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Vanessa Brady comments on SBID’s latest campaign, the Fair Trading Policy in Interior Design. © Copyright SBID wp-content/2012

Trade discount is for trade, not retail, and mixing the two is unfair to all parties. The SBID Fair Trading Policy does not recommend, support or promote passing on trade discounts to the public.

Historically some interior decorators and designers passed on their trade price to potential clients to obtain work. That is desperation, not a design commission. Such designers and decorators cause mass damage to the overall industry: they undermine the retailers’ position and they betray the supplier’s price structuring integrity. In doing so, they create grey billing procedures where the customer is unable to breakdown an invoice costs and assumes inflated pricing, leading to disputes. In addition, a lack of transparency on fees, discounts and project fee structuring has often prevented potential clients from seeking professional design advice at all.

The common practice of designers passing trade discounts to their customers, i.e. the public, shrinks the development of interior design as a profession and ultimately costs each market sector profit and reputation. It is not surprising that those who trade in this practice are the largest sector in administration and bankruptcy. They are also the most boisterous when policies such as the SBID Fair Trading Policy are introduced. SBID’s aim in implementing the Fair Trading Policy is specifically to further separate hobbyists from professionals and, in doing so, raise the standards of the entire profession.

Practitioners who provide a design service free of charge undermine the overall design industry. It is neither appropriate nor financially sustainable for professionals to provide their key performance, their design knowledge and advice, free of charge. It is by charging a fee for the trained services of a professional designer, that a designer generates income.

Retail prices include the cost of stock and customer service. Trade prices are products supplied on business to business (B2B) terms by manufacturers, or professional industry partners (PIPs). Interior design has until now rarely respected the difference. Currently, two common unprofessional billing methods adopted by designers are:
1. Sharing trade prices as leverage to obtain projects;
2. Providing a free design service, creating income from ‘supplying goods’ only.

All too often a designer’s unrealistic recognition of project costs and random product supply between trade and retail-pricing generates customer complaints. This common practice is therefore a threat to the overall reputation and growth of the profession of design.

Other grey areas of passing on trade prices to one-time-purchasers make it impossible for retailers to compete fairly. Supplying goods has additional costs attached for different performances: retailers absorb costs such as showroom space, staffing, after-sales service and product training etc. which designers do not provide.

There is a clear additional cost in every sale a retailer makes when compared to the service provided by a designer. Designers may need to install, take delivery, organise returns of products, and so on, and this clearly has time (and cost) attached. Therefore the fee a designer earns in a trade price reflects some of the services the designer performs.

Under the SBID Fair Trading Policy, a clear charging system sets out procedures for other services such as sourcing and supplying products. SBID design professionals are encouraged to be transparent about rates for hourly, daily and project billing fees in their terms of engagement.

The policy supports SBID Designers and PIPs* and provides a fair, equitable industry plan for growth. Registered SBID international industry body members are supported by the policy to promote qualified services, however the policy does not advise, direct or propose what a fee rate should be.
*PIPs – Professional Industry Partner

About SBID

– SBID was formed in March 2009 meeting the European Councils entry criteria for Interior Designers and Architects and was inducted into the European Council of Interior Architects (ECIA) in September 2009.

– Until 2009, Britain remained unqualified to meet the eighteen year old EU standards in interior design

– The sixteen page Intellectual Property owned document* formed the basis of the registration of SBID under British Law and part of the terms of membership of the European Council of Interior Architects (ECIA)

– Andrew Rolfe is one of Britain’s leading (top 100) contract lawyers, a member of the SBID Advisory Board and partner of Clifford Chance law firm.
*The sixteen page business prospectus is the intellectual property and copyright of Vanessa         Brady and Andrew Rolfe; its joint creators. It may not be reproduced without written authority from its joint creators.

– The SBID Fair Trading Policy is part of a joined up business plan that creates the bases of a design professional through education, practice and control with the aim of protecting the consumer and improving the professional image and performance of design professionals.- SBID is a Professional body raising, promoting and setting standards to create opportunities for design professionals to trade pan-industry providing design advice products and support services. The SBID Fair Trading Policy supports and builds on the relationship between these market sectors to create a clear route to market for the professional sector of design. The outcome will be a joined-up industry.

November has come and gone and with it the 61st remarkable edition of Italy’s internationally recognised hospitality exhibition, SIA Guest. Officially partnered with the Society of British Interior Design (SBID), the exhibition once again offered a hub for top-tier manufacturers, service providers and designers, both Italian and foreign, operating in the hospitality market.

SIA Guest, organized by Rimini Fiera S.P.A. at the Rimini Expo Centre fair ground in Italy, took place on 26-29 November 2011 and focused on business and excellence in innovation, attracting 600 exhibiting firms and more than 37,000 professional trade visitors from 30 different countries. A stand was provided for the Society in the TREND hall to promote its hard work towards better standards in the industry, and the benefits of membership for international manufacturers and designers. Fittingly, SIA Trend is a new hall in which a business area and cultural exhibition are combined, under the banner of experimentation for hotels and collective venues.

The Society took this opportunity to officially announce that it will be hosting the SBID International Design Awards wp-content/2012 at SIA Guest next year, with a focus on contract interior design. The competition will be open from December.

A hand-picked delegation of SBID’s top interior designers and architects was invited to attend the exhibition, meet the best international manufacturers on a one-to-one basis and participate in broader networking events, with a complementary 5-star hotel stay at i-Suite.

The British delegation was impressed by the unique mix of innovation and trends showcased: alongside the products of leading firms in the sectors of contract furnishings (china, glassware, silverware, table linens, bed linens), interdeco’ (fabrics, flooring, carpets and interior décor accessories), food service equipment, technology and illumination, safety, bathroom, wellness and fitness.

