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The Society of British and International Design is set to tackle a persistent taboo in the interior design industry – the issue of non-payment – during one of its biggest annual events for design professionals.

This all-too-common industry injustice is a challenge SBID will address head on during the forthcoming SBID Meet The Buyer event in October 2019. A panel discussion featuring an expert line-up will outline the issues and examine what’s being done to protect professionals. Designers, specifiers and manufacturers are all welcome to take part in the discussion.

Getting paid by a client at the end of a project can be a thorny issue for interior designers and is still one of the biggest challenges they face. With construction and interior design among the least regulated professions, many professionals in these industries remain at the mercy of clients when it comes to payment. When a client chances non-payment, which often occurs where the sums are substantial, the costs and delays incurred by the professional for court proceedings often outweigh the sum in question. In these cases, the designer or contractor is more willing to settle for a lower sum than the due amount.

Jo Frances

Joanne Frances
Interior Designer

Steve

Stephen Probert
Head of the Government IP Office Mediation

Vanessa Brady

Dr Vanessa Brady OBE
Interior Designer & Founder of SBID

Speaking on the panel will be interior designer Joanna Frances, who recently won a case against a client for non-payment; Head of Intellectual Property Office Mediation Service, Stephen Probert and SBID CEO, Dr Vanessa Brady OBE who has recently had her own experiences of non-payment.

As a campaigner for regulation in the interior design industry, Vanessa Brady, has raised the issue of non-payment regularly at cross-party government meetings in parliament, and is now inviting the industry professionals who are likely to be or have been directly effected by the issue to openly engage with the experts and their peers to discuss their thoughts and experiences in one of the exclusive SBID Meet the Buyer Business Seminars.

The seminar will take place at 10.30am on Thursday 24th October as part of the SBID Meet The Buyer event, which brings together the UK’s best interior designers, along with visiting International designers who attend SBID’s annual 3-day event, to meet face to face with leading design-led product manufacturers from around the world.

If you’re interested in attending this year’s event with access to the exclusive business seminars, click here to enquire about booking.

With the up and coming SBID Meet the Buyer event approaching next month, and spaces continuing to fill, we approached the SBID Accredited manufacturers and designers to share their perspective on attending the event.

From the Designers…

Which supplier(s) did you make contact with after attending the Meet The Buyer event?

“We had an introduction to the showroom and work of Nicholas Anthony, made contact for samples from Craig & Rose, and have also had several meetings with Vessel and Mottura with regards to upcoming project needs!” Clare Gaskin Interiors

“As an international entrant, it’s good to come and understand a different design market to ours (in New Zealand). The companies I contacted were very helpful and I will be keeping them in mind for the future! Some of them include Yves Delorme, Alexander Joseph,  Vitra, Taylist Media!” Celia Visser Design


Chelsea Waterfront project by Morpheus London

Did you purchase or use any products from suppliers within a project after the event?

“Yes, we based an outdoor furniture scheme on Sutherland Perennials range! Chic and contemporary. We chose a selection of products from the ‘Poolside’ collection which were used to dress a number of terraces and outdoor spaces – it looked fantastic!” Barclay Interiors

“We specified and ordered from Naturalmat for 2 projects; a bespoke mattress for a daybed in the nursery of our Islington Townhouse project and a more standard mattress for our Wimbledon Common project. We also found the perfect slab from MGLW Stone for a feature island in the same Wimbledon project. We have also specified products for current projects from Vessel (for a family house in Putney) and Mottura (for a penthouse in a new development in Fulham).” Clare Gaskin Interiors 

“I had further meetings with ABB and Craig & Rose. I also renewed our working relationship with Gradans ironmongery suppliers, who are based two hundred metres from our office but it took a meeting at the SBID Meet the Buyer event to sit and talk to them over the issues that had developed.”Cumberland Group

“We purchased two pieces of art for two different projects from Artfinder! The projects were Chelsea Waterfront, Hutchinson Development and Centre Point where we dressed a show apartment for Almacantar. For Chelsea Waterfront, we picked a piece that sits in the open dining/lounge area, complementing the rippling water of the Thames which the penthouse overlooks. In Centre Point we used a tryptic piece of artwork in the showroom.” Morpheus London

What did you enjoy most about attending?

