projects at one time. If you are interested in reaching top-tier interior designers, long after Las Vegas Market or other trade shows have ended, the answer is to be in a multiline trade showroom.
But square footage is a commodity, so competition is steep. A mattress is a hard piece to get on a multiline showroom floor because the likelihood that they will have more than one is slim.
Understand their priorities and be their solution
Multiline trade showrooms are working daily with designers who take on whole-home renovations, often with furniture budgets in the mid-six figures or higher. These are the designers who are going to be purchasing mattresses for their clients at higher price points.
Understand that their design does not start with their mattress selection, but finding the right one for the client that fits in with the rest of the design is important. When they find it they will buy repeatedly.
Designers value aesthetics, exclusivity, profit margins and options to customize. If you have a product that is at a lower price point, is easily accessible, or looks like many others on the market, chances are it will not be appealing to designers. If you have a product that is more exclusive and can be marked up both by a designer and a showroom, fighting for a spot on a multiline showroom floor may be a good fit for you.
Designers are less allured by gimmicks or technologies they cannot personally attest to than the retail consumer. Good designers charge a premium for their services and that comes with reputations to uphold. They want to be sure the product is time-tested from a performance and trend standpoint.
Gap in the designer-trade showroom market
Upholstery companies like Century, Vanguard, Lee Industries and Cisco, who prioritize designer business over direct-to-consumer models, provide solutions to each of the above issues. They understand a multiline trade showroom is not going to put all of their new sofas on the floor. They will be lucky if they get one on the floor that year.
One of their solutions is a “show sofa” to showcase a variety of options. Show sofas feature two different arms, two or three different cushions, and sometimes different legs or skirt options. Right now, there is not a mattress version that demonstrates the options available, exclusively, to designers.
Why designers use multiline showrooms
Great multiline showrooms offer incredible customer service and understand the designer business. The best ones handle lots of the sourcing and claims for the designers as well. They often go to trade shows and furniture markets so their designers don’t have to.
The multiline showroom, thus, is often a gatekeeper to accessing the top interior designers. The most important priorities for multiline showrooms in determining whether they will carry a line are respect for their profit margin and claims — how often they happen and how they are handled.
There is a glaring gap in the mattress market for the high-end designer consumer, and it is easy to see why. But showrooms and designers are waiting for the mattress brand that is up for the challenge of claiming the spot as the go-to designer mattress.