It seems like everywhere you turn, someone is offering "free" interior design services. If they aren't free, then they are marketed as extremely inexpensive (even "cheap"). Here's the thing... It costs a considerable amount of money to run an Interior Design business, and there's no way around it. Period. End of Story.
You might be asking yourself, "But, what about designers in stores or those online companies like Laurel & Wolfe or Havenly?"
If designers are in stores, it's because they have to sell the products in the store. It's how they get paid, and surprise! It's also how they are marketed as free. The price of the designer is added into the overall cost of the furniture. This is fine if you love the store you are buying from and you want the look right out of the store. It won't be "your" look as much as the look of their brand, but it could look very nice in your home.
If designers are being marketed through online services like Laurel & Wolfe or Havenly, read carefully..... BEWARE! Remember when I said that it takes a considerable amount of money to run an interior design business? Well, it does! If enough is not being charged, then there is just no way to sustain the business. There have been lots of little businesses have come and go, but we just witness the first big fall of an online giant.
Laurel & Wolfe has gone black and it sounds like they have kept a lot of money that should have been refunded. Big time investment houses funded them. Home Depot partnered with them. None of it could sustain the cost of the business. Check out the story here > https://businessofhome.com/articles/laurel-wolf-goes-dark
Left in the dark are many, many individuals that have seen their home investment money disappear. For many, this was likely the first time they had ever worked with an interior designer. For many, they may be so untrusting, that it's now their last time to use an interior designer. From the news that we hear behind the scenes, I think you can also expect others to fall. Only so much can be given by investors before those utilizing the service have to actually pay for the services the receive.
And, so the question remains... Who do I trust and isn't an independent designer going to cost me a fortune?
Question 1: Who do I trust?
- Trust teams and individuals that have a good, proven record. Get to know them and know about their experiences, both personal and professional, that will help you accomplish your goals. Match your needs and personality with the skillsets and level of the designer.
- Trust someone that will educate you. It's not enough to be sold on a sofa. You need to know how it's made and why it costs what is does. Are you looking for a quick fix that will be in a landfill in 3 years or are you looking for something that will be comfortable, in good condition, and just as great in 10, 15, or 20 years to come? (I cannot tell you how many times clients have been sold "quality" products that are anything BUT quality! It's really upsetting, and some of your favorite furniture retailers may be those most guilty.)
- Trust someone that invests in their career and business. Designers are on their best game when they are engaged with industry leaders, are actively seeking the best resources for their clients, and are educating themselves along the way through training and trade events.
- Remember your daddy's lesson when you were younger... "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." Honestly, it's that simple.
Question 2: Isn't an independent designer going to cost be a fortune?
- That's all up to you!
- If you spend all of your time asking questions, not making decisions, and then "shopping" your designer then you are absolutely going to spend more than you need to (and no designer wants that!)
- If you trust your designer and provide good feedback, you can get work (whether it's a room decor update or a full remodel) done, typically faster, with better quality at comparable (if not lower) cost. You can avoid mistakes that can cost you additional time, money and resources (and headaches).
- Often times, your designer can also save you money on your purchases which also helps offset their design time cost.
The good thing about these failing online interior design firms is that they've helped more people realize that interior designers don't have to be the snotty, elitist and expensive resources that are unobtainable. You can find a designer that is more like you - someone that you can trust to understand you, your goals, your needs - to help you create the home you deserve, but never thought you could enjoy. If you'd like to know more, please reach out to us. We're happy to discuss your project with you. And, don't worry. We are here for the long-haul.