Are Showrooms Worth It for Interior Designers? with Cheryl Kees Clendenon

Episode #033 the Wingnut Social Podcast

Cheryl Kees Clendenon is the owner and lead designer of In Detail Interiors on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Her innovative work has earned her firm more awards than any other firm on the Gulf Coast, and Cheryl is also an accomplished business coach to interior designers. On today’s episode she talks about why she opened a showroom, how it’s benefited her business, and convinces Darla she should open her own (if she can get Natalie to agree).

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social

  • [1:25] Mel Gibson has nothing on Darla
  • [9:27] The nitty, not the gritty, on showrooms
  • [11:15] The research you need to do
  • [12:42] Getting the best pricing possible
  • [17:22] Striking deals with vendors
  • [19:24] You have to be capitalized
  • [23:45] Why Cheryl does not believe discounts
  • [30:30] How Cheryl communicates pricing with clients
  • [36:14] Will a showroom get you more clients?
  • [40:34] Why are designers afraid to open a showroom?
  • [49:42] You need a good business plan
  • [53:50] Cheryl’s coaching business
  • [40:40] Whut up, Wingnut?

Connect with Cheryl Kees Clendenon

Resources & People Mentioned

Having a showroom means you don’t have to worry about getting shopped

One of the major concerns for interior designers is, of course, getting shopped. A customer asks you how much something might cost, and then they scour the internet looking for a better price. But Cheryl tells Darla and Natalie that part of her showroom’s business model is to partner with vendors to showcase their wares in exchange for discount prices. So, as she says, her firm doesn’t have to worry about getting shopped because “we shop ourselves.”

Cheryl also immediately dispels one of the biggest concerns about having a showroom: Suddenly finding yourself in the retail business. If you’re not interested in having open doors and customers wandering through, you can do what she did it at first: Close the doors. By being by-appointment-only, Cheryl was able to maintain her showroom without having any of the trappings of being a retail store.

Setting up a showroom takes time

Before she opened her showroom, Cheryl said she spent a year and a half researching what lines she would carry. It can take a lot of prep work to find the right vendors, strike deals with them, convince them to take you seriously. Also, as Cheryl said, it can take a long time for your showroom to take off, so you have to be ready and willing to withstand that wait.

And beyond that, doing this takes money. You may be running your interior design business out of a home office, or doing everything you can to lower your overhead. If you want to open a showroom, as Cheryl says, you have to be capitalized. .

Connect With Darla & Wingnut Social

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