You are a busy interior designer and the idea of starting something new, like a product line, might seem really challenging. The possibility of creating a new revenue stream, however, probably is very attractive. Diversifying your business in this way can give you a little extra security between design projects. Before getting started, consider the many options from which you can choose when deciding what type of product line you want to offer.
Perhaps you often have trouble finding an existing product that you know your own clients would want (and perhaps others, too). To meet this need, you may want to contact a manufacturer who makes something similar to see if the company can make a custom product exclusively for your line. With this option, there’s no need to worry about keeping a warehouse of goods, and many manufacturers are happy to drop ship for you.
If developing a new product seems too much of a stretch, there are other options. When you go to furniture fairs, antique markets or travel abroad, think about purchasing a small inventory of items to resell.
Setting Up Shop
No longer do you have to find showroom space or set up a brick and mortar shop to sell a product line. Online shopping is the fastest-growing revenue stream in retail today. Setting up an e-commerce solution for your website can be fairly painless.
A good Web developer and a couple of weeks could have you on your way to establishing this new source of cash flow. Many platforms offer ready-made themes for e-commerce, including Shopify, WordPress, Medium, and Magento. The right choice for you will depend on how your website is currently built and how large you would like your shop to be. Ask your developer for advice.
You also will need photography or photo-realistic renderings of your product line for the site. Good descriptions of your product will be extremely important. In the descriptions, be sure to include the words you hear your clients use rather than industry terms, because these are the keywords potential customers are more likely to search for when looking for a specific product.
Remember, the community of interior designers at ASID is here to help. Consult with your fellow members. Others designers can be a great source of information and possible collaboration.
In addition to your connections, there are many fantastic industry partners that can help you sell your products online. From Wayfair to One Kings Lane, you can decide to work with an e-commerce retailer to sell your product quickly, but at a lower profit margin, through a flash sale. Another option is to set up longer-term partnerships with e-commerce retailers that can help you spread the word and gain more sales.
To learn more about starting a product line, watch Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer and moderator to the Interior Design Community, and Laurie Laizure, founder of Customized Walls and the Interior Design Community in this Google+ Hangout as they share their personal experiences. You can also listen, via SoundCloud.
*The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on icon.asid.org represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled, do not represent the opinions or policies of ASID. This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice.