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How working with me can $AVE you money...

I can often save you 10% - 40% on items you were already planning on purchasing - 5317 Bytes T.gif - 2691 Byteshe 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.

Here are their comments:

"We highly recommend "Sam" Jernigan as an experienced, talented and very professional interior designer! She has helped us choose paint colors, kitchen appliances, living room furniture, fabrics, carpet, future window treatments, and more. She has really listened to what we want to accomplish and has been very helpful in every regard. Sam has a "gift" in working with color! We are delighted with the outcome!

The trade discounts she passed on to us helped pay for her services and made it possible for us to afford the quality of furniture we most wanted. On our living room furniture alone, she saved us 40%! Sam's advice, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and integrity can be relied upon."

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:

(Here's an email received from Jeannie) "Tile, carpet, laminate are all done as is painting. It looks great! Thanks again...we'll be in touch when next phases start so I get more help with colors."

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In addition to these "on the spot" discounting opportunities I can usually negotiate,

here are some existing arrangements I have with retailers:

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  • Trade-only flooring showroom in Rancho Cordova (and other locations throughout the U.S.): up to 40% off virtually ANY national brand of carpeting including commercial carpet, wool and nylon runners by the linear foot, and access to high-end and specialty selections not found elsewhere. 20% off tile as well as laminate, cork, bamboo, and wood flooring. This showroom is not open to the public but I can arrange access privileges for you by appointment.

  • Pottery World - 20% off

  • Water Street Antiques - 25% off antique furniture -- in Amador Co. but worth the drive, their warehouse is massive and they're direct importers of European furniture

  • Smith & Noble (national fabricator of custom window coverings) - I'm a member of their trade division so the discounts on their already-discounted lines are even deeper, up to 20% off retail for window coverings as well as fabric window treatments of all sorts. Quick delivery times too. (By the way, I have an extensive background in window treatments so I can eliminate the confusion and help you cut through the clutter of choices "out there" so you can select the most appropriate solutions for covering as well as "dressing" your windows.)
  • Home Decorators (online and catalogue) - 10% off

  • Naturewood Home Furnishings - 10% (a client of mine recently spent $8,000 there -- too bad he forgot to call me as nearly $800 would have been back in his pocket if he had!)

  • Ballard Designs (online and catalogue) - 15% - 20% off

  • LampsPlus, showrooms and online - 10% - 70% off

  • Restoration Hardware - 10% off

  • Pottery Barn - 10% off

  • Dal-Tile, 3 showrooms regionally including a mega-sized natural stone showroom in Sacramento - up to 50% off

....to name just a FEW!

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(business founded in Sonoma County, CA)

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