These are the Top Design Shows You Need to Know About in Australia

One of the perks of being an interior designer is that staying up-to-date on the latest trends, materials, and makers is a vital component to your job. So finding new inspiration at the country’s top design shows is just part of the gig! Here are the most essential industry events in Australia that no member of the design community should miss.

Decor + Design

As one of Australia’s biggest and most established design shows, Décor + Design has been attracting interior designers and other members of the trade since 2004. The Melbourne mainstay is co-located with the Australian International Furniture Fair, the country’s largest furniture buying and networking event. It brings together a whopping 350+ exhibitors showcasing the latest in furniture, lighting, soft furnishings, housewares, and art. 

In recent years, keynote speakers have included international industry superstars like Martyn Lawrence Bullard and husband-and-wife duo Cortney and Robert Novogratz.

Other standout programs include VIVID, a long-running design competition that has kick started the careers of many up-and-coming Aussie designers, and the International Seminar Series, which is run in partnership with Australian House & Garden.

Photo via @decordesignshow

Melbourne Design Week

“How can design shape life?” That’s the complex question Melbourne Design Week will be posing to the design community over 11 days in 2020. 

The forward-thinking series of events is meant to provoke thought and discussion amongst designers on the trade’s most pressing issues. Programming will be organized into five thematic pillars: Healthy Cities, Design Cultures, Waterfront, the War on Waste, and Design Evolution. 

Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria serves as the hub for the staggering 200-some events, but there are exhibitions, film screenings, workshops, and tours at venues located throughout the city.

Denfair

Boasting more than 12,000 square meters of exhibition space, Denfair Melbourne is one of Australia’s largest and most popular design shows. Stroll the booths to stay up on the latest trends in residential and commercial design, including innovations in furniture, lighting, textiles, wall and floor coverings, lifestyle products, and workspace design.

Denfair is restricted to professional designers, architects and other trade insiders for the first two days, then open to design lovers from the general public for the final one.

Every year, there’s a great mix of established and emerging Aussie design talent like Anaca Studio, Lost Profile, James Howe, and MinaMina by Nancy Ji — plus more exhibitors from around the globe.

This year, the show took a look at how our home and work lives intersect with the “Life Work” theme. In 2020, you can expect a similarly thoughtful theme when Denfair hosts its 6th annual event at the Melbourne Convention
and Exhibition Centre.

Photo by @zoso_studio via @denfair

Sydney Design Festival

Leading experts from Australia and the design community at large converge in Sydney every year at this festival, which is curated and produced by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS).

This year, the festival explored how the industry can broaden the world of interiors and make good design more accessible to all with the theme “Accessing Design.” 

By collaborating with over 100 partners, the festival puts on 138 events over 10 days, offering a diverse mix of exhibitions, talks, tours, workshops, podcasts, installations, and symposiums. Expect next year to be even bigger.

Ivy Designer Spotlight | Jane Thomson, Downie Thomson Interior Design

Based in Sydney, Australia, Jane Thomson is an experienced interior designer and presenter with over 30 years in the business. She founded her practice, Downie Thomson Interior Design along with her mother, Liz Downie, in 1990. Jane is also a proud designer on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms

How did you get started in design?

I guess I was super lucky growing up in a beautifully designed mid-century home. My dad, an architect, designed this stunning whitewashed brick home. It was very on trend at the time. Lots of white and some exposed timber and quarry tiles and it was stunning. We were so lucky. 

When visiting other kids’ homes, we’d be shocked to think that people actually lived like this. A very odd and perhaps judgmental thought process for such a young child. I just don’t know where this came from within me, but these homes really scared me. I used to create excuses not to visit my friends’ homes. I think I was really a weird little unit.

I always had this weird fetish about the environment around me.

I didn’t always know that I’d end up being a designer because in high school I decided to be an actor. I left school and started quite a famed course in acting here in Sydney, called the Ensemble Studios. But halfway through I thought man, I really want to be an interior designer as well.

After having a baby and embarking into marriage, I was the Marketing Manager for our family’s bodyboard and surf ski brand. So I was marketing those products around Australia and still yearning to be an actor and interior designer. 

So it was kind of a weird start. Really, I got into interior design quite late in life, when i was about 29. I completed a course in interior design. I was already highly educated in aesthetics and understanding of design through my parents. I then joined camp with my mum who was already an interior designer and that’s basically it.

