What Consumer-Facing Brands Resonate in Design?
By using brands that have that consumer cachet, designers can connect to their clients in ways that go beyond great design.

While the home décor industry is full of brands recognizable only to the trade and fashionistas, there are numerous brands that exist within our world that your Average Jane knows and loves. And it’s something that the smart interior designer can use to her advantage.

By using brands that have that consumer cachet, designers can connect to their clients in ways that go beyond great design.

But, some rug manufacturers say, while some brands matter more than others, the brand will only resonate if it’s got a logical home in the home furnishings arena. For instance, basketball legend Michael Jordan can sell shoes and sporting goods like nobody’s business, but a line of Michael Jordan rugs might not score in the marketplace.

"Celebrity brands are important if the celebrity is in the field of interior design," said Arash Yaraghi, a principal of Safavieh. "Consumers distinguish between celebrities and associate taste and workmanship of the product with the celebrity that they feel is an expert in that area."

Yaraghi pointed to Safavieh’s licenses with Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren as two such partnerships that bear fruit due to the names’ high Q-Scores among consumers looking to fill their homes with designer-approved product.

"Both have a home division. They’re involved in the home and home decorating. They’re the experts," he said.

There are numerous companies in the rug space who have similar partnerships in place that speak to the designer and consumer at once. Think Calvin Klein and Barclay Butera with Nourison, for instance; or Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Home brand with Loloi.

Satya Tiwari, Surya president, touted Candice Olson as a celebrity whose works resonate with consumers thanks to her HGTV appearances, and with designers, as she’s an interior designer herself.

"People love the fact that she understands their pain points and she still does projects," Tiwari said. "Designers love her because she understands their challenges in terms of decoration, price point, the finickiness of the client. She’s been one of the top designers we’ve licensed."

In recent years, Jaipur Living has partnered with designer Nikki Chu, as well as Kate Spade New York, a brand known for high-end feminine fashion. Those decisions were intentional, said Asha Chaudhary, president of the Norcross, Ga.-based manufacturer.

"If you look at our primary customer that is buying the products, specifically the designer products, it’s typically a woman. And, if you look at Kate or Nikki, they’re very female-oriented brands to begin with," she said. "A designer knows who Kate Spade is and what that brand stands for. The target customer for the Kate Spade brand is a woman, same for Nikki and who she’s designing for."

And as they’ve established themselves in the space, they’ve created their own distinct look that makes it easy for consumers to identify.

"I feel like both of the brands, whether it’s Nikki or Kate, they have such a strong aesthetic. Designers love things that have an aesthetic; that feel different and aren’t the same, me-too product they can find anywhere," Chaudhary said. "It’s the differentiation that these brands bring that appeal to interior designers."

Thomas Lester covers rugs, top-of-bed and a variety of other topics for Designers Today. In addition, he covers these subjects for several of Progressive Business Media’s properties, including Furniture/Today, Home Accents Today and Kids Today. He’s been a professional journalist since 2000, covering everything from local and major collegiate sports to local government, schools, crime and courts.

 

When he’s not working, Lester enjoys spending time with his wife and son, running, reading, watching football and baseball and playing music. He’s a decent enough bass guitarist and he’s starting to get the hang of the six string.