I know you all love to get the inside scoop. I know you all want to know where designers shop, and what discounts designers get.
And you want to get it all for yourselves, too.
If that’s what you’re looking for, you are going to want Laurel Bern’s Rolodex. I’ve reviewed her list and it is quite comprehensive. If you’re a new designer, it would be especially helpful to have as a way to get to know who to work with.
As a designer, I was a bit nervous about linking here, as I sell product and many of these are my sources. However, this list doesn’t incorporate the expertise or the coordination and handling by the designer. These are sources, manufacturers, and vendors. If you want to reach out to them, order, and go through the absolute headache of dealing with the whole process...I completely welcome you to do that.
Personally, I love working with local sources and going custom as much as possible.
Not only are processes, deliveries, lead times, etc. better and more closely controlled, but you can really get more bang for your buck. I have custom upholsterers that can build anything we design, usually at very competitive prices. (Notice I didn’t say cheap, but...competitive. They are competitive for the quality that they build.) I have cabinet makers, faux finishers, workrooms, local dealers and stores that I love to work with, and with whom I have close relationships.
Recently I worked on a home where we purchased some items through local sources and some through some of the companies on this list. All the locally made products have been delivered and installed now. The rest is still to come in. ;-)
There are certain situations where I encourage my clients to purchase on their own through vendors they can find themselves. And I must say...
When clients purchase on their own, it’s totally their purchase. I am not involved or responsible in any way.
When it’s a one-off purchase and they are not purchasing anything else through my studio — Online retailers often offer free, or lower cost, shipping than I can get. I also have to have furniture shipped to a warehouse to receive and then deliver to my client. So, that additional shipping, handling, and delivery charge puts the pricing way above what an online retailer can offer. If that client is doing multiple items, then the whole process becomes more worthwhile, as I am doing the coordination, ordering, taking responsibility, etc., and the delivery and installation costs can be spread amongst the number of items. If there’s only one or two items, then working through my studio on purchases might not be the best for any of us.
If clients are only paying for design services, not specification — If clients tell me up front that they want to purchase on their own (and that also affects the desirability of the project for me), then we would select items from sources that they can find themselves. Certainly, this Laurel’s Rolodex would be great for someone wanting to DIY their own purchasing.
Random follow up purchasing — Sometimes we have clients we’ve worked with and most of the work is done; and there are just a few more items the client has come back with needing. In that case, if it’s not custom and local, then we would perhaps provide links to items online where a client can get the products themselves. We want to be involved in the design process and selections, but if it’s just a few items and they are fine purchasing on their own, then they are absolutely welcome to.
When I’m working with my Designed-in-a-Click customers — This is a quick, Q&A service done by email, designed to help you over a design hurdle you may have. I occasionally recommend an item or two and send a few links for ideas. Certainly, one of these customers would enjoy this Rolodex.
Want a little more info on how designer discounts work?
You might want to check out these popular articles that I wrote over two years ago that still get lots of traffic today:
Need help deciding when to hire a designer and when you should go it alone?
I’ve got the answer here:
And here are a few more articles that lend insight into how designers get product to clients and how things can sometimes go wrong.
That’s why designers have to mark products up when they assume the responsibility for the ordering. :-/
This is not a sponsored post. I’m not earning any money by promoting this Rolodex. Laurel was kind enough to send a bunch of new visitors to my blog a few weeks ago, and I wanted to reciprocate with sending some new possible purchases to her.
Plus...I think you guys will love it!