How many times have you been told that your job as an interior designer must be “so much fun”?
If people only knew how challenging our work really is! Running a design firm has its moments, of course, when we get to focus on the creativity that drew us to the business in the first place. But so much of our day is devoted to other, decidedly un-fun, tasks.
Along with being experts on all of the varied (and incredibly detailed) elements of design itself, we also need to understand marketing, software, website development, social media, management, and bookkeeping.
Add to that the complexities of the design industry itself — vendors, showrooms, reps, pricing tiers, order minimums — and it’s a wonder that any of us manage to run a business at all . . . much less a profitable one!
It doesn’t help that our industry has a history of keeping interior designers in the dark about how its pricing structures really work.
I found out first-hand how much knowledge was being kept from us when I set out several years ago to find a way to increase profitability on the products I sold to clients. It felt like I was fighting my way through a labyrinth. And it was daunting.
Fortunately, I’m a Taurus and a Dragon. I’m also of Irish and Italian descent. So I don’t give up easily. After much trial and error, I learned how to ask the right questions in the right sequence in order to get the answers I was looking for. (At times, it felt like I was discovering a secret handshake or a special knock at the speakeasy door.)
Ultimately, I found that the direct approach worked. If I stood tall and asked with the kind of confidence that can be mistaken for bitchiness: “What’s your best price tier and how can I qualify for it,” I would be given the truth — albeit reluctantly, at times.
That stubbornness paid off. After years of hard work, I was able to set up my own direct accounts with a variety of manufacturers.
But I wanted to do more. My time in the industry labyrinth inspired me to find a way to relieve my fellow designers from all of the trouble I’d just experienced. So I created The Designers Collaborative — a community of design professionals who work together to get the best pricing from more than 200 of the top manufacturers in North America.
With the Collaborative, there is no secret handshake. All you need to do is join. Say the word and you’ll be welcomed into a supportive tribe of fellow designers whose only goal is to help you succeed.
Experience the power of collaboration. Join today!