Inflation isn’t the arbitrary topic we remember from high school economics – it’s a reality that everyone faces today.
As business owners, we feel it both in our own life and in the lives of our clients. As we crunch numbers for our own purchases, we also feel the strain as we watch our clients struggle to make decisions because what they once could achieve or purchase may feel unreachable right now.
Inflation in the interior design world isn’t something we can ignore – the purchases we make for clients are often large and expensive. The success of our work is dependent on high-quality materials, and we don’t have control over how much they cost!
If it feels like you’re stretching your client’s wallets to make the design choices they want, you’re not imagining it.
Business of Home says that, “In 2022, the prices of furniture and bedding had risen by 13.8%, with living room furniture alone jumping 17.3%”
In other words, buying furniture and designing a home is always expensive, and more expensive today than it’s ever been before.
For interior designers who are smart financial managers, the goal isn’t to rage against the machine of inflation and bury your head in the sand until prices go down. Instead, it’s our job to adapt to the market and economy as it changes.
Here are some ways to help yourself adjust to these changes, and help your clients, too:
Set realistic expectations
Be honest with clients upfront about what you can realistically provide according to their budget, and that their idea of “how much things should cost” may not align with the actual cost of goods right now.
There’s nothing worse than telling your client you can do something, only to find that it was a completely unrealistic promise – and when prices are soaring, the cost of goods at the end of your project could be unexpectedly high.
It may feel wrong to tell your client that you can ‘do less’ than you know you really can, but it’s actually one of the kindest things you can do. Everyone involved would so much rather be thrilled that you were able to go above and beyond versus be disappointed when you couldn’t follow through on your word.
Get great vendors
Vendor relationships can make or break these tough financial seasons – if you can get great deals, have the inside scoop on new inventory or sales, or have relationships that allow you to source high-quality vintage pieces, you’ll have a leg up in this market by default.
You can’t just muster up positive relationships and vendor connections – they come through months and years of fostering connections and showing up consistently as a trustworthy presence in your interior design circles.
So even if you don’t have these relationships right now, don’t be discouraged! No matter the state of the economy, it’s always a good time to invest in relationships that will mutually benefit both parties in the future.
The journey of owning a business in 2023 isn’t for the faint of heart – and we’re so proud of our interior designer friends who are doing the hard work of pivoting with the economy to continue serving your clients well.