If you missed part 1 of this series CLICK HERE to read all about the first step in working with Laura Mitchell Interior Design, the consultation. In part 2 we shared what happens after you hire us on and we kick off your project!
In part 3 we are sharing what happens after we present and finalize your design plans and the process we meticulously follow at LMID to place and track orders until install day! I get told frequently "your job is so fun. You get to shop all day!". While I do get to "shop", it is not as glamorous as it sounds, and the details behind procuring a project is a beast task in itself!
Our full service design process is broken down into 4 phases:
1 – Consultation
2- Project Kickoff & Design Presentation
3- Procurement/Design Implementation
Procurement is defined as the process of sourcing and purchasing goods and services from an external source, like a third - party vendor or supplier. I personally define this term to also include the process of tracking the purchased goods.
The process of actually obtaining price requests from the vendor happens during the design development phase - the phase that was discussed in Part 2 of this series. We obtain pricing prior to the design presentation so we are able to present an accurate investment amount at the design presentation.
Each and every detail of the item must be specified for pricing. Let's use a custom swivel chair as an example. Here are just a few of the steps required in pricing out a custom swivel chair:
Specify which frame for chair (this will be represented by a SKU # and by the end of your project we will likely have this SKU # memorized)
COM (customer owned material) to be used for the frame or specify a fabric from the vendor
Specify skirt pleat (or no skirt)- ex: box skirt, knife pleat.
Trim fabric to be added to the skirt - if applicable
The list goes on depending on the specific chair you are specifying and the custom details you want to add
Since this is a custom chair that we are specifying COM fabric for we need to take this pricing request even one step further..
We then need to determine pricing for COM fabric based on how many yards are needed for the chair.
So for accurately pricing this 1 swivel chair, we need to specify the various design aspects of the chair as well as obtain pricing from 2 separate vendors to get a final price.
After the design presentation and the Furniture Fee proposal has been approved, we will send a Furniture Fee invoice which requires 100% payment prior to the procurement process to begin. This invoice is listed as a line item invoice with a total amount for each item as well as a grand total. There is a 15% freight fee added to the total, which covers everything from warehouse to your house (more on this later), as well as state tax.
As an Interior Design firm, we are the retail store. We don't purchase from retail stores, we purchase directly from the vendors and manufactures who make the furniture who sell it to retail stores. Because of this, our purchasing is not as easy as "add to cart" and "checkout". Nor do we want our ordering to be that simple as we need a way to accurately track our orders and reconcile our books.
Purchase orders are an essential part of the procurement process and the foundation of it all. Here is an example of what a purchase order looks like that we send to our vendors when placing an order:
After we submit the PO to our vendor we will receive an order acknowledgement and invoice. This is when we do our double check to ensure every detail on the order is correct and priced correctly.
We contact the vendor every week in order to check the status of the order. This is when we make our "Friday Update" emails to our clients notifying them of any updates on their project. We do this process to ensure nothing falls through the cracks and to stay on top of deliveries to our receiving warehouse in preparation for the big install day!
Everything purchased through Laura Mitchell Interior Design is shipped via freight to our receiving warehouse. What is freight you ask? Check out our "What is Freight" document that we provide to all of our clients during our consultation.
Each and every one of your pieces is received and inspected for damage by our receivers. It is then tagged and stored and we receive an authorization email with photos. We make frequent visits to our receiving warehouse and we make sure to place eyes on every single items that will be going into your home.
It is not a matter of if there will be a problem, it is a matter of when there is a problem. One of the many benefits of hiring a designer is that we handle all of these problems for you. Items can be damaged during delivery, which requires a claim to be filed with the vendor in order to receive a replacement. If damage is minimal our receiving warehouse can often fix it for an extra charge. With all of that being said - we will never come to you with a problem without some sort of solution.
Yes - we DO shop. :) However, it is usually only a trip to Home Goods or some local vintage shops to find those last minute perfect accessories to top the space off before install day. Another big shopping trip for us is High Point Market, which is a market that is held twice a year for industry professionals. We just got back from market in June and scooped up some amazing and unique finds for upcoming client installs.
Another large component of this phase is working with trades. Typically each project involves working with a few trades. We coordinate with the trades to ensure the design plan is followed to a "T". Some examples include:
Obtaining bid from painter during Phase 2 (Design Development) - developing detailed paint schedule and providing to the painters - meeting in your home on day 1 to review the paint schedule - site check ins as necessary
Sourcing new light fixtures during Phase 2 (Design Development) - developing detailed electrical plans for electrician - meeting in your home with electrician to review electrical plans - site check ins as necessary
Other trades we frequently work with include drapery workroom/upholsterer, wallpaper installer, carpet installer, tile installer, plumber, general contractors, finish carpenters, builders, and architects.
Stay tuned for the final installment of this blog series, "What it's Like Working with a Full Service Design Firm", where we will be sharing all about the big day - INSTALL DAY!
A peek behind the scenes of our recent project, The Timeless on Talon.