Photo by George Fetting

What was it like working with your mum who was also an interior designer?

My mum sadly passed away in January. We were in business together for about 15 years so when she died it was really weird not having her to bounce ideas off. It’s really hard.

When she was alive It was awesome being able to — you know if you’re stuck on something and just need that sounding board — just pick the phone up and go “mum what do you think?” I loved working with her.

How has your experience as an actor helped you in the design business?

As an actor you train to assess people and their psychology and respond in kind. So if you’re invited into someone’s home as a professional on aesthetics, they’re automatically going to be feeling a little bit nervous and like they’re being judged. So I think as an actor you can readily identify these cues, respond, and try to allay their fears.

As an actor it’s all about listening to the actor’s vibe and answering based on their delivery of the lines, so I think my education as an actor has allowed me to really listen to what my clients are trying to convey beyond their words. My acting education helps me listen more intently to assess clients’ true needs and wants.

Design by Jane Thomson
Photo by Brett Boardman
Architect: Bennet Murada Architects

What project was the most interesting for you to work on?

When mum and I were in business together we were approached by a brothel to complete a refurbishment of the premises. I remember mum saying to me at the time, ‘you are so not going to this meeting!’ 

She ended up attending and she so straightened them out! Suffice to say It was a really fun project. Our parameters were loose [pardon the pun!] and we could be as  — irreverent as we wanted — and our scope was so much wider than we’d ever have with normal residential or even a commercial job. So that was a real eye-opener and a really fun project. 

Have you had any challenging projects?

I recently completed a small project for a CEO of a large company. And that person found this process so difficult to deal with because they didn’t have control. 

For a very small project I lost so much money and much sleep. Halfway through the project I had that “ah ha” moment and decided that I couldn’t do this job anymore. It really made me question if I actually wanted to carry on as a designer. It made me question my ability.

I had to really navigate around her brain and actually front her. I said, ‘I know that you are a professional, you are in control of everything. But you need to just relinquish control. Do you think you can do that?’ 

Finally she had her ‘ah ha moment’ and her penny dropped. Finally she realized what she was doing and the mental environment she was creating for both of us.

I was disappointed in myself that I didn’t pick it up earlier. But at least I finished the project and we ended it on good terms and that’s always my main objective.

You always have to think about your client and put yourself in their shoes.

What advice can you give other designers dealing with challenging clients?

You always have to think about your client and put yourself in their shoes. They’re handing over huge amounts of money and huge amounts of trust to us as design professionals, you’ve gotta be able to tap into that and have understanding and empathy. 

My main objective is to make sure my clients feel valued and that they’re being listened to. Even if it’s driving me mental, as professionals I believe that’s what we have to do.

Why did you choose Ivy for your business management needs?

I found out about Ivy about 6 months ago. I was looking at project management tools . When I was starting off 30 years ago, there was nothing. We were just stumbling around in the dark. 

I was kind of using my father’s method of project managing, though with Dad being an architect, our processes are so different. So I decided I really have to develop some good project management skills — and I was rubbish. 

So I heard about some tools and by listening to other designers and some podcasts, I thought Ivy sounded amazing. I jumped on board and I’m really happy that I did! 

How has Ivy transformed your design business?

The greatest thing for me is this project tracking. Tracking what you’re doing — you know it’s all there. So often you have lots of invoices coming in and orders going out and this way you can actually track everything. 

To be able to look up and actually see what you’re making — your profit on a particular project — is amazing. I mean otherwise, I’ve got Xero as an accounting package but that’s just too clunky and accountancy based. Ivy gives me a really simple way of being able to go, ‘Wow! I made that much?’ or “Damn. I really screwed up there.’ You can actually see it. It’s there right in front of you. 

It’s been huge for me to be able to do that. And now being on my own, as “one woman-band” it’s a lot of work for one person. So to be able to have a quick look at the screen and see where you are? It’s brilliant. 

Ivy has cut out unimportant billable hours for the client. That’s time I can now spend doing things that are more important — like the actual design!

What are your favorite Ivy features?

The clipping tool is unbelievable. You can just click on an item and then you have everything there. And then being able to mark it up or not mark it up is just amazing. It cuts loads of precious time down. 

Years ago we didn’t have anything like this. Ivy has cut out unimportant billable hours for the client. That’s time I can now spend doing things that are more important — like the actual design! 

