How we’re different

A better way to buy

Confused about the different methods for purchasing to-the-trade products and how they compare?

Join the club. It’s a confusing business!

Fortunately, we’re here to help. So let’s break it down.


Kickin it old school

Back in the day, solo designers had to open a trade account with each different manufacturer from whom they wanted to purchase. They sourced products from the manufacturer’s showroom (or, more recently, website), managed their own procurement process, and hoped to be given a designer discount of 10-20% off retail.

The pros

Um . . .

The cons

Many manufacturers’ volume requirements make them inaccessible to a smaller design firm.

Lots of work for you.

The relationship

You’re a customer.

The brave new world

More recently, design professionals have been able to use an online “buyers’ service” — a multi-line virtual showroom — to purchase from vendors with whom they don’t have an account. Some of these sites also provide elements of project management like procurement and shipping services.

The pros

Access to more manufacturers.

Streamlined ordering.

Improved pricing.

The cons

You are limited to the manufacturers and/or products that the service chooses to carry.

You pay for the service with each product you order.

Skimpy profits.

The relationship

You’re still a customer.

A true collaborative

Now, solo practitioners who want to purchase from the greatest number of manufacturers at the best prices can get both through The Designers Collaborative. Our members share trade accounts with each other, enabling us to secure the lowest pricing levels and crowd-source access to even those manufacturers who can be most out-of-reach to the independent designer.

The pros

The best pricing. Period.

No ulterior motive. No hidden fees.

Access to every product offered by every manufacturer we carry.

Unlimited possibility.

The cons

Umm . . .

The relationship

You’re a valued partner, a member of the tribe.

Want a method with more pros than cons?

Want to know exactly how it works? We hear ya.