Connecting with Customers in Highly Creative Ways
Blackman’s own David Lyon has been an innovator in the decorative plumbing industry for over three decades. His kitchen and bath showroom model revolutionized the sale of plumbing products to the trade and consumer in the decorative showroom environment. Lyon brought purpose and intent to the design of plumbing showrooms. He introduced critical retail concepts to wholesale distributors, ultimately changing the showroom model.
Who is David Lyon?
David Lyon has an illustrious background as a consultant to some of the largest manufacturers and wholesalers in the decorative plumbing, tile and lighting industry. “I began my career while attending design school in Boston. I was working as an apprentice to Billie Brenner, an icon in the retail world on fashionable Newbury Street. This is where I developed my knowledge and passion for retailing. I took this retailing experience to wholesale showrooms and thus created the David Lyon Showroom Business Model,” he said. “I had the opportunity to move to California where I worked with another industry icon, Sidney Altman of Altman’s Bathrooms and Kitchens of Beverly Hills.” At that time, Lyon was responsible for expanding the Altman showroom in San Diego which included designing the showroom space and managing the new operation.
In 1982, David launched his consulting firm, David Lyon & Associates. Lyon specialized in the design of luxury decorative plumbing showrooms with a focus on the retail consumer for the wholesale plumbing industry. He was a keynote speaker at several international industry events which resulted in the design of showrooms internationally.
Lyon became a consultant for Kohler Co. He spearheaded their wholesale showroom program, designing and developing best-in-class showrooms for Kohler wholesalers across the country. Furthermore, he created the flagship showroom for Ann Sacks Tile, a Kohler-owned company, in New York City’s vibrant Union Square neighborhood; thus establishing his own rich passion for tile and stone. With this knowledge, Lyon began in to incorporate decorative tile and stone products into the David Lyon Showroom Model. “Incorporating tile and stone along with plumbing fixtures was a natural fit,” he said.
His reputation in residential design also grew over the years after numerous cover features in home design magazines. Through these magazines, David was able to develop a robust residential design following that continues to this day.
The Blackman Connection
Lyon was hired by the late Richard Blackman to design the Southampton and Hicksville showrooms in 1989 as an independent consultant. He developed a strong connection with the company which led to him to join on a full-time basis in 2006 as the Director of Showrooms. He currently serves as Vice President of the Retail Division which encompasses all aspects of business and design.
A typical day for Lyon is a whirlwind of activity. It may include revising a showroom layout, designing a bath or kitchen vignette, visiting an industry-related event or checking in on one of Blackman Plumbing Supply’s 20-plus retail showroom locations.
Blackman strives to be the trendsetter in the marketplace. One of Lyon’s primary roles is keeping ahead of industry trends and delivering them to Blackman customers. “We are constantly looking at what is happening in the world of design. Color trends seen in Europe are typically three years ahead of the United States,” Lyon shares. He travels the globe attending international trade shows to identify trend and color palettes as they emerge, giving Blackman customers a jump start. “Our ability to discover upcoming styles early on keeps Blackman ahead,” he added.
A Passion for the Customer
Providing a positive customer experience is also an integral part of Lyon’s position, which led to him establish Blackman University at the request of company leaders Robert Mannheimer and the late Richard Blackman. “Blackman University is a crucial part of our training; it offers our sales associates the education and tools they need to understand a product’s design. Our staff members have extensive product knowledge and passion. We send them to factories, training events, and industry seminars to further their product knowledge.”
David Lyon has a naturally gregarious personality. It is well-suited for his position at Blackman, as he interacts with vendors, manufacturers, and customers on a daily basis. He honed his communication skills speaking at industry design and trade shows, addressing a spectrum of topics including showroom design and how it affects a retailer’s profitability.
His sought-after expertise is generously shared with customers, co-workers and other industry professionals.“Today’s customers are well-informed about products before they step into a Blackman showroom,” Lyon said. “People research extensively online before visiting our showrooms. I think it’s great that our customers to educate themselves. At the end of the day, the need and importance of a brick and mortar showroom with the knowledge of professional staff is most important!”
Lyon has contributed a lifetime of creativity and passion to the industry. His work has influenced showrooms around the world. His focus on the customer experience has been vital to the success of the businesses he has developed. His impact on the Blackman Retail Division has been immeasurable.
This article was taken from the Summer 2018 Edition of Blackman at Home Magazine.