Time tracking is another awesome feature . At a glance you can see where your time is spent. My actual design portion of some projects is only 25% which is so tiny. But I can say that this is getting bigger and the other procedures, the ones that we don’t want to have to charge for, are decreasing. I think that’s due to Ivy, so that’s just been amazing. It’s actually making the less attractive fee side of our business for our clients so much smaller. 

What advice would you give an Ivy rookie?

When anyone is attempting anything new, it can be overwhelming. Because so many other programs are so complicated, we think everything’s going to be complicated. But Ivy, in comparison is an easy tool to use once you’ve navigated your way around it. 

Take advantage of it because it just makes things so much easier.

And use the support side of it. Use those 15-minute check-ins. To have that offered to you is amazing. Those chats can help you exponentially. After those instructional chats just hop right in there and experiment. The penny drops pretty quickly!

What advice would you give new designers?

As designers, we all have to remember our main purpose is to help people and to navigate them through what they believe may be a tough time. 

Always be mindful. Our clients need us. 

It’s taking them by the hand, guiding them through the process, and pushing those boundaries with them a bit, because that’s our job. But at the same time, we’ve got to give them the best version of what they think they want. I think that as professionals that’s one of the most important things.

I would say to any young designer. “Yes, you’re a young vibrant designer bursting with amazing ideas, and yes you’re incredibly smart and talented. But at the same time, this isn’t all about you. It’s about our clients. And we’ve all got to remember that.

Do you want to be featured in an Ivy designer spotlight? Contact us at sarah.drill@ivy.co.

Behind the Design Ivy Podcast | Stacey Cohen of Mosaic Luxe Interiors

Ivy Podcast Guest: Stacey Cohen of Mosaic Luxe Interiors

Stacey Cohen, Founder and Principal Designer of Mosaic Luxe Interiors gained national design recognition on HGTV Design Star. Cohen received her degree in Interior Architecture from Parsons, and The New School of Design in New York. She proudly presents a model, rooted in her steadfast commitment to value, relevance, investment and quality which keeps projects on time and, more importantly, on budget. Cohen’s design career is entering into its third decade and we’re thrilled to be having her here with us so our Ivy community can learn from her impressive industry insight.

In this Podcast, you’ll learn:

  • How Stacey Cohen implemented a process of designing with transparency and why she finds it to be so imperative to her business model
  • How and why Stacey built a business model where 100% of her clients’ design budget goes to design
  • The biggest mistake Stacey made with her design business and what she learned from it

Source Smarter | Online vs In-Person Product Sourcing

So much of our day-to-day has made its way online — our communication with people, grocery shopping, making reservations, our calendars and so much more. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, around 3 out of every 10 adults say they are “almost constantly online.”

The business world is no different. We manage our businesses online, do much of our client communication online, and deal with payments online. It’s no surprise that for interior designers, many traditional processes have made their way online too. Chief among them is product sourcing.

You know how time consuming it can be to source the perfect products for your clients. Hitting the shops and showrooms, snapping photos, collecting dimensions and other details, and finally sharing your vision with your client. 

The introduction of tools like the Ivy Clipper and Room Boards which allow you to instantly source products online and easily send them to clients for approval have become a game changer. Still, online sourcing does not come without a downside.

So, what’ll it be, in-person or online product sourcing?

In-person product sourcing

There’s an undeniable benefit to sourcing products at trade showrooms or otherwise in person. It’s the advantage of the senses. Seeing the products, touching them, sitting on them — these things cannot be experienced online.

Many designers also take advantage of market shows to find new wholesale vendors. Of course, there are also those who believe that the savings and convenience of online sourcing aren’t worth the risk of ordering something without seeing it in person. Designers who source exclusively online are sometimes disappointed by items that arrive with funky details that may not have been noticeable online.

Photo by Curology

One thing remains true whether you source products in person or online — organization is key to making sure your projects run smoothly. 

That’s why designers who prefer to source offline will use handy tools like the Ivy app to stay organized. With the Ivy app designers can take pictures of products and upload them directly to their Ivy account. That means never skipping a beat as you make your way through the showroom. Snap photos on your phone and add any details you’ll want later — all in Ivy. You’ll know you have all of the details you need to order the item when you’re ready.

Online product sourcing

It’s impossible to ignore the recent changes in the design industry. While working with showrooms and reps is still popular, sourcing online is becoming more common. 

According to Inc, “the internet and ecommerce have drastically changed the way people around the world research and shop for the things they need.” It’s all about saving time, saving money and making the most of convenience. 

