At The Invisible Collection, Building a Customer-Centric Luxury Furniture Brand | Sponsored Feature
The Invisible Collection is an online platform where bespoke iterations of furniture designed by the world’s best designers for private projects can be purchased online. Sourcing outstanding contemporary design that would never have been commercially available before, the company has created a unique inventory that is further customized through exclusive colors, dimensions and materials.
The retailer is sold online and during pop-up exhibitions in Paris, Miami, Milan, London and New York, as well as in a private showroom in the heart of Belgravia, London. Zana, Emmanuelle Simon and Francesco Balzano.
The Invisible Collection works with designers and artisans to facilitate customization, make each piece unique and flawlessly made, ensure authenticity, and educate customers about the cultural context and long-term appreciation. The platform has created an innovative culture of customer loyalty to increase sales. Almost 50 percent of sales are generated in the US and 15 percent in the APAC market, with the remainder in EMEA.
Today, numerous companies in the fashion and luxury sectors are moving to the household goods sector. Brands like Ralph Lauren and Fendi, who have been in the home business for decades, are now supported by a number of new competitors. The US market is particularly strong. Market research firm NPD Group predicts that non-electric household goods in the US will see 13 percent growth over the Christmas season this year.
“It’s a universe with a radically different rhythm from fashion,” said Isabelle Dubern-Mallevays, co-founder of interior designer The Invisible Collection and former creative director of Dior Maison.
Below, the co-founders of The Invisible Collection share their insights into building an emerging retail brand and how the London-based French brand advocates a new approach to luxury furniture.
In your experience, how did the events of 2020 affect consumer attitudes?
In those days, the focus was not on clothes, but on the furniture and objects that surround you. On a deeper level, this unprecedented situation has made us more human and made us rethink priorities: do we really want a different dress or bag? Do we need them? On the other hand, we want to experience a beautiful, calming environment in which we may spend a large part of our lives.
More than ever, consumers are looking for products that are useful, timeless and collectible. Aside from the obvious, inevitable acceleration of e-commerce as the internet has become the main – if not the only – channel for buying almost all products, there has been a major shift towards the home. The house is now a one-stop multi-destination where you have been living, working, and even vacationing for the last year.
How has your business developed?
For us, 2020 was a year of great business acceleration as we improved our efficiency in every sector from manufacturing to customer service. Since January 2020 we have been able to increase our sales by 163 percent. We gained momentum as our products became products that met a need. We also already had our “digital” playbook when the pandemic hit us – all we had to do was update it.
Since January 2020 we have been able to increase our sales by 163 percent.
No project is too big or too small as long as it has meaning. It always comes down to human interaction and the way we connect with our customers. There are no rules about customer lead time – the biggest sales can be quick. Customers know the classic deadlines for the production of the pieces by craftsmen.
How is your business developing?
In times like these you think about values - what are our core values as a person and as a company? The pandemic has accelerated our commitment to addressing environmental and social problems even further. We believe that since last January we have been the first company in our industry to fully offset our carbon footprint for the transport and delivery of our furniture. And our new London showroom, which is due to open in September, is designed and built as well as possible according to sustainability principles. We have also appointed a sustainability officer to our team. Of course, this is still a work in progress.
It’s also about community building and social responsibility. We try to work with companies that promote social equality and the empowerment of women, preserve traditional crafts and local production.
It is time we rethought luxury as a means of promoting craftsmanship and culture. We want to set new standards in the way we look at luxury products, no longer ephemeral objects of desire, but designs that will transcend time and be a testament to culture, creativity and savoir faire.
How do you engage and convert customers online?
The curation of the website and the added value of the craftsmanship, as well as the community of talented interior designers that we feature on the website, have played a huge role in solidifying our brand. We work together a lot. For example, we set the preferred room at Sotheby’s during their major contemporary sales and gave a lecture on Brazilian design at The Design Museum in London. Our next project is to bring some rare, extraordinary designs by Oscar Niemeyer to Europe, which we will exhibit in London and Paris.
Although we are a digital brand, we interact personally with all of our customers.
This is what we do at The Invisible Collection – we show the work of talented designers who bring emotion, history and culture to every piece they create. Plus, our customers can learn how the product was made and learn more about the artisans who handcrafted it – and their fascinating crafting techniques.
How has your approach to customer service evolved?
Thanks to digital technologies, we can engage and interact with our customers with new and improved experiences. This also helps our employees to be even more efficient and flexible by removing some complex steps so that they can better serve our customers and their experiences. The digital landscape changes daily and we want to share our best with our customers and employees.
Since day one, we have made perfect service a priority. We use all means to exchange ideas with our customers, WhatsApp, mood boards, sample programs, Instagram, telephone, virtual meetings and our teams are often on site to carry out installations. We also organize private visits to workshops with the most talented of our artisans.
How do you inform your customers about your product mix?
Education is a big word. We prefer to share our knowledge and passion with them. Customers feel the sincerity and enthusiasm of our team and reward us with their trust. On a more practical level, this means that even though we are a digital brand, we interact personally with all of our customers.
The same applies to our relationship with designers and craftsmen: we know each of them personally. And this year of pandemic and lockdown has further strengthened our already close bond. We fought together and did our best to keep all of these businesses alive. We’re so proud to have built a really close community of craftsmen and designers who share the same values and goals as we do.
This sponsored feature is part of a media partnership between BoF and The Invisible Collection.