Habitat’s new design manager Tom Dixon is putting the finishing touches to a system of royalties aimed at attracting big names in product design.
Dixon confirms a number of high-profile product designers are interested in deals with the 50-strong retail chain, although none will be struck until the royalty framework has been finalised.
“We won’t be able to offer royalties for every product that goes through, but we want to have a system in place so that we can for some of them,” says Dixon, who took up his post on 5 January.
Habitat has given royalties in the past, but stopped around five years ago when the expansions into different geographical markets made it almost impossible to keep track of sales.
“We have worked to create a structure which enables us to record the quantities of products sold. We have approached some well known designers and the majority are very interested,” says Habitat International design director Laure de Gaudmaris, to whom Dixon and his opposite number at Habitat’s French operation are responsible.
Both French and UK operations comprise a design manager and five in-house product designers with a number of freelance designers.
A trademark specialist des-cribes Habitat’s approach as unusual. “In most cases the copyright belongs to the company and not the designer. Although other retailers have offered royalties in the past, it’s usually when a designer goes to a retailer with a specific idea and offers it exclusively in return for a royalty,” says J E Evan-Jackson managing director David Goldring.