Before I started this company, like many people, I was decorating my home (and friends’ homes) via retail sources. It was easy enough to peruse the stores in person – or online – and make purchases that I thought would work (and sometimes did or did not). But as my client designs evolved and I made suggestions for custom pieces, my clients would ask “what is the big difference between retail & custom?”. Initially, didn’t have the words to describe the difference other than “trust me, it’s much better”.
But now, as I’ve had many years of experience in the design industry, I’ve come up with a great example of the big difference between retail & custom.
An example I share with clients when we are discussing our various service levels and how it relates to custom products is how many details goes into creating just a custom pillow. Just a pillow, right? Seems pretty simple. After all, if I’m shopping online, I just click the pillow I want, put it in the cart, pay and wait patiently for it to show up.
So here is the deal, if it’s a custom pillow, there are multiple decisions and steps that go into the item that is specific to each project. What we choose for one client may be completely opposite of what we choose for another client. Everybody’s design aesthetic, furniture scale (size) and living needs are different. A gorgeous silk pillow for an empty nester may be just fine, but would be destroyed in the home of a busy family with young children.
So, wonder no longer about the details of a custom pillow, here are the steps we take:
- Selection of fabric(s) – to coordinate with the overall design aesthetic and needs – what type of fabric? Should it be velvet, cotton, chenille, leather, and should it be plain, or patterned?
- Identifying the size of the pillow – 22″ square? 24″ x 18″ rectangle? Or maybe a 12″ x 21″ lumbar?
- Based on the decisions made in #1 & #2, we determine the amount of fabric to purchase (this also includes identifying the placement of the pattern and it’s repeat).
- Selecting an insert for the pillow AND the fill that will be included. To keep pillows looking “full”, we order a size up on the insert, but the next decision is do you want 100% down filling, or polyester, or a blend? And if you want a blend, do you want 50%/50%, 75%/25%, etc.?
- What sort of edge to the pillow? Will it be a box edge? Knife edge? Turkish? All sorts of options to consider for the specific room this pillow will be placed in.
- Do we want trim or tape detail on the pillow? Maybe some tassels? Ribbon? Poms? (You’d be shocked at how many options there are to choose from!)
- Once the design details have been selected, we cost it out, including labor.
- At this point we present it to the client for approval. Maybe revisions. Maybe not.
- Next step is the creation of Purchase Orders to include the final selections: fabric(s) & trims, inserts, and labor.
- We then order and receive all fabrics, trims and pillow inserts. Check that all are accurate. Return and replace as needed.
- Send or deliver all items (and detailed instructions / drawings) to the workroom.
- Pick up or receive the finished pillow – and review it compared to the design created. Yah. Hence the #11 detailed instructions. We’ve learned that one the hard way.
- Deliver to the client for installation! Whoop! That’s the best part and makes #1 – #12 worth it.
Imagine the details involved in a renovation project, creating an outdoor living area – or designing a whole room of furnishings, art and accessories!
You can also imagine the level of relief our clients have knowing that all of the details that go into their project are being handled by a professional. So if you want a customized design for your renovation or decorating project, give us a call and you can sit back and watch the transformation!