Skip to content

Donghia Spring 2012 Textile Collection

January 11, 2012

Here we are in January 2012! The year of the dragon- the first year of the post-recession economy! The first year of whatever comes next! I am off to Deco-Off and Maison et Jardin, the exciting decorative interior shows in Paris, and I thought I would share with you some sneak previews of the new beautiful Donghia Spring Textile Collection being launched there! You can see these elegant textiles  in Paris next week, or anywhere in America in February! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!

December 29, 2011

Just a quick note to wish everyone a happy, healthy, profitable, and successful 2012! I wish each of you joy and peace in your life as we end 2011 and start 2012. Happy New Year!

Ideas for Designers

December 28, 2011

The above headline was the original intent of this blog during the worst of the recession. Lots of ideas and suggestions, from one designer to another, were shared using this medium as the messenger, and I am grateful to have heard from many designers that they read this blog, tried a new idea for their business, and it worked!

One of the best is the idea of adding services to your existing business. What do I mean?

If, for example, your design business has moved from regular interior design into assisted-living, ageing-in-place design services for wealthy baby boomers (smart you!!), then consider offering more than design services. Often this client is at a very delicate time in their lives and needs to rely on someone they really can trust, ie you! For instance:

  • Why not help with the entire downsizing process? Provide an expert (billed through your firm, or with your firm getting a fee for service to set this up and manage it) to appraise their posessions and work with you and the client to decide what to keep for the new home, what to sell, and what to give away. Often, clients think certain posessions are of great value when in fact they are not. An appraiser can take the sting out of this discovery, and help you remove the items from the inventory.
  • Provide a service to discreetly sell off unwanted furnishings, again through your firm. Suddenly those antiques they inherited might not work for them any more, but might produce revenue both for them and for your company! You can find, approve and bring in a re-seller (E-Bay seller?) to handle this sort of thing for them.
  • Help them with their real estate decisions. Often, the interior designer is their most trusted business relationship. Unlike their attorney, you have the keys to their house! If that is the case, people, as they age, rely more and more heavily on those they truly trust. So, you can really help them by vetting a real estate professional ahead of time who can work with your clients as they make one of the most difficult transitions in their lives. This is also true of insurance brokers and companies (Long Term Health Care?). These may not directly reward you, but word will get out that you really help with a wide assortment of services and come through for your clients in many more ways than just design, and that will bring more business, guaranteed! You might end up with a consulting portion of your business that is tangentially related to interior design, and an additional profit center. Why not?
  • Provide reliable moving/storage and other services, all billed through you, or all billed directly but with your firm getting a fee for service.

This sort of service expansion can work in any business. For regular design services bring in architects, landscape architects, appraisers, movers, etc, again all under your auspices and all vetted and approved by you and your firm. Providing more comprehensive service to existing clients is one way of expanding your business in a flat environment. In this case, the expansion comes through developing a trusted network of service providers that you can bring into the client relationship as required. It helps the client, it helps you, and word-of-mouth praise for your firm, a designer’s primary marketing tool, becomes even more positive and powerful.

It’s and idea. Try it!

Donghia Flagship Showroom in NY

December 22, 2011

In October, Donghia opened its finest showroom in New York to rave reviews! Below are a few images of the lifestyle section of the showroom, which comprises 50% of the total showroom space. The second half is devoted to an extraordinary collection of textiles and wall coverings featuring some of the most exquisite fabrics woven in the world.

I urge everyone who reads this blog to come visit this inspirational showroom! This space is so magnificent that it has changed what designers expect when going to a trade showroom. Come take a look!

Maison de Luxe – Greystone

December 20, 2011

Check out this exciting photograph from Jamie Drake’s room using Donghia furniture and textiles at the Greystone Doheny Mansion in Beverly Hills, CA.

This was not an ordinary showhouse, but a showplace. I urge you to visit it!  Other beautiful rooms include designs by Barry Dixon, Timothy Corrigan and many others.

The Original Intent of This Blog

December 18, 2011

When A Glass Half Full was started, things looked particularly bleak for the interior design industry! Starting in 2008, and continuing through today, we have experienced four years of belt-tightening, and many of the members of our ranks have left the business. Hundreds of showrooms have closed, and thousands of interior designers have merged, quit, or gone into new professions. And yet-

There are hundreds of new design firms sprouting up all over the country! Many of the very top firms are busier than they have been in a very long time. A lot of domestic hospitality work is coming back to American design firms across this country. Health Care, Aging In Place and Assisted Living interior design projects are exploding and creating jobs everywhere. Our showrooms are far busier than they were (thank you all), and the supply chain that supports the merchandise we sell is starting to strain at the increase in volume in our industry. That glass is going to have more water in it!

So, for 2012, we just might have a good year! I know that sounds strange, after four years of this “stay-cession”. But if you are an interior designer reading this right now, go to the section called “Ideas for Designers”, because many of these are working for designers and all came from designers as suggestions. Try some new ideas. Adapt your business and, for instance, expand the services you offer- you may not need more clients if you can provide more for your existing clients!

Recently ASID came out with a terrific book on just this subject, and I urge you to get it. It is called “Interior Design in the New Economy”. It is very much worth using as a guideline. It is also gratifying that many of the ideas in that book match the ideas that came from the design audiences across America that attended my talks in 2009-2010! So all of you, and ASID must be on the right track.

Good luck to all in 2012. Let’s keep filling that glass so that half full becomes overflowing for our wonderful industry.

To all of you I wish a wonderful holiday season!

Crans Baldwin

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2011

Every year, at our house, whenever family and friends are gathered at the table, we go around the circle or rectangle and ask people to tell us all what they are most grateful for. So, as an industry, for those of you who read this blog, maybe you could add to the gratitude list I am working on! Send in your own messages of gratitude and I can post them. For me:

I am grateful for the health of my family, and for my own health as well.

I am grateful for good friends, both personal and in the wider interior design community across this fascinating planet.

I am grateful for 38 years of steady employment, 37 years of marriage, 34 years of parent-hood, 27 years without a cigarette, and “an attitude of gratitude”.

I am grateful that so many of our clients and my friends and acquaintances are recovering from the “Stay-Cession” that still sits over us like pollution, and are finding ways to adapt, survive, and even thrive amid the endless drumbeat of bad news.

I wish you all a thankful Thanksgiving. Hug someone! Do something nice for someone else and don’t tell them! I will try to do the same.

Let me close with a message from Ralph Waldo Emerson via our good friends Marvin Wilkinson and Arthur Ellsworth-\

For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson