Trade discount – ah we all love the word discount right? all love a deal. But the word “trade” seems to be ignored when it is put in front of discount for designers for whatever reason. No one would ever say to a plumber oh can I get your trade discount? So why is it it that people expect they can ask a interior stylist, designer or decorator for their trade discount to apply to them personally for purchases!
I am open from the beginning
I explain to my clients from the very beginning that they are not entitled to my trade discounts and that I am a full service interior stylist. That they should look at me as their own store for their home and I take care of everything. I also explain that if they go to good old Google to “shop” me for cheaper pricing of my recommendations and selections that I won’t price match or be responsible for the product they order and there is a good chance I will no longer work with them. The trust is gone. Trust works both ways with client and designer.
Now some might say well that’s unfair if they can get it cheaper, but what you have to remember is that my years of knowledge and experience, my supplier relationships and my design ideas, found and selected that piece that I put in that room for them, that fits perfectly, that will work with everything else and that I will make money on to make a living and profit in my business. If they simply want a shop-able link mood board they can pay for that elsewhere. But they won’t get the level of service which I pride myself on, what they get is instead is a pay, set and forget, email done and dusted service. They won’t get the level of products and they won’t get the full service from design, selections, procurement and install. It’s not complicated its just how it is. I think a lot of people do not understand how the industry works.
You want a discount
If you want cheap don’t go to a interior stylist, walk into any giant retailer and they will give you one of their “in house” stylists for free that will sell you their products exclusively without even having seen your house, know anything about your floor plan, lighting, family, needs, interests or lifestyle – let alone your budget or actual needs. Then they will offer you a discount. Which actually isn’t a discount. It’s a price they set to be the lowest they do at retail. Do not think for one minute they are not in the game to make money. And remember the in house stylist has usually had no experience and simply been trained to sell their products. But you got your discount right?
What is a trade discount
Well a trade discount is probably the wrong term to use form the beginning and I think that is the issue. the correct term is trade pricing. So when a client heres the word stylist trade discount they think “oh so how much do I pay”.
The reality is you pay retail as you would elsewhere. Trade pricing is pricing that a product is sold to the trade for and then on-sold at retail. This applies to any business. If it did not exist no one would be in business.
Would you walk into a store and say what price did you pay trade for that dress on the rack can I pay that right? or have a discount since you only paid (insert price). Umm NO. Same applies for your Interior Stylist or Interior Designer. Now some designers for whatever bizarre reason will offer their clients part of their discount but I am not rue how they stay in business. I presume they are charging higher design fees to cover the difference. You cannot be in business and be successful if you do not make a profit. You also can not make a successful business as a stylist based on styling and design fees alone.
Just to be clear the trade discount belongs to the stylist not you the client. So what they choose to do with the discount – OK LETS STOP CALLING IT THAT – what they choose to do with trade pricing is up to them. I do not know any other business that will pass on their trade pricing.
Being shopped by clients
Getting shopped by clients is not going to go away no matter what we do because the internet is here to stay. It is something I deal with on a regular basis even though I discuss it with clients upfront. So now I deal with this by letting clients know I am part of their process and team and I am here to make the experience about them and their home. A lot of my clients come to me for the service, they want to be looked after.
- I choose clients that respect what I do and educate them on our processes. I am not a personal shopper.
- I have good relationships with my suppliers and if they are supplying someone the same product at a lower price I won’t deal wth them anymore as that is not fair to me or my client.
- I highlight my value, I am a full service Interior and Airbnb stylist.
- I always try to get my clients the best price anyway.
- I do not use cheap end to end vendors, I use vendors that support both my business and my clients.
Well that’s my two cents worth on the matter. I think the more we educate people the more clients will come to understand how the process works.