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The Lure of the Lower Price

We all love a good sale. How many times have you been pulled into an online cart because of the flashing red 20% off banner in your email inbox? It happens every day, in so many scenarios. We all fall for it, y'all. The lure of the lower price - it really is a carrot dangling on a stick sometimes or like a worm on a fishing hook, isn't it?

It happened in a full service design project last year, when we specified a product from a to-the-trade vendor who also sells to a major big box retailer under different names (sometimes referred to as white labeling). Our client recognized said product in a catalog and brought it to us saying an item was $50 less with a coupon code through the catalog than our full service proposal and asked if could we match the pricing. While they needed multiples of said item, I explained that once everything was in their online cart and fees were added for taxes, shipping, and front porch delivery their actual cost savings was negligible.

I also explained that they would have to follow up on the order probably repeatedly because, based on experience we no longer purchase retail items for clients, and that the company they were shopping was notorious for showing in stock items which would then immediately show as backordered once orders were placed. Also they would be responsible for inspecting and unboxing said items since it wasn't white glove delivery, plus they'd need to dispose of all the packing material, and finally, if there was any damage, they'd need to contact customer {no}service on their own. In the end the client concentrated on the carrot and made multiple retail purchases on their own. They're approaching a full year in their waiting game and there's nothing they can do about it (always read the fine print before you press purchase). #bewarethelureofthelowerprice

I will admit I found myself in a carrot predicament of my own at a car dealership while looking for a replacement for our minivan (RIP, you served me well). I was fully planning to get a functional, reliable car from the same brand as my old mini, but they had absolutely zilch on their lot the day we went to buy. I kid you not...I'd never seen anything like it.

We ended up at the dealership for the cousin of the car we originally wanted, albeit the luxury version. As we sat in the car dealership, I admit I may have started sweating bullets thinking about upcoming college bills times two for our twins and all the house projects I have on my wish list #mamaneedsnewwindows. So much so that I found myself asking the sales guy if he could do anything about the price. He looked at me with cold emotion and shut that down so fast, noting the supply and demand of cars. Take it or leave it - this is the price, he said bluntly.

He walked away, and my husband said to me, "Nance...this is what you're asking your clients to do with you. It's been a great experience so far and you've done your due diligence. Do you want the car? (Yes.) Does it have the bells and whistles you want? (Yes). Is it going to be great experience every time you drive it? (Yes.) Are you going to love it every day? (Yes.)"

And I do! That car was not inexpensive, but I'll tell you what, it was worth every damn penny.

Ever since the hubs spent a few days in December installing a whole house with me, I swear he's had a lightbulb moment about what I and my fellow interior designers do. Likening our car buying experience to the full service design experience he went on to say, "You want your clients to understand the price is the price and here's why. It is a luxury service, you're going to take care of them, it's going to be an enjoyable ride (process), and they're going to love being in their {space} every single day."

He's right - and it all comes back to value or what something is worth to you, what it adds to your life? I don't mind being stuck in traffic now, and I don't bat an eye at having to drive out past home base by 30+ minutes anymore. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you it makes me happy to just get in that car. And I am absolutely not advocating for going into debt - for either the car or working with a designer. If you can't afford it, I'm going to tell you to wait and save your money.

But if you can, what will that money spent save you in other ways? Well, if you decide to go the DIY route in design, you'll pay in other currencies, you're paying in time, you're paying in frustration, you're paying in headaches with customer service reps, and you're paying in rework because of a lack of knowledge or forethought to avoid mistakes.

Trust me, nickel and diming specific products that you might find in a retail setting won't be worth it when you're on the phone with customer service trying to figure out why your order just got backordered for the 4th time. You don't hear about these hiccups when you're working with our company and our to-the-trade vendors, because you're investing in our expertise and our time to win your own time and sanity back.

We vet our vendors by going to market and trade shows multiple times a year. We sit test, inspect, open and close drawers and doors, hell, I've even gotten on the floor and underneath certain pieces to check on quality. We build relationships with companies we believe in and whom we trust based on track records with issues that arise and honest communication about stock issues. Yes issues do arise, its the nature of life in general after all, but part of our full service design process is to handle issues, if and when they arise {although we may only let you know about it once we have a resolution, if ever}. #savingyouheadaches

Remember that you 'spend' in a multitude of ways every day. Is the lure of a lower price worth it in the end? Maybe sometimes, but definitely not for the expertise of an interior designer.

If you want to assess whether your vision fits your budget, or if you want to discuss a project, feel free to reach out so we can chat!


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