Designers make online sourcing work for their businesses by choosing brands they trust and always checking the return program in case an item is not as expected. Many will begin product sourcing online and then call their showroom rep to check quality or see items in person when necessary. 

According to Architectural Digest, “Ten years ago, many designers scoffed at the notion of buying furniture online without giving clients the opportunity to try pieces out in the person; today, it’s commonplace.”

Some designers say that while they don’t source 100% of their products online, they aim for online sourcing as much as possible. Moving at least some of your product sourcing efforts online can help increase profitability for your business as you’ll save both time and money.

Tools like the Ivy Clipper make online sourcing a breeze and save designers countless hours. With the Clipper at hand, Ivy designers quickly add any product to their Ivy account from any website.  

Another valuable tool for successful product sourcing is the Ivy community on Facebook. With over 3,500 active members, the Ivy Designer Network is available to all Ivy members. While the community is an amazing network for support and advice on a variety of topics, it is also a sourcing haven.

Post from the Ivy community on Facebook

Whether looking for a favorite online source for antique lock doors or material to reupholster dining room chairs — designers turn to the Ivy community. Ivy designers post multiple sourcing questions every week and get helpful responses from other designers. 

So, what’ll it be?

Studies show that today, 8 out of every 10 adults go online at least daily. As our reliance on digital tools in our personal and professional lives continues to grow, so will these figures. The interior design industry is no exception. 

In the coming years more designers will transition from in-person to online product sourcing. The time and money that online sourcing saves will continue to help designers increase profitability in a changing market.

Whether you’re currently sourcing exclusively offline, online or working with a mix of both, Ivy is here to help. Make the most of the tools at your disposal and as always, reach out with any questions. Happy sourcing!


Ivy Designer Spotlight | Boo Randle, Boo Randle Interiors

Based in New Orleans, Boo Randle is the founder and principal designer of Boo Randle Interiors. We spoke with Boo about running her own design firm and how Ivy impacts her business. 

How did you get started in design?

I graduated from college in Finance and went into Finance briefly. While in my first job out of college I went to school for interior design. That was always my goal, to be an interior designer. 

I ended up in NYC and got into fashion instead of interior design. I spent almost a decade working in the fashion industry, including positions as vice president of sales and chief operations officer. When my husband and I moved to New Orleans, a place we had always wanted to live, I realized it’s now or never.

I started working for a firm as a designer and spent a few years there to really get the processes down and learn from my incredible boss. I went out on my own after 3 years and have now been in business for almost 2 years.

Boo Randle
Boo Randle of Boo Randle Interiors

What do your clients say about you and your work?

I love hearing that I really listen, but the best compliments I get are referrals. I do no marketing. My business has grown simply through word of mouth. 

What was one of your favorite projects? 

A Pied-a-terre in the French Quarter was one of my favorite projects because the couple I worked with were so dear. They were willing to take chances and were not afraid to tell me their honest opinions. I love projects like that, where I have people who put their faith in me and feel comfortable fully joining me in the process.

Pied-a-terre designed by Boo Randle
Design by Boo Randle Interiors

Have you had any challenging projects?   

Yes. I think anyone who has been in the business will tell you there are challenging projects that come at you because people tend to be emotionally invested. I think every project has at least one challenge point if not several. 

What advice would you give other designers dealing with challenging clients?

I would say to be professional. I’ve had to part ways with a client because we couldn’t get on the same page. We parted ways amicably and she was appreciative that I was honest. Be honest with yourself and if you have a sense something is amiss, address it immediately.

Ivy has been instrumental in my being able to go out on my own.

Why did you choose Ivy for your business management needs? 

When I first went into business everything was in all different places. I could manage it but then I learned about Ivy. When I looked into it and did a demo, I immediately knew that this would solve a lot of my admin headaches. Overnight it changed everything. 

Ivy has been instrumental in my being able to go out on my own. I now have one system doing everything and it’s amazing.

How has Ivy transformed your design business?

Keeping systems in one place — in Ivy — really is the reason I was able to do it on my own. Just being able to quickly access each project and see an overview, and also being able to dig down deep, streamlines the way I am able to work. 

And being reminded when a proposal is waiting or a payment needs to be made has been wonderful. It’s so great for someone who has a smaller firm as it really allows me to have time to do the design work. 

What are your favorite Ivy features?

