When Clients Want to Buy Retail

When Clients Want to Buy Retail

When you buy retail, you buy at an inflated price.  Yet, more and more clients want to buy retail.  They want their furniture quick and easy.  Not to mention cheap.  But what they (and you) may not realize is that you're likely paying a much bigger "markup" on retail compared to the quality that you get than to-the-trade sources.  

Usually when buying to-the-trade the cost to quality ratio is much better.  Clients get more for their money.  They'll be paying a smaller markup to the designer rather than a large markup to the retailer.  

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THE BUSINESS OF DESIGN: YOU MAY NOT NEED ME

10 things interior designers won't tell you - you may not need me A while ago doing research for what to include on this here blog, I came across an article on yahoo.  The article was titled, 10 Things Interior Designers Won't Tell You.  The link is no longer active and when I search for the article, all I come up with is a reproduced version on an architecture forum.

The article irritated me off because of how it depicted interior designers and since it was online at some point and represents at least one person's version of interior designers, I thought I would address each of the 10 Things.

I am here to tell you all about these apparent 10 Things that I won't talk to you about.

Each day for the next two weeks is a special Business of Design series and we'll talk about these 10 Things, today's installment is "Shop in the right store and you may not even need me."

SHOP IN THE RIGHT STORE AND YOU MAY NOT EVEN NEED ME

From the article, "In many middle-range to upscale stores, such as Bloomingdale's or Ethan Allen, shoppers are encouraged to work with in-house design consultants. While they are paid by the retailer -- and are therefore shilling for the boss -- they are bona fide decorators. At Ethan Allen, most decorators have three to five years of high-end furniture sales experience and 80% have been to design school, the company says. "The big problems that people have in decorating their own homes are the placement of furniture, scale of furniture and combinations of colors," notes Peter Bolton, a Los Angeles designer. "Those in-store services can be very helpful, and they are free."

Aren't you at a disadvantage because you're dealing with a store employee? Well, it's true that your choices are limited. But then, as Bolton puts it: "You're always at the mercy of somebody's taste."

While it is true that many stores and even small boutiques sometimes offer these consultations services by trained interior designers you will be getting a one-dimensional service.  If your goal is to fill your home with the items that you see in that showroom - Ethan Allen, Bloomingdale's, or your local boutique - than this may be the route for you, but know that these consultations are different from hiring an interior designer.

Here is how.  Options. When you visit a showroom the only options you have to choose from are those that the showroom represents.  Which could be very limiting if you are shopping at Ethan Allen.  By going to an interior designer direct you have an incredible array of options - all to-the-trade showrooms as well as retailers.  The interior designer will create something from all these options that is tailored to you.  I can use hundreds of different sources on a single project to create one specialized design plan- options that may not be available to you while working with an in-house consultant.

Availability.  Interior designers are plentiful, you can probably find one in your circle of family or friends, through the internet or even hire one in San Francisco when you live in Juneau for e-decorating. But retailers and boutiques offering this service are more limited - try finding an Ethan Allen or Bloomingdale's in Juneau, AK.

Personality.  As the article mentions, "You're always at the mercy of somebody's taste."  (To read more on this subject, check out Your Style vs. The Designer's Style) One of the most important aspects of the interior designer/ client relationship is the relationship.  Design is very personal - you're letting someone into your home to create a space for you to live in, after all.  So you better like and be comfortable with that someone.  This is usually found after research and a few interviews with designers, which is not an option while using a store's services.

If you discover a store that you love and want to recreate at home, hiring the in-house consultation services could be a good choice for you, otherwise I suggest finding a designer that you connect with in style and personality first.

read the entire series:

1. SHOP IN THE RIGHT STORE AND YOU MAY NOT EVEN NEED ME 2. MY TITLE DOESN’T MEAN VERY MUCH 3. YOU MIGHT AS WELL USE MY ESTIMATE AS WALLPAPER 4. YOU’D SAVE A BUNDLE IF YOU KNEW HOW I SET MY FEES 5. MY BILLS ARE LADEN WITH HIDDEN COSTS 6. IT’S NOT IN MY INTEREST TO HUNT FOR BARGAINS 7. YOU DON’T NEED ME TO GET BIG DISCOUNTS FROM SHOWROOMS 8. I PREFER BIG PROJECTS, BUT I’LL TAKE WHATEVER I CAN GET 9. YOU HAVE LITTLE OR NO RECOURSE IF I SCREW UP 10. MY WORK IN ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST IS A MIRAGE