Dear Diva Readers,
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 40px; line-height: 30px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>I love interior design and the entire process of taking an abstract idea and making it a reality. However anyone who has undertaken a remodel project (or even just redecorated a room) knows that the process can be very intensive and often stressful! Interior Designers are so valuable when it comes to selecting the right pieces for a room and at The Antiques Diva & Co we often take interior designers on antique buying tours as well as source pieces for them through our Buying Services.
I recently met Anna Beck Bimba and Ann Shriver Sargent, founders of a very useful business for interior designers called PORTE-COCHÈRE. I asked them a few questions and wanted to share their answers with you as I think they are on to something new and exciting! So…let’s chat with PORTE-COCHÈRE!
Antiques Diva®: Can you explain your service?
PORTE-COCHÈRE: Top full-service interior designers find and procure thousands of products a year for their wealthy clients – not an easy task! Product sales are essential to their bottom line and vendors want their orders! PORTE-COCHÈRE is a business-to-business membership marketplace connecting a curated group of vendors and vetted design firms without acting as a middleman for the transactions.
PORTE-COCHÈRE’s business model embraces what is great about the 21st century – information technology and networks without geographic borders. We know from experience that when items are procured through the design firm’s standard process and arrive in the warehouse ready for installation they are part of the profit stream and a smoother project for their client. I (Ann Shriver Sargent) am always looking for ways to improve systems and increase profits and job satisfaction. We are in a new era, and technology allows us to scale some solutions for our community and build meaningful relationships with our peers and vendors.
In a way you can think of us as an “uber rep” focused on connecting an international talent band of design professionals.
Antiques Diva®: How did you come up with this idea?
PORTE-COCHÈRE: With 28 years designing I (Sargent) know it is impossible to design without identifying the exact products that inform a space and so much of a design firms’ energy is expended in search and procurement. The Internet has made searching for anything possible but a Google search is inefficient for professionals and I dreamed of a better way. I saw the need for a more channeled solution for interior design firms like mine to connect with trusted, profitable vendors.
Anna had interned at my firm in college and we stayed in close touch. At lunch one day I mentioned my idea to her and she immediately saw the value, and for many months, barraged me with articles, data and ideas. Anna left the security of her job as a brand manager for a luxury European furniture group and I sold my successful design firm to my partner, and in June 2013 we launched PORTE-COCHÈRE.
Antiques Diva®: Who uses your service?
PORTE-COCHÈRE: Design Firms are invited, or apply through referral. They must demonstrate they are a creditworthy full-service firm with clients that expect premium, luxury and bespoke products. They must have the back office systems to support direct accounts with vendor members and be able to provide references from subcontractors and vendors.
Vendors are vetted for quality of product and service and enjoy the opportunities PORTE-COCHÈRE provides for them to become and stay in the running for selection on our top Design Firm members’ projects – a targeted audience who is highly qualified and has the trust of their high-net-worth clients.
Antiques Diva®: What differentiates you from other design websites?
PORTE-COCHÈRE: Unlike other websites that connect designers and vendors, we are a closed network solely focused on direct business-to-business relationships between a rigorously vetted group of established interior designers and credible suppliers in the high-end residential and hospitality marketplace. PORTE-COCHÈRE is not a middleman, and our focus is exclusively on promoting quality and improving efficiency and profitability in the designer-vendor supply chain.
Antiques Diva®: Do you have any favorite brands/services on your site?
PORTE-COCHÈRE: We love all of our vendors! By the nature of our vetting process our curated group is only the best of the best. Our member-only web rolodex tool is a simple clean tool for connecting our members at this stage, however we have big plans for integrating this tool with designers’ everyday processes to make their lives easier and business’ more profitable – some very exciting things are in the works! We welcome inquiries and applications from designers and vendors around the world!
Until next time,
The Antiques Diva®