Designing the ideal lobby area for a hotel or creating an impressive, but very much on budget space for a conference space is big work. It's a challenge, but it's also exhilarating. Often times, commercial interior designers feel stunted by their options and their opportunities, though. You may feel limited and at the mercy of large suppliers. Whether you are browsing through a website of the same-old-thing from top mass producers or you are looking for that single piece that will allow you to craft the entire space around it, going local is simply better.
Why Is Local Ideal for Interior Designers?
For many creative designers, the thought of walking into a local designers workshop and finding a diamond in the rough is incredible, but it does not seem realistic. You have a schedule to keep and a budget to manage. While this may seem like a limitation, it does not have to be. In fact, shopping local can actually give you the tools and resources you need to achieve far more than you thought was possible on any given project.
Take, for example, the value of the lean manufacturing concept. This concept focuses on reducing the amount of inventory on hand and utilizing more locally available materials. When you use this method, you gain several key advantages for any project:
You achieve the goal of having a unique product and finished result on hand. You can bring the local vibe into the space.
You reduce the overall costs of materials because there is no supply chain to worry about or third party to pay for the product.
You are using local, sustainable materials.
You reduce the number of people involved the project, therefore reducing overall costs of the products as well as in-house.
You give back to the people that are doing the hard work, and you can brand your space with an eco-friendly element.
While many commercial interior designers love these ideas, many don't realize how easy it can be to reach these goals.
How to Find and Utilize Local Suppliers and Vendors
The procurement process for the materials you need doesn't have to involve large-scale vendors. Often times, designers just need to learn about area artisans, use blogs and websites, and connect with locals in the know. This may take nothing more than visiting a shop in the town you are working in or it may require some research. However, it is very much worthwhile.
More so, when you buy from a local shop, your timeline is impacted. If you have a large amount of need, this could mean more lead time is necessary, but don't underestimate the ability of the local company to meet your goal. It is important to consider custom projects. If you were to require a custom cut for a space, for example, this coming from a large-scale supplier would be quite difficult. For a local provider, it may be more efficient and within reach. Assume that your local provider can meet with you right away, answer questions and ask questions immediately, and even provide you with a proof within a matter of hours - not weeks. How does this significantly improve your finished project?
Once you find the local vendors that fit your needs, keep in contact with them. Whether you simply email or visit a website or even use social media - once you find a company capable of meeting your specific needs, build a relationship. Talk about opportunities. Discuss the needs you have for this project as well as any other. It is worth investing this time into the process. Engage in local professional services. Shop small even on your large projects. You will be impressed with the results.