New clients often ask what to expect when working together. Some have never worked with a designer before, or some have and didn't love their experience. I format my business differently from most designers, and like to give as much information as possible up front so the client can be informed and we can both make sure it's a great fit! As a start, here are the fundamentals of how I work:
I strongly believe that design should be a collaborative process; my job is to help create a home that is perfectly suited to the individuals who live there. As such, I don't have a signature style but instead strive to tastefully and intelligently interpret my clients' styles.
I format my business a little differently from most designers - instead of charging a 20-30% markup on top of retail, I share my trade discounts with my clients, helping them stretch their budget further. This puts us on the same team with the same goal. Instead of my business being sales-driven, I can truly act as the expert consultant my clients are looking for, with their best interest at heart.
I am always thinking about return on investment, since our homes are often our largest assets. Even when clients say they want to stay put forever, I always keep resale value and quality vs. cost in mind. I advise my clients where it's wise to save, and where we'd be better off investing for the right solution. This helps us strike the balance between the emotional and practical aspects of interior design.
The trade discounts that I pass on to my clients range from about 15-50%. Those discounts leave more room in the budget for design time. Almost all product purchases can be made on the client's card, so they retain return options and warranties, and can benefit from credit card perks. Clients always have the option to purchase something on their own if they prefer.
I like to first chat with potential clients on the phone to answer any questions they may have and hear more about their needs and the project. Step 2 is a complimentary walk-through of the space. During that meeting we establish the goals of the project, and I send a follow-up email to make sure we're in agreement on what I'm helping with and which tasks are priorities. From that point forward each client's process varies, but I like to work in tandem with the clients to handpick each appropriate item.