Photo by Madeline Harper Photography
Readily available goods and specialty "to the trade" goods are both a common occurrence in many different industries. Not surprisingly, this is definitely a hot debate in the design world - to share or not to share trade sources. Every business owner is entitled to his or her own take on this debate. Following the sentiment of last week's post, I'm open to sharing information wholeheartedly, as long as I'm not knowingly infringing on the territory of another designer - that's no bueno for me. Aside from that, it's all pretty straightforward, plain and simple.
I'm sure I'm not alone in receiving Instagram DM's and comments or emails asking me for the source of a certain item in a photograph I've posted. I've always been very forthcoming in my responses with a couple of caveats. My number one rule is if the product in question is from a retail source that I've used in my own home and that anyone could purchase from that store in person or online and the person asking for the information is gracious in asking, I'm happy to respond. However, if a product is from a trade only source, I will always explain that our clients invest a lot in our bespoke design plans including sourcing the perfect pieces for their space and for that reason we are unable to share that information. I personally feel that it would be disrespectful to do so. In fact, it's one of our core values at Nancy Lane Interiors to be good stewards for our design clients and that includes respecting their information including specifics about items that they've invested in by working with our design firm.
I like to equate this take on sharing sources to a small restaurant chef that shops for ingredients for the dinner menu. Sure, they might pick up certain vegetables from the local farmer's market where you can shop too (a la retail sources), but I bet they have a fish or supplier, or an organic farmer that produces really top quality ingredients, and a wine distributor who works with many chefs from all over...all of these top notch vendors to source the best of the best for the patrons of that restaurant (a la trade sources).
I'm beyond flattered when people reach out to inquire about my work they've seen on my website or social media. Truly, but I'd like to add that just because something works in my house or in a client's house, it does not mean that it will necessarily work in your own. Scale and coloring are extremely important to keep in mind when you find a specific item you like somewhere on the internet - it may look great in the space it is photographed in, but that is obviously on purpose. We take great pride in developing our design concepts and plans so that they fit proportionally in the space and with the desired aesthetic of our clients. Just because it looks great in the photos you see doesn't mean it makes sense for you and your space (ie paint colors...also a big request on DMs). Just know that we are happy to help you figure that out as our design client.
If you're a designer, what are your thoughts about source sharing? Are you for it, against it, more of a hybrid? Share your thoughts in the comments below!