Each time I chat with a potential interior design client, I gain a take-a-way to either share or to learn from, going forward. I often speak of analogies to help them to compare my process to concepts that may resonate in a less complex way. Sometimes it’s well understood and other times . . . sigh!
Most recently, I tried to communicate that the process of design can be viewed as baking a cake. Either one attempts to follow a recipe, (created by someone else), and claim it as their own – or – they find a trained baker to take their “taste” preference to a more custom level, by creating the recipe from scratch. A one-of-a-kind experience.
I’m sure it must seem to be the easier way to follow a time-tested recipe. You know what you’re going to get, as far as the flavor. But what if you want to take that to a different level or something in between? Not quite the one-of-a-kind proportion but also not a mass-produced product. Say you prefer a chocolate ganache icing over a vanilla, buttercream? It still requires some thought about how the actual cake works with that little tweak or change and one usually benefits from a guiding hand.
Let’s face it, sometimes you really only want a cupcake. It may be all that you can handle at the time. Still, somewhere along the way, that cupcake had more than humble beginnings in a test kitchen. Eventually, you end up paying a little more for a cupcake than you would for a slice out of the bigger cake. And - a lone cupcake does not a business make.
For interior designers, we have to analyze projects along a similar type of business model. If we’re only going to be invited to participate in an hour or two on a consultation, here and there, it invariably requires us to spend several hours discussing a need or a short-term item, prior to that consultation. Wise designers have to look at ways to cover our operating expenses, especially when it takes time away from the flow of long-term projects. (Think of this as gathering and purchasing all of the ingredients for your recipe. Even if you don’t make it, you still have to cover the costs.)
In my practice, bundling time and projects makes more sense for both parties to feel the value is present, as well as the commitment. I’ve tried other methods and this has provided the most success.
And that’s just how the cake crumbles.
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