“We felt there was a good range of suppliers, varying from furniture to lighting to ironmongery.” Barclay Interiors

“I really enjoyed Meet The Buyer as I was looking to see products that were new to me that I could use in the future. I also loved the talks in between the intervals and found them really useful. Plus. I met so many new people in the industry so came away with some great contacts.” Celia Visser Design

“We were really happy with the suppliers at the event and wouldn’t expect those suppliers to present more than they did. It definitely helps when they have their tangible products to look at rather than those with more of a service.” Morpheus London

From the Manufacturers…

How many leads did you generate from attending the event?

“We had 10 prearranged meetings with 8 additional impromptu meetings resulting from our display stand! Almost all of these were then followed up with product demonstrations at the designer’s studio/showroom!” Alexander Joseph

“We generated about 12 leads from the day and a number of those were even from Scotland (where the brand is manufactured) which is a great link!”Craig & Rose

“We were able to generate around 10-12 leads and found this to be a good event for quality rather than quantity!” Vectorworks

Alexander Joseph display stand attending meet the buyer event

Have any of your products been featured in a designer’s project from SBID Meet the Buyer?

“A number of the contacts we made at last year’s event have resulted in our products being used in or specified into projects. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these was being specified for a new luxury hotel in Asia by an international design group!”Alexander Joseph

“A number of our products have been featured in projects from Cochrane Design as result of SBID Meet the Buyer event!” Yves Delorme

What did you enjoy most about attending?

“It is great to attend an event that ensures all the participants are prospective customers.” Alexander Joseph

“The event provided the perfect opportunity to meet and network with designers throughout the day, not only within the meetings, but also during breaks and lunchtime.” Craig & Rose

“The event gave us a good opportunity to talk to potential leads who were really keen to find out more about our product, without the distractions that you would have at a big exhibition.” Vectorworks

What advice would you give to other manufacturers looking to attend?

“To get the most out of the event, use your social media channels to engage with SBID prior to the event, and have a clear view on what you want the show to do for you.” Alexander Joseph

“Present the maximum of your bespoke services and focus on key products!” Yves Delorme

If you’re interested in attending this year’s diverse day of networking with design and industry professionals, click here to enquire about booking.

Having the right professional contacts can be an essential part in helping to grow your business, spread brand awareness and open the door to new opportunities. Networking events are generally one of the best ways to achieve this. To be successful at networking events however, it’s important to make a good first impression and make sure you are ready to utilise the day ahead.

SBID Meet the Buyer is not your ‘traditional’ networking event. With its unique meeting format, event structure and the high standard of attendees who are likely to be in attendance, we’re sharing some useful advice on how to make the most of your time in the hot seat!

This year’s event on 24th October 2019 is primed and ready to bring you a room full of quality, potential clients which comprise of some of the industry’s most respected designers and design practices from around the world. With international designers looking to build their supplier database or specify for upcoming projects, we suggest you brush up on your networking skills, practice your handshake and follow our useful tips to make sure get the most from the SBID Meet the Buyer event.

SBID Meet the Buyer 2018 event image at meeting table
Meet the Buyer event tips SBID blog image (6)

1) Come prepared!

Of course it’s important to know your product inside out, but remember your audience is specialised in the interior design sector and has a keen eye for detail!

The designers you meet may already have relevant projects underway or on the horizon which they need to specify for – so it’s all in the fine print! Make sure you bring and / or have access to any useful information designers might need (laptops, iPads and marketing materials are permitted as part of booking your meeting table). So don’t risk drawing a blank when it comes to providing essential details such as specs, supply availability, budgets, timescales and capabilities. This will help you find out if your offering is relevant and feasible for the designer’s needs – and if they are a relevant client for you!

2) Showcase with samples!