I cannot live without the proposals, invoices and PO system. Those keep me on track and my projects running smoothly.

How have you benefited from the Ivy community?

When i have 5-10 minutes of spare time I’ll scroll through the most recent posts in the Ivy community. It’s a great source of information. A lot of the questions have been asked, so I’ll go in and search for what I need.

What advice would you give an Ivy rookie? 

Really use the whole system. For a while i was just using proposals and invoices until I realized what else I could do. I was writing out to-do notes for my assistant until she suggested we use Ivy for that too and it’s made a big difference. Dive right in and use the whole system.

Want to be featured in an Ivy designer spotlight? Contact us at sarah.drill@ivy.co.

Effortless Product Sourcing Becomes Even More Effortless

A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Ivy Clipper Makeover

Since its release, the Ivy Clipper has changed the way designers source products. The Clipper transforms your workflow by taking otherwise time consuming tasks and making them — well — effortless.

Popular from the Very Beginning

Designers use the Ivy Clipper to source products online and quickly save those products to their Ivy account. In fact, 96% of Ivy designers save countless hours by sourcing products online using the Clipper. 

The Clipper does more than instantly save products to your Ivy account. It captures all of a product’s details and images, saving everything to any project you choose. The product details and images you clip can be used throughout your project — in tear sheets, Room Boards, and proposals. 

It’s no wonder Ivy members love this feature.

Designers Are Raving

Maegan Swabb, Designer

“The Ivy Product Clipper makes our lives so much easier…It’s great being able to shop for a client and just keep on moving.”

Maegan Swabb | M. Swabb Decor + Style

Lindsey Borchard of Lindsey Brooke Design

“The Ivy Product Clipper makes adding products to our catalog SO easy. It’s effortless and something that anyone in our company can do.”

Lindsey Borchard | Lindsey Brooke Design

Why Change a Good Thing?

Here at Ivy, we’re always working to make our product the best it can possibly be. And when it comes to raising the bar in our industry, our work is never done. That’s why we took something our designers really love working with and found innovative ways to make it even better.

"No matter how good you get, you can always get better, and that's the exciting part." - Tiger Woods

Introducing: The New Clipper

The new Ivy Clipper makes product sourcing even faster. Here are just a few ways the new Clipper aids your efficiency:

  • Smart Sourcing works with select sites to instantly add your product’s details into the Clipper with just one click.
  • Highlight the desired text and select from a dropdown of categories to quickly add additional details.
  • Clip products directly to a Room Board.
  • Use the Clipper’s calculator to figure your profit after markup. Enter in the MSRP to calculate your client’s savings too.

We Tested It, Designers Love It

Everything we create is created for you — the designers who rely on Ivy to run profitable design businesses. 

So, we couldn’t release the Clipper before seeing what our community had to say about it. A handful of designers have already tried out the new Clipper and the verdict is in — it’s a hit! And we’re not surprised. There’s a lot to love. 

Designers are super excited about the calculator feature and ability to show the client’s savings. We all know how important that can be. 

Smart Sourcing — the fastest and most efficient way to source products online — is another functionality designers can’t wait to try out. And let’s not forget the new look. It’s clean and totally intuitive.

The Ivy Clipper: Before & After

Get Clipping

What are you waiting for? Go experience the new Clipper for yourself. 

Have something to say about it? We always want to hear what’s on your mind. Share it with us.

Not an Ivy member yet? Schedule your free demo today and see what Ivy can do for your business.







How One Interior Design Mama Jumps Back into the School Year

You may be inconsolable that summer’s coming to an end, and the season of family vacations and sleep-away camps is over. Or perhaps you’re one of those parents who can’t get your kids back onto that school bus fast enough, and is excited to get your household back on a steady routine. Either way, every parent out there can use some fresh tips for making the transition back to school as painless as possible. So we asked New Zealand native and Marin, California-based interior designer Bridget Cooper — who has kids starting the 4th, 6th, and 10th grades this year  — to share her hacks for jumping back into the school year.

Avoid School Lunch Explosions

“I find food gets squished in a lot of the lunch boxes out there. Then I end up with a banana explosion all through the bag when my kids get home. So now I use these dishwasher-safe Bento Boxes. They’re sturdy enough for school lunches, and are great for outings like picnics too.”

