I am going to be unpopular today- and I will tell you why

Cheryl Kees Clendenon Designer Drama Leave a Comment

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The big debate or rather debacle about Houzz has been ongoing for a couple of years.

I wrote a post about it in 2015 before the current blow up and while the post was great for my stats- it sure did not get me any votes for  prom queen. I did not care about that in high school and sure as heck do not care now either. {Note to anyone not in the industry or who cares about decor- Houzz is an internet site to view pretty pictures put there by people like me. Houzz is controversial in the designer world.}

I am ok not being in the club- I mean who wants to be in a club, er, face book group where they do not want you because you have had an opinion?  Sniff. Varying opinions is sort of the point yes?  I took down the 3 year old post to start writing this one because in fairness to my detractors a lot has changed. Lucky for me no one can pull the plug on my voice here and that is a good thing as after this I may need to cultivate some new friends;0)

So to cut to the chase- I do not really like how Houzz runs their company.

They did not consult with me on their business model nor did they ask me about changes made during the last couple of years. It is also true I did not ask them about any changes I have made to my business model in the past couple of years either- you think there is a correlation?

So now they have made changes and and designers in my world are upset more than they have been in the past. I get it. I really do- I mean I am on Houzz and I see it with my own eyeballs. A fabulous human (we will call her FH) I know fairly well is upset enough on designer’s behalf to have started a petition to send to Houzz. I will post it tomorrow for those inclined to sign with more on Houzz and my thoughts on how to improve one’s profile should they want to do so. I am also am considering posting my own stats of leads and revenue. Of course I live in a smaller community but my two most profitable projects from Houzz are from out of town- hmmm. More on this later.

But today’s post by my esteemed colleague ( we will call her EC)  has gone viral and this makes me scared ya’ll.

{Message me for the link if you are one of the 12 people who have not seen it. Not promoting to my 5 followers)

I mean I thought I was scared when all the political rages were hot and heavy but let me tell you those politicians have nothing on a bunch of pissed off designers. How different is it really? Well let’s just say there are  similarities in that there is a lot of truth, a bit of bullshit, some fancy terms and what not that make you scratch your head and consult your 15 yr old for insight, and a wee bit of burning at the stake.

Ya- you know when someone takes a thought that has some kernels of truth and then conflates it with a few facts meant to divert your attention from the fact that a real live person is about to be hung at dawn- Combine this with a few loud hell no’s from EC – aiming a bulls eye right  at the sweet spot of their constituency and what do you have? A bunch of otherwise good and well meaning people going off the rails and losing their minds about the wrong issues.

Starting to sound familiar right? Except this is not politics. It is interior design.

This is my livelihood and many of my friends’ ( well let me not count on any of those friends just yet- may be a lonely trip to LA for Dwell on Design) and I take it seriously enough to pay attention.

Some of  EC’s post today was spot on and the no follow on badges is interesting- mine did not have it but our website outbound links on profiles do- that sucks. You can load this cool little thingy and check yourself or just right click and open html and look for the ref; no follow.   I was nodding my head as fast as I could- until I got to the part where the rails started to get a little wobbly. Talking about the Houzz Trade program. Head swivel. I thought huh? Who in their right mind would do that?

Even neophyte designers know there is more money to be made than getting some sort of measly discount of 3% and if they do not they will learn this the same way the rest of us have learned it. But ok- Houzz is a business and apparently not smart enough to give a bigger referral fee- they are not alone. I do not understand why this is making EC sick at this point-

Ok so I think we are moving on but noooo- we are going to convolute the #crappytradepricingangle-

****Newsflash**** there are items that are the same in Houzz’ store sold by DIFFERENT VENDORS FOR DIFFERENT PRICING- second head swivel of the morning- Like this is not done elsewhere? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It is done on my street!  And for the record you will see the seller info of the chesterfield sofa below- it happens to be a poorly named bricks and mortar store in California.

What sort of confounded baffling word play is this about? I am beginning to think we are in Washington and I did not even get to dress for the trip!

