In the fall of 2005 CE I was riding high. I had sold my first home for a profit (in what we now revisionistically call “the best timing ever”), I was planning a life altering move to Canada (in what we now revionsistally refer to as “fleeing the Republicans”), and I had secured a contract job with Lapchi. The later being key to where this is going next. It is during those halcyon days in the fall of 2005 I had the honour and privilege of meeting, then working with an amazing woman, a woman by the name of Laurie Saunders.
“You have a great rabbinical presence.” she once said to me as we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Doug Fir Restaurant and Bar in Portland, Oregon. As I continued to eat whatever it was I was eating, the words slowly, and I do mean slowly, began to sink into my head. “What does she mean by that?” I started to ask myself. Time then passes and life continues (as it does when you’re alive) when suddenly and unexpectedly…
Seven (7) years later (which was last week) whilst driving across town, I was contemplating getting away from my recent lackadaisical (read lazy) approach to blogging and returning to a more engaging schedule, the kind where I actually write things for people to read, which my husband will point out I need to stop talking about. ( There now I’m done with that. Take that Nicholas!) And then the lightbulb. Eureka! She means I am very self-aware and contemplative. She means that I am influenced by let’s say advertising, even though I am mostly fully aware of its intention. It means I like to learn. It means I like to share this knowledge (useful or otherwise) and let people form their own conclusions (wrong or otherwise – keep reading). It also means I like to be right (who doesn’t) but that I am also aware of the fact I want to be right, and that I am (sadly) not always. Or at least that is how I am going to interpret what she said, because, well I do want to be right.
It’s like when I started Red Spruce. I wanted to be right. I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to make money. And while we await the jury to return a verdict on the later, I have been working outside of Red Spruce, both to my financial and mental gain. Over the last year I was employed by a very talented and successful Interior Designer as his Creative Assistant. Oh sure, it was a good helping of humble pie as I had to swallow my pride a bit and “admit” that Red Spruce was not going as smoothly as was originally planned, but it was also one of the most eye opening things I’ve done in years, and for that I can give thanks.
“The Ruggist” has been fancied as an expert in rugs and all things rugs, but in reality I am just quite passionate about rugs, and of course my own opinion. An opinion that was formed from a one sided perspective on the design industry, for you see dear readers, “The Ruggist” had only worked on the supply side of the design industry, never really getting to know what designers, our customers/clients, really go through. Well ladies and gentlemen, fresh from my year of reconnaissance on the consumption side (as we will now refer to my Creative Assistant period), I can assure, no, tell you Interior Designers go through HELL! Though to be fair, we should call it “First World Hell”
Designers need/want to be seen as THE expert in the room, and rightly so, as their continued success depends heavily upon their own personal(ity)/style and more to the point, making their clients happy. They also want to make money (who doesn’t?). It is these two diametrically opposed forces (making money vs. making clients happy) that are at the root of the problem behind the question I have been repeatedly asked over the years: “How do we market to designers?” My answer used to be “it cannot be done” or “it’s really hard” or some other bullshit answer that would prompt a lively conversation focused mostly on complaining about the bad habits of Interior Designers. Well, my answer has now changed.
First, the “bad habits” of Interior Designers are an internalization of the idiosyncrasies of their clients, which are, in my opinion, compounded by broken consumption and distribution models and an irrational fear of the term “profit”. Secondly, we as the suppliers (en masse, but not everyone) are complicit in the later, if not also the former, by perpetuating said broken models. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying profit is bad, nor am I saying the framework (Exporter, Importer, Wholesaler, Retailer, Designer, Client) is bad, but what I am saying is that it is no longer the go go design 80s, nor the go go boom of the 90’s, nor the go go housing boom of the 00s. The sooner everyone realizes that economies have changed, and more importantly, that consumers (at all levels have changed), the sooner we will be able to specifically target the Interior Design Trade. Do I think I know what needs to be done? Damn right I do, I want to be right. I’m also tired of my industry getting treated poorly and made fun of by the very people we value as customers. Child labour jokes, obscene profit jokes, dubious quality standards all devalue what we do, and furthermore, do nothing to endear us to the Interior Design trade nor their clients (our ultimate customers). So how do we change this and successfully market to Interior Designers? That is the $64,000.00 (USD) question.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that it will cost you $64,000 (USD) to find out, but I am saying that just like the Interior Designers who need to be the experts in the room and who need/should charge and make a profit off this expertise (oh see that, I gave away a little) “The Ruggist” needs to be the expert and needs to charge as well. You may now feel let down.
With that, I’ll announce I’m getting back into the the consulting gig for a bit as I have something new to share, and if you think you could gain something from my experience and expertise, I welcome you to contact me and we can talk.
Speaking of sharing and talking! “The Ruggist” will be at the NYICS on September 9 and 10 and I am very much so looking forward to seeing great old and new friends as well as some great rugs, like this one! Note: I don’t think this rug wil be at the show, I am just saying that I like it.
“Manhattan,” Designed by Swedish graphic artist Bo Lundberg
for Classic Rug Collection
This a great tufted rug from Classic Rug Collection that I saw on the COVER Blog, and that was subsequently emailed to me by Barbara Barran. I love it and I’m looking forward to being back in NYC in a little under a week. Ms. Barran asked that I tell all of you that shipping is complimentary with your purchase of “Manhattan” through the end of September. Wait until she gets my invoice for that service. **smirk
I hope you enjoyed and please look for an exciting review of NYICS soon! Thank you, and good-bye.