Erik Luthy, CEO of Exceptional Flooring Concepts, believes exceptional means innovation, persistence, integrity, and service. He believes in better. Erik applied all his knowledge from 25 years of owning a successful retail “trade only” showroom and built the first full-service online showroom. He believes it will revolutionize the industry, help designers make more money and streamline workflow.
A “Better Way” Mindset
If you ever get a chance to spend time around Erik Luthy, founder, and CEO of Exceptional Flooring Concepts, you’ll notice he has a radiant and infectious “nothing is impossible” energy.
And when you learn about his story, you’ll understand why he’s exuberant about life, his family, and helping the design industry thrive.
At 17 years old, Erik started in the flooring business on his knees. He worked as an installer and a salesman early in his career. Those early years showed him the unscrupulous, tedious, and sour part of the business — and ignited his entrepreneurial spirit. He knew he could do better —better for employees and better for clients.
He did just that and built Exceptional Flooring Concepts (EFC). 25 years later, EFC is New Jersey’s premiere “trade only” retail flooring showroom.
His journey hasn’t been easy. Luthy, like all small business owners, faced ups and downs.
The biggest unexpected hit was facing a diagnosis of late-stage cancer when he was 27. Intense chemo and massive surgery didn’t stop Erik from focusing on living and building a premium business that put people first. He wouldn’t let circumstances dictate his future. Erik beat cancer.
To the core, he’s the kind of person who’s committed to becoming better and helping others evolve. When asked about the one thing that keeps him up at night, he’ll say, “Settling for the status quo.”
In his EFC showroom over a beer Erik smiles and says, “The one industry that hasn’t changed in hundreds of years is the flooring industry. We’re still doing the same thing we did when the first loom was built. It drives me crazy. There’s got to be a better way in the 21st century. In fact, I know there’s a better way. I’m building it.”
Luthy is a listener. He pays attention to his clients. The six common challenges Erik is determined to help interior designers hurdle are: getting it all done, selling the vision, managing paperwork and invoices, putting profit first, and working on the go.
While these challenges are real, now is the best time to be an interior designer. Technology is changing how the trades work. The Home Furnishing Institute’s 2019 Interior Design Survey revealed that designers are embracing technology and that almost all interior designers would shop an online showroom if offered.
Exceptional Flooring Concepts Presents DEZIGNED.
DEZIGNED. is the first and largest full-service online luxury showroom on earth for trade professionals only.
Erik took the entire brick-and-mortar process and broke it down into four steps: sourcing, measuring, ordering, and installing. He automated that process and integrated intuitive productivity tools to help designers discover, sell, communicate, and schedule from any device, anywhere. “I wanted my clients to have more control, visibility, and price transparency on every project,” says Luthy.
What’s Different About DEZIGNED.
EFC’s online showroom DEZIGNED. takes the best from traditional showrooms, workflow sites, and online catalogs and delivers it all in one platform.
Once a designer registers, they’ll have a business profile and dashboard where they can create a project for every client. Each project will follow a four-step workflow: 1) source, 2) measure, 3) order, and 4) install.
Step One: Source
30 Luxury Flooring Brands in One Place
DEZIGNED. lets designers source over 30 luxury brands from Antrim and Stark to Harcourt and Stanton — all their collections in one place. The platform’s advanced filters and AI technology help narrow discovery time to seconds instead of hours — if a designer wants blue stripes, every product with blue stripes from every brand will appear. Source from home, from the office, the beach, the bleachers, anywhere.
Save and Share Mood Board/Idea Book
Once a product is selected, members save and share products in IDEA-VUE. Our version of an online mood board/idea book is created by the designer for each project. Design members can grant customers access to the site in Presentation Mode. Presentation Mode lets them control what clients see and how much of the site they can access. Members can choose to hide prices and product names. They can also white label the website, so when they log in, the firm’s logo appears on the site. Members can invite clients to browse the catalog and add products they like to IDEA-VUE as well.
Increase Sales with an Advanced Room Visualizer
Within the sourcing stage we’ve also integrated DEZIGN-VUE. This powerful tool allows our members to showcase flooring choices in your client’s space. Just take a photo of their room and the unprecedented realism will give clients confidence to say “yes” knowing everything will look good in their space.
