Wednesday, 10 October 2007

To arms girls, to arms!

While perusing Life in a Venti Cup, this screamed out to me. And needless to say, it anoyed me.
Target has a decorating division, Target Commercial Interiors, that aims its services at the medium and smaller commercial client. Ann Zimmerman's article for the Wall Street Journal stated that, "The unit's more than 100 employees, many of them certified interior designers, don't shop at Target stores for their decorating supplies. But they do leverage the company's scale and sourcing ability to get good prices and find cutting-edge products -- an advantage in an industry dominated by regional and local design and architecture firms."
Mark my words, this could in fact be the beginning of the end for a great many of you (not that you are likely to see or read this). It's one thing for the design community to endorse retailers that champion affordability, it's quite a different thing when that retailer chooses to become the competition.
This is a battle worth fighting. It is time to close ranks and reclaim the mystique that decorating once held. Ruthlessly banish the mass produced and its producers from our oeuvre. This is war.

Jasper Johns Target with Four Faces, 1955

Now playing: Stereo MC's - Step It Up
via FoxyTunes


Jackie Von Tobel said...

I saw this on Venti as well and I was confused. Why would top tier corporations and law firms choose to use a branch of a low to mid range retailer like Target to design their corporate image? Very weird. I have tried to find out more about the subject but there's not much out their. Are they hedging their relationships with designers who are producing product for Target stores? Are they marketing their expertise in creating customer enticing store environments? Who knows! I just find it very hard to visualize an international corporation explaining a high priced design job done by Target to it's stockholders.

HOBAC said...

Hello Jackie - this is just a case of plain greed.
Any firm that uses their services should be denied our dollars. Simple.

2qrs said...

Target Commercial Interiors is NOT a new business. It is an existing business that has always been a subsidiary of what is now Target Corp.

History lesson: Dayton's Dept. Store in Minneapolis established Dayton's Interior Design, Dayton's Commercial Interiors, B-Dalton Books Stores, Dayton's Catering & Target Stores as operating subsidiaries.

Over the years it acquired Mervyn's & merged with Hudson's becoming Dayton-Hudson Corporation. In the 80's it sold off b.dalton, purchased Marshall Fields and grew Target stores.

Eventually the company renamed all of its dept stores as Marshall Fields & became Target Corp instead of DHC.

Shortly thereafter Mervyns was sold off to investors and Marshall Fields was sold off to May co. who went under and merged with Macy's.

Target Commercial Interiors was retained by Target Corp in the sell off of the Dept. Store business interests.

Many of us in minneapolis (where you cannot throw a rock without hitting someone who works for Target) wondered why they kept such an odd subsidiary.

The answer is really quite it cheap chic or trend for less, the rebranded subsidiary hopes to bring the "expect more, pay less" philosophy to the commercial interiors business which it has always owned and operated.

It is obvious that you are judging the commercial business on your emotional reaction to the fact it is owned by a Discount Retailer. Is it the pedigree that you do not approve of, or have you actually seen an example of what they can do?

Those of us in Minneapolis who understand that this is really the old Dayton's Commercial Interiors are not surprised that they are finding success now that the subsidiary is renamed & able to leverage a nationally recognized retail name.

HOBAC said...

Firstly, I am not judging it. As I am fully aware of Target's policies towards its employees I have always been a staunch supporter. I always recommend the bedding and bath, and the kitchenware for the beach or country house.

Secondly, as I have no desire to work for this type of client base, my unfavourable opinion of TCI's work is irrelevant.

Thirdly, and most importantly, what I object to is the uneven playing field, and I quote, "they do leverage the company's scale and sourcing ability to get good prices and find cutting-edge products". Obviously TCI can absorb losses in certain areas and pressure suppliers in order to secure contracts; something which is impossible for the independent designer.

I am not at all surprised that this type of firm would flourish. I'll be damned if I am not willing fight it all the way.

This concept of 'Expect more, pay less' has hidden costs to us as a society.
I kow the names of the people who make my goods, I know where every component of those goods was made and by whom. I know no one was squeezed to increase my margin. Can TCI say the same?

Mrs. G said...

This war has been waged all over America by small specialty store owners ever since the advent of the big box discounters. For 20 years I was able to compete, TJMax finally did me in. Keep up the fight.


HOBAC-- I loooooove your passion for this topic!!!

Go get em tiger!!!

Cote de Texas said...

Look at what Wal Mart does - they bring in vendors who have underpriced themselves just to get the contract, the vendors - many of whom lose money on a Wal Mart account eventaully realize they can't play Wal Mart's game and either go out of business or pull out of Wal Mart. It happened to my brother in law. They couldn't afford to supply ice cream to Wal Mart because they had bid it too low just to get in Criminal. At last what Mr. Minnesota Man did was explain exactly HOW Target got into the design business, they inherited, but still, whew, who would hire Target to be their designer? I mean, Target can have them. Can you imagine what they assholes they would be as clients?

katiedid said...

Well ain't this a kick in the pants! Like you, I am not too interested in doing the same kind of projects, but it's the principle of the thing. After reading your post, I brought it up at work and it sparked alot of lively expletives.

HOBAC said...

Katiedid - exactly! Principle, something very few seem to have any regard for these days. Those housewife "trade" customers included. I am glad you agree - starting to think I was becoming just another crank. Ha!

HOBAC said...

Ms CdT - I am so glad you said it, because you know I was thinking it! All that polyester and Coors? Ah, je don't think so!