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All That? For Just One Pillow?

Hello My Lovelies! 🙂


Recently Completed Guest Bedroom


Today’s post may come off as if I am scolding, and please forgive me if it does, but if anyone out there thinks the work of an Interior Designer is all frills and glamour, and we bring no value to a project, think again!

Most people who have never worked with an Interior Designer see a finished room and just assume that it was no big deal getting all the pieces to come together to be beautiful, functional and safe for the end user. They typically don’t think about what goes on behind the scenes to get a project from BEFORE to a beautiful AFTER. I mean, why should they? Most people just care about what the end result is. But you are never too old to learn something new, so if you will just hang with me for a bit, I will tell you a bit about the life of a Designer.

Our job as the project manager on each project is to do just that – manage…..every single detail; and there are many! Every piece you see in a beautifully finished room has gone through several steps to get it from a concept in the Designer’s and client’s head to a tangible piece that is unique to that project.

Most people are reasonable and know that it is hard work, just like everybody else’s work. But we often get comments like:

  1. “OMG, I love watching HGTV and doing the same things in my house”. While there is nothing wrong with watching HGTV to get ideas and inspiration for your home, saying that to a Designer who has gone through several years of schooling, several continuing education units, several years of practice just sounds like you are undermining what they do. HGTV is a great resource for homeowners, but there is so much more than what they let on in their shows. Especially where budget and timeframe is concerned

  2. “MY aunt Helen loves to decorate her home and she is really good”. That is awesome that aunt Helen wants to decorate on her own terms. In fact, I applaud her for having the desire and time to manage all the details of decorating on her own, but the above applies. Please don’t compare me to aunt Helen

  3. “How Fun! You must have so much fun at work everyday!” Yes, my job can be fun; I love it and cannot imagine myself doing anything else. But it is more than that. It is a business like any other business and it is not all picking out pretty fabrics and cute accessories. It gets intense. There is a ton of paperwork, tracking orders, being on the phone, marketing, managing people who work for you and people who don’t. The business of design is actually only 20% creative – 80% is spent really running the business side of it.

  4. “Oh, maybe I can pick your brain a bit about how to arrange my living room furniture”. “You sure can, I will email you an invoice, and once payment has been received, I will block out a time on my calendar just for you. You can ask me any and every question at that time”

  5. “Wow! that room must have cost a fortune to decorate. What was the budget?” Ummm, just like the Attorney/Client relationship is sacred, so is the Designer/Client relationship. Most clients are not ok with others knowing what they spent on their newly decorated home. I don’t mind sharing what I spent on my personal projects, but never for a client unless they have given me authorization to do that

  6. “I love Candice Olsen” Ummmm, thanks?

  7. “Why do Designers charge so much for their services?” We are helping you to create the backdrop to your lives. Your home is the most intimate of settings – it is where you sleep, eat, bathe, be naked, play with your kids, enjoy family, and so much more. A Designer spends a lot of time making that space work for all the functions you need, plus making it safe and beautiful. Why would you question their fees? Most people don’t question the fees of their doctor or attorney or even their plumber…..yet they do that for Designers who do so much to enhance their lives

I guess that could be a list of “What not to say to a Designer” Lol. Please don’t think I am being overly sensitive. In fact, after practicing design for the last 8 years, these questions and comments don’t even faze me. But just sayin’

And, just to drive my point of this article home, I wanted to share with you what goes on behind the scenes of ordering one custom pillow. Yes…..All That For Just One Pillow

Here are the 14 steps (or more) to ordering just one custom pillow for a project:

  1. Select Fabric type. And there are many factors to consider when selecting the fabric type, because fabrics wear differently

  2. Select Trim. There are tons of choices and tons of trim types to consider

  3. Determine the size you want –  Rectangular, square, neckroll/bolster – 18×18 24×24 16×24

  4. Decide what type of insert – 100% down, polyester, polycotton blend. What density?

  5. What is the edge detail – knife, box, Turkish, tasseled, flanged, piping/welt

  6. Create purchase orders for each vendor – for one pillow it could be 3-4 different vendors

  7. Order CFA’s (cuttings for approval) to ensure that fabric will look like the sample shown to the client. Dye lots are different or mistakes can be made at the mill so this is an important step

  8. Receive and verify order acknowledgements and sales orders from vendors. Look for backordered or discontinued items

  9. Enter purchase orders and invoice client

  10. Track shipments.

  11. Receive fabrics and trims etc – make sure they are accurate

  12. Send all items to workroom with detailed instructions and fabric cutting for verification

  13. Review finished pillow to make sure it is made to specifications

  14. Deliver pillow and making sure client approves

If that’s what it takes to order one pillow, imagine what I did for the guest bedroom I just completed shown above. Now imagine that these steps and more, were done for every other piece in the room (It is a much more detailed process for furniture). Now this is if all pieces are available and in stock. There are several more steps involved in backordered fabrics and trims.

Hopefully I didn’t come across as being negative, as that is not my intention at all 🙂 I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for anything! It is my pleasure to serve my clients, and I do it with integrity and efficiency each and every day.

I just wanted folks to see things through the eyes of a Designer for once, and really understand the value we bring.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!


#custompillows #WhatNotToSayToAnInteriorDesigner

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