Wayfair has launched its second-ever Trade Tastemaker Awards, and in anticipation of the 2016 event, EAL caught up with the home furnishings brand to discuss the honors as well as the retailer’s relationship with the trade.
Tastemaker judges Mat Sanders, Barclay Butera and Jenni Pulos
For this year’s awards, the home furnishings retailer has partnered with Barclay Butera, Mat Sanders and Jenni Pulos as judges. Designers will be up for different honors, including 2016 Designer of the Year, Best Commercial Space, Best Entertainment Space, and Best Use of Color. One new feature is the People’s Choice award, voted on by the public, and sponsored by Stanley Furniture. Designers can submit online.
In addition to recognizing design talent with the awards, Wayfair also offers a trade program with discounts, virtual showroom features, and project and account management services for interior designers. Jessica Dowling, head of Trade Services at Wayfair, shared with EAL details on the retailer’s trade-only benefits:
What does Wayfair's trade program offer designers?
Trade Services at Wayfair is the design assistant trade professionals never had to hire. The program offers accredited trade professionals exclusive discounts on a catalog of 12 million products across five sites, including Wayfair, AllModern, DwellStudio, Birch Lane and Wayfair Supply. Once enrolled online, members gain access to a customized virtual design showroom with a tabbed site experience, including a shared cart for easy product comparisons. Our Trade members also receive a dedicated account manager who understands the ins and outs of the industry. With their expertise, they can assist with product sourcing, pricing and delivery logistics, making it a true one-stop-solution.
What services do you offer for interior designers? Have interior designers reached out requesting specific features or services?
We offer several project management tools, including a quote tool, idea boards, swatches and product tear sheets, which our designers use in their client presentations. We also offer custom solutions from scratch—you design it and we will work with our extensive network of vendors to build it.
We value our members’ feedback, and in many cases, have evolved our offerings to meet their needs. For example, many of our designers have requested we add fabrics to our offerings. I’m happy to say that we will offer this within the next year.
How does the Tastemaker Awards program fit into your broader strategy towards addressing the needs of interior designers?
It is a wonderful opportunity for designers to gain exposure and potential new clients. As members submit their designs to the Designer Photo Gallery for the judges’ consideration, they’ll be exposed to the Wayfair audience of 4.6 million people and become part of our design community, where they can inspire and be inspired by peers in their industry.
How do you envision the trade program expanding over the next few years?
Currently, we offer an extensive assortment of products from tile, plumbing fixtures and vanities, to custom upholstery, including contract grade options, to office and education solutions. In the future, we are looking to expand our custom offerings, especially for designers working on commercial projects in the health care, hospitality and education spaces. Trade Services has grown tremendously in the last year, and we are excited to continue to build this design community, partner with our members on content and take the program to the next level.
Designers can learn more about Wayfair’s trade program here.