Schumacher knows how designers shop

Schumacher & Co. CEO Timur Yumusaklar and creative director Dara Caponigro sit down with DNN Editor in Chief Courtney Porter to discuss the 135-year-old heritage brand’s expansion of its physical footprint in Charlotte (and beyond). While their new hybrid boutique model will have both retail-facing and trade-exclusive sides, they assure us that interior designers remain their central focus. This isn’t the first time Schumacher has done this, having already rolled out successful boutiques in Nashville and Milan, they have tapped into a deeper need of the design industry, delicately balancing accessibility and exclusivity. Click play on the video to watch the discussion:

Choosing Charlotte

The decision to open a showroom in Charlotte was rooted in the city’s vibrant design scene, Schumacher creative director Dara Caponigro explains. She and CEO Timur Yumusaklar are always impressed by the city’s rich history with textiles and furniture, which make it a natural fit for Schumacher’s expansion. 

Schumacher has tapped Charlotte’s own Barrie Benson to design the boutique, for her love of color, pattern, and sophistication. The space is divided into two areas: the back, exclusively for designers, and the front, where they will be selling pillows, decor and other accessories to the retail consumer.

“Charlotte is a booming town, a very sophisticated town,” Yumusaklar says, “but it’s actually not that easy to get access to great product. You have to travel.” The Charlotte showroom aims to bridge this gap, providing better access and support to the design community.

Illustration of the Schumacher boutique in Nashville

The Design Lab at the Schumacher Boutique Charlotte

The to-the-trade side of the Schumacher Boutique is referred to as the Design Lab, which will have work tables for designers to strategize and scheme, and consultants available to assist them. They are also curating their product lines of wallpaper, fabrics, and trims into regionally-specific collections that Charlotte designers will love.

Boutique and custom

This is part of a larger trend of smaller (boutique) and specific (custom), through the means of greater accessibility. This is also what Lee Hershberg is doing with Design Edge, for example. Design Edge is a curated traveling design show that designers nation-wide have been raving about, wherein to-the-trade brands are brought to the designers, rather than making the designers travel to them.

Shows like Design Edge and the hybrid showroom models like the Schumacher boutique solve a couple problems designers have: For one, they are seeing curated selections of product that are more relevant to them.

Secondly, Traveling a distance to a design show or a design center is often cost and/or time-prohibitive. In the case of a local, curated show or boutique, a designer can even bring their junior staff in to gain experience with product without taking too much time away from the studio.

Event programming at the Schumacher Boutique Charlotte

Schumacher has tapped into what designers really want out of their programming; namely inspiration and education served together. The Charlotte showroom will host monthly events, some of which will cater to both designers and enthusiasts, such as book signings and floral-arranging classes; some will cater exclusively to designers, such as editor presentations and business seminars.

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Schumacher values the interior designer

Brands are smart to focus on designers, especially when their product involves education. Yumusaklar emphasized the complexities of the design process that homeowners might not fully grasp until it’s too late and costly mistakes have been made. Why is this trim more expensive than the other? Why can’t I put this silk on my sofa? Schumacher sees themselves in partnership with the designer to mitigate and prevent those mistakes.

Schumacher’s future plans expand beyond Charlotte into other design deserts

Yumusaklar outlined a vision for Schumacher’s expansion beyond Charlotte. He hinted at what other cities might be on the horizon for them, such as Charleston, Austin, Kansas City, San Antonio, and Tampa. “Our industry used to be organized so much in design centers,” he says, “That has changed.” The hybrid approach Schumacher is adopting, with a small retail space in the front and a showroom in the back exclusively for the trade, may feel new but it is not novel. Designers coming from Europe may already be familiar with this model, and there, it seems to work.

For more information, visit schumacher.com or stop by the shop at 301 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203, when it opens in May!

About Schumacher

Founded in 1889 in New York by Parisian Frederic Schumacher, the company has been synonymous with style since it began. Still family-owned, Schumacher continues to uphold its namesake’s insatiable passion for beauty, thirst for quality, and quest for innovation. From fabrics, wallcoverings, and trim to furniture, rugs, and pillows, each of Schumacher’s wide-ranging collections is united by a respect for classicism and an eye for the cutting edge. Presently, Schumacher has 17 showrooms in the United States with plans to open two more in 2024. It also has locations in London and Paris and is opening another one soon in Milan. Schumacher is part of a growing stable of design companies in the portfolio of its parent company, FS&CO, which also includes Patterson Flynn, Backdrop, and Frederic Media. Learn more about Schumacher at schumacher.com and @schumacher1889

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