"In Chicago we've already signed the lease, and we have a letter of intent with two other markets. By the end of this year we will have four design centers, and by the end of next year we will have eight," Satya Tiwari, president of Surya told RugNews.com.
In addition to the debuting Chicago location and the company's existing showrooms in Atlanta and Dallas, new showrooms will be located in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and San Francisco --cities widely recognized as leading centers of design.
EVOLVING WITH THE DESIGN BUSINESS
"This is something we have been thinking about for many years. Now that we have the resources and the strategy, we are going full force. As the interior design business has evolved, design customers are expecting their resources to be more local. So we want to be close to them in markets where they will have a great place to bring their clients and experience our products every day from nine to five, 365 days a year -- minus the holidays," he explained.
While we feel national markets like High Point and Atlanta are important, we only see our clients twice a year at shows. It was the same in Las Vegas. Designers are very important to us, and being local is also very important. It's not a new strategy: Century has done it; Kravet and Kohler have done it. So while it's not my idea, we are doing what no one else has done in our competitive space.
"We are ready to take our brand closer to our customer and willing to make that investment. This is not a cheap investment, but we believe in our design customers and investing in them - it will be a win-win for everyone," he further elaborated. "We're going after the design world in a big way."
STATE OF THE ART SHOWROOMS
"Our design centers will be inspirational: state of the art showrooms providing a one-stop shop for accessories. We have been collaborating with our customers and the design community at large over the last few months to develop the concept and plan for our new showrooms, and we look forward to bringing this vision to reality."
Building on the success of its year-round showrooms in Dallas and Atlanta, Surya will feature its full rug line in each new showroom, as well as best sellers from each product category. The new showrooms will be designed to inspire and inform visitors, featuring the latest trends and artfully curated vignettes.
Designers will also have access to a design library and a robust sample checkout program. Surya's new showrooms will be equipped with all the products, resources and technology needed to facilitate the design process and are intended to serve as a collaborative space for designers to work with their clients and bring their design ideas to life.
FOCUS ON DESIGNERS AND FURNITURE STORES
"We've been thinking about how we can become more of a resource and provide an infrastructure to enable our customers to do more business. The showrooms will also help our retail furniture customers. We now have about 100 sales people that are company employees - internal and external - out there serving our customers. Now our external people will have more assets that they can use for their customers. Before if they needed a sample, they had to order it - now they can pick it up locally. Or if they have a meeting, they now can go to the showroom to maximize their presentations. So this will not only benefit our design customers, it will also help our furniture customers.
"A lot of our furniture customers have design-driven sales people, but these store designers might not have all the Surya product they need for a project in store. A designer who is working on a project can use our showroom to be able to get more products for their presentations. I believe our showrooms will also help our furniture stores be more relevant and inspirational because their sales people will have access to more product through our sales people.
HIGH DESIGN PRODUCT OFFERINGS
While Surya as a company has a good, better, best strategy, the products presented in the showrooms will be its high design offerings exclusively. "We sell to low-end furniture stores and we sell to high-end. Here will be showcasing our high end our couture products. In a 5000-square-foot showroom, you can't include everything, so we will be tailoring our product for designers. This is a way of strengthening our high end design business by being local. We have the high end products; but we don't have the local outreach that Stark, Tufenkian or The Rug Company has. We think of it as a local platform to showcase our high end products to our customers for their everyday business."
LOCATION, LOCATION... AND PHASE 2
Asked why he chose Chicago first, Tiwari said it was a matter of availability. "We need the right size showrooms. I wanted New York first, but we need at least 4,000 to 5,000 feet. In Phase 2, he says Suyra is already looking into secondary markets like Houston and Seattle. "We are committing to eight markets in the next 12 months. Then we will do secondary."
"These are Surya showrooms, manned by Surya employees. They are not like the trade-only showrooms that work with multiple brands. They will have only the Surya brand and Surya product. And the cities are right: New York, Boston, San Francisco, L.A., Miami -- and Dallas and Atlanta where we already are using those showrooms every day," he says.
"We feel this is a monumental move. None of our competitors have this. I read an interesting quote the other day: It said, 'instead of thinking outside the box, just get rid of it.' That's what we want to do."