Stéphane Silverman wants to rethink the rules of the trade


Interior design is a beautiful business, full of bright colors, vibrant imaginations and overflowing inspiration. It is also a welcoming place, resolutely warmer and fuzzier than other creative fields such as fashion or entertainment. What the design industry is not clear and orderly. It’s a tricky business, with layers of complicated rules about who can sell what to whom and for how much. Stephane Silverman—founder of the Castel fabric brand and president of the Decorative Furniture Association—has made it his mission to try to untangle at least a few of those knots.

Stephane SilvermanCourtesy of Castel

Most of them have to do with prices. For example, the idea that fabric brands that sell exclusively to trade have both a net price and a retail price – even if they don’t sell to consumers – has long been a sticking point. The irony is, of course, that the retail price is higher, even though the presumed level of service (no CFA, no samples, etc.) is lower. “I ask anyone please explain to me because after all these years I am still stuck on this. ‘don’t offer commercial services, there’s a disconnect in my mind,’ he told the host. Denis Scully on the last episode of The Home Business Podcast. “The trade is not wholesale. Trade is trade.

Most of Silverman’s arguments are about clarity: fixed, publicly available prices for brands in the design sector, even if they only do business with designers. The need for more transparency, he argues, has gone from “would be nice” to “essential” in an age when retail brands are showcasing their businesses to designers and online sellers are flooding the market.

“There are a lot of cross-channel pieces that are mixed up, blurry and hard to identify. I think that’s part of our Achilles heel in commerce – when you look at the retail giants coming and going “are aimed at retail customers, they’re clear. Everyone knows what the price is, where the markups are, and why,” says Silverman, saying retailers’ ability to publicly display prices helps them define their brand. in the minds of consumers.” Everyone says HR is a luxury. Well, how did they do that? Not because they have a nice picture and say “ask for the price”. Because there is a price.
In a fascinating discussion of the intricacies of modern commerce, Silverman reflects on Fabricut’s recent decision to retire from online commerce; the past, present and future of Material Bank; and whether the domestic boom will last.

“I would say now is a great time to start making changes and start investing carefully and cautiously in the future,” he says. ” I do not think so [the increase in home spending] will last. People will start spending on their travels and stop spending on their curtains, rugs and fabrics… What I would say is: be smart, be conservative, enjoy it, put your money in your coffers, but invest where you see the future of our business.

Listen to the show below. If you like what you hear, subscribe on Apple podcast Where Spotify. This episode was sponsored by Highlight Market and Modern material.

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