Habitusliving: Where do you source your products?
Nicholas Barber: Having lived and worked as Architects & Interior Designers in New York City for a long period of time we stock only products that we have used in our own projects. In that sense Dunlin is very much an extension of the design practice, and they inform each other constantly.
HL: How often do you update your catalogue?
NB: Weekly, we are constantly updating the collection and adding new ranges. Our bronze outdoor lighting is a new range we are very excited about.
HL: What’s your process for choosing which items to sell? What are the main factors that affect what you choice?
NB: The quality and integrity of the product is always our focus. We really enjoy stocking products where we personally know the fabricators, so we can be sure of the quality and longevity of the product. We look always for products where the process of high quality hand fabrication is still evident in the product, Matteo for example is stitched, cut and dyed for Dunlin in Los Angeles, so no two pieces will ever be the same. Something we beleive in at Dunlin is a strong relationship between production and design, going back to Matteo again their designers sit just meters from the production rooms at their studio in downtown Los Angeles. With Dunlin lighting, three UK production facilities are dedicated to constructing the beautifully unprocessed lights: aluminium shades and bases are hand-spun from sheet metal in the heart of the UK’s metal-working industry and sent to Oxford for assembly, while bone china shades are hand-cast in Stoke-on-Trent.
On another note we believe that quality and value are not mutually exclusive, and we have seen this in Dunlin where are trying to be fair and globally competitive as an Australian company.
1. Do you have an idea of who your ‘typical client’ is? If so how would you characterize them? If not what criteria do you use to evaluate what your clients will like?
Our typical client ranges from restaurant, publicans and bar owners, to architects and interior designers, then all the way through to private customers who buy directly from us at Dunlinhome.com. The common thread between all of them is an appreciation for quality and design integrity, similar in the way there has been a renewed interest in heritage brands in fashion, we are now seeing an increased interest in this in homewares.
1. In your opinion, what are the current trends in your clients’ taste/preferences? How do you explain this?
We are really seeing a shift away from surface treatments, towards a more subtle luxury, towards solid brass rather than gold anodising, which is a welcome change! From what we are seeing heritage brands will continue to grow, as will new lines that promote quality and integrity, and have an honesty about them.
1. Do you ever choose an item and expect it to sell well and then it doesn’t (or vice-versa)? If so do you have any idea why?
Our Stanley Pendants were one. As they are solid copper or brass and handmade in Oxford, England, we thought they may prove slightly too expensive for the residential market, but we have had a wonderful response with them, people love them in kitchens and we have been really excited to see the positive response.