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Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Open Letter To Crate and Barrel



Dear Crate and Barrel,
We, the designers of the world love you. We love that you bring quality design to the general public. We have even come to treasure your little sister CB2, with it's spunky attitude, fresh colors and unbeatable prices. The question I have is why do you not love us? 

As designers, we would love to purchase and specify your product more, but because you seem unwilling to offer us price considerations, we are often forced to look elsewhere. I hold you responsible for my fascination with William Sonoma home, and their easy to use Design Professional Program. The same can be said for pottery Barn, Smith and Hawken and almost everybody else in the field.....but not you.

You know that for most of us, our income is based on a cost-plus structure, but when the starting cost to me and the cost to my client are the same, you place me at a huge disadvantage. I like your product, and I am convinced that if this situation were to change my purchasing from you would alter dramatically, not to mention all of the other designers who feel like I do.

I would also like to think that we are fairly inexpensive clients to service, we know the product, we know what we are buying, there should be fewer costly returns....

Crate and barrel, I hope you hear me.  Thank you

13 comments:

Linda Merrill said...

My local Crate and Barrel's had some kind of lame program - you had to spend $20K with them before you'd get 10% back as a commission. gee, thanks...

Mark Cutler said...

Yeah I don't get it, especially from a brand that has such great attention to detail.

Please repost this as much as you can

French furniture said...

Great letter!

Paul Anater said...

Amen! I would definitely specify their stuff if they paid attention to me. Working with designers is a tremendous opportunity for them and they're blind to it. It makes no sense.

AB HOME INTERIORS said...

I say we all start a petition. I always start at pottery barn or restoration hardware, and then on to william sonoma and west elm before I turn to C & B. I think it is ridiculous that they refuse to work with us. We know how to shop and what products to specify. And more times than once I have held on to a purchased product that didn't work out for one client knowing I could use it for another client. I have so many clients hiring me right now for quick redo's and updating of their accessories. As I am sure other designers are too. C & B is really missing the boat!

Alluminare said...

That is a great letter! Creating a program that supports those who specify for projects over and over again may not be simple, but is an important part of business.

If you are looking for lighting, pillows, fabric, or wallpaper at a trade discount, hop over to us and see what we do. We customize to order, have a good trade discount (and it is on top of any sale price we have), and we are always working on improvements to it based on our client's suggestions. We love to serve, it is our job.

We honor the trade. CB must also do this too to compete with even small guys like us.

Fifi Flowers said...

Ditto... I ONLY purchase from place that give a discount... otherwise I move on! GOOD letter!

Moi said...

In my experience, Crate & Barrel never has anything in-stock and I almost always have to wait 6-8 weeks. I refer to them as Crate & BackOrder.

Brilliant Asylum said...

Back when I was a working designer, it was really hard to compete with the catalogs. Why buy through me, when they can get it so easily online at a low price? I should have just charged by the hour to help them flip through the catalog.

Katherine Haliski said...

Mark, Thank you for your letter. I work for Crate&Barrel and want to assure you that we hear your concern. The Interior Design community is very important to us. Do you know about our current Interior Designer and Architect Program? I would love to hear your suggestions for improving our partnership with the designer community. I work in Los Angeles and am responsible for recommending business enhancements such as this. I will contact you personally this week at the number you post on your webpage. Best Regards, Katherine Haliski, Regional Manager, Crate&Barrel

Anonymous said...

I guess you're not understanding the fact that the retailers that are giving you such a generous discount aren't doing well right now and may face closure (Wm Sonoma Home). I presume you're going to take partial responsibility if that should occur. A discount of any kind cuts right into a retailer's profit.

AZ designer said...

Anonymous, I feel like you're not understanding where we as designers are coming from. I work almost entirely in hospitality design- spas, restaurants, clubhouses, bars, etc. We generally don't even show C & B furniture to our clients. If we are specifying 100 chairs for a restaurant, there is no way the client is going to approve a more expensive chair with no discount. C & B is losing opportunities for larger orders by not working with designers when basically every other company out there does. The only time we can use them at all is in purchasing final accessories for a few hundred dollars at the end of a job.

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