Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 40

BETTER BUSINESS

The Future
Designer

Experts discuss what it
will take to be successful
in the next decade
By SCOTT KOEHLER, owner of Dream
Kitchen Builders, a design-build firm in
North Carolina

What aspect of the kitchen and bath industry are new
designers least prepared for?

I INTERVIEWED SIX DESIGNERS FOR THIS ARTI-

CLE - some veterans and some in the early stages
of their career. I asked each of them what it would
take in the next decade to be successful as a kitchen
and bath designer and what might be standing in
the way of success for those new to the industry. It
was interesting to me that these designers were in
agreement on so many things.

Would you rather use social media presence or a
showroom to build your business in the next 10 years?

Five out of six designers said that social media
will be more important than having a showroom
in our industry. Peter Salerno, president of Peter
Salerno Inc. in Wyckoff, N.J., closed one of his two
showrooms and used the funds to hire a social media consultant and build a professional presence.
His goal is to have 10,000 followers on Instagram
by the end of the year (he already has 4,000 with
250+ daily interactions).
Ebony Stephenson, CAPS, owner of Designs
by Ebony in Newport News, Va., explained that
kitchen designers can reach more people with
social media than with a showroom, and she can
share more about her interests, her personality and
"get her face out there." Arianne Bellizaire, owner
of Arianne Bellizaire Interiors in Baton Rouge,
La., said social media gives her a larger audience
and she doesn't want to be tethered.
"As a one-woman show, I can't imagine trying
to coordinate time in a showroom with potential
walk-ins, booking on-site appointments with clients and feeling the stress of needing to be in two
places at once,"said Molly Switzer,owner and principal of Molly N Switzer Designs in Portland, Ore.
Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, CLIPP, owner of
Timeless Kitchen Design in Seattle, believes it's
going to become harder to build a business without
social media than it will be to do without a showroom, adding that with social media and mobile
technology, she has flexibility and low overhead.

40

All interviewees said new kitchen and bath designers are least prepared for the utility side of the
business, which is defined as construction skills,
trade knowledge, mechanical competencies and
the ability to communicate effectively with all
involved in producing a project.
Switzer said new designers need to be more
competent about building systems. New kitchen
designers will be the least prepared to work with
tradespeople, according to Stephenson. Cheryl
Kees Clendenon, president and lead designer for
Pensacola, Fla.-based In Detail Interiors, believes
that function has taken a backseat to fashion, in
which young people are on trend and well versed.
Fashion now dominates our industry much more
than function, which was more dominant in the
1980s when I started.Most of the early kitchen and
bath dealership owners and designers were men,
and designs were little more than cabinetry shop
drawings. These early kitchen designers were very
competent in construction and building systems.
As I travel around the country meeting with
NKBA chapters, I'm seeing that the vast majority
of incoming designers are young women who are
bringing tech skills and fashion backgrounds to
the industry. I see this issue as a sea change in the
last 30 years, and I believe there's a parallel on the
construction side of the industry as many young
people don't seem to be that interested in becoming tradespeople, either.
What skills and proficiencies are new designers bringing to the kitchen and bath industry?

Three of the six interviewed said that technology is
the number-one proficiency new designers offfer.
Other answers included fashion, fresh ideas and
global perspectives.
In addition, we talked about how young people
are not just tech savvy but are tech natives - meaning that's all they've ever known. Salerno wants
young designers to do more in person than by text
or phone and added that a computer can be a crutch
for some. He wants them to get more personally

involved with clients from the first day because he
thinks it puts them in a better position for building
client relationships and managing challenges when
they arise.
In terms of all the new technology coming
into the home, Bellizaire feels this will likely be
a really good opportunity for young designers in
this business.
"This shift toward technology in the home will
give them a leg up because it's an integral part of
their daily lives - they don't have a learning curve,"
she added.
Are new kitchen and bath designers more creative or
analytical?

