What Level is Your Design Business?

Reply To: Trade vs. Retail


I started as retail, added designers and then dumped the retail. Trade only is the only way for me. It works with my personality and skillset. I’m not interested in selling fabric and talking about design with homeowners. I generally don’t like other peoples taste and I’m not interested in pretending I like it. I do offer advice/ideas to designers but they generally have a good idea of what they want. There are many projects where I never even meet the homeowner. I love that!!!

I’ll never understand pricing retail vs. trade differently. It takes as much time to make a roman shade regardless of who the client is. I think labor pricing should be the same for anyone you work for. The extra “retail” pricing comes in when you have to provide design advice. Are you behaving like a designer? In that case the retail client should pay for that service. There should be a price for every service you provide…regardless of who the client is. Measuring, consulting, quoting, advising, fabric sourcing, design ideas, renderings. A good designer generally has all her ducks in a row. Doesn’t waste your time.

I think it comes down to “What kind of work do we want to do?” Do we want to design, fabricate or both? I don’t have the capacity or interest to do all of it.

Also…FWIW…many designers do not tag their workrooms. I suspect they don’t like to share their “secret weapon”. I have mixed feelings about it.


What Level is Your Design Business?