What’s the Cost of Getting the Look? To-The-Trade

by Nicki on May 22, 2017

Clearly there’s an inside joke going on here in this photo, right? You want to know what it is? Of course you do!

We are sitting here thinking about how to explain “to-the-trade” pricing to you.


photo by @alisonkowalskiphotography

Teresa, “You go first.”

Nicki, “No, you go ahead.”

Teresa, “Ok, Let’s start with an example.”

These chairs we are sitting on are made in North Carolina by Lancaster Custom works.  They are a small family run company with 30 years in the business. When we call, the owners pick up the phone. Imagine??

We work directly with this manufacturer to create the perfect chair. When something is to-the-trade it means its sold only to designer’s or retail stores.

As designer’s we spend time going to High Point Furniture Market and the AmericasMart in Atlanta to find new products and establish relationships with our vendors.  Residential designers rely on an array of sources so that we don’t duplicate our designs over and over. Each project has its own style.

The price that we pay is less than the average consumer pays, but the discounts are far greater for retailers. There is a notion out there that people think designer’s are getting everything really cheap and marking it up and gauging our clients. That’s just not true.

There is also this thing called the internet. Maybe you have heard of it?

To stay competitive designers keep their pricing in check because we know you are all shopping online!

The reality is that their price might be lower, but that company is allowed to buy in volume and as a small design firm we do no need 15 console tables at one time.

photo by @alisonkowalksiphotography

When manufactures sell direct to designer’s the discounts range from 40-50% off .

When designer’s buy locally or through trade programs for online shops the discount is closer to 20%.

Manufactures do suggest to retailers the list price or MSRP at which the retailer sell the product. So a designer should never charge you more for something then you could buy in a store for.

Retail stores and brick and mortar operations know that you consumers are generally savvy shoppers these days and they do their best to offer competitive prices. They will go as low as they can go off the MSRP to win the sale and make sure they still earn a profit.

Maybe this helped a little?

One final thought… as a small interior design firm we are grateful that you have chosen to work with us. We want to pass on our discounts to you and create the best possible scenario we can for your budget.  We would like you to keep in mind though that this is a real business and we too would like to make a profit.


Thank you for reading our blog!


Nicki and Teresa

Random Thoughts and Ideas- Hopefully Design Related.


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