Seldens Designer Home Furnishings

Multi-Store Retailer

The Company

Founded in 1940, Seldens Designer Home Furnishings is a multi-location retailer serving the Puget Sound region of Washington state. Seldens has three showrooms, plus a Bassett Tacoma location. Seldens most recently acquired Summer House, a trusted leader in high-end outdoor patio furniture in the Pacific Northwest, with two local showrooms.

Key Outcomes

  • Aperture allows Seldens the ability to capture their own product line independent of manufacturer-provided photos, better reflecting their actual product selection and stock through their sales channels.
  • Aperture has given Seldens the ability to photograph more of their total inventory.
  • Labor savings with one employee now handling most shoots, instead of several.
  • Time savings with finished image time reduced from weeks to under a day.
  • Aperture’s software tools reduced post-processing time by automating masking, shadows, cropping, and other repetitive, time-consuming functions.
  • Aperture’s live viewfinder and live template gridlines allow for perfectly repeatable angles and lighting from shot to shot.
  • It’s now economical for Seldens to photograph and advertise one-off showcase pieces.
  • Catalog production time has been reduced while allowing an expanded listing of items in Seldens’ catalog with improved workflow speed.
  • Aperture’s AI-powered hardware and software help automatically correct for skewing and angle issues on hard-to-photograph pieces such as sectional sofas.

It could take weeks to get an image from the initial shoot to a finished product, depending on editing needs. We can now go from photo to publish in less than a day thanks to Aperture

The Challenge

Seldens carries products from over 150 designer brands in their inventory, and like many retailers in the home furnishings industry, they receive a mix of product photos from their vendors that don’t match from brand to brand or represent the level of refinement that Seldens puts into their own visual merchandising and branding.

According to Seldens’ General Manager Jacob Cross, they are often provided with images of furniture in fabrics and/or finishes that typically don’t sell well in the Pacific Northwest. For Cross, his biggest goal is to create clarity for Seldens’ clients with currently available products. Having a disconnect between what is shown online versus what is on showroom floors was an issue, said Cross. “If clients don’t see items that resonate with them on the website, they are less likely to visit a showroom.”

To help with this, the Seldens management team, including Cross and Marketing Manager Kim Fuller invested a significant amount of time, effort, and money into creating an in-house photo studio. The goal was to capture visual content to replicate their desired brand aesthetic across all media channels, including their website, catalogs, and other marketing collateral.

While experimenting with their studio configuration, Fuller explained it could take weeks for images to move from shoot to ready-to-publish. Furthermore, the studio setup required more hands-on employee assistance with staging and production; plus, it was nearly impossible to produce shots with consistent angles from shoot to shoot. “It was like moving mountains to get pictures onto our website,” Cross said.

The long lines of large items, such as sectional sofas, were also challenging to capture. The images appeared skewed, causing time-consuming edits in post-production.

The Solution

Seldens turned to the Aperture Platform to take control and simplify their product photography workflow, which has finally given their creative team the in-house content production capabilities they needed from the start, with significant savings in both time to complete an image and the number of employees involved in the process.

“It could take weeks to get an image from the initial shoot to a finished product, depending on editing needs. We can now go from photo to publish in less than a day thanks to Aperture,” said Fuller. “One employee can now shoot product photographs. Previously, it would take several team members” she added.

Aperture’s live viewfinder and item placement templates help her team get consistent shots, opening up new content and selling opportunities. Her team produces two catalogs a year, with Aperture giving significantly decreasing production time while allowing them to add more of their overall product catalog in addition to new products they had never marketed previously.

Cross said that as a retailer in the high-fashion space, they carry a lot of one-off showcase and inspiration pieces, which previously they wouldn’t bother to photograph on a regular basis due to the amount of work for something they could only use once.

“Aperture gives us the flexibility and freedom to photograph more of our inventory, and we can showcase those ‘wow’ pieces as they come in because it takes hardly any time at all.”