Why Purchase Through Your Designer?

Do you believe you’re saving money by buying products directly, instead of through a designer?  Perhaps you've been persuaded by the misconception that it is more costly to purchase through a designer. But simply put, this is false – a common misunderstanding among consumers.  When you harness the relationships and buying power of an experienced interior design team, everyone wins, and you actually obtain more value in many ways.  So if you’re wondering, 'What are these advantages?', let us help you make sense of the process!

What exactly are the benefits of purchasing through a designer?

1. Designer Discounts

Designers give discountsto clients – prices lower than any obtainable by the general public.  They can manage this because, as businesses themselves, designers have buying power not available to just anyone.  Most designers compare their purchase pricing to what a consumer would pay retail.

What is “retail”?

Retail is a term used to describe the cost of goods sold to the general public, and is often noted as the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).  “Retail” is the method that most people use for making any kind of off-the-shelf or online purchase. 

Most retail stores are vendors, and do not make the products they sell.  The cost of a product from manufacturer to retailer is hidden, and is based on several factors that vary widely by store, supplier and by industry.  Designers have the option of buying wholesale (direct from the manufacturer) or at a discount from retail (a price from the same vendors that sells to the public, but lower, thanks to special trade programs and incentives specifically for design professionals).  This is how they can pass on savings to you, the client.

2. Exclusive Access

Designers have exclusive access to quality goods that are not available to the general public anywhere.  That means utilizing a designer is the only way to buy some of the most beautifully crafted, quality furnishings and interior goods available.  These makers and vendors are known as to-the-trade sources.

Why do some businesses sell only “to-the-trade”?

There are many manufacturers that sell wholesale – only to other businesses.  Every industry has evolved into a rich network of makers and sellers who rely on each other, to ensure that goods are made, transported and sold with the highest levels of respect for the consumer. 

Trade only sources are a part of this history.  They trust that designers are excellent sales people, and will continue to be repeat customers.  They spend time and money cultivating their relationships with trade professionals.  They do not publish pricing, or make goods available to the public in a retail setting; clients are treated to exclusive access by working with a trade professional. 

STARK La Cienega "To-the-trade" Only Showroom (photo credit - Editor at Large)

3. Peace-of-Mind

Designers offer peace-of mind for clients by practicing the three P’s: profit, planet and people.


Designers purchase ethically sourced products and materials.  Discerning designers are mindful of the labor practices of their manufacturing partners, ensuring that workers have not been endangered or exploited.  An astute designer will make sure they understand the origin of all products they specify and purchase – from the source of raw materials, to who made it, how it was made, and how it arrives at its final destination.


More and more, discerning designers source products from businesses that are sustainable, minimizing their impacts on the environment at the micro and macro levels.  For example, a designer is more likely to source products that are manufactured by businesses that limit the use of chemicals and destructive by-products, so that the products and materials you place in your home will maintain a better measure of indoor air quality.  Because designers care about these factors, and not just price, they might suggest products at a higher cost than “comparable” products.  But remember, so much of what you purchase is invisible.  Designers are mindful of a product's unseen characteristics and provide a clear conscience for clients every step of the way.


Designers are business people.  Even when a designer discount passes to a client, the designer also profits from that exchange, and the value of their work is 100% worth it.  But whereas a retail setting has no real obligation to you as a buyer – or at least, very little, as one of thousands of customers – designers understand the value of a relationship.  Designers save time by avoiding costly mistakes, and bring years of experience to the acquisition of large, expensive pieces for your project.  Generally, there is a deep ethical sense to do right by the client, and that personalized approach is priceless.

"To-the-trade" only custom rug and furnishings

The Bigger Picture

Designers want clients to purchase through them to obtain the best price and highest levels of client care and satisfaction; however, it is still possible that the designer price might not be the absolute “lowest” price for a product.  Most firms try to be competitive and avoid these sourcing conflicts by buying to-the-trade only.  Interior designers are uniquely transparent about costs and purchase management fees.  Letters of Agreement always spell out the terms of purchasing through a designer, and should explain the advantages to the client.

The idea that designers “price gouge” or are “greedy” is an absolute myth.  An ethical designer will always charge with fairness, openness and honesty.  Designers simply want clients to have the best possible products at the best possible prices.  By placing trust with an interior designer, clients can take home a more personalized and luxurious product.

So, the next time you consider purchasing furniture, fixtures or fabrics on your own, why not check out your options and reach out to an interior designer who will work in your best interest?  We suspect you’ll be delighted that you did!

Au revoir,

Jennifer et cie 


Need some help getting your interior design project going? Hiring a professional like the interior designers at Jennifer Butler Interior Design is a great place to start. We can help bring definition and creativity to your ideas and goals for your home, office, business, new construction, renovation or remodel.  This frees you to focus on your family, your work, your travel and recreation while our experts take care of the design and implementation.  Rest assured that our designers will create interiors that realize your vision for spaces that meet your luxury lifestyle, your 21st century work style needs, and reflect your unique design style.

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