ECOlunchbox Stainless Steel Rectangular 3-in-1 Bento Box via The Container Store

“I find food gets squished in a lot of the lunch boxes out there. Then I end up with a banana explosion all through the bag when my kids get home. So now I use these dishwasher-safe Bento Boxes. They’re sturdy enough for school lunches, and are great for outings like picnics too.”

Create a Colorful Study Space

To make her kids’ homework space more bright and fun, Cooper bought this inexpensive desk and painted it in high-gloss Studio Green paint from Farrow & Ball.

Carson Writing Desk – Threshold™ via Target

Learn to Love Labels

“In the past, I’ve constantly had to rifle through the lost property bin at school for my kids’ sweaters and such. But this year I got really great custom iron-on labels from minted so they can look for misplaced items themselves.”

Make Good Hygiene a Habit

“Getting everyone’s hygiene in check by encouraging their own morning routines is one of my goals for this year. For my son, that means TEETH, DEODORANT, FACE, HAIR PRODUCT. Thankfully, I found this face moisturizer with SPF 30 that miraculously neither he or my other kids think smells funky.” 

Healthy Snack Prep

Cooper’s son plays basketball, and always come home from school starving. So she stashes prepped packets of pre-cut bananas, chia seeds, and this plant-based chocolate protein powder specifically designed for kids in the freezer. When he comes home ravenous, it’s easy for him to blend the contents of the packets with milk for a satisfying, healthy smoothie.

Make Weeknights Easier

“My husband and I both work, so family dinners can get hectic during the week. I get meal kits from Good Eggs delivered so we’re stocked with yummy mid-week dinners everyone can prepare.”

Take Note

“My son likes to leave me loads of notes for things like bringing his basketball gear to practice, fixing the iPad, and buying his favorite snacks. These Memo Balls are great for his him to jot those reminders down, and all my kids use them for studying. I also like to tuck these sweet notes into their lunch boxes.” 

Sticky Memo Notepad Ball via Urban Outfitters

Get Ahead of Rainy Season

It’s easy to wait until the first rainy morning to realize that your kid has outgrown the raincoat that was roomy on them last year. Cooper stays ahead of the game by outfitting her kids with rain gear before all the cute options are sold out: she’s got these rain boots and jackets ready to go for the first sign of showers.

Original Kids First Classic Rain Boots: Hunter Green via Hunter Boots


How Designers Maintain Good Relationships with Vendors

Vendors form the backbone of your business. So maintaining good working relationships with your suppliers, trades people, manufacturers, and showrooms is key to keeping your projects on track and clients happy. Follow these 8 essential tenets to maximize the profitability and efficiency of your design business. 

Cultivate Friendly Relationships

Good relationships don’t just happen overnight. Build relationships with your vendors by taking the time to get to know them on a friendly level as well as professionally. 

When working with a new vendor, ask some simple questions like how long they’ve been with the company, what neighborhood they live in, and about their family. When you see longtime design partners, don’t forget to ask how they’re doing, what’s new with the company, or how their weekend was before you get down to business. Regardless of how long you’ve been working with someone, starting a conversation with a smile, a hello, and a little chitchat is valuable for maintaining a good rapport.

It’s also helpful to remember that your vendors will likely have friends, neighbors, and other homeowners asking them for interior designer recommendations, and they’ll refer them to designers they have a connection to and genuinely like working with. Taking the time to cultivate a good relationship will help ensure that it’s your name they give to potential clients.

Trust Their Expertise

No one knows a vendor’s products as well as they do. Take advantage of that intimate knowledge by asking them questions and listening to their advice about how their products best perform, how they wear, etc.

Be a Good Communicator

Like all relationships professional and personal, communication is key. Be in frequent contact with your design colleagues before, during and after projects, and as soon as problems come up and get resolved. 

It’s also good to be in touch during your downtime to ask about new products that may be available, and to share photos of successful projects you’ve partnered with them on so they can see the finished results.

Be Timely

Pay your invoices on time. You don’t want to fall behind on your accounts and put your vendors in a position where they have to spend time chasing your payment down.

And when you borrow product samples, be sure to return them as soon as you’re able.

Keep Rush Requests to a Minimum

It’s normal to ask for rush orders and last-minute quotes from time to time. But when rush requests become the norm, it affects vendors’ views as you as a professional, and they’ll be less likely to drop everything to help you. 

Work ahead of time whenever possible to ensure that rush requests are the exception, not the rule.

Troubleshoot Together

When problems arise with a vendor’s work or products, let them know about the issue in a neutral way that doesn’t assign blame, then work together to find a solution.

