Our experience of the design industry
Today, we believe our design industry is at a standstill. It’s old-fashioned, inefficient, inaccessible, and sub-scale. It’s slow to adopt technological innovation, suspicious of ecommerce, and provides a poor experience for customers. It’s constrained by a focus on price instead of building engagement through storytelling. It’s limited because retailers rather than brands control customer relationships. This is its achilles’ heel; brands are far removed from customers, making it impossible for many to realise their full potential. But this is also its potential; we just need to look to the luxury fashion industry, and the growth that it has been able to achieve in the past decades, to realise this.
Consumers want distinctive, original products but can’t easily discover them as our industry is incredibly fragmented. They want new, innovative products but there are too many barriers for emerging brands to break into the market. With the high cost of real estate and low product turn in the sector, traditional retailers simply cannot afford the risk of stocking a product unless it already has proven demand. When they do take on new products, they’re forced to protect themselves against fierce price competition with exclusivity deals, regional restrictions and lock-in agreements which limits brands’ potential successes. Today we find that much of the high-end furniture sold was designed last century, a fact that would be ridiculed in other creative industries.
Consumers look for brand and product stories but we as an industry are not good at getting those stories to a customer. They search for alignment with their own values but can’t find out about ours. The most effective storyteller is the brand itself but without directly engaging consumers in the personalities and processes behind their brand and products, it’s impossible to captivate them. The same consumer who is willing to spend £2,000 on a suit, complains at spending £1,000 on a fully upholstered chair which they will enjoy for decades. Today, there is a poor perception of design and thus an increasingly commoditized market with a growing market of knock-offs and inspired-by products.
The inefficient supply chain means that much of a product’s value is swallowed by manufacturing and distribution costs. Today, there is very little is investment in innovation and marketing, whilst the commoditisation of our market pushes margins down further in a vicious circle.
The result is an industry that has not realised its full potential. The current model makes it extremely difficult for designers to innovate and brands to grow, let alone invest to make great design more accessible. Change is needed, if the industry is to scale.
A manifesto for redesigning the design industry
We know it can be different. We call for a design industry that embraces technology, enables choice, champions talent, engages customers, empowers brands, remunerates fairly and has scale.
We believe in making design accessible.
It should be easy to discover and buy amazing furniture, lighting and homeware so we can all live, work, eat and play in inspiring environments. Access to greater choice will lead to greater individuality, while streamlining the supply chain will make brilliant design affordable.
We bring together the industry’s widest range of brands and products in our online destination for beautiful design. We enable discovery through a shopping experience that is easy to use and deeply engaging. We provide access to product through a variety of channels such as online search, content marketing, pr and partnerships.
We believe in championing talent.
Consumers deserve better choices and talented designers with brilliant ideas deserve to thrive. Lowering the barriers to entry for new brands and enabling growth for established brands means more of those brands who really deserve to make it actually do.
We celebrate emerging design through our curated selection of the most exciting brands, that we discover through scouting, partnerships and word-of-mouth referrals. We do not hold stock which enables us to offer choice without the associated risk.
We believe in storytelling.
Sourcing furniture should be an engaging experience that inspires customers. Storytelling exposes objects that have a lasting affinity with personal values while direct relationships between consumers and creators creates meaningful conversations.
We use the power of the internet to provide consumers with engaging content on our designers, brands, processes and products through beautiful photography, inspiring videos and informative copy. We connect customers directly to the designers and makers of the product, who are best at communicating their own stories.
We believe in empowering brands. Brands must build direct relationships with their customers through branding, marketing and developing omnichannel experiences. Engaging directly will lead to stronger brand perceptions, greater product differentiation, new brand advocates, a better understanding of customer behaviour and thus more value creation.
We provide a complete ecommerce solution for brands to open up their own shops, list their products and sell direct to customers through our online marketplace, their own websites or 3rd party outlets. We deliver the technology to enable them to manage and fulfil their orders easily.
We believe in rewarding creativity fairly.
Great design is worth paying for, so long as it’s the right people getting paid. A narrative shopping experience enables the demonstration of a product’s true worth to customers, while buying straight from the brand ensures more of that value goes to the people who created it.
We empower brands to connect with their customers directly and charge a 5% commission of sales on their own websites and a 30% commission of sales on Clippings.com, which is lower than the margins required of other distribution channels today.
Together, we can build an industry that is efficient, innovative and that has scale. Join us on our mission to redesign the design industry.
The business was launched in 2013 and we have already seen significant growth with over 7,500 products and 300 design brands on the platform, including industry leaders such as Flos, HAY, Normann Copenhagen as well as emerging brands Terrence Woodgate, H Furniture, black+blum and more.
We will also be launching a dedicated B2B platform that aims to disrupt the experience that architects, interior designers and decorators have when searching for products for their projects. They will be able to discover, negotiate and order products directly through the platform, bringing what is currently a very painful experience into the 21st century.
We have raised a £535,000 round of funding last year from leading industry angel investors, Sir Spas Roussev, founding benefactor of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery and David Begg, founder of Tom Dixon. We used this to build our platform, sign on over 300 design brands and have achieved an average 11% month-on-month growth (250% annualized) since then.