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Direct to Designers

In a time of uncertainty, people are looking for ways to stay inspired and productive while keeping inside during this health crisis. In the hospitality industry, designers in particular are looking to save time while still executing jobs for their clients.

Direct-to-consumer (or direct-to-designer) companies are resources designers can use to save time. Now, more than ever, is the time for designers to lean on digital services and sites to continue to move their design projects forward. The revolution in technology and obsession with companies to provide a “frictionless shopping experience” is also positioned to help service providers get non-billable hours back. Here are some companies that designers can use to make this time at home more efficient and resume business as usual:

Artistic Tile

Artistic Tile is a tile and natural stone brand that only makes tile products from natural materials (stone, porcelain, glass, shell and ceramic) that are also recyclable. Designers can visualize any of its tile virtually through its “Room Visualizer” offering backdrop scenes and the option to upload a space. Artistic Tile also provides a page for directives on how to accurately measure and tile a space—room by room.

Artistic Tile is open and accepting orders on its site. Design associates are available via email, phone, live chat and remote session to assist with design, specifications, quotations and orders.

“Artistic Tile recognizes the inability for some customers to contact their salespeople who may be under some type of stay-at-home order. As such, we would like to encourage you to use the LiveChat on the website,” said Nancy Epstein, CEO of Artistic Tile.


DecoratorsBest is a one-stop shop for ordering all major trade fabric and wallpaper brands online. DecoratorsBest offers thousands of performance fabric, indoor/outdoor fabric and vinyl wallpaper for contract use. The site offers a “virtual design mart” where designers can view more than 259,000 products from multiple brands without having to physically visit a showroom. One phone call also allows designers to order samples from 15 brands, put reserves on and order CFAs. Designers can also text for information.

Courtesy of Brunschwig & Fils
Courtesy of Brunschwig & Fils

“During these unprecedented times, DecoratorsBest has become an invaluable resource for designers as a virtual showroom. Through our website, they can quickly view a wide array of brands, and check stock availability so that their projects will not be delayed. Our newsletter keeps them up to the minute with new collections to inspire them,” said Barbara Karpf, founder of DecoratorsBest.

Society Social

Society Social is a direct-to-designer/consumer furniture brand that offers customized ordering (contrast piping, tape trim, fringe, tassels and COM) online. All ordering (including customization aspects like tape trim and contrast piping) is done virtually. Hotel projects include custom upholstery and casegoods for a vacation rental at the Palm Beach Hotel designed by Palm Beach Lately. Society Social also offers performance fabric or COM for upholstery and custom color for grasscloth furniture.

“Continuing to be a valuable resource to designers during this time is crucial to the success of our business,” said Roxy Te Owens, founder of Society Social. “We are shipping out fabric samples on a daily basis, offering designers up to 10 swatches for free so they’re able to view colors & textures in person. Additionally, as we do understand that the majority of installs in customer’s homes are currently on hold, we are offering designers the option to warehouse their orders for free at our factory until their projects have resumed and the stay-at-home ordinance has been lifted.”


Merida’s Fall River, MA workshop is closed until May 4th, in compliance with the state’s social distancing mandate. However, its entire business development, inside sales, marketing, finance, design and operations teams are working full-time to ensure that they are ready to ship as soon as they are able to open their doors.

William Geddes
William Geddes

“We are fortunate at Merida that we make the majority of our products from scratch in Fall River, MA so we have a lot of control over the manufacturing and delivery of the products,” said Catherine Connolly, CEO, Merida. “We have been working with designers to focus on products that we know we have the yarns in stock so that we can meet very tight timeframes once we are allowed to open. We have planned out working multiple shifts so that we can accommodate orders. We are also working on digital renderings to enable our clients to present to their clients in lieu of actual custom-made strike-offs which is what we typically send out for presentations. Once we resume work at our factory we will also expedite all strike-offs for projects that have been approved through digital renderings.”