New Showroom Offers 'Final Touch' For Designers
By John Filippelli
Opened in August of last year without much fanfare "We just unlocked the doors," Vlachos notes the showroom is already garnering numerous referrals from its clientele. "I believe that referrals are going to be the core of our business," Vlachos states. In fact, she has already implemented a referral incentive program for the showroom, with referrals continuously tracked and professionals earning a 'referral fee' for sending a customer to the showroom. This program serves a dual purpose, Vlachos notes, as it not only offers an incentive to designers, but also allows them to move onto their next big project while still sharing in the profit when product is sold.
When queried on this unique approach, Vlachos has a simple explanation: "[In my experiences,] it is not time-effective for a designer or salesperson to spend time selecting detail products when there is a new project to do."
With such a wide selection of products, a philosophy geared toward customer service, and Vlachos' 17 years experience in the kitchen remodeling business, it is no surprise that people have begun to take notice. "We have [already] had numerous requests for a product catalog and Internet ordering from visitors who can't locate unique decorative hardware and bath hardware in their own marketplace," she points out. While the company's Web site has not yet been set up to handle transactions, Vlachos sees this as something that will develop with time.
Although measuring only 1,000 sq. ft., the showroom's varied product mix and location (set in a high-traffic, waterfront area of the city and close to many design firms) make it a strong option for designers who want to find plenty of choices or just something different to help personalize a kitchen or bath.
The showroom seems to attract many tourists as well, with 20 percent of the studio's revenue so far coming from "folks just passing through," according to Vlachos.
Working closely with sales associate Gina Labrasseur, Vlachos is also keen on making Homeware Studio user-friendly for consumers as well as kitchen and bath professionals. To that end, well-designed lighting and music create a studio atmosphere for guests, while Z-walls constructed in the studio interior maximize wall space for product displays, and make the products more readily accessible.
Marketing events, too, are a part of Vlachos' master plan, and as such, the showroom has already been used for breakfast meetings, and for such events as a cocktail gathering for interior designers with a guest speaker talking about the decorative arts.
It's this combination of quality service, product variety and a willingness to offer plenty of "extras" that differentiate the firm from the "big boxes."
As Vlachos concludes, "Our concept is that we recognize that the consumer wants more than polished brass or chrome. We like to put a personal touch on our homes."