Shop from Home with De Sousa HughesAuthor:Lindsey Shook
After twenty years in the design business, owners of the globally respected showroom De Sousa Hughes, Geoffrey De Sousa and Erik Hughes have perfected how to pivot. Their wildly successful company has worked with several of California’s most iconic designers, launching collections of some of the most important decorative artists of our time.
With the current shelter-in-place order, the De Sousa Hughes team thought fast and implemented a new remote structure to seamlessly support both their staff, vendors and clients. More impressively they launched a fully immersive 3D virtual tour of their expansive showroom, giving clients a direct connection to the showroom. Here, they share insights on how they are staying productive and positive as well as new introductions to the showroom collection.
-How are you keeping yourself and your team positive during this time? (Erik Hughes) Right at the outset of the shelter-in-place order, we put into place a support structure for our staff with an important objective to maintain a feeling of connection and open communication. We start each day with a series of video meetings, broken-down into teams. Once a week, we have a general showroom-wide video meeting, to make sure we are all connecting and encouraging a sense of community and support. Additionally, we are scheduling town hall meetings and personalized Zoom meetings for our clients and vendors to share information and direct messaging.
–Many designers are still very busy. What has been the showroom’s experience thus far? (Geoffrey De Sousa) In general, it seems that the designers that were busy prior to the shelter-in-place are still busy now. In fact, in many cases there is a great sense of urgency to keep projects moving forward. This week we even started to see new projects coming in, as it seems that many designers’ clients are ready to get projects up and running again. Our internal communication methods seem to work for clients and vendors as well. We are connecting virtually with them via Zoom happy hours for example. I think this has reduced the feeling of isolation and made everyone feel as comfortable as possible in this new virtual world.
–How do you believe this global shift will change the showroom and manufacturing side of the business? (Erik Hughes) No one likes to have their showroom shut down, but we have found our business is remarkably adaptable to the working from home concept. We have shifted the way we present to our vendors. Our sales staff is feeling more and more comfortable engaging with designers virtually, and we’ve all discovered that we all are more productive than we thought was possible. There has been a lot of shopping and quoting happening, utilizing these new improved sales tools—tools which will likely become the standard procedure moving forward. This period is highlighting the importance of a knowledgeable staff and deep industry connections. We are fortunate that our staff has that depth and expertise. We’ve now developed a 3D virtual tour of our showroom which brings De Sousa Hughes to all of our designers and architects 24/7 and is added point of connection between designers and our sales staff. These tools will just get better and better and be just as useful when we do return to our showroom.
–What has pleasantly surprised you the most about our community? (Geoffrey De Sousa) We have created new connections between showroom owners and designers both locally, and across the country. Even our competitors are sharing information on how to work within this new normal. We are so pleased that the San Francisco design community has mobilized so quickly! Our local designers have been an incredible resource on how we can best serve their needs. Being apart has brought us all a little closer, the sense of community is more important than ever. We want to make sure we continue to do everything we can to maintain a positive approach.
–Can you share one major change you hope will come out of the pandemic? (Erik Hughes) We were already looking for opportunities to improve our business, and this pandemic has forced us to adapt some of our systems. But most importantly, we have are continually impressed with the strength of our team and the valuable relationships they have built over the years within our design community. We are excited about the future, and a new approach to the way we work.
SHOP FROM HOME:
Add a touch of rich color with the Beauvais Console Table by Caste.
Be prepared for any size dinner party with the Kemizo Dining Table with self-storing leaves by Altura.
Illuminate any space with the new Eclipse pendants by John Pomp.
Go green with the new Initiation wallcovering by Elitis.
Add a wow effect with the Ares Lounge Chair by Kimberly Denman.
Incorporate a perfect piece of plaster with the Hugo Lamp by Stephen Antonson.
Adorn an empty wall with the Passementerie collection from Christopher Farr Cloth.
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