How working with me can $AVE you money...
he way the interior design profession operates is that decorators/designers negotiate "to-the-trade" discounts with retailers or wholesalers. They then buy from the vendor at this discounted price and turn around and retail the item to their client. If they're feeling magnanimous, perhaps they knock 5% - 10% off the price they charge you so there's some perceived value, but most of this override amount stays in their pocket.
At the beginning of my design career, I worked full-time for 5 years as a store's commissioned interior designer. When I subsequently decided to start my own business I determined I REALLY didn't want to continue in the "selling" end of this business. To a point, it's where all the headaches are (especially as I had specialized in custom-designed window treatments and furniture so I'd had my fill with backorders, discontinued stock, delivery delays, etc.)...but, more importantly, I often felt I was in something of an ethical tug-of-war: torn between telling my client what I thought was in THEIR best interest vs. [instead] looking after my boss's bottom line re: Making A Sale. And, further, in my opinion the last thing the world needed then as well as now was one more designer hustling this line of carpets, or that line of furnishings, or lamps, etc.
So-o, I became a renegade...! And setup my interior design consultation business in 1992 deciding to solely charge for my time, take myself out of the purchasing loop other than to provide wholly UNbiased advice, and then pass along to my clients the exclusive trade discounts my profession makes available to me which, indeed, can often save you 10% - 40+% (depending upon the vendor, of course). And the best part is, you're free to shop WHEREVER you like (including online) -- because I'm simply not trying to maneuver anyone into patronizing this store vs. that store, period. In fact, my clients often shop on their own, discover an item, and call to have me arrange a discount on their behalf, often with a merchant I've never dealt with before.
For example, my clients, Connie & Greg from Nevada City, wanted an oversized showpiece area rug for their newly-renovated Victorian. They'd visited a local rug importer following a consult at their home during which we discussed colors, determined appropriate size, as well as reviewed fiber characteristics as this rug was slated for their heavy-use dining area and I always have my eye on issues of function, durability, and cleanability when advising clients about potential purchases. We met at the shop, reviewed rugs, found a real stunner, and I negotiated a 20% discount with the owner right then. So Connie & Greg got an ideal look and quality, they saved a cool $1000 on their splurge-y $5,000 rug, and they only paid me for 30 minutes of my time that day based (which was also @ my discounted shopping rate.
Another couple, Ben & Jeannie from Lake Wildwood, had been consulting with me on paint colors as well as flooring replacement throughout the home they had just bought and I also answered their questions about furniture purchases they were planning. As they were relocating here from Colorado, they found leather furniture they decided to buy at a store there. I faxed the necessary documentation to the out-of-state retailer and saved them $400 on their purchase -- in this instance, "just" 10% made a real difference in their bottom-line cost, and only I billed 15 minutes of my time to facilitate the discount on their behalf. They also saved on flooring purchases via trade discounts I provided:
In addition to these "on the spot" discounting opportunities I can usually negotiate,
here are some existing arrangements I have with retailers:
(business founded in 1992 in Sonoma County, CA)
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