What Level is Your Design Business?

Reply To: Trade vs. Retail


Hi Nikki and Vita,
I am struggling with this topic as well, as I am Retail and I also service around 25 designers in the area. My problem with designers is, I make money on fabrication only with them – they buy their own fabric, hardware, shades, etc. Not only that, but somehow their problem becomes mine at the end, when something needs to be fixed that has nothing to do with us (like the fabric they sent has stretched after install,,or they picked a ripplefold fabrication with a plastic-y fabric that doesnt fold well and now client doesnt like it because it looks like a tutu). I don`t charge them retail for fabrication either. They do use my expertise for measuring, calculating yardages, even ask me for guidance on what to do. I charge a small fee to do that but it is a joke. My designers are a pain. Maybe because I allow them to be:)

On the other hand, i feel Retail is easier for me – we have a showroom in the front (the back is a workroom), clients come in and we can pick the fabric, hardware, everything they need and we sell it to them. My profit margin per project is way bigger. Hpwever, The problem with Retail is, sometimes projects are so small that they are not worth the time. I struggle of how to put a minimum and say it in a classy way.
So based on what we want : To Fire ourselves!, , I am not sure what model is less stress and more cut and dry for me.

Also, the newest problem I have is, a few designers have approached me to be to the Trade only. They know how busy and popular we are here, Instagram is part of the problem. I do a few very known designers, they never tag me on Instagram but they do everyone else involved with the project. Our work is showcased in magazines but they never mention our name. I install so much for them but I dont post their project either, I have never addressed that issue with them. Id like to hear more (I know it`s coming in next lessons) how you handle social media with designers…

Vita, wow! how do you get away with charging them retail, you are amazing. !

I guess I will know all alot more after I see how the Project Managemnt system works for estimating because there are so many things to consider!
*Retail vs Trade pricing, charging consult fee,
*if a client or designer brings a COM, fabrictaion cost should be higher.
*if fabric is difficult like velvet or needs to be handstitched, there has to an upcharge…
and so on

I will do anything you say :), if it makes my life easier!
Thank you Vita!!
Vessie (Plush House)

What Level is Your Design Business?