Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUN 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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" CONSUMERS ARE LOOKING for design insight and more practical elements to be incorporated into their designs. They want to be guided through their design with attention paid to blending their kitchen or bathroom with the rest of their home and lifestyle. One change is the initial knowledge a consumer has before walking into a design consultation, as many will have done hours of research online and will have a specific list of wants and needs for their space. I have not changed my approach to my client approach because I feel that our duty is to guide and assist our clients to get a kitchen that they will enjoy and love, and the best way to achieve that is to listen to their needs and wants and incorporate those through good, sound design." William Zeng, kitchen designer Acorn Cabinetry Flemington, NJ " CONSUMERS WANT HONEST and professional answers, even if the answer is that there's a better resource for the cus- tomer than their showroom. [They want] a designer who is experienced with their type of project. Houzz is making a difference in the design world because consumers are able to learn about styles and see options in a way traditional in-showroom viewing could never provide." Arthur Zobel, president Zobel & Co. Kitchens Glen Falls, NY " IN MY OPINION and experience, customers will choose personality over price. On several occasions, a customer has come to my showroom to have their kitch- en designed or redesigned after visiting a 'big box' store. After meeting with them, educating them on the various construction options/styles, organization options, cabi- net door styles, wood species and finishes, they decide to purchase their cabinetry and countertops through our showroom, in spite of our price being higher than their previous quotes. Customers prefer to feel 'comfortable' with a designer, their personality and their knowledge of their products. I have been told, often, 'your price was actually higher than the other place, but we trust you, and we just feel more comfort- able with you.' I tell every customer, 'I will make suggestions, and help you to make decisions. But, at the end of the day, it is your home. So please, take the time you need to make the best and right decisions for your new kitchen or bath.' They appreciate not having the 'hard sell' to force them to make a purchase. In fact, I have had customers take two to three months to finalize their purchase, or more. Customers appreciate the freedom to explore options. They prefer to be guided in the 'purchase' of a kitchen, and not be 'sold' a kitchen." Dave Burrows, kitchen & bath designer Hannapel Home Center Portage, MI " TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED the consumer experience. Clients are in- formed and savvy about products and design trends. What they want is someone who can create their vision by adapting it to their own space. They want to see their kitchen on a 3D software program. It gives credibility to the skills of the designer. Having experience in design is something they don't have, so they are looking for our expertise. Clients are also interested in responsiveness. Immediate gratification is the way of commerce now and we as an industry need to behave accord- ingly if we are to stay in the game. I keep up with the trends and technology by reading, research and continuing education. I listen and respond quickly." Monique St. Laurent WS Dennison Inc. Pembroke, NH " CONSUMERS WANT THEIR kitchen designer to have knowledge of all materials used in their design. Our designs are shown in photo-realistic color render- ings, and everything used in the plan is explained in detail. This might include what kind of paint we will use on their cabinets, how the quartz countertop is made and how the appliances work. Part of a good design is also knowing where items will be stored. Since the open and streamlined kitchen is so popular now, a majority of our clients want their countertops 'clutter-free.' This aesthetic requires explanation of storage." Christine FitzPatrick, owner FitzPatrick Design, Inc. Larchmont, NY " CONSUMERS IN MY experience want straightforward answers to their questions, reasonably quick responses to inquiries, clar- ity and competency. Honesty may seem to be a given, but it is intriguing how many of us provide more self-serving answers than truly honest ones (and I do not exclude myself from that over the years!). This has changed with the advent of the Internet and scads of information available in an instant to any- one. We have to be more knowledgeable than ever, be open to new ideas and be willing to admit ignorance yet find the answers. We've had to change to more digital and electronic communication with consumers and build- ers. I remember when we got our first fax machine and we marveled at how much time it saved us in processing orders with our manufacturers by mail. Now we have no fax line at all, and we expect almost instant com- munication with everyone, as do our clients. We have also found, with all of the above, we have had to greatly magnify the process of managing our clients' expectations to assure their ultimate satisfaction." Max Isley, CMKBD, CEO, COB Hampton Kitchens of Raleigh, Inc. Raleigh, NC " THEY ARE LOOKING for someone who will help them by confirming the proper choices to achieve the look they think they want mixed with what they need. More cli- ents are looking for a professional to do the selection, mechanics and financial distri- bution for the project. In other words, [they want] one-stop shopping. Most of my clients want to approve the necessary choices and then put their trust into my hands. They go off to work and I keep the project rolling so they don't have any distractions or stress over the project." Louise Gitzlaff, owner The Inside Look Racine, WI Pros Discuss Consumer Hiring Interests WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email your feedback, contact information and the subject, 'Market Pulse' with your message to What do you think consumers want most in a kitchen or bath design professional, and have you seen this changing over the past few years? Have you changed your approach to your client relationships as a result of changes in consumers' wants, needs and shopping preferences, and if so, how? 8 Kitchen & Bath Design News • June 2018 MARKET PULSE READERS' OPINIONS ON INDUSTRY-RELATED ISSUES

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