Designers can switch products, drag them to different spots in the room, and resize them with a swipe of a finger. When ready, ordering samples is as easy as a click. Samples will be shipped from the manufacturer to the location of the designer’s choice.
Step Two: Measure
At Your Fingertips Scheduling on Any Device
DEZIGNED. has in-house installers for maximum control and transparency. We assign an installer to the project based on proximity to the jobsite. Once matched with an installer, their calendar is activated for scheduling.
Dynamic Scheduling eliminates calling back and forth. Our calendar feature allows design members to see installers’ availability in real time and schedule appointments online. When an appointment is set, the system automatically updates the installer’s calendar and sends a notification to both the designer and installer and confirms the details of the appointment.
Designers can be on the phone with a client and schedule the appointment instantly.
No Missed Appointments. Accurate Measurements
DEZIGNED. will send customized reminders by text, email, or both to help keep track of appointments. On the day of the appointment, members will receive a notification when the installer arrives on site. Their location will be GPS-tracked in the system. Together the designer and installer will walk the site and complete a checklist confirming project and product information. This information is stored online for maximum transparency and accountability.
2D and 3D Renderings with Instant Invoicing
We also offer transparent pricing, which takes the guesswork out of creating an estimate.
Our installers use an advanced measurement tool called Plan-Vue. It automatically calculates the cost of products and services. Plan-Vue generates 2D and 3D renderings of the space, and for wall-to-wall carpeting, it includes seam placements, which the designer can edit. The system instantly generates an invoice for the full service of the job.
Clients never see the invoice. The platform displays both retail and wholesale pricing, so designers can confidently set their markup and provide their pricing to the client.
Step Three: Order
Instant Order Process and Payment
Once the client gives the go ahead, the designer can place the order from any device. The site will instantly process the order and payment. The order is then sent to the manufacturer and our local installer is notified as well.
Designers will receive a confirmation email with shipping information. They’ll also receive delivery status updates, so it is easy to keep your clients informed.
Members can track orders and see when the product arrives at the warehouse. Once the installer confirms the delivery matches the order, the installer clicks “Accept” and DEZIGNED. members will then be able to schedule the installation.
Step Four: Install
Seamless Installation Process
At members’ convenience, they can log back into DEZIGNED. and schedule the installation.
Installation uses the same dynamic scheduling capabilities as measurement. Members book through the calendar feature, and reminders and notifications are sent out according to designers’ preferences, leading up to the appointment. The system also generates a notification when the installer is on site.
The installer presents the service details, and the designer confirms the product, the size, the color, and all the details. The installer returns to the website and clicks “Accept.” Then they perform the installation.
Designed for Productivity and Error-Free Results
The designer must be present at the commencement and completion of a job. As a courtesy, the system provides a time estimate of how long the installation will take. This way if it’s an eight-hour job, designers don’t have be present for the entire process.
Happy Client Checklist
Eliminating communication errors and disputes is the first step to happy clients. That’s why DEZIGNED. has certified installers who follow strict guidelines.
Upon completion, the designer and the installer each fill out a post-job checklist to verify that they have completed all the proper steps. Both professionals click “Accept” and the job is marked as completed.
Revolutionize the Way You Do Business on June 1st
DEZIGNED. launches on June 1, 2020. Luthy wants NJ design professionals to lead the revolution and try it for free. Those who join now will get nine months free … and get 30% off wholesale prices if they make a purchase within three months of signing up … and get an additional three months off totaling a full 12 months free.
DEZIGNED. is a membership site with three tiers: Gold, Platinum, and Family. Each plan offers designers different levels of guaranteed discounts, community access, CEUs, and additional perks for using the platform.
Beating the Odds and Building a Family
Building DEZIGNED. for Erik Luthy is more than building a business. It’s about creating a family of trade professionals and advancing the industry in the age of remote work and artificial intelligence.
It’s about overcoming obstacles. When Erik was diagnosed with cancer in his late twenties, he was also told he might not be able to have children. Today, he’s married with three beautiful children. DEZIGNED. is his fourth.
He believes nothing is impossible and if you’re going to design something, break the status quo — do something people didn’t think could be done, and revolutionize an industry.