In all my years working as an Interior Designer, I’ve seen that it’s a common misconception amongst many to believe that hiring a professional is much like hiring a middle man, a contractor or someone who extracts money from you, to finish a job you may very well be able to finish yourself. This perception exists for a variety of reasons, ranging from not knowing the value a professional interior designer can bring to worries about costs and a belief that interior design is only for the wealthy I’ve realised that these beliefs are not unwarranted, seeing as how India is the land of the middleman, where the space that lies between the customer and a product or service he seeks presents umpteen opportunities for mark-ups, execution fees, management fees or finders fees. This is just the way in which service and purchasing works in India, for the most part.
When I set up Spaces With Personality, I wanted to make a difference not just to this perception, but to the experience clients have. I wanted to go the extra mile, add a personal touch and give our clients the sense of connection with the process itself. The process that is sometimes lost to middlemen and various consultants acting on behalf of vendors. The typical Interior Design project is executed in collaboration with various contractors and has multiple touchpoints of vendors for everything from paint to hardware or fittings, furniture and accessories – each of these is likely to charge a 2-3% commission resulting in a mark-up that stacks up to the cost to client.
My first experience with this was when I did my own home. I considered an interior designer and was presented with a cost. But given my own interest, inclination and capacity with design, I decided to give it a shot myself and realised the extent to which these mark-ups and hidden costs come at the expense of the client. This struck me as deeply unethical and made me wonder who then looks out for the client’s interests?
I realise this is a result of not putting the client first. So when I set up Spaces With Personality, a key and fundamental intention was a constant focus on getting the best deal and the best price for my clients – across the board. So we do not mark-up any prices on items, and instead work extra hard at finding the best vendor for your needs, who fits with our sensibilities and offers the best price. Our consulting fee includes the effort it takes to make this happen. When purchasing is required, our method is to either accompany you if you need help choosing or thinking through your choices; or point you to the best vendors so you can transact directly with them. This is sometimes an elaborate and time-consuming process, but has infinite long-term benefits not the least of which is a reduction in unnecessary costs and an overall satisfaction of working with transparency. Anything else would be unethical, counterproductive and of no value to our clients.
So, if you have steered away from entertaining the idea of giving your home a makeover for fear of being taken for a ride, rest assured that we are on your side of this quandary. We see this as unjust and work hard to create an ethical and clear space in which to work. Call us to have a chat about this and maybe your dream project too and we’ll find a way to make it happen for you!