Follow the Golden Rule

Treat others as you want to be treated. Keep this guiding principle in mind when vendors ask for favors. Having reciprocity in your professional relationships means that when it’s your turn to ask for a favor, your vendor will have your back.

Show Your Appreciation

It’s easy to quickly slip into business mode with vendors. But don’t forget to say thank you — especially when they go the extra mile to help you out. 

Let your vendors know how much you think of their products. And when you get rave reviews from your clients, pass on the good word. Everyone likes hearing when people appreciate their good work.

Stylish Spots Where Interior Designers Meet Clients in London

When meeting with a new or potential client, where you choose to meet may reflect just as much about your style as the outfit you wear or work samples you share. In London, choose from this list of designer-approved spots to make the right impression with your new client, and kick your project off on a chic note.

Photo via sketch

Blakes Restaurant

Need to schedule an early breakfast meeting? This super-chic spot in the Blakes Hotel London in Chelsea starts serving at 7AM Monday through Friday. The menu is a something-for-everyone mix of Eggs Benedict and full English breakfast, plus fresh juices, gluten-free baked goods, and vegan options. Best yet, the gorgeous interiors — which were inspired by a vintage steamer sailing up the Bosphorus — were designed by the legendary Anoushka Hempel.

Claridge’s

For afternoon tea, it doesn’t get more classic than this London institution. After all, it’s been serving an elegant, pinkies-out high tea for more than 150 years. Chat with clients while you leisurely sample specialties like fresh-baked scones, fresh fruit pastries, finger sandwiches, and the house tea blend — all served on Claridge’s signature green-and-white striped fine china.

April’s Café at Boutique 1

Food and fashion combine at April’s, the trendy eatery in upscale clothier Boutique 1 in Belgravia. Book a table ahead of time for a client meeting. The light and bright space is filled with plants, stylish modern lighting fixtures, and House of Hackney cushions. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks range from healthy to indulgent, but all beautifully presented.

sketch

The dress code at sketch is “art smart,” which will clue you into its posh-yet-edgy vibe. The design-driven destination in Mayfair is actually a quartet of spectacular restaurants, each with its own singular style. Head to The Gallery to sip tea amid the art-lined walls and cotton candy-colored banquets, or visit the jewel toned “enchanted decoupage forest” of The Glade for breakfast, lunch, or cocktails. Another chic daytime meet-up option is the more casual Parlour, where the chairs wear ballet slippers and a casual drinks and bites menu is served all day.

The Book Club

By night, this Victorian-era former warehouse in Hackney thumps with DJ music and dancing. But by day, two art- and light-filled floors with plenty of seating are designated for workshops, talks, and “daytime eating, drinking, thinking & meeting.” Go for a cozy coffee, pancake breakfast, or afternoon craft cocktail. It’s not the spot for more formal clients, but it’s a vibrant space to meet up with casual-cool clients.

11 Cadogan Gardens

This charming hotel close to the best shopping in Sloane Square is comprised of four elegant Victorian townhouses. There are several quiet lounges, nooks, and a library with leather and velvet armchairs perfect for business meetings, and you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy them.

Rosewood London

Just steps off bustling High Holborn — through an arch and a serene courtyard  — is the grand façade of Rosewood’s stunning London outpost. When you have a client you’re looking to impress, this the place. There are several spaces for client meet-ups: order coffee or tea in the gorgeous lobby, or a drink in the clubby Scarfes Bar, which is filled with more than 1,000 antique books curated by a Portobello antiques dealer. In summertime, don’t miss your chance to have lunch alfresco in the Nyetimber Secret Garden, which drips with purple wisteria.

Hubbard & Bell

This mod lobby restaurant inside the trendy Hoxton hotel in Holborn is perfect for a casual morning meeting. The room is bustling but not noisy, the coffee is strong, and classic breakfast dishes like omelets, bagels with smoked salmon, buttermilk pancakes and avocado toast are sure to please.

These are the Shoes Interior Designers Love Wearing to Trade Shows

Our feet log a lot of miles when making the rounds at trade shows. So we surveyed design pros to round up the comfortable footwear at every price point that doesn’t sacrifice on style.

Photo via Everlane

Women’s

Bells & Becks Mirella Gold, $345

Sumptuous metallic suede, gold tassels, a padded leather footbed, and a short stacked wooden heel.  What’s not to love about these gorgeous, luxe mules, which are expertly handmade in Italy?

