When it comes to interior design, inspiration, organization and collaboration with clients pretty much sum up efforts needed for a successful outcome. If only there were a platform that could help the interior design community streamline these tasks while also connecting and learning from other designers.
If you’re looking for that platform, you might want to pay a visit to Steelyard (steelyardaccess.com). You can join the already 30,000 vetted interior designers who use Steelyard, which showcases thousands of products from more than 120 home furnishings brands, helps you pull design stories together via personal project folders and connect with designer-friendly vendors, all for free. According to Shawn Hughes, who owns Steelyard with his wife Sandy, the platform is “the premier research tool to identify and find products from brands that are committed to designers.”
“We’ve owned this company for six years, and it’s a passion for us,” Hughes continues. “We love the industry and the design community and we want these people to be successful. We’re delivering tools that make their lives easier and address the inefficiencies they deal with every day.”
With High Point Market postponed this month due to coronavirus concerns, Steelyard becomes an even more valuable tool. In partnership with High Point Market Authority, Steelyard will be rolling out “High Point at Home,” which will provide a platform for home furnishings exhibitors to showcase their latest collections.
What’s in the Works
While product inspiration and connecting to a wide range of suppliers is a primary benefit of Steelyard, Hughes and his team have paid attention to the needs of designers and are working to create an even more robust tool.
In the most recent updates, Steelyard members continue to have unlimited project folders. However, now the platform also gives its designers the ability to share those folders with their team members and clients. The folders soon will be able to be “private-labeled” to create a more impactful presentation with the emphasis on the designer’s firm. Now instead of having to go to several companies to source products, it can all be pulled together conveniently in one place. The client and designer can then choose products to order, and the designer can connect with vendors through the platform.
“It’s astonishing what you learn when you listen to your customers,” says Hughes. “We’ve gotten really good ideas from our designers.”
Steelyard stops short of being an e-commerce site or marketplace, but at the end of a consultation with a client, for example, when products need to be ordered, designers can simply create a purchase order or message the brand directly with one click. “Manufacturers have solid distribution. Every one of the 30,000 designers on Steelyard has a different way of doing business,” he adds. “We get close to the line without taking orders.”
Find It All
Currently, Steelyard houses approximately 120 brands across furniture, lighting and home decor. The companies that market through Steelyard range from the very high end to more affordable, and include large manufacturers to artisinal companies. The goal is to offer a wide variety of available choices so designers can find whatever they need. Hughes noted that he anticipates the number of companies joining Steelyard, particularly with the updates to the platform, to increase this year as the company widens its scope and more manufacturers are working with interior designers. “Staying committed to designers and keeping them a central part of their distribution strategy,” Hughes says, is an essential criteria to become a part of the Steelyard family. Privacy is also a key consideration on Steelyard. Only vetted designers can access the detailed information provided by vendors on the site. Consumers and other visitors can access the blog for home design inspiration, but can go no further until they are approved as a credentialed designer.
As Hughes and his team continue to hone the Steelyard platform to be the ultimate tool for the interior design community, they are also looking at other categories. Categories such as mattresses, for example, are on the radar this year. “We want to deliver on the needs for every project without compromise. We offer unique pieces, luxury solutions, premier price points to budget price points,” says Hughes. “We want to cover the entire spectrum so we can solve all of the designers’ client’s needs.”
Connect with Steelyard
You can connect with the Steelyard team to learn more about the platform and meet with other designers offline at key markets, such as the Steelyard lounge at Las Vegas Market or the Steelyard Airstream at High Point Market. To learn more about Steelyard vendors, you can also follow the famous nail polish trail.
For more information on Steelyard and how it can benefit your design business, visit