Designers are visual, so use your space wisely! Utilise your allocated display space with product samples – pictures may be able to tell a thousand words, but nothing leaves a more lasting impression in a designer’s mind than visual stimulation and physical interaction – so accommodate their desire to get touchy feely and let your product do the talking! Whether you have a large display space or some room for samples on your meeting table, you could attract even more than you bargained for if you showcase your products in the right way!

SBID Meet the Buyer 2018 event image at meeting table
SBID Meet the Buyer 2018 event image at meeting table

3) Don’t forget to scan the designers you meet!

Make sure you use the electronic badge scanners provided! This will be an essential part of the day which will help build your contacts and follow up on all those potential leads you have gathered. We know it seems a little high tech, but it saves fumbling around with a handful of business cards or perhaps misplacing them on the train on your way home…

You will have 10 pre-arranged meetings already booked, but there are lots of chances to interact with and meet designers throughout the day. The back-to-back meetings will be divided up over breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks – so ensure you get out there and scan who you can!

4) Manage your time efficiently!

We like to keep the meetings short and sweet, so get to the point and keep your communication concise and effective. Keep the designers engaged and ask them the questions! Find out what upcoming projects they will be or are currently working on; what type of projects they tend to specialise in and what sector they are looking to specify for. This will help you think about how your offering can compliment their projects, or even discover ways you can innovate or customise what you offer to meet their requirements. Asking the right questions can go a long way in building a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship with the designers sitting in front of you!

Meet the Buyer event tips SBID blog image (8)
SBID Meet the Buyer 2018 event image of audience at business seminar

5) Have your say and engage with the industry!

The exclusive business seminars SBID host during the day are not just for the designers – manufacturers and suppliers can attend to! This is a good chance for you to engage in industry topics and participate in panel discussions with the experts. Use these seminars as your time to get involved and discover more about the sectors that you or your target audience may be working within; this could help you spot future trends, inspire you with ideas on how to grow your business or just give you a more rounded understanding of the environment that could impact you or your potential clients.

This year SBID will feature talks about what makes a superbrand, as well as a revealing panel discussion about the industry’s ‘dirty little secrets’, such as issues with non-payment and protecting your copyrighted designs post EU exit.

If SBID Meet the Buyer sounds like an event that could benefit you or help you meet the right contacts to suit your business objectives, make sure you get in touch to find out more about attending.

Click here to enquire about booking a place at this year’s SBID Meet the Buyer event or email [email protected] for more information.

With the flurry of social networking sites and apps that have emerged in recent years, traditional face to face networking has taken a backseat as we continue to navigate the new, commercial environment spawned by the technological advances of our modern society. As time becomes more of a valuable commodity, we’re far more frugal with how we spend it – and let’s be honest, sending a mail merge to 1000+ leads in one fell swoop to see what sticks sounds simple and convenient enough – and can still be considered a viable and effective way to reach potential clients… But this grossly impersonal approach doesn’t always reap the right rewards and with new GDPR policies in place for storing data, relationship building is more imperative than ever.

Vanessa K. Bohns, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the ILR School at Cornell University is also a proponent of getting ‘up close and personal’ when it comes to doing business. In an article published by the Harvard Business Review, she advises that ‘if your office runs on email and text-based communication, it’s worth considering whether you could be a more effective communicator by having conversations in person.’ A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, found that people tend to overestimate the power of their persuasiveness via text-based communication, and underestimate the power of their persuasiveness via face to face communication.

The importance of face to face networking in an increasingly digital world, should therefore not be overlooked – with most of our professional communications in this day and age conducted online, SBID believes it’s more vital than ever to take things offline and carve out time in our busy schedules to establish meaningful connections, build lucrative business relationships and identify opportunities more efficiently. With the annual Meet the Buyer event, SBID aims to facilitate direct networking opportunities outside the depersonalised nature of cyberspace – with a whole day dedicated to just that!

The event works by bringing together world-class interior designers, architects and specifiers to the table, to meet face to face with the most advanced and design-led products and suppliers from around the world. Aside from the wealth of networking opportunities, back-to-back meetings and direct contact with key decision makers, the event also presents a series of business seminars for designers and manufacturers to gain valuable insight – as well as the chance to engage in discussions about key industry topics with the most respected and experienced experts in the field.

