There are many considerations when I set out to design a new knob and handle collection. Color and life style trends are a major focus of course. The color forecast for 2012 predicts an abundance of orange and all shades of blue are emerging. But I have to admit that it's usually the customer feedback that is the bigger impetus for my direction. Customer surveys are probably the single most valuable tool for determing the focus of product development. Although we don't have a formal questionnaire, I'm always aware of our customers'comments and concerns. They are the ideal focus group, bringing my attention to what I refer to as holes or decorating needs that are asking to be fulfilled.
Inspiration comes from all kinds of places. Exciting visuals from travel, events or just a shopping experience are all motivation that move me into my creative playground. Just like a chef in the kitchen, it's ultimately the fiddling around with the ingredients in the workshop that gives birth to the new product. In the case of my new Duc and Duchess collection, I decided to pair some of our most requested color and metal combinations with the "diamond" crystal. It reads like white in decorating terms and gives the piece an overall liveliness. Once I'm satisfied with the design, the next step is the merchandising; naming the product (not as easy as one would think) determining the number of pieces (also not so easy), staging the photos (time consuming but very rewarding), and finally developing an advertising campaign (ah yes, the final lap). But it's not done yet. Because it all needs to be evaluated. Sales figures, customer feedback, maybe a little tweaking to the design, it's all part of the process.