Truth Bee Told Series: Influencer Discussion at the Boston Design Center

Boston Design Center

The Next Generation of Design

We were delighted to attend a recently sold out event at the Boston Design Center to discuss the ever-changing landscape of interior design and how influencers must stand out in their market.  It was a great take and so interesting to hear the many different perspectives from an esteemed panel!

Boston Design Center

As Kristan McLaughlin, General Manager of the Boston Design Center, commented, “What made the Next Generation so successful was the universality and reach of its message. Each and every one of us is engaged in this exciting and ever-changing industry on an intimate level, and how we navigate these changes affect us all. The Next Generation offered insight into the constant personal rediscovery of the design process, how our business models are reflective of that process, and how we can better utilize the new and exciting tools which have been brought to our industry in the digital age. It was so exciting to have such an energetic discussion about these things which touch us all, particularly with such inspired personalities as LuAnn Nigara and our featured panelists.”

The event was moderated by Luann Nigara, host of the top-rated interior design podcast “A Well Designed Business.”  Luann’s enthusiasm was palpable as she expertly navigated the discussion.  She was joined by three interior design influencers: Tori Mellott, Style Director at Schumacher; Rachel Reider, Boston-based Interior Designer for both luxury residences and boutique hotels; and Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief of New England Home Magazine.  All three experts shared their unique perspectives. 

Luann Nigara, at the Waterworks hosted event afterward.

Luann Nigara, at the Waterworks hosted event afterward.

The conversation centered on the ever-changing design industry and the new generation of design. How is it affecting us and how do we adjust?  The panel did a fantastic job of covering a broad range of topics in a short period of time: from the Instagram craze to the ever-important brand identity.

Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief of New England Home Magazine addressed the shift in product procurement.  In the past consumers could only access product thru the designer.  The internet now gives consumers much greater access.  Thus, the need to shift the focus to services and expertise.  Designers must be able to articulate their importance in this ever-evolving industry.

Echoing that statement, Rachel Reider explained that our experience must be the selling point to clients.  Anyone can shop a franchise home décor store and use their in-house experts, but to what end; a living room that looks exactly like the catalog.  It is essential that designers educate their clients, we agree wholeheartedly! 

Rachel Reider Boston Design Center

Tori Mellot stated facetiously; sure, anyone can design a room!  Clients can purchase their own textiles, rugs, sofas, etc., BUT A) it will take three times as long, B) it will be far costlier/no trade discounts and mistakes and C) it will just be wrong!  Amen to that, we see this time and again, penny wise and pound foolish.  Hire an expert out of the chute and avoid costly mistakes!

Bottom line, your designer will guide you through the choppy waters, minus the costly mistakes.  There is so much that goes into each and every selection.  For instance, for an upholstered item your designer will factor in scale, style, color, texture, durability, seat height, seat depth, the hand/feel of the fabric, the structure and fill content of the cushions, the frame construction, how the piece sits, how the fabric will be applied, trim details and on and on.  Great looking rooms don’t happen by accident.  It takes years of experience to curate an amazing space! 

What differentiates each designer? “It’s no longer about sea breezes and sand dunes,” joked Luann Nigara.  Yes, the beautiful sea breeze blues and sand dune neutrals look great on Instagram, but they all look alike.  What’s the differentiator? (Subscribe below to be alerted of our next upcoming post understanding the benefits of working with an experienced designer.)

Boston Design Center

Tori Mellot threw out some fascinating/scary Instagram facts.  Did you know that an average person spends 0.013 seconds on each picture on IG?  That means that most people are simply scrolling through a designer’s work thinking “pretty”, “spectacular”, “scary”, “huh”, etc.  And there are 400 million stories happening at a time, with over 100 billion accounts and rising!  An average person checks their IG accounts 32.5 times a day.  This reiterates the fact that in this ever-changing social media landscape, it’s time to find what differentiates each designer and why they are a good fit for a client; rather than just scrolling through pretty pictures. 

So, here’s our question to you, the reader: what are your thoughts about today’s design industry? What makes you say “WOW I need to hire that designer!” To our design peers, how have you changed your thinking and your approach?  We want to hear from you!