Indie Retailer Month – ARCADE et
We’re continuing our Independent Retailer Month Q&As with Katharina E. Georges of ARCADE et, an interior design business based in Bolzano, Italy,
Hello Katharina! Can you tell us a little about ARCADE et? Is there a story or concept behind it?
I started my interior design business in Bolzano, South Tyrol, in 2009. Before that, I had an interior design store in Munich for 13 years with the same sustainable concept. The keystones of my business are sustainability, respect towards nature and human beings, selling products made without child or slave labour, and creating networks within the neighbourhood. I also pay a lot of attention to an excellent relationship between quality and price!
What kind of products do you sell?
All of the products needed to furnish a house – or for restructuring or refurbishment projects. My speciality is to create a new environment in which everyone feels positive energy, within a small budget. I sell items that make people smile, like Donna Wilson’s products.
What kind of people visit your shop? Do you have a typical customer?
I have customers from all over the world as Bolzano is a tourist destination – my last shipment was to Hong Kong. My typical customer is anyone who is open to caring for and saving our planet and looking for sustainable products, and people who are looking for special products which you can’t find everywhere, at an affordable price.
What do you look for when selecting products or brands to sell in your shop?
My main focus is that my values are also their values. A professional partnership is very similar to a marriage. If you do not have the same values, it will not last a lifetime.
How did you discover our brand and what do you like about Donna Wilson’s products?
I discovered Donna Wilson Products at the Maison & Objet tradeshow in Paris. I love everything! Firstly, I love that more or less every product puts a smile on mine and my customers’ faces. Secondly, the quality of Donna Wilson’s products is outstanding. And lastly, Donna’s team are outstanding too.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as an independent retailer?
Furnishing the showroom is a big investment, and showing something new all the time. Economic survival is difficult – so many customers order online, taking our consultancy but not buying with small retailers. The margins in this business are very low. Although the furniture industry supports independent retailers, they sell direct to architects, etc, and do not always protect the retailers.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Everyone should be an ambassador and take at least one step every day toward saving the planet, and paying attention to human rights and nature.
You can find Katharina and ARCADE et at Via Piave Strasse 7, 39100 Bolzano, Italy. If you can’t visit in person, you can visit ARCADE et’s website here, and follow Katharina on Facebook and Instagram.
July is Independent Retailer Month, a campaign that runs each year highlighting the important role that smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole.