The interior design industry desended upon the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood last week for West Week – an annual gathering to examine the latest products, styles, and trends for home decor. Kicking off West Week was an elite panel of experts discussing The Business of Design, sponsored by Architectural Digest.
Donna Livingston, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, Mimi London, and Stephen Shadley shared their beginnings in the design industry and answered questions on how to succeed during the current economic conditions. All are at the top of their field and recognized as Architectural Digest’s AD100 list.
When asked how to thrive during this economy, all emphasized that they are focused on the future. All but one offers product lines. Stephen Shadley principal works out of a live/work space in New York where he enjoys working late if necessary. Martyn Lawrence-Bullard stressed his products are highest in style and quality but price for a broader market. Commenting on his new candle line he shared “you may not spend thousands on furnishings, but almost everyone can afford a $30 candle”.
Donna Livingston shared “difficult times define who we are.” She went on to emphasis the importance of on-line networking and the power of blogs. Ms. Livingston’s portfolio has appeared in numerous international publications. Though she does not advertise she likes to feature “rooms of the month” for direct marketing pieces to clients.
Mimi London, like the rest of the panel emphasized the importance of learning the “business” in design. It’s not enough to be creative, you have to invoice, market, and make your business work. Those new to the industry were encouraged to began their careers working and learning in established firms before branching out on their own.
The organizing industry shares the same business principles as the design industry. Both industries work to make homes a place for enjoyment. The ability to work closely with clients and understand how they live is something both groups share.
The entire panel was optimistic for the coming year. While spending may not be as it was a year ago we all agree having a beautiful and organized space gives comfort and enriches everyones life.