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On the very first day I founded Your Space Living, I was aware of the difficulties ahead. In 2012 the UK was beginning to poke its head out of the worst global recession since the Great Depression of the 1930′s. I had just watched my former employer’s meltdown into bankruptcy and was facing an uncertain future myself. But, deep down I knew I would succeed. Great kitchen designs are my passion. Helping people create beautiful homes is my first love and I knew I would find like minded people wanting to work with me.
Having said that, I’m fully aware that you can’t win ‘em’ all. And over the last two years I have proven that phrase to be true. My current business model offers a free design service for every room in your house. Free kitchen designs have been the most popular choice by far.
This is an extremely risky strategy for any company, so why offer it? The simple answer is people in South Wales have come to expect a free ‘design’ before purchasing a new kitchen. Although I have to say the quality of the design talent on offer varies greatly from one company to another.
This ‘free kitchen design’ strategy comes from the established high street retailers. They appear to do anything to get their hands on your money. From the client’s point of view, this initially makes perfect sense. You get the chance to go through your plans with the designer for as long as the retailer allows. You can exhaust every avenue before making any financial commitment. From the company’s point of view, this is a massive risk and no business likes to take risks.
So, what does this actually mean for a potential client? Well, if you come to me, this remains a great opportunity. I am passionate about design and I’m confident in the fact that I am always doing my best for every potential client. I maintain low overheads. This serves to keep my prices competitive. Also, more importantly, it gives me the luxury of time. That time is essential for me to build a trusting relationship. If a sale comes, it will be a natural development. I only sell a kitchen once the potential client is satisfied that Your Space Living is the right fit for them.
For the established high street kitchen companies this isn’t the case. They have huge overheads that need a constant turnover of clients. Each sale must generate the largest profit margin (sometimes up to 50%). The sale must cover business expenses, as well as high commission fees. That is not good news for the client. This business model dictates that the sale must complete quickly. Indeed, the salesman has high targets to meet every single month. Failure to meet those targets will not only affect their take home pay, it could result in them losing their job.
You may also notice I have shifted their job title from kitchen designer to salesman. Their primary job is to sell, not design. They rely on the fact that many potential clients simply are not educated in good kitchen design. That allows them put together a basic layout, render some 3D images (which never fail to impress) and push hard for the quick sale. If you’re wondering how I know all this, the answer is:
Knowing all that, it’s a wonder I don’t convert all my kitchen designs. Why would a client choose one of the established high street stores over Your Space Living? I’ll be honest, I don’t know the answer. I’m obviously not getting my message across clearly enough. That’s something I’m working on.
Of course it’s upsetting and disheartening to lose out. It’s in my nature to help and I feel disappointed when I lose out on the chance to help people. But I’m still pleased to have had the opportunity to create the designs. I also enjoy my time with all the people I design for. I strive to create great kitchen designs and whilst they won’t all turn into real kitchens, it would be a shame to let the images go to waste. In the past I would have simply confined these images to a ‘lost’ folder on my computer. Now that I have a public blog, I can show them to the world. There’s every chance they could inspire someone else. So without further delay, here is my “Rogues Gallery” of the great kitchen designs that got away.
Categories: kitchen design