urbandwellers

INDUSTRY: High-End Home Furnishings
LENGTH OF ENGAGEMENT: Ongoing client since 2008

SCOPE OF WORK: Strategy development, branding, manifesto, website with shopping cart and content management system (CMS)

PROJECT OVERVIEW: urbandwellers is a boutique home furnishings company that focuses on the styles of those who live in the city. They approached Bianca e Nero during their start-up phase to help them develop their communications strategy and design their website. Through extensive research, we helped them uncover how their primary target audience thought about home furnishings and how best to reach those people. We also identified a tertiary market they should pursue—that being interior designers, who often have a strong influence over their clients’ purchases in this category.

A careful development of a brand strategy and positioning led us to write a manifesto for urbandwellers, which brought focus and meaning to what they were looking to achieve with their products and unified their brand.

We designed and developed the urbandwellers website to showcase the products while providing the information a customer would need. The back end featured a Magento shopping cart, which is a PHP/MySQL shopping cart that has a CMS component to it. Magento was selected because it is a highly configurable shopping cart allowing for customized control over templates and catalog structure. It also allows urbandwellers to update products and information on their own, as they are available. We also added a WordPress blog feature, which is a PHP/MySQL CMS that is very blogger/news oriented in structure.

We decided to use open source applications because of the better quality, flexibility and scalability over privately licensed software options available. Open source is typically developed by a lot of late career programmers (very senior in experience) and the very best young programmers. This ensures top-quality programmers working together on a labor of love, all bringing their real-world experience to the table in a collaborative and very democratic fashion. The result is high-quality software design. Also, open source software communities typically respond faster to security issues and bugs than private software companies.

To reach interior designers, we created concepts and designed a complete product information binder that includes technical specs and image inserts the designers can include on their style boards. A series of mailers were also created to drive awareness of this newly established company.

RESULTS: The site has been wholly embraced by our clients—who also own the company—for the way the design captures the essence of the urbandwellers brand and for the ease of use the backend functionality provides them. Their customers are loving it too, and this has translated into a continued growth in orders. The designer kits and mailers are currently on press and should be ready for release to the public in time for the holidays. They too are expected to be a huge hit.