Four out of the six said that new designers are
more creative than analytical. Stephenson suggested that it might take a combination of analytical
and creative thinking to be successful as a designer
over the next 10 years. Salerno believes that many
design schools foster left-brain thinking, and Stephenson thinks creativity is big in design schools
because fashion dominates. Switzer feels students
can also be analytical because they are mobile natives and have better tools like smartphones.
"My phone is my work horse; it's my pathway
to communicate to my clients and trades team at
any point during the day," she added.
2020 & BEYOND

Two things stood out in our discussion. First was
that new designers in our industry are weak in
the construction/utility/mechanical aspects of
producing a project.This is something that can be
learned on the job like I did, but it's also something
that should be emphasized in design schools as
well. Designers have always been on-the-job managers; they produce the designs they have created,
and I don't see this changing anytime soon.
The second thing that stood out was that new
designers coming into the kitchen and bath industry in the 2020s will be using amazing new technology - not just to do things better or faster, but
to do things differently - like operating a kitchen
and bath business without a showroom.
˜

/ JULY-AUG. 2019 / KBBONLINE.COM / The official publication of NKBA (NKBA.org) and KBIS (KBIS.com)


http://www.KBBONLINE.COM http://www.NKBA.org http://www.KBIS.com

Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019

Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019
Contents
Editor’s Note
NKBA Note
Happenings
Trends New technology in today’s home
Tech Savvy ABCs of the smart home operating system
Skill Set Keys to solving the labor shortage challenge
Hot Topic A look at today’s holistic home
Better Business A look at the future K&B designer
NKBA’s Hall of Fame Honoring careers of service & innovation
CEDIA Expo What’s not to miss at this year’s show
Readers’ Choice Award Winners
Small Spaces Powder room perfection
Design With Kitchen renovation on a family farm
Universal Design Bath & kitchen for a couple’s future
Before & After Vacation home gets a much-needed update
Solutions Modern farmhouse overcomes obstacles
What’s Hot Smart fixtures & appliances
What’s Cool Everywhere else
Kitchen update reflects its 1940s roots
The perfect kitchen & bath for a beach haven
Last Word Designer shares tools for success
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Intro
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Cover2
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 1
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Contents
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 3
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 4
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 5
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 6
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 7
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 8
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 9
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Editor’s Note
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 11
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 12
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 13
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - NKBA Note
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 15
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Happenings
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 17
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 18
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 19
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 20
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 21
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Trends New technology in today’s home
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 23
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 24
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 25
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 26
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 27
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 28
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 29
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 30
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 31
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Tech Savvy ABCs of the smart home operating system
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 33
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Skill Set Keys to solving the labor shortage challenge
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 35
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 36
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 37
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Hot Topic A look at today’s holistic home
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 39
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Better Business A look at the future K&B designer
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 41
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - NKBA’s Hall of Fame Honoring careers of service & innovation
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 43
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 44
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 45
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - CEDIA Expo What’s not to miss at this year’s show
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 47
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 48
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 49
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 50
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 51
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 52
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 53
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Readers’ Choice Award Winners
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 55
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 56
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 57
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 58
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 59
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 60
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 61
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 62
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 63
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 64
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 65
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 66
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 67
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Small Spaces Powder room perfection
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 69
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 70
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 71
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Design With Kitchen renovation on a family farm
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 73
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 74
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 75
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Universal Design Bath & kitchen for a couple’s future
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 77
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Before & After Vacation home gets a much-needed update
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 79
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 80
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 81
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Solutions Modern farmhouse overcomes obstacles
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 83
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 84
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 85
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - What’s Hot Smart fixtures & appliances
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 87
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 88
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 89
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - What’s Cool Everywhere else
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 91
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 92
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 93
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Kitchen update reflects its 1940s roots
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 95
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 96
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 97
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - The perfect kitchen & bath for a beach haven
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 99
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 100
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 101
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 102
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - 103
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Last Word Designer shares tools for success
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Cover3
Kitchen & Bath Business - July/August 2019 - Cover4
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