How to (Successfully) Merchandise a Model Home
It truly takes a village to create a village. Or at least a housing development. You have the builder and/or developer, the architect, the construction team, the marketing director, the model merchandiser, the branding company, and the sales team. To name just a few “members of the village.” Each party relying on the other to complete their part effectively. What it takes to (successfully) merchandise a model home, design a clubhouse, create a sales office, and tie is all together with your website and social efforts, is less about furnishings and finishes, and more about collaboration and communication. This reliance on others is perhaps most evident in the model merchandising process.
Behind the Scenes Team
Successfully merchandising a model home requires clear, open communication and strong relationships. We often think of merchandisers, architects, and construction working together to create a successful model home. However, while this is true, we can’t forget about the “other” unsung heroes in this world of model home creation. This includes the people on the ground: the movers and installers plus the many people behind the scenes. The hardworking team who literally help our designs come to life by writing and tracking orders, coordinating storage and delivery, loading and unloading furniture, arranging accessories, and hanging art.
Long before our design team leaves the office to install a model, the purchasing team is hard at work. This group is on the “front lines” of the entire collaborative process. They establish and cultivate relationships with vendors, negotiate pricing to meet budgets, and expedite orders to meet deadlines. Excellent communication, logistics, and planning skills are a must.
Working closely with the designers, the purchasing team places orders for furniture, art, lamps, window treatments, pillows and bedding, and accessories. Further, they confirm availability of all the orders, coordinate logistics and schedules, and finally, track the orders and shipments. But they are not done yet.
They arrange the warehouses onsite and confirm delivery of items and storage. Also, there is the coordination with the installation companies for the delivery of items to the model, unloading, and if necessary, arranging art installers. Additionally, this group of steadfast, detailed, hard workers are our main contact should any onsite problems arise. (Fortunately, these occasions are few and far between.)
Next critical collaboration: delivering and unloading the furniture, art, lamps, window treatments, etc. To make it all work, it takes tons of communication, patience, loads of flexibility, and a bit of humor. We rely on these professionals to literally help get the design elements (i.e., furniture, accessories, etc.) to the model home. Having a good working relationship (often developed right then and there), makes this whole process smoother and much more enjoyable.
Recently, one of our designers was onsite at an install and had such a fantastic experience with the install crew. In her own words:
“When we were in Ohio installing, we had a really great team of installers. They were extremely helpful and handy! They worked with us to coordinate moving temporary furniture from one model to another and any other problems that came up. They were upbeat, efficient, and a great team overall.”
It’s this type of collaboration and teamwork with the whole team – builder, trades, merchandisers, movers, etc. — that creates a successful project. Without each entity working together, we wouldn’t be able to produce the quality model homes that we do.
Putting it all Together
Staying on time and in budget is top of mind throughout the entire process. It truly takes a dedicated team of professionals who are conscientious, responsive, and able to make smart decisions on the fly. All parties need to be working in sync. The goal: a model home presentation that stays true to the original design intent and helps deliver the builder promise to the buyer.
Success = Collaboration
We are grateful for the successful collaborative teams that we have cultivated over the years. And know that our future success, and the future success of our clients, depend on all of us continuing to work together in a collaborative, supportive, and patient way. Ensuring that every model home is merchandised not only with the right furnishings, accessories, and art, but also a plethora of open communication, a dousing of trust and respect, and an abundance of teamwork.