Everlane’s Day Heel, $145

“A heel you can walk in. All. Damn. Day.” That’s the promise of these ballet-inspired rounded toe heels. Made of supple leather with a 2-inch block heel, elasticized back, and cushioned insole, these shoes were in such high demand that at one point, the wait list to buy them topped 28,000 people.

Tory Burch’s Emmy Mid-Heel Pearl Sandal, $199

Customers rave about the comfort of these mid-height leather heels embellished with pretty strands of pearls.

Birdies’ Phoebe in Floral Jacquard, $140

Are they slippers or are they shoes? There’s no reason to label these lovely hybrids from Birdies, which were made to echo the comfort of a slipper (think memory foam, comfort cushioning, arch support, pressure-reducing heels, and quilted satin linings), but with sturdy rubber soles that are meant to be worn outside. Buying them is a no-brainer, but good luck deciding between all the pretty options, including velvet, jacquard, calf hair, and vibrantly colored satins with OTT pom-poms.

Gucci’s Screener Leopard Print Sneaker, $750

You might think you can’t wear sneakers to design shows. But these 70’s-inspired Gucci trainers are chic enough to be the exception to that rule. Made in Italy of leopard-print suede with pink and black leather, they’re emblazoned with Gucci’s signature green and orange Web stripe. 

Everlane’s Editor Slingback, $155

These sleek and streamlined, pointy-toed slingbacks have a minimal heel and are made of super soft suede for ultimate comfort. Snag them in classic black or cream, or in outfit-making colors like persimmon, rosewood pink, or mustard yellow. 

Rothy’s The Point in Olive Camo, $145

If you haven’t tried Rothy’s, you’re missing out. The company promises that no break-in period is needed with their innovative, 3-D shoes. Made with comfort and sustainability in mind, the seamlessly designed shoes are made of recycled water bottles knit into a soft yarn, with super flexible carbon-free plastic soles. They’re incredibly lightweight, don’t ever seem to wear, and are machine-washable, making them perfect for travel.

Margaux’s The Heel, $295

Chunky block heels give feet more surface area for shock absorption than skinny heels, making for more comfortable strides. This padded Italian haircalf heel comes in seven versatile colors, but the “new neutral” leopard print might be the standout choice.

Dr. Scholl’s Countdown Wedge Bootie, $125

That’s right: Dr. Scholl’s makes chic shoes. Pair these super-versatile black leather booties with pants, dresses, or pencil skirts and tights. The 2 3/8-inch wedge heel gives a good amount of added height, and the wedge heel and cushioned insoles promise all-day comfort and reduced foot pressure and fatigue.

Shoe The Bear Kitten-Heeled Ankle Boots, $190

Add a pop-of-color to a basic black outfit with this playful pair of hot-pink booties. The eye-catching color adds drama, but the dainty kitten heel is easy of your soles.

Men’s

Cole Haan’s ØriginalGrand Wingtip Oxford, $150

The timeless style of a wingtip oxford, plus modern Grand.ØS cushioning technology. Made with buttery leather, handmade brogue accents, and Cole Haan’s propriety cushioning system, these oxfords are easy on the eye and your feet. Choose a classic color like chestnut-colored Woodbury, or this matte navy leather.

Ugg’s Balvin Boot, $200

Ugg’s talent for comfy footwear extends far beyond slippers. These versatile leather boots are sleek enough to be worn with slacks for trade shows, yet sturdy enough to don with denim for construction site visits.

Ted Baker London’s Lansee Brogues, $90

Padded Airtex lining and an Ortholite cushioned footbed bring added comfort to these grey ultrasuede lace-ups.

Christian Louboutin’s Officialito P Flat, $895

Why should the ladies get all the Louboutins? These sophisticated loafers showcase black jacquard fabric woven with metallic Lurex thread, a calfskin toecap, and oversized cotton tassels. The quality craftsmanship and supple materials ensure a comfortable fit. Wear them all day, then kick up your signature Louboutin red soles at the end of it.

Cole Haan’s Washington Grand Laser Wingtip Oxford, $400

These reimagined dress shoes feature technology borrowed from running shoes, plus a modern perforated leather laser-cut design. Thanks to lightweight, cushioned energy foam, a precision-engineered anatomical footbed, and a flexible, full-motion outsole, you’ll look like you’re wearing oxfords, but feel like you’re sporting trainers.