Check out the article “Rugs for Designers: Selling The Room, Sells The Rug” by PORTE-COCHÈRE’s co-founder in the October 2013 issue of Rug News andDesign (P.23)!
Over deliver – that is how you build a business. For designers that requires gaining control of the project to get to WOW, on budget and on time! Easier said than done, with all the variables in a design project – how do successful designers sell the whole room? They have the vision, they trouble shoot the process and they have a budget – then they “have the expectation talk” right up front. Getting to a budget is really just mechanics. Ballpark – off the cuff budgets leave the client out of the conversation. Educating and engaging the client in the front end budget process is much more successful. Before a designer lays out the room, a generic list of the furnishings that will need to be purchased is a helpful tool. Pricing this list “low and high” from known brands the consumer can relate to and even look up – will benchmark the budget and provides credibility.
Example: the Low being Pottery Barn online catalog and the High being Bloomingdales/Ralph Lauren. This is just a reality check on product costs and a jumping off place for the discussion with the client about process, budget, design time and product billing. A knowledgeable designer can speak fluently about quality and how they can pick and choose which items deserve the bump in budget and which ones can be low cost. They will discuss function, durability and design impact. Almost every client will concede they did not hire a designer to just catalog shop at one low-end retailer and usually say they look to the designer to blend the list selecting higher price items when they feel the price/value is worth the extra expense. This expertise is why clients pay for design services and this process helps to confirm they understand the add value of the designer.
Rugs hold a room together and suffer the most wear and tear, thus often spending on a better quality rug is an easy sell when presented within the whole design. Whole room presentations show the customer the design value of the rug first, and the quality supports the choice. Additionally, once a presented room is approved by the client the rug is sold because it is either available and has to be purchased or it has to be made to order and a deposit placed.
This commitment to a rug keeps a design on track and a designer has an easier time holding the vision. When a client sees the “‘must not miss’ chair on sale” the designer can gently make the case that the fabric does not work with the rug purchased or in production and the cost to recover the chair would wipe out the savings! – Sage advice and control of the vision. When the room is installed, looks great and comes in on time and under budget the designer has achieved WOW!