I joined the nasty stop and go traffic in the rainy streets of Hollywood this past Thursday night to attend a book tour party in a sweet little pop-up gallery for Tom Dixon. Here is the nutshell.
At the time that the commercial Italian furniture market took notice of Tom Dixon’s work, he was paid 3% on the wholesale price of every design that sold. He said that this was a pretty fair standard for Cappellini to pay its designers in the eighties. For some reference to how insane this seems to me, I just signed Jaxon Home up for a program that rewards publisher’s like The Estate of Things 4x that percentage for sales on the retail price! So, for all of you bloggers out there wishing you were designers, you might be better off joining an affiliate network or calling me up to chat about selling some sofas for Jaxon Home! ;)
After a few years designing for Capellini, the designer was hired by Habitat, the UK’s equivalent to a Crate & Barrel. Tom Dixon served as a creative director for over 10 years and was the leader behind the rejuvenation of that brand! He referred to it humbly as taking a break from design to learn the ins and outs of retail operations, production and sales. His takeaway here was that the disparity between what a magazine will make you THINK people buy versus what actually sells, have nothing to do with one another! Fascinating, and not unbelievable… but what IS it that people buy I wonder!
The thought segued nicely into his introduction to his accessories line… so that speaks volumes to me! He said 10 years ago he may have sworn he’d never do it, but recently he’s taken to the notion that smell is a part of interior design, and as a result, Tom Dixon now sells candles!
And you know – If Tom Dixon is selling candles, maybe we should be too! (We will, soon enough y’all… You’ll find a full array of fantastic soy based candles hand poured by Market Street Candles’ Haley Hekman on our site within the coming week!)
Last but not least, Tom Dixon had a funny note about how much he loves branding…. and he says he means the cowboy kind too, with a hot iron – a STAMP that signifies ownership and come to stand for quality. For the longest time he sold his designs to a mass market, but it wasn’t until 2002 that he took his own name to his designs and his products are now manufactured by him with his “conveniently symmetrical” name for his logo! He says that consumers don’t always look into the vertebrae of good design, but consumers do require branding as assurance of quality! Hey, that all sounds familiar to me too!
The talk was fantastic. The entire evening was all about celebrating the release of his book. The thing about the book from what I gathered, is that it is a well penned version of the talk that I loved last night. Full of chaotic meanderings and glimpses into the genius of the designer’s mind. I snapped a pic of a favorite page and here are a few to enjoy. It was a fantastic event, and I’m sure it will leave a lasting impression on me, and it has certainly strengthened my love for his product line.