Design of the Time
Dallas design veteran aims to invigorate industry with new consulting business
Dallas design industry veteran Peggy Levinson has launched a new business offering strategic advice to her comrades in the design fields. With Peggy Levinson Consulting, she aims to serve the industry that has undergone a lot of change since she started in it more than 35 years ago.
With her new gig, Levinson provides comprehensive advice for trade-only showrooms and interior designers so they can function as successfully and profitably as possible, while preserving what makes each unique. With traditional buying methods uprooted, due in large part to e-commerce, PLC will help keep these firms viable, reach broader audiences and stay on top of the rapidly changing environment.
Levinson says she’s been offering her services on an ad hoc basis for years, but now she has made it official. “I really enjoy it, because I have a deep history in and so much respect for the design industry,” she says.
Despite the proliferation of websites, online information and “glut of product,” Peggy Levinson knows interior designers are still relevant in today’s world.
Levinson hopes to provide showrooms with “a fresh voice for sales and marketing,” as well as rebranding strategies for interior designers. She also intends to help creative types who have a product they want to market in showrooms.
Once a showroom owner herself (Boyd-Levinson, from 1985 to 1998, and partner in Hargett Associates, from 1999 to 2004), Levinson also currently serves at editor-at-large for D Home magazine, giving her an informed perspective. Despite the proliferation of home and design websites, online information, and “glut of product,” she knows that design professionals are still relevant in today’s world.
“With all that’s out there, it’s impossible to not be confused without some professional help,” she says. “More and more large showrooms are looking for handmade, artisan products to show along with their big national brands — and there’s a whole lot of local talent looking for the right marketplace. Many times I just make connections that I think will be profitable for both.”
Despite the “sea of change” in the current design market, Levinson knows those who adapt can thrive. “Designers must adapt with a fee-based system, and showrooms must adapt to keep getting credit for sales of their products.”
As for where she likes to go for inspiration around Dallas, that’s easy for her to answer. In addition to Mecox and Nest, Levinson loves to wander around the Industrial/Riverfront area. “I see so many things that just need a little paint and upholstery to be really fine.” She also keeps up with the “best and brightest” like Scott + Cooner, George Cameron Nash, Culp Associates and David Sutherland.
Levinson also offers some good advice to consumers wanting to refresh their living spaces. “Hire a designer,” she says. “Have them look at what you have, and reuse and reinvent. It’s amazing what we all have in an upstairs bedroom that could be killer in the living room.
“Then, invest in really good upholstery. Of course, paint is the biggest bang for your buck.”
As for current trends, she cautions against them. “I’m not a huge fan of trends. I do like the idea of artisanal goods, as long as it doesn’t look contrived.
“I’m happy not to see much ‘theme’ decorating like Tuscan, high French, etc. But I do think that the ‘thrown together’ look is not very interesting. It’s almost an anarchic statement against good design. And that’s a bad idea.”
So far, with her new business, she’s been having a blast. “When someone has questions and I have answers — that makes me really happy.”