Lighting fixtures appear to be on the cusp of having a moment in the custom integration channel. Fixtures are the next logical step in the lighting path that dealers have been following, which is helped along by manufacturers like DMF Lighting that have been in the lighting biz for quite some time yet were quick to embrace the opportunities that the CI market brings.
“CI is the fastest growing segment of our overall business,” says Mike Libman, national sales director, residential systems, DMF Lighting. “We were one of the early fixture companies to lean into the space, partnering with HTSA nearly five years ago and then partnering with ProSource a little later. And our team is growing — we pulled out of Lightfair this year, which, as a lighting manufacturer, is typically our biggest event — and we allocated those dollars towards CEDIA Expo. That should give some insight as to how we’re viewing the space — we are very bullish on it, and we continue to invest in people and in products for the CI channel. We view it as a critical part of our future as a company.”
That is a strong statement coming from a company that has been around for 35 years, primarily working with builders. “We understand working with each of the various stakeholders, and builders are obviously a huge part of that,” adds Libman. “We understand what their buying criteria are and we understand their pain points. A big reason why we got into the CI space is because integrators are establishing long-term relationships with their trade partners and with their clients. There are technology integration and compatibility issues that, if you’re not thinking about those things on the front end, can lead to a lot of pain on the job site. And we feel that integrators are well equipped to be able to navigate those pieces.”
Reaching the CI dealers is important enough to DMF Lighting that they were at last year’s greatly reduced CEDIA Expo, showing off their modular lighting fixtures. They are here at this year’s Expo with more new products — including a tunable lighting solution for its DID line and the new iX Series 2-inch fixtures — and a full team on hand to answer any questions dealers may have about working with the company.
“We want to support the channel and grow our dealer base, but we want to do that in a healthy way,” says Libman. “We want to make sure we’re partnering with the right dealers. With the products, we want a successful launch by connecting with our existing dealer base and rep network and making sure they understand not only the shiny new thing but also our thinking process behind the new gear and the business case they can be successful with. We thought about that extensively in designing these new products.”
To help clarify the company’s vision and what lighting fixtures can mean for a CI business, Libman will be speaking on a panel called, “The Business of Selling Lighting and Lighting Systems.” “The panel covers the fixture industry as a whole as it relates to the dealer base,” he says. “When we started in this space, a lot of the conversations were about ‘why lighting’ and now it’s far more about ‘how’ and has moved beyond the product itself. My team is focused on how we can get people to be successful in the category as a whole and in the business case for lighting in general. The benefits of our product become apparent once you have the basic framework of how to navigate a lighting project.”
For more information on DMF Lighting, visit booth #14055 and dmflighting.com.