 

 

 

So- ok- What was the point here?

The Houzz platform has enough indictments against it with interior designers already.  We are muddying the waters because- why? Wait- what? So Houzz is a store front- say like Amazon. And they have varied vendors with varied pricing- and- this is a problem how? Because they have a shitty trade discount? They will have to get in line to claim that crown!

But  if you are relying on a 3% discount to fund your IRA, then we got to talk– this is irrelevant to the Houzz discussion but IT IS  germane to the product being sold in the same post- which is FINE– free market and all that and hey if I have a rolodex ( and god knows mine would kick some serious ass) I might sell it too- I love to sell things- but if we promote it on the same storefront online platform does this mean something nefarious? Nope.

Is one of us doing some canoodling? What baffles me is going down the path of quoting totally irrelevant trade pricing to prove to all of EC’s readers- and all the unsuspecting constituents who drank the koolaid and passed that info right along to Susie, Ted and Mary-  that yaaaa you designers charge too much. ZOMG. How exactly are you helping us out here EC?  The #HateonHouzz party is springing a leak- big eye roll.

And this brings me to #thereallycrappything

Another vendor is selling some lovely upholstery. Eco First Arts. This happens to be owned by a designer- you know- one of the same group of folks we are talking about now. And apparently she is selling furnishings, and using the pictures from vendors she may or may not be allowed to sell and the assertion is she is “ripping them off”. Wowza. {By the way, I have a shop. I know  you CAN use vendor pictures with their permission. }

Do we need a go fund me set up for Bunny Williams, Mark Sikes and Henredon? 

Ok so I do not know if she is ripping off these vendors and has a sweatshop somewhere in North Carolina employing little minions to make her stuff or not- but does EC  know either?  Maybe ask before ripping her to shreds on the post? Is Bunny Williams and Mark Sikes and Henredon destitute and cannot make a claim?  Houzz has 40 million visitors- is not like someone might have already told them this if is even an issue? Whatttt? Is this too logical? She did not claim to design it near as I can see so possibly she is reselling this LIKE THE REST OF US DO? I propose that Houzz uses a form for sellers and if you do not want to list the brand because well- you know- you want the consumers to come to you- again something you will see at my shop too- and this is why it appears Eco First Arts is the mfr- this is bad form for Houzz for sure but do not think it merits a calling out.

Whole lot of assumptions going on here and in my mind I recall this thing about how you are innocent until proven guilty- I am wondering out loud if anyone has sought her position on this? I sure as hell would before I splattered her all over my blog. Full disclosure: EC has a zillion viewers- Her blog is a weapon when you get as big as she is-  So am going up against the giant here- a giant I  like too- but sometimes we all need an intervention.

I am funny this way- facts are my friend. 

I will say the letter from the woman who designed a sofa in California was compelling so there very well may be some fire where the smoke was generated but I would like to know the facts on this.

But let’s say this is one mean hombre ripping people off by night and running chintz up the Hudson by day-this is germane to the #HateonHouzz party in what way?

I hope if one of the 5 of you shop in my store you do not hold me accountable if one of my vendors has skeletons in his closet- I mean I guess is a good thing to police your vendors but damn is this really what designers are upset about? No. The answer is no.

So what is up with the old tar and feather gig? Or is it just collateral damage? 

You know- let’s shoot up the bad guy and to hell with who else gets hurt. Sound familiar? I hope EC has a good attorney if you know what I am sayin’. And really hope that any sales from the rolodex go to the #BunnyWilliamsMarkSikesHenredon go fund me. Now that would be very ethical right?

I am not defending Houzz here against the real issues. But am calling bullshit on big parts of EC’s post. We do not need any more divisive crap. We need unity as a professional group of people and if you want to get off Houzz then do it. Delete the pix, park a comment on your profile, direct them back to your own solely owned site and get on with business. And those of us who feel differently will keep on keeping on too. In the meantime if you want to visit my Houzz profile here then please do. 

 

 

 

 

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