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The Best Kept Secret In Interior Decorating

Over the years, many smart consumers have purchased pillows, cushions, and window treatments directly from my family's wholesale business by becoming interior decorators themselves. I also watched thousands of consumers shop for themselves and their friends in the exclusive wholesale designer furniture showrooms during the years I worked in the World Trade Center in Dallas, the Atlanta Market Center, and the High Point International Home Furnishings Market. Anyone can do it.

The Los Angeles Times reported on this phenomenon not too long ago. In the article, Los Angeles ASID president Elaine Redfield was quoted as saying:"It's a simple matter for someone to get decorator credentials and go shop at the showrooms, and many do."

There are no professional or educational requirements to be an interior decorator. Professional interior decorators who decorate homes for a living just have to get the proper business credentials. For most people, it costs less than $100.00 to register as an interior decorator. That's all there is to it. Many of them even work out of their homes. You don't need to have an office or storefront to be an interior decorator.

Your decorator credentials will be your passport into a whole new world. You won't have to pay middlemen a high commission or markup to purchase fine home furnishings for you. You can do your own shopping, and keep the interior designer's commission in your own pocket. You can browse through showrooms that are open only to the trade. You can see the vast majority of the home furnishings available and make your own choices, instead of relying on an interior designer to bring you samples of what he or she thinks you might like. Best of all, you can use your interior decorator's trade discount, which is usually 40% to 50% (and occasionally as much as 75%) off of retail!

Many people who work in the design industry use their own business credentials all the time to buy furnishings at wholesale for their own homes. Industry insiders also frequently bring friends and family into the wholesale showrooms to shop. That's how my family and so many other families have been able to decorate our homes so inexpensively while shopping at the best wholesale designer showrooms. This chapter will teach you how to shop the way industry insiders shop. By going directly to the source, you cut out all of the expensive retail overhead and middleman profits.

Wholesale shopping is not quite as convenient as retail shopping, however. Salespeople in wholesale showrooms do not answer questions about interior design, only about the quality and manufacturing specifications of the merchandise they sell. Interior decorators are expected to come up with their own design ideas and make their own product selections.

The rewards of buying wholesale, however, are huge. You will receive the standard trade discount of 40% to 50% off of retail. In some situations, you will be able to save even more. You will be able to browse through nearly all of the merchandise that is available to the design trade instead of trying to trace certain retail furnishings back to their sources. You won't have to pay to support the expensive retail showrooms that furniture stores and interior designers maintain. You will be able to buy most of the unique and unusual furnishings that are not available directly to the public.

My book, The Insider's Guide to Buying Home Furnishings, explains how to appropriately to conduct business in a wholesale showroom and translates all of the "designer lingo" that will help you fit right in. You must know how to function smoothly in a wholesale atmosphere if you are going to shop as a wholesale customer.

For most consumers, the best way to buy your furniture and home furnishings is at the factory outlets and through discounters. Factory-owned factory outlets give you better discounts than wholesale showrooms, which is why many professional interior designers shop at factory outlets, too.

Being your own interior decorator is primarily for those consumers who can't find what they're looking for through the factory-owned factory outlets. Most consumers will be best served to shop at the factory outlets and through order by phone companies, but those who want to shop for very high end designer merchandise may want to give wholesale shopping a try.

It could even become a career. Over the years, I've received many nice letters from readers who used the instructions in my book to not only register to be their own interior decorators, but to actually start their own interior decorating businesses.

Here's a quote from one reader:

"I've started a [interior design] company on the side with the hopes of eventually going full time. With the help of your book, I got all the answers on how to turn my passion of beautiful furniture into a reality of fun and profit. Thanks, Kim!"
      -- Jodie McLaughlin, Baltimore, MD

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