The one-day annual networking event is set to return this year on 24 October 2019 with a brand-new location in Grosvenor House, Park Lane in London.

SBID Meet the Buyer event image of face to face networking with suppliers and designers
SBID Meet the Buyer event image of face to face networking with suppliers and designers

What’s in it for you?

Generating genuine leads or sourcing trustworthy suppliers can be a time-consuming and often laborious task. With SBID’s professional network encompassing a global community of designers and manufacturers; SBID open the doors, facilitate the introductions and let you take the reins!

The event provides exclusive access to typically difficult to reach decision makers on a global scale. For Andrew Walker at John Lewis for Business the benefits seem clear; commenting on the event, he said “SBID has established a global network of design professionals across a broad range of sectors. Meet the Buyer attracts a really diverse range of people that we might not necessarily reach with other forms of marketing”.

For designers however, the event creates a relaxed and informal environment where everyone involved is open to learning from and engaging with each other in a comfortable setting; encouraging interaction and most importantly – mutually beneficial business opportunities. Zophia Amey, Co-Founder and Director of Minnie & Grouse Interiors shares her experience; “everybody is really friendly – very knowledgeable about what they do in their sector and willing to want to learn about other things that maybe isn’t particularly in their wheelhouse but could be’.

Advantages of face to face networking

  • Save time searching online for the right contact (let alone figuring out how to slide into their dm’s without another impersonal and snoozy sales pitch)
  • Build awareness and familiarity for your brand as a living and breathing entity – not just sculpted, sales driven emails or professional marketing content shared online
  • Establish personal connections and leave a lasting impression with your target market
  • Put your products at the forefront of the conversation and get direct feedback from potential clients
SBID Meet the Buyer event image of face to face networking with suppliers and designers
SBID Meet the Buyer event image of face to face networking with suppliers and designers

What makes SBID Meet the Buyer so unique?

One of the elements that make SBID Meet the Buyer so unique is the carefully structured meeting format. By pre-arranging concise, back-to-back meetings throughout the day with designers who have travelled far and wide for the announcement of the SBID International Design Awards winners, suppliers can reach a truly international clientele – all under one roof and in a very short space of time! Last year saw designers fly in from a range of countries, from New Zealand and New York to China and the Middle East. With a desire to specify and source new suppliers for their upcoming projects, not only can the event save you time, but it will also expose you to a host of new business opportunities…

“The event really exceeded my expectations, I had over 15 meetings back-to-back today! Very happy with the result” – Adam Hult, Perennials & Sutherland

A chance to engage with the Industry

Alongside networking opportunities, the event will host a series of business seminars and talks from industry experts. This year’s seminars include an insightful talk about what makes a Superbrand, as well as a revealing and honest panel discussion designed to uncover the industry’s ‘dirty little secrets’; addressing challenges such as non-payment and offering advice on how to protect your copyrighted designs post-EU exit!

It’s apparent that the benefits of face to face communication can be significant, and far more conducive to establishing long-term relationships; providing opportunities for deeper client engagement. In fact, a survey of 760 business executives conducted by Forbes concluded that a staggering 84% actually preferred business communication in person over other forms of technology-enabled interaction. Of those, 85% agreed their reason was because it builds stronger, more meaningful business relationships.

Adding value to your marketing activities

Another notable advantage of being face to face which is worth mentioning centres around the personal contact you simply cannot obtain through online communication. The nonverbal component which comes solely with physical, human encounters is touch. Author of “The Silent Language of Leaders”, Carol Kinsey Goman quotes a study on handshakes by the Income Center for Trade Shows, which demonstrates that people are twice as likely to remember you if you shake hands with them!

In light of this – and contrary to the new, global era of digital convenience, we believe investing in face to face interactions alongside other channels of communication can only add value to your marketing objectives. So, if you think it’s time to broaden your horizons beyond the constraints of a computer screen; whether you are a manufacturer wishing to showcase your latest products to professional designers, or a designer wishing to expand your catalogue of trusted suppliers with a good old-fashioned face to face, click here to find out more or register your interest.

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