May 15, 2017,
Interior Designers Are Very Important to Atlanta’s Kolo Collection.
How important? The store opened a second showroom in 2015 that caters to the design community at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC)—a campus of 60 home furnishings and accessories showrooms frequented by interior designers.
“You had people either visiting from out of state or even from Metro Atlanta who knew you, but they were going to ADAC and then planned to shoot over to the Westside, but they ran out of time,” Martin says. “We also want to capture a new audience who doesn’t know anything about Kolo or the Westside. But they need an outdoor experience, and that’s one of the things they’re shopping for at ADAC.”
|The contemporary stylings at Kolo appeal to designers.|
The 2,200-square-foot ADAC space is not only a matter of convenience—the designer-focused showroom allows Kolo to display pieces that might not fit the more consumer-focused retail floor at its Westside location.
“The product mix is totally different,” Martin says. “We have very little product you’d see in both showrooms. We try to make it a different experience.”
In The Market
Kolo Collection opened its 7,500-square-foot Westside Urban Market store in 2003. From the get-go, the store attracted a discerning clientele of designers by offering high-end and design-focused brands such as Dedon, Brown Jordan, Lloyd Flanders, Mamagreen and Summer Classics, among others.
“Everybody has upped their game, and there are a lot of new players,” Martin says. “Fifteen years ago people didn’t give it a second thought to get a table-and-six that looked like patio furniture. Now if you have a $2 million home and you spent $200,000 on your interior, you’re not going to Home Depot to get a table-and-six.”
Martin and his team keep that in mind as they approach merchandising both the Kolo Westside location and the ADAC showroom. Knowing their clients—both designers and consumers—want more than the matchy-matchy stuff they’d find at a mass merchant or even some traditional independent retailers, the Kolo team takes a more curated approach when selecting items.
Kolo Collection has a significantly smaller space at ADAC, so a keen editing process is even more critical when selecting products. The ADAC showroom tends to be more modern and European with brands like Cane-Line, Royal Botania, Fermob and Manutti.
Because of space constraints, the ADAC mix is even more eclectic than the Westside store and shows more available products.
“In the ADAC showroom, you can’t really see a full group, but even though we’re small in scale, we try to give a full look,” Martin says. “So we’re likely to have a table with four different chairs to show what’s possible and give ideas.”
|Kolo’s ADAC Showroom helps drive designer traffic to its midtown location.|
And at ADAC, where designers are accustomed to striking deals with showrooms, Kolo offers incentives to entice interior design clientele.
“You discount because they’re bringing you qualified customers you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to,” Martin says. “And they become a repeat customer, and the relationship grows if you perform well and offer the right products.
“You’ll have someone who’s coming to you multiple times a year,” he continues. “These designers and their clients are going to buy from somewhere, so if you’re hung up on discounts you’re going to lose them.”
Martin says the ADAC showroom has offered the unexpected benefit of driving traffic to Kolo Collection’s Westside location, too.
“Often a designer and client will come to ADAC, and our staff there will say, ‘You need to see the Westside showroom because they have something we don’t,’” Martin says. “There is some crossover.”
The investment in the design community has paid off in more ways than just increased business. Kolo Collection was nominated for a prestigious Apollo Award last year, and the company has experienced continued buzz from local media in the Atlanta area.
With the red-hot trend of blending indoor and outdoor spaces, Martin says it just made sense to expand his business in a way that reaches the interior design community—a group that continues to grow in importance for the outdoor industry.
“If an interior designer is doing a project, they want to have things that even though they’re made for the outdoors, they’re refined and well-designed and don’t look like something you’d get at a mass market,” he says. “Our goal is to give them an extension of the interior.”
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Don't miss the November digital edition of Casual Living! In this month’s issue, we look to the future of retail with a spotlight on technology. Assistant Editor Alex Milstein breaks down the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) and how they’re changing the furniture shopping experience. We also explain how building engagement on social media channels can boost business for retailers.
You’ve waited two years, and it’s finally here! Casual Living’s biennial Universe Study offers a comprehensive snapshot of the outdoor category, highlighting its growth across all segments from furnishings to shade to grills.
Also in This Issue:
• Designer Viewpoint: A Beverly Hills backyard gets a glam makeover, thanks to renowned designer Christopher Grubb.
• Market Report: Our editors give you the inside scoop on all the new outdoor introductions at the High Point Market. Can you say Cobonpue?
• Casual Insights: Kathy Wall of The Media Matters offers insight on refreshing your brand.