Design Industry Resources to Help Sustain Your Business in This Challenging Environment

April 3, 2020

The design community, like every other industry, is dealing with the impact of the changes we’re experiencing globally on a daily basis. Architects and interior designers are working to keep jobs moving forward as best they can. The need to keep aware of important changes in government, industry, and company-specific resources demands that the design community be more dynamic and responsive than ever.

While geared to the architectural and interior design communities, there is information available throughout these resources, which may be helpful to businesses of all types. Look particularly at starred items. (*)

Of course, it is not humanly possible to keep abreast of all changes and tools that might be available.  Here are what some of the design industry’s best-known resources and trade organizations are offering – from the ASID, IDS, AIA, and DFA, to important coverage from Business of Home.


(American Society of Interior Designers)

The ASID has links and resources, organized into categories to help you more easily find what you need.  Importantly, the date each listing was added is referenced in this resource library, so you know how recent the information is.  Go to the ASID site for more on:

  • COVID-19
  • Business
  • Contracts and Insurance
  • Customer Service
  • Small Business Loan Assistance
  • Government
  • Inspiration

* Also, Business of Home reported on a call ASID had with members to go over its 2020 economic outlook report, which was lead by economist Bernie Markstein.  Below is an excerpt of takeaways from Business of Home’s reporting:

  1. Communication and honesty will be key. “If you really are in trouble, you want to talk to clients and see if payments can be accelerated. You can also talk to your vendors, and ask if can you hold off on payments on some items. If you’ve got a banking relationship, talk to your bankers. If you do that, you will have a better chance of survival,” said Markstein.
  2. Think local. A lot of the news will be national, but what matters most is what’s happening in your “neck of the woods.”
  3. Keep half an eye on the markets. Though Markstein sees the economy bouncing back, stocks have taken an undeniable hit. “High-net-worth individuals have been hit hard by the stock market drop; they’re more likely to pull back,” said Markstein.


(Interior Design Society)

IDS is running a Virtual Educational Series of webinars.  Either sign up for future webinars or access the recorded versions of previous webinars.  Below is a sampling of recent and upcoming webinars, which can be accessed at the IDS link above.

  • What You Can Do Now to Stay Focused and Keep Your Business Active
  • 7 Digital Changes to Help Your Business Survive and Be Better Than Before
  • Managing Your Players From a Distance
  • eDesign 101
  • How To Get Back Up When Life Knocks You Down
  • Website Essentials to Survive an Economic Recession as an Interior Designer


(American Institute of Architects)

The AIA New York chapter has access to several pertinent resources.  This link, COVID-19 Resources, includes resources for:

  • Remote Work
  • Legal Issues
  • Continuing Education
  • COVID-19 Updates and Best Practices
  • How Architects Can Help

The AIA is offering webinars and CEU classes.  Plus, they have made the Marketplace section open to all.


AEC offers many free self-paced online CEU courses so design professionals can earn credits as time is available.  Below is a sampling of free self-paced courses (a full list of CEU course can be found here):

Course Name: Advances in Plumbing Design for Healthcare
This course reviews innovations in plumbing design and how these designs support trending healthcare needs, including ADA compliance, ligature resistance, bariatrics, infection prevention and ADA code specifications.
1 ASPE CE Hour
Self-Paced version: Whitehall Self-Paced

Course Name: Ligature-Resistant Solutions for Behavioral Healthcare Facilities
Mental illness and substance abuse account for nearly 5.5 million ER visits a year. The purpose of this course is to learn how to design safe, secure, patient rooms and bathrooms in all facilities to save lives.  Attendees will learn about ligature resistant design, how to test for it and why it’s important to make sure all patient rooms and bathrooms follow this guideline.
1 ASPE CE Hour
Self-Paced version: BestCare Self-Paced

Course Name: Gender-Neutral Design in Public Bathrooms
Inclusive design is a win-win for customers and businesses. It shows the business supports the assumption that public spaces should be functional for all users no matter their age, health, or ability.
1 AIA LU CE Hour
1 ASPE CE Hour
Self-Paced version: Neo-Metro Self-Paced

Course Name: Conserving Water and Energy: Electric Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Description:  Universal hot water availability is generally taken for granted. At a time when energy prices and sources, environmental concerns, and water shortages are increasing in significance, it is important to produce hot water in a manner that addresses all these issues. This course explains how electric tankless water heaters (ETWHs) do this while also improving health and safety conditions and reducing costs. The examination includes detailed descriptions of many types of ETWHs and the basic calculations and selection criteria for the most suitable system.
Self-Paced version: Chronomite Self-Paced

*The DFA

(Decorative Furnishings Association)

In an interview with Business of Home, the DFA gives advice to its member vendors.  The advice excerpted below may also help designers with their own approach to issues with orders (read the full article from Business of Home)

  1. Ask the right questions. How can sales reps make a meaningful connection with their clients? “One of the questions I find a lot of use with is: What’s happened since we last spoke?” DFA’s management training specialist Jody Sievertadvised. She encouraged members to ask structured questions—and then to sit back and be good listeners.
  2. Bend the rules. Many members on the call shared stories of designers who had called to cancel or put orders on hold—and for the most part, the members had tried to oblige as long as the piece wasn’t already in production. Firm policies may need to be bent in the coming months, with customer satisfaction as the long game. “Let’s not get so attached to our rules that they override our relationships,” she cautioned.
  3. Get comfortable getting flexible. In these trying times, Sievert suggested that vendors may need to find new ways to support their designer clients—everything from flexible return policies to free storage for orders. The bottom line? Offer solutions. “Ask new questions and figure things out,” she advised. “Say, ‘I may not be able to do that, but let’s try this.’” She also added that those measures don’t have to become an ironclad part of a business: “Here’s something to resist: The idea that if I do this now, they’ll want this forever,” she said. “Put a deadline on it so you’re not beholden to it forever.” 

*Small Business Calculator

Business of Home’s Haley Chouinard recently reported on a ‘small business calculator’ from Faire that helps owners to see the economic impact that a slowdown might have on their business.  The calculator is free to anyone.  Read the full article here from Business of Home 

NoMad Neighborhood Resources

Now more than ever, supporting our neighbors and their businesses is essential.  The spirit and vitality of NoMad is alive and well, even if it’s not being seen overtly on its streets or in its showrooms.  Below are links and how you can best access NoMad neighborhood design resources:

200 Lex – The New York Design Center
All showrooms are working remotely.  Check link above for directory.  If you need assistance finding a specific contact, email for help.

230 Fifth Avenue – New York MarketCenter
Check with individual proprietors (directory in above link).

Check site.

All store associates, as well as customer support teams, are available to help, by phone, email or chat during business hours. And, of course, is open 24/7.

While stores are closed, BoConcept teams remain ready to assist in every way. BoConcept can arrange for a Virtual Design Service, available by video apps (Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp etc.) or by phone. Book here or call the local store.

Dover Street Market
The Dover Street Market e-shop remains open and will deliver orders as usual.  The customer service team can be reached by emailing or calling (212) 604-0010.  The Dover Street Market New York building is closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Direct general inquiries can be made via email at or by phone at (646) 837-7750.

The Ernest showroom will be open by appointment only until further notice. The Ernest team is committed to staying operational and will be working remotely in the interim, and the staff will respond to any inquiries by phone and email and will continue to engage by increasing visibility on online platforms.

kinder GROUND & kinder MODERN
The team is taking online and phone orders; however shipping and production times may be slightly delayed.  Please reach out with any questions.

Lighting, furniture, and accessories. Available online.

Available online.

Available online.

Available online and shipping web orders; possible delivery delays.