Kips Bay, HC&G Hamptons Designer, Atlanta, Pasadena Showcase… take your pick. There’s a showhouse for every season, every town, and cater to every kind of client. Who goes to these showhouses, and does it benefit you to participate in one? Let’s dive in.
A showhouse is a fun way to get out in public, show your talents and raise money for a deserving cause. With all the good on the outside comes a lot of craziness on the inside. Your time, paying employees, buying materials/décor, and excess goods after it’s over. Here are some ways to make the showhouse work in your favor.
- Hire an Intern or Independent Contractor for this Time – You’re already busy with your existing clients. How are you going to fit this into your schedule? You are going to allot a small number of your hours per week and use your Jr. Designer to manage and delegate the other tasks to an intern or IC. This is a good way to give more responsibility to your Jr. Designer, and also to expand an intern’s portfolio and experience. An intern’s hourly will be less than an Independent Contractor’s, so you will need to consider that cost. See below how to budget this extra worker.
- Pay As Least as Possible for Materials – Vendors want attention too! Work with your vendors by getting donations – Furniture, Area Rugs, Wallpaper, Accessories. In some cases, they will write you a check for you to spend on décor/labor. Just make sure their name is mentioned in promo materials and posted in the room. This option gives you the freedom to show your flair and expertise. Vendor donations are tax deductible, and if you’re giving them business throughout the year, it’s a win-win situation. You can also unload some of that inventory that may have piled up over the years in your storage space. Yes, you will have to buy some things, but if your team works hard on the front end, this can be beneficial. You can sell these pieces to people after the show’s over. Hello potential clients! More on that in #4…
- Social Media and Promote the Crap Out of It – More people brought through the doors by you may make you a Star Designer at the showhouse. This works for future events and professionally. If you bring in a large crowd (especially of the right people), the Powers that Be are going to want you back and they will take care of you. They will promote your room more in photos, and spend more time with you in the interviews that come around. Have that intern video and photograph the process. # and post, tag as many people you meet as possible. Have a QR code for people to use and post with as they walk through. There are usually professional photographers there on opening night, get in those photos, those are posted all over the web. Look good baby!
- Your Ideal Client May Show Up – Most Showhouses benefit a charity – This is helpful to you in terms of meeting new clients (see blog…). Proceeds go to a deserving charity in the area and can help the community. As they walk through, give them something to entice them. Place promos for your services listed with a QR code on furniture. QR code your electronic business card and stick to accessories. You can sell pieces that are installed at the end to people who have shown interest. Get business cards, meet and greet, always have someone onsite to connect with these prospective clients. If they do want to purchase some goods, call them with a services package that they can’t refuse. A “Showhouse Special”.
So in conclusion, a Showhouse can be profitable in many ways for you. Use it to your advantage and reap the benefits for years!