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Eco Outdoor welcomes The Design Circle event | Image: @jodibalnorn_id

TIME TO READ: 4m 15s

Last month, Western Australian marketing guru Deb Whincop of Spreading Roomers launched The Design Circle – an event designed for designers. First stop was the Eco Outdoor Osborne Park showroom.

The inaugural The Design Circle event

The Design Circle toured a number of WA showrooms with the day starting at the Eco Outdoor Osborne Park showroom. This allowed designers to come face-to-face with the latest products, meet the team and build on conversations amongst other creatives. The response to the event from both attendees and participating design studios was overwhelmingly positive.

Pam Thomson, Eco Outdoor WA director, welcomed the invitation to become a co-partner of the inaugural The Design Circle tours. “We were very impressed with this event and we’re happy to support a concept that engages the broader design community”, says Pam. “We received wonderful feedback on the showroom and the knowledge of the team at Eco Outdoor from the participants.”

We speak to Deb about the concept behind The Design Circle and what makes it so unique as well as her vision for future events.

Can you describe the concept behind The Design Circle and where it all started?

Snaps of The Design Circle tour starting in the Eco Outdoor Osborne Park Showroom
Snaps of The Design Circle tour starting in the Eco Outdoor Osborne Park Showroom

The Design Circle really is an extension of Spreading Roomers. Having worked so closely with clients in the industry across the past three years in a business coaching role, there seemed to be a constant gap in the market (particularly for Interior Designers) for ‘events designed for designers’.

There are solid mechanisms and representation for Architects and Building Designers / Builders but nothing really specific that brings together the designers directly to the suppliers/manufacturers/product or that positions them as the experts they are.

What sets The Design Circle apart from other industry events?

Snaps of The Design Circle tour starting in the Eco Outdoor Osborne Park Showroom
Snaps of The Design Circle tour starting in the Eco Outdoor & Glosswood Osborne Park Showroom

In a perfect world, Interior Designers all self-specify but as the market floods with new offerings, finding the time and headspace in a busy schedule is increasingly difficult especially if you are a sole trader. Juggling existing clients, finding new ones and the constant battle between working in or on the business can see so many new products ignored and so many designers potentially missing out on a new opportunity.

On the flip-side, there’s only so many email campaigns, social media angles and targeted digital marketing the retailer/supplier can do – how do you talk, with any familiarity to those who don’t already know you and what you stand for?

The ethos behind The Design Circle is simple – relationships – building honest, inspired and genuine industry relationships. Connecting with design from the inside out and having it actually mean something. It’s designed not to rely purely on PR or social currency, instead, it creates the perfect melting pot for an enjoyable industry experience that can foster growth for all involved, without obligatory pressure to share it. That it was shared by everyone who came is a testament to the value provided along the way.

How was the event received by the design industry?

Well so far, it’s been quite staggering. The day after the event when I finally had time to share the imagery of the day I was getting messages from followers saying “you are literally everywhere”. Even though this wasn’t the priority for the event, it cemented to me just how much our Interior Designers needed it and how much they enjoyed it. Having spoken to our co-partners post tour, one, in particular, is busier than they’ve ever been.

I’ve had interest from so many more local businesses wanting to know how they can be part of the next circle. I couldn’t have hoped for a better response really. The feedback has been extremely positive.

What’s your vision for The Design Circle?

Ultimately; I see The Design Circle potentially growing into a brand of its own. It’s definitely helping me to steer the brand of Spreading Roomers into new territory which is both exciting and slightly daunting.

Interior Design as an arena is a busy space to occupy. With the rise of social media and digital marketing finding capabilities to communicate beyond algorithms and curated looks is so important. A sustainable business model is so much more than that. I always say you can have a brand without marketing but you can’t have marketing without a brand. The Design Circle reinforces getting the brand right – having a clear vision and business values and leading your practice with those in mind first. There is really no replacement for face to face contact.

Ultimately, I’d like to see The Design Circle as a permanent fixture on the design industry calendar. I really feel it has such a huge potential to reach so many from design student all the way through to Architect. Every rung in the ladder has a contribution to make.

I’ll be looking to run three to four large yearly events (two in WA) as it grows in popularity and measure, also making room for bespoke opportunities in between our key dates too as the methods move more readily toward connection over social influence.

Keep in the loop

Stay in touch with future The Design Circle events by following @thedesigncircle & @spreadingroomers.