By Marie Kulik, Manager of Exhibitor Business Development
This week we talked to Jean-Luc Bouchard of urbak butik. He has an interesting perspective as an exhibitor who has participated in a few of our Shows and excplains just how much of an impact Discover Design had for design-focused products compared to years past.
What is the inspiration behind the design and functionality of your products?
JL: Quality Scandinavian products.
Marie: What makes a design “great”?
JL: Simplicity expressed in form and in function; Less is more; “A horse, not a camel”.
Marie: How much does cost influence design?
JL: Unfortunately, too much. We live in a world of “I really like this but I’d only pay $9.95”. This causes too many compromises on design. But there’s a way around that… Don’t design products in function of what your client will pay for it; design it as it should be. If the design is strong enough, you will get customers. Those are the designs and companies that we choose to work with. It takes a strong will and vision from the manufacturer but the result is not a bad copycat of someone else’s product. As they say, there’s no statues erected for committees.
What does your company offer the Industry?
JL: We offer affordable and unique Scandinavian products to the US and Canadian market. We focus on products that are not available over here and edit the lines that we bring. We currently have great new lines from Born in Sweden and Kahler.
Marie: What was your first impression of Discover Design? The Show in general?
JL: Discover Design made me feel warm and fuzzy. We are a design focused company and while the Show was good in years prior, it was always difficult for us to get all the buyers to come by our booth as design companies were scattered throughout the floor. This year, we had a lot of traffic stopping by after having seen our products in the Discover Design Gallery. I think that this was the strongest part of discover design. I’d like to see Discover Design expand in something even more unique and distinct from the rest of the Show.
Marie: How do you see design impacting our industry five years down the road? 10? Longer?
JL: That’s an interesting question and also somewhat rhetorical. Will you remember the cheap plastic product you just bought? Probably not. Will you remember this really clever/beautiful/stylish/hi-quality product you invested in? Chances are you will. So spend less on trivial things and invest in quality products that can span generation.
Marie: How did the Discover Design help to expand your brand?
JL: It helped greatly. We introduced new lines at the show and this was a very good vehicle for us to show them. Otherwise, we would have had to wait until August to show them.
Marie: What advice can you offer to designers working in the home goods field?
JL: Stick to your ideas and create something new. The phrase “Imitation is the most serious form of flattery” is crap. Be original or go do something else.