An accomplished interior designer, Beverlee Griffin of Deitch-Griffin & Associates in Lakeland, Fla., brought her design expertise to a retail lighting showroom for many years before she embarked on a trailblazing career as a female sales representative in the male-dominated field of lighting.
How did you get started in the lighting business?
After graduating with an interior design degree, I worked in a furniture store and met a woman who ran a lighting showroom. She thought my interior design degree and personality would be a great fit. There, I was able to connect to customers by helping them get the best design for the best price. I worked hard and eventually was asked to run a showroom. Over the years, I worked in a variety of showrooms with builders and designer clients.
After many years, I was approached by Lynne Deitch to become a manufacturer’s rep with her agency. I felt this was natural progression and my showroom experience would help me understand what showrooms needed from their sales reps.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the business?
In the early days, this was a male-dominated profession — mostly due to most lighting showrooms being connected to electrical supply houses.
I realized quickly that I needed to be more knowledgeable and understand all of the various components of the lighting industry in order to be able to be taken seriously. I studied anything I could find and I listened closely to electrical contractors at job sites. I joined the American Lighting Association (ALA) to help stay on top of developments in the industry and take advantage of the great training the ALA provides. Since then, I’ve become CLC- and CLMR-certified. The professional growth allowed me to meet and work with industry leaders and get involved. I have loved working in the industry and all of the people I have met along the way.
What has been the key to your success?
I provide them with great service, and I return phone calls and emails quickly. I work hard to get the best for them. I am knowledgeable and if I don’t know an answer, I will get the answer! I’m tenacious, passionate about the lighting industry, and I care deeply about my customers and their showrooms.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started out?
I never imagined [back then] that I would be in the industry this long, and that it would end up being a life-long passion.
What do you envision the lighting sales agency of the future to be like?
I think the industry is changing as more home furnishings businesses, the Internet, and the design shows continue to grow.
The lighting showrooms and sales reps will need to provide more assortment to capture the attention of newer homeowners and younger customers. I think consumers are shopping differently today. Lighting showrooms will need more support from sales reps with technology, Web site selling, and product specs.