Published February 4, 2022
Search Meets Sample
Mortarr + Mercato Place partner to simplify a sustainable sourcing journey for commercial design.
By Jen Levisen
Mortarr, your tried-and-true online search and discovery engine for inspo, products, and pros in commercial construction and design has partnered with Mercato Place, a brand new online resource for interior designers to easily source material samples.
Heard of Mercato Place? Of course you have, but we love introducing new friends.
Mercato Place is an online resource and service for specifiers to explore materials and trends, search easy-to-use resource libraries and order free textile samples curated from leading textile manufacturers and distributors from around the world. The elegant and highly curated platform was created to put the focus on people, relationships, and good design. Material sampling 2.0 if you will.
Through the partnership, the two businesses are collaboratively addressing the needs, and the impact, of the commercial design industry. I sat down with Mercato Place Founder and President, Ray Sayers, and Mortarr Co-founder + CEO Abby Murray for a little glimpse at what makes these two companies tick and why this partnership is just so darn fun.
Abby and Ray, thank you so much for your time today. Just to get the nuts and bolts of the partnership covered, what this means is that manufacturers showcasing on Mortarr can now link directly to their Mercato Place profiles allowing users to go from inspiration to ordering samples within just a few clicks. Why is that ease of access so important?
Ray: Designers are being pulled in a dozen different directions every day. Anything that provides inspiration, connections to manufacturers and the ability to source and order samples in one place is extremely valuable. Designers are asking for speed, ease of use, less clutter, and a simpler, more curated experience. Mortarr and Mercato Place deliver on all these requests.
Abby: We were there. We were designers trying to access product information online. It was inefficient or digitally inaccessible … and guess what products were used most in our designs? Those that were readily accessible — online. Easy to access. No paywall, waiting period or required guest pass. The more friction we can remove from the design and project workflow for these practitioners, the more opportunity we have to improve the built environment on so many levels.
Ray, where did the idea for Mercato Place come from? What has been the response so far?
Ray: I'd love to say that Mercato Place was my brilliant idea, but it wasn't! In early 2021, we were approached by several of our clients on the Thoroughbred side of our business and were asked to develop a competitive platform to what currently existed. We took some time understand the issues and the challenges and decided that we could create a platform that provided a more curated experience to the designers and be much more supportive of the brand partners. Mercato Place went live in January and we've been thrilled with the response. From the number of brand partners that have signed on, to the number of designers who have registered in the first three weeks, we've been extremely happy with the initial feedback and results. It becomes more and more obvious every day that there was a real need for another option in this space.
This partnership has come together so seamlessly; why do you think that is?
Abby: Well first and foremost, we’re just good midwest folk. Michigan and Minnesota - you can’t find a nicer group of industry friends to work with! In all seriousness, Mercato Place saw a need in the industry. They listened to manufacturers. To the A&D community. And they responded to that need with a solution for a better way to sample. A more economical way, a more sustainable way, a more accessible way. That story resonated with the Mortarr team and our culture of more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable design practices for the industry.
Ray: I believe we have very similar philosophies in how we do business. Abby, Amy, and the team have built a platform that strives to deliver an excellent experience to the designers while supporting their partners and helping them promote and grow their businesses. Mercato Place is creating the same "win/win/win" situation for the designers, the brand partners, and the platform. We both believe in real collaboration and truly have our partners' best interests in mind with every decision we make. We value the relationships that we've already established with the Mortarr team and we're excited about the partnership.
One of the commonalities between Mercato Place and Mortarr that I’m so appreciative of is both companies' commitment to sustainability from an education and access standpoint, to business practices. Why is sustainability such a pillar for both companies?
Ray: First, and most importantly, it's just the right thing to do. We all have a role to play in protecting the environment and supporting sustainable practices, whether it's at home or in the workplace. We believe that one of our most important roles is providing information and providing choices. We want to provide designers with the information required to source and sample the most sustainable products, and then provide them the choice to have the samples delivered in the way that least impacts the environment.
Abby: It just has to be; it only makes sense. For the greater good of our health and wellness as humans and as a society we need to be environmentally responsible. There are so many good layers to greener practices. In material transparency. In building. In project planning. In sampling. Sustainable business practices should really just be considered best practice.