What do you see when you look at this drawing? Just some fabric draped over a rod, right? Well, ask a drapery workroom such as myself and you will get a different answer.
Because we see things differently. We see that this design is actually 4 different pieces which appear to be one long section of fabric but are instead, strategically cut to drape the way they do.
This is an actual rendering of mine I emailed to a client yesterday and it emphasizes the importance to not take for granted that what we see is what we ACTUALLY see. This will be made out of a gorgeous unlined sheer linen fabric and I’m artfully draping it over real bamboo to make it look like it is one piece, but as I stated above, it’s not.
To set the stage: this is one AWESOME client and let me tell you why!
After getting the estimate, they wondered if there was some wiggle room as it turned out to be more expensive than what they were originally thinking since it’s just fabric draped over a bamboo pole. I am used to this response because my custom couture window fashions are not your mother’s draperies from Sears or JC Penneys. Nor are they priced that way either. These are the actual emails we sent back and forth to each other.
ME: “I can appreciate your feeling of sticker shock especially when contrary to the eye, the treatments look like fabric just thrown over the pole. It is a testament to my skill and years of clothing experience that I know how to work with this sheer linen. I am employing dressmaker skills in doing a narrow rolled hem edge and having worked with this fabric before, I know what kind of a beast it really is! 🙂
While the treatment looks lazy and dreamy, it is actually mathematically calculated as to the cuts and angles to make each piece do what I want it to do. As with anything, there is more than meets the eye. The window upstairs required 2 more yards of fabric than the downstairs which also required more labor even though I’m giving you the bamboo. I received freely, so I give freely 🙂
Having said that, I am not opposed to wiggling a little for you although that is not my norm. I enjoy working with you and want to continue working with you on the upstairs, so let’s take 10% off my end of the project which is fabric and labor. The installation price remains the same. I will adjust the estimate accordingly.”
And so I revised the estimate and emailed it over. Later that day, I got this response from my client:
CLIENT: “Tammi, thanks for your message and I appreciate you reminding me of the art involved with creating, and to your point it really is more difficult when it is free flowing.
I appreciate the kind offer to reduce by 10% however on second thought I’d rather keep the original price. (Italics mine)
I can’t wait to have my new window coverings!!
Really enjoying working with you – we have lots to still do.”
I thought I had died and was dreaming when I got this email! So this was my response to her:
ME: “I can’t tell you how enjoyable this process has been, working with you and your professionalism. I appreciate that you feel in principle the desire to commit to the original price. I will change the estimate back to the original price tomorrow and I appreciate that you value highly my skills and knowledge. It speaks volumes as to the type of person you are.”
So designers, continue to design your window treatments. Workrooms, continue to value highly your expertise and the ability to explain to the designer or client just what is involved in the creation process. And clients, please conduct yourself in the manner that my client did with me, knowing that while we all want something for nothing or at a reduced price, value the skills of the professionals you hire because let’s face it, if you could’ve done it yourself, you wouldn’t have hired us in the first place. 🙂
I’d like to think that I could replace my toilet if I had to, but my muscles are in my mouth and let’s face it, sometimes you just have to get a professional!