Yesterday, I had the chance to participate in what I hope is the beginning of a series of discussions between manufacturers, the media, and the interior design community concerning the future of our industry. This provocative, very interesting and lively discussion took place on the grounds of Philip Johnson’s Glass House, as stimulating an atmosphere for this topic as one could find.
DJ Carey, Editorial Director of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, hosted this roundtable of top designers and manufacturers’ reps, including Thom Filicia, Barbara Ross, Catherine Cleare, Charlotte Barnes, Pat Healing, Linherr Hollingsworth, Philip Gorrivan, Matthew Smyth, Anthony Baratta, Terri Eagle, President of F. Schumacher and Co. and me. We discussed the recession’s impact on our industry, and how we can come together to address some of our shared challenges and find common solutions.
As we all know, the recent recession hurt the design and home furnishings industries more than most, and different segments of the supply chain reacted in very different ways. Some companies went from wholesale to wholesale/retail; some from showroom only to showroom/e-commerce/retail distribution. Some designers changed their business model completely, some changed their client mix and others took work they might not have taken in better times. Many smaller suppliers, especially artisans and suppliers of product componants, either disappeared or were threatened.
Not everyone survived the recession – and even the survivors were deeply affected by this economic catastrophe. From designers to manufacturers, artisans to showrooms, we were all affected – and we must all come together for the good – in fact, for the survival – of our industry.
DJ did a great job leading us and guiding us, and then off we went as a group to tour The Glass House and the other architecturally significant buildings on the site.
It is my hope that this is the first of a series of discussions that might lead to positive steps that can be taken to improve the design industry as it moves forward into a new era.