In this first instalment, architect and designer, Jonathan Muller, shares his expertise on how to increase your turnover of locally designed and constructed furniture tenfold…..Or even more!
You don’t do it by clinging to an outdated business model where powerful retailers call the shots via ‘exclusive’ supply deals on your products while lining them up against your competitor’s in the showroom.
You don’t do it by narrowing your local domestic market down to loyal but ageing customers while the next generation will shop elsewhere for ‘their’ style of products. Domestic furniture manufacturers need to be noticed by those who choose products. The only way to put ‘more bums on seats’ is to have your products specified on projects by architects and Interior designers. And the best way to get specified is by promoting your products and services through downloadable images, 3D models and specifications on a website.
It works like this:
Step 1. In the Interior design department of a typical architectural firm, the furniture for a new apartment project is being chosen. Often a more junior designer is given the task of not only seeing reps from the usual importers and distributers, but also of trawling the web for products with the right ’look’.
Step 2. Once a chair or sofa catches their eye, that image is saved for inclusion on a ‘mood board’ for presentation to the client. If the client likes the look, then those products are tentatively specified, dependant on budget constraints and availability.
Step 3. As part of the presentation is the inclusion of ‘photo realistic’ 3D Renders (and sometimes animated walkthroughs) of what the Interior is going to look like. All by use of virtual technologies.
Step 4. 3D models of furniture are added to the interior ‘scenes’ to be rendered in one of three ways;
- Option 1. The specifier builds a 3D model of the item themselves. To expensive
and very rarely occurs, which means you miss out on that sale.
- Option 2. If no model on the actual website, find something similar and modify it
to vaguely resemble the actual item. Much simpler to find something else, which
can also often lead to ‘copying’, and again, you miss out on that sale.
- Option 3. They download a 3D model from the manufacturer’s website, YOU.
Bingo! You’re in with a chance.
Much easier to find a manufacturer who has a ready, downloadable model, even if it means changing the specification to a different product which often happens due to the lack of availability of 3D models
A quick check of global manufacturers will see that this process has been in use for some time, with varying levels of content available. The big guys have the resources to do this, but it will usually be deemed ‘too hard’ by smaller local manufacturers since they don’t have or know how to access the resources to achieve it. We can change that.
Stay tuned for next week’s tips on how to make the change.
Jonathan Muller is an architect who has designed furniture for a number of Australian manufacturers. He was an assistant to Fred Lowen at Module International and has been an Australia Council awarded designer/maker of timber furniture. More recently he was associate at a health planning and architectural practice with practical experience in ‘how’ products are selected for projects. His expertise is in architectural and Interior concept design and software rendering.
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