Pitching Designs to Retailers

Does anyone have any experience pitching their furniture design ideas to furniture retailers? I’m looking into this based on a suggestion from a colleague.

I’m new to all this myself, so I can’t offer too much help but I’ll start by saying that I suppose it depends what kind of market you’re after.

If the retailers you’re going after are very high end, then you better have some extraordinarily innovative ideas. Of course innovation isn’t as important the lower you go down the price point chain; rather volume and cost become greater issues. The retailers that I tend to go after, receive designs all day and night from everyone and their brother… Although I can’t imagine the process to pitch design ideas is terribly different across different markets… The idea is simply to find out WHO you need to show your ideas to. No magic there. Find out who their product development directors/managers are, category/department buyers, or even maybe the principal if said retailer is small enough. I’ve found that it helps incredibly if you have also already served others in their market. Most retailers aren’t in the business of manufacturing, just buying/distributing/selling… so make sure that either you have a manufacturer(s) you work with already or the retailer you want to sell to has access to manufacturing…

Hope it helps some, but I’ll be honest, there are plenty of others on here who have infinite more experience than I do…

**Im going to have to edit my own reponse here and say that Innovation is important at ANY price point, so it really was a little foolish of me to say otherwise. What I meant to say was that in the mainstream mass market of America for example, product innovation is not as expected as it might be in smaller niche markets the higher you go.

Let’s clarify terms a bit so we’re all on the same page.

If you are attempting to sell your work to a “retailer” that would be store down on the corner where you buy furniture; being the manufacturer, y0ur profit margin would be the greatest.

If you are attempting to sell your work to a “Distributor/Wholesaler” then you are the Manufacturer; your profit margin would be, roughly speaking, about 15-20% of the retail price, to allow the “retail” store owner to make his profit.

If you are attempting to sell your work to a “Manufacturer” that is a completely different story; you’re a designer looking for work.