There are so many moving parts in the interior design industry. And things go wrong all the time.
As the Resident Control Freak in my business, I’ve developed processes and checkpoints to cut down on the issues as much as I possibly can. However, there is so much that is out of my control. Oh and also: I am a human and still do mess up sometimes. Yes, I admit it. I have made mistakes.
Part of my service is to keep you blissfully unaware of the behind-the-scenes cat herding that happens almost daily. It’s my job to handle the issues that arise. That’s what you’re paying me to do, and I do it well.
However, I think it’s important for people to understand how complex the interior design industry can be and how many opportunities there are for things to quickly go south on a project. This isn’t meant as a scare tactic or a “woe is me – look how hard I have it” post. Most all of the issues I’ll talk about were resolvable without client interaction.
So let’s dig in.
I’ve Measured Draperies Wrong
I forgot to take drapery ring drop into account when measuring the length of a client’s drapery panels. The installer went to hang them, and they were exactly 2.5 inches too long. My workroom has to take them back, hem them, and go out for a second installation to install them. I made the mistake. I eat the cost. Period.
How can I ensure I won’t do the same thing again? I made myself a chart to fill in the various components for draperies: total ceiling height, bracket size, pole size, and ring drop. I also have my workroom double-check my math and advise me if they think they will need more space to hang a specific type of hardware.
Fabric Arrived Damaged
I ordered a beautiful polyester velvet for a client’s valances and the roll came in totally wrinkled. Velvet is persnickety and cannot be stood upright on the roll. It’s a heavy fabric. If it’s stood on its end, the weight of it pulls it down. You cannot steam velvet to get the wrinkles out of it.
I contacted my rep, sent him the picture of the wrinkled fabric, and he agreed that it was sent incorrectly. He shipped my workroom a new roll and it arrived in perfect condition. The client never knew because the issue didn’t affect the installation timeline.
Items Are Suddenly Backordered
I check to see if items are in stock three times. First, I check stock when I’m sourcing products (when I initially find an item I think will look great in your design). Then, I check stock a second time the day before the design presentation (that’s the day in which I meet with you to reveal the design concept). Then, I check stock a third time before I send you an invoice for your purchases (that happens after you approve the items).
And still…items can go out of stock before I can order them. I can’t put most items on hold, so until I receive payment for an invoice, I can’t control if other retailers purchase products. (The exception is fabrics – I can reserve those for one or two weeks, depending on the brand.)
If an item is backordered, I immediately inform my clients and let them decide if they’re willing to wait for the item or if I need to re-source at no additional charge for the design services time. (This is all covered in my contract, which I go over with every client prior to starting full-service projects.)
That’s just a small sample of the issues I handle on a regular basis. It’s all part of the job! And I LOVE what I do!
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