How did you end up in the interior design profession?
Herma van Solkema: “I completed the Teacher Training Textile and Crafts course, after which I started working at Richard James as a company manager. After Richard James, I moved on to Zoffany. That was almost 30 years ago, but I still really enjoy my work.”
What aspect of your work do you like the most?
“What I really like is when we visit fairs and they’re full of enthusiastic people. It gives us so much energy! What I also love is when customers visit us and I can really help them find the perfect interior item for them and have a nice chat. People enjoy browsing around at our stand and do not feel pushed or pressured.”
How do you collaborate with stylists and architects?
“Stylists are free to enter our stand and will receive samples and booklets, but they need to visit the dealers for orders. We send them to the dealer, who will then calculate a percentage, so that we both benefit. We work a bit like a library here.”
What should customers take into account when deciding on a fabric?
“You must always choose the right fabric. For example, when buying furniture or curtains, customers should always choose a fabric to their liking. In the Netherlands, customers are definitely interested in how long a fabric will last.”
What are the benefits of being an exhibitor at ETC Design Center Europe?
“I arrived here as one of the first fabric brands, now almost 25 years ago. I have to say, I love having my own space where I can present all my items. We have lots of customers who visit us every Monday, and even customers that bring their customers! Moreover, as exhibitors, I believe we work well together. I think we should be really proud of ETC Design Center Europe.”
Why would you recommend a stylist or architect to visit ETC Design Center Europe?
“Because you can find everything here. You could decorate an entire home with the collections you can find here.”
What does the future of interior design look like?
“These types of centres will become increasingly important. Retailers are tired of waiting for customers. Currently ongoing projects take much more time. Moreover, consumers are well-informed now. Stores will never disappear completely, but retailers should take a different approach. They must be more active and also visit places like ETC Design Center Europe with their customers.”