The word “luxury” can bring connotations of flashiness, extravagance and big spending. But when it comes to luxury interior design, it’s important to understand how it just transcends a price tag. Beyond pure high-end design, true luxury offers an elevated and personalized living experience. Read on to find out what defines luxury design, what luxury customers are looking for, and how to sell luxury to discerning customers.
Who is the luxury buyer?
Before understanding how to be a successful luxury interior designer, it is important to first have an idea of the luxury client. The Luxury Institute defines the cohort as affluent households with incomes over $150,000. In dozens of luxury and high-end goods and services categories, the top 5% of customers account for 40% of revenue, while the next 15% account for 30-40%.
A key theme behind the psychology of luxury is its ambitious nature. Ambitious customers desire to be a more evolved person, and owning luxury goods/services is a tangible reminder of that evolution. People may choose to buy luxury for many reasons, including pure aesthetics, signaling wealth or status to others, or the authenticity of a genuine luxury product.
Luxury design clients in particular share a common motivation: earned indulgence. These customers may feel like they’ve waited a long time and worked hard for service, they want to properly invest in their forever home, and they care more about making their home fit their lifestyle than resale value.
Luxury design clients are also particularly demanding on quality, stemming from life experiences, travel and education. They also appreciate and trust a designer’s expertise and approach the design process in a thorough and collaborative way. Finally, these clients are results-oriented. They have a vision for their home and they are ready to make the right investment to achieve it.
What distinguishes a successful luxury designer?
A successful luxury designer is highly experienced, highly certified (think NKBA, ASID, NCIDQ, CAPS) and understands how luxury balances art (form, beauty, materials) and science (performance, efficiency, space) . Here are some tips to develop your luxury design ability:
Stay inspired by traveling and studying the arts
Pursue educational opportunities at industry events
Collaborate and network with high-end suppliers and specialized artisans
Leverage industry resources like trade publications, Zillow, or Houzz
Share your work with high quality photographs
A successful luxury designer ultimately excels at building relationships with their clients. This is done by respecting your client’s time, praising them, taking pride in details and results, and exceeding client expectations with original problem solving.
What characteristics define luxury products?
Luxury interior design products tend to share the qualities below:
Durability: durable materials are used to create products that are worth the investment
Design: pieces are stylish, elegant and tasteful and transcend trends
Innovation: Products are unique from anything on the market, often using patented technology
Craftsmanship: Pieces are handcrafted by highly skilled experts
Luxury brands are also good at cultivating a strong brand personality defined by a narrative that gives meaning to their products. Many successful luxury brands are also taking concrete steps to focus on sustainability by creating long-lasting products made from environmentally friendly materials.
What are the basics of selling luxury?
To succeed in selling luxury, it is important to understand the unique characteristics of each customer, whether they are an aesthete or a trendsetter, and to adapt your communication to their needs. You may also notice patterns in the customer experience. One of them is form and function. While luxury customers want both beauty and function, their needs will ultimately fall on a continuum from form to function. Discerning where exactly they fall on this spectrum can help you better organize the design experience. A similar continuum exists for the Statement to Understated design, where clients range from eager dramatic statements to understated elegance. Understanding these priorities and preferences will build trust between you and your customers and improve their experience.
Ultimately, being a luxury designer comes down to staying inspired and educated, understanding the key traits of luxury products, building trust with your customers, and customizing the experience and space to their exact needs. . Those who can master these skills and successfully market themselves will surely find long-term success in the luxury design space.