Preserving Material Integrity and Service With Kathy Kuo Home
Curated is a word thrown around a bit too often in the design industry. However, Kathy Kuo Home, an online platform offering high-end furniture and homewares, is the quintessential curated destination to source beautiful items for your projects. Not to mention, their over the top personalized design service specialists via Design Bar are knowledgable, approachable, and very friendly.
The team at Kathy Kuo Home truly takes the time to assess the material integrity, fabrication and finishing of each hand-picked product available to customers. Here, Founder & President Kathy Kuo discusses the value of interfacing with products, daily pain points of interior designers, and the company’s dedication to delivering exceptional service.
Photography courtesy of Kathy Kuo Home
What is Kathy Kuo Home all about in 140 characters or less?
We are a curated, high-end furniture, home decor and lighting online destination. We also have a Design Bar where we offer our personalized interior design services.
How is the Kathy Kuo Home e-commerce platform different than the thousands of other home decor platforms out there?
It’s all about our dedication and expertise, especially when it comes to service, curation, and design.
When designers and clients come to our site, what they see is a very unique, curated point of view that comes from years of understanding furniture design and interior design. Our products are hand-selected by me and our product team through actual interfacing with the items first hand. We take the time to understand the material integrity and the fabrication and finishing of every piece we put on our site. Every item we carry passes our stringent merchandising requirements (no composite woods, no flame retardants, responsible harvesting of solid wood, etc.). The word curated is all too often tossed around in our industry without a lot of thought behind it, which is unfortunate. While we do take the slower road to picking our product, we know we do it right. And ultimately, we get fewer calls about product misrepresentation or quality issues down the road, and our customers absolutely love our assortment.
From a service perspective, my personal background comes into play here. With over fifteen years combined of furniture and interior design experience, I am actively involved in projects here in NYC and hyperaware of what our community needs.
All of our design specialists that answer the phones here are trained interior designers that keenly understand the pain points of our community and the difficulties that come along with buying furniture online. They have degrees in design, architecture, fine art, business, etc. They know how to use CAD tools to help you scale. They’re aware of all the moving parts that need to come together for install. More often than not, the issues people need help with the most relate to delivery, install, pricing, project management, and client management – all the unsexy stuff! And we have the best in the business.
Who are the home decor designers to watch these days?
There are too many to list here! Though, I will highlight my college buddy (and fellow talented furniture designer) Jason Horvath who owns Uhuru here in NYC. They have beautiful product. I love their designs, brand, and I adore Jason as a friend and business owner.
Based on your knowledge of the industry, what are the home decor trends we should keep our eyes on?
I’m not a fan of home decor trends—but if I had to consider a trend, I think in New York there has been this resurgence to mid-century modern mixed with Scandinavian modern with very little glam. I think this is a very live-able look (steel doors, large swing arm industrial sconces, mid-century chair frames, faux taxidermy, etc.) It’s sort of a polished hipster look.
What are your best-selling categories and products?
Furniture and lighting.
You’re opening up a space in NYC in 2017, how exciting! How did you decide on the location and aesthetic of the space?
The location is two blocks away from my house, so I like to joke that if it were further, I would never go to work! South Harlem, where it’ll be located, is an absolutely inspiring area filled lots of young aspiring artists and a coming together of cultures. The aesthetic of the space itself is very SoHo loft: huge arch windows, exposed painted brick, open shelving, and high ceilings. But it’s really the architecture of the space that dictated the design. I’m just going with it.
Tell us about your Design Bar initiative…
We’re so excited about this! Design Bar is our interior design services aspect of the business. For people outside NY, NJ, or CT, we’ll have an online destination (check out a preview at www.designbar.com), but for our local folks that need quicker design solutions, Design Bar will service as a place where you can come to have a drink (or coffee) and sit down with a design specialist to design your space together in real time. We’ll also have a full high-end kitchen and living room, so the space will feel like you’re in a home…but you’ll be able pick fabrics, talk with your designer, and have a snack all at the same time.
More often than not, the issues people need help with the most relate to delivery, install, pricing, project management, and client management – all the unsexy stuff!
What do interior designers love about your trade program?
We understand that, as I mentioned earlier, the real issues that come with interior design frequently don’t relate to design. At Ivy, I’m sure you know that project management is often a big problem, and your business is aimed to offer solutions to this. We operate similarly. Of course, we offer our trade customers special pricing, consolidated shipping, and perks like that, but what our trade customers really love is that we know exactly what needs to be done in every crisis issue. We’re problem solvers for whatever an interior designer’s needs may be. We always pull through.
How does Kathy Kuo Home typically work with interior designers? What do you enjoy about working directly with the designers?
What happens is an interior designer will reach out to us by signing up for a Trade account. Our Trade Sales Director will then reach out, work with them on their projects, and guide them toward whatever product or design assistance they may need.
And working with designers is the best! We’re constantly inspired by their work. If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll find that our feed is filled with beautiful projects that give us daily inspiration. And we also learn a lot from our trade members on how we can service them better and meet their day to day needs.
Can you offer 3 tips or best practices for interior designers navigating Kathy Kuo Home?1. Read our blog. We have so many great articles like how to present a design board, how to mix metals, how to care for different types of fabric, and more.
2. Use our filters to quickly eliminate products that don’t fit your size, color, or other design requirements.
3. Call in or chat online with our design specialists! They’re amazing and can help you with virtually anything. Getting you samples, lead times, faster delivery, additional photos…we once had a customer call us just to ask us where to order sushi in New York, and our design specialist stayed on the phone to make sure they found the place okay! I’m of course not encouraging random calls, but just showing that we have (hands down) the friendliest staff in town!
Are you an interior designer in search of an easy interior design software and project management tool to run your business? Learn more about Ivy here.