Tricia Zach knows a thing or two about the luxury market.
What she is certain of, without a doubt, is that true luxury is not limited to the large sums of money that customers spend. It is not just about a unique and harmonious blend of elegance and beauty, precise execution and flawless function.
In Zach’s opinion, it’s equally certain that luxury customers share several key traits. For most, a fancy kitchen is a “deserved indulgence” they get after years of hard work. Most have a clear vision of what they want, demand that their voice be heard and expect their designer to deliver a project that will delight them more than ever. They are also aware that their new or remodeled kitchen will likely involve a long and complex undertaking, but they don’t want to compromise as they believe the result will be nothing short of a dream come true – and worth every penny. they’ve passed.
True luxury isn’t just about the money customers spend. It’s about creating an “elevated life experience” that’s nothing less than the fulfillment of a long-held dream.
Above all, observes Zach, luxury customers are looking for an “elevated living experience” that accurately reflects their personality and lifestyle, and results in unique and compelling cuisine that is timeless, trendy and personal at the same time.
Zach, Head of Research for the NKBA, shared these insights during a recent Cambria-sponsored webcast in which a range of leading design professionals shared exclusive, qualitative research and personal insights into the factors that elevate a kitchen to a real luxury space.
This information should carry particular weight as 2022 kicks off with both bullish forecasts and a resumption of the kitchen and bath industry show as a live event following the COVID-related postponement of Last year (see 2022 forecast and KBIS coverage, Pages 46 & 72).
Indeed, while projections for low-end and mid-range projects remain strong, it is the high-end of the market that should shine again this year, as a near-perfect storm of record demand, growth Savings and home appreciation continues to drive homeowner spending. .
But while brimming with potential, the luxury market presents unique – sometimes vexing – challenges, and there are key insights design professionals need to keep in mind when serving this demanding niche.
To compete in the luxury market, say Zach and other experts, designers must know the customer so well that they deliver not just the kitchen the customer asks for, but also what the customer didn’t know about it. enough to ask. In other words, it is essential not only to become a trusted advisor to customers, but also to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone or that of the customer by taking the risk of buying products, materials and design techniques that will make a project truly authentic, original and personalized.
Equally important, experts advise, is investing in technology, as well as professional development; follow the work of the designers who inspire you; develop relationships with skilled tradespeople and artisans; to partner with high-end designer resources, and outsource your shortcomings – in other words, to hire professionals to manage your social media, help develop a brand strategy or increase your media visibility.
Little things you do at the end of a project can also make a big difference, Zach says. Archive an exceptional project by producing a book that you can include in your portfolio and use as a sales tool. Plan an open house, not only for the clients but also for the professionals who worked on the project. Photograph every project, even if you can’t afford a professional, and use the visuals for a portfolio, as well as Instagram and Pinterest pages.
Finally, never forget to ask for referrals, as word of mouth is key in the luxury niche, and if a client liked your work, chances are they’ll recommend you to acquaintances and friends. .
The high-end niche holds more promise than ever in 2022. But kitchen designers need to understand what drives the luxury shopper if they are to tap into the huge market potential.