The 60,000m² of exhibit space offered a series of special displays, workshops, demos and conferences which completed the agenda. Exhibitors were given a chance to meet a qualified, select public thanks to b2b meetings and new formats that attracted buyers from major markets. The setting made for stimulating and fruitful encounters between supply and demand.

With a unique mix of innovation, trends, atmosphere, and conferences, the hospitality trade show is a not-to-be missed annual date for hospitality sector professionals – book early or become an SBID member to join the free annual delegation.

An excellent example of paint being a more adaptable choice than wallpaper occurred when the owner of a Grade I listed Mayfair Mansion wanted a very elegant, expensive, handmade wallpaper applied in the 44 foot stairwell, which had sweeping vertiginous curves.

Applying wallpaper would have proved to be an impossible task, due to the curves and the irregular surface. In the skilled hands of SBID accredited Glaze artists a pattern was created, inspired by paper found in the Victoria and Albert archive. The result was simply stunning. All the motifs, each one a 22 stage process, fit the 2,500 feet perfectly with not a join in sight.

Glaze Specialist Decoration have recently completed a fabulous project at The Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, London. Ten highly skilled specialist decorators worked throughout the summer to bring the historic Gold Room back to its 1930’s glory.

Glaze artists recreated a beautiful summer sky using a fresh palate; this involved soft clouds, birds, and vines twisting around the gilded moon gold fretwork. The ruched curtains are in fact a trick of the eye, all painstakingly hand painted by one of their talented team. To complete the effect the cornice and pillar mouldings were decorated using moon gold leaf after a faux Verde Borgogna Lastra marble effect had been painted onto the original surfaces. The interior designer Alex Kravetz said at the end of the project:  ‘Amazing work – I am very happy indeed and I hope to be working with the Glaze team again soon’.

One service that Glaze Specialist Decoration offers is historic conservation. One of their artists was responsible for recreating Queen Victoria’s hand painted Chinese silk wall paper. Needless to say this was a very unique request and they are more likely to be working on projects such as the Mayfair Mansion and the Dorchester Hotel.

As well as completing grand projects such as the Mayfair Mansion, Glaze have also had some amusing and slightly unusual requests.  Recently, an artist was commissioned to disguise a bicycle shed in a stylish Westbourne Park Villa – a beautiful bamboo tree with falling leaves now disguises the bike shed, which is hidden beneath a set of stairs, creating a unique yet functional piece of art. This just goes to show that with the right product specification, all kinds of problems can be solved.

Glaze Specialist Decoration offer a first class service to Interior Designers, for both traditional and contemporary finishes as well as polished plaster.

This year the continuing importance of London on the world design stage was very much brought to the fore at 100% Design, and SBID was pleased to partner in its promotion of innovation and quality showcased by so many of its members.

It was the first time SBID had exhibited (stand A50) at the show taking full opportunity to educate stakeholders (designers, architects, manufacturers, students and consumers) on what the organisation does: our plans for the future as well as our achievements over our first two years of existence.

We also displayed some of our members’ latest products; including a Villiers Console table, a Lasvit lamp, a DecoFlame Ellipse fireplace, flooring from KarndeanDesign Flooring from Van Gogh range, and a pair of Natuzzi Vani vases.

Over 500 visitors registered for membership information to join SBID at the four day event.

Our stand was also the venue for a breakfast talk on Saturday by The Times’s Style Editor, Dr Richard Dixon, to a group of American interiors bloggers (pictured below).

Vanessa Brady, SBID President, opened the seminar session on Thursday 22 September with a talk on ‘Design Law and Order,’ addressing issues such as designer fee rates, intellectual property and qualification criteria.

SBID also organised a networking event in conjunction with Prato Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK – over 170 guests attended the Made in Italy evening, supported by MP Mike Weatherley.

As the UK’s first and leading contemporary design show, 100% Design outdid itself this time round and remains a hub of creative talent from the UK and around the world and a key event in the international design calendar. It brought together three inspiring exhibitions under one roof: world-class interiors show 100% Design, innovative surfaces at 100% Materials plus emerging talent showcase 100% Futures.

Arriving at SIA is in itself an experience; I travelled to it at 8.30am in a people carrier with the European Council of Hotel Management Association who were heading to SIA to firstly host their own Board Meeting before visiting the show. En-route we held an inspiring impromptu conference and we put Europe right, a creative group of real people, proactive and fun as well as the united European voice for hotel owners and managers. I found the conversation and vision spot-on they collectively understand exactly what a hotel must deliver to be a success. As designers we must consult and include that knowledge within our decision making process. As architects and designers we should reflect on the experience the consumer has throughout the entire process of the hotel experience. I mean right back to the beginning from making the reservation to leaving the hotel with our luggage after paying the bill. Much of what is involved throughout that entire experience is `feeling` it is the emotion not the function the consumer experiences which remains.

 I stayed at the Grand Hotel a magnificent celestial hotel of yesteryear, with everything that entails. The evening turndown service left a bookmark on my pillow, as a single occupant these little touches are an endorsement of the personal service, then I read the quote: “But where am I? I feel as if I am nowhere. If death is like this … this is not going to be nice. Everything gone, the people, the trees, the birds in the air, the wine, forget it” Fellini.  Well now am I very happy to sleep in this big empty room with that last thought in my head? Design of an interior is more than just the furniture, the budget and the cleanliness although they are what the consumer purchases with their left brain thinking, their right-side thinking will keep them returning for the `soft` non tangible items a skilled designer provides. 

 The show was packed with the good and the great from Europe, and the opening ceremony was the usual wonderful ceremony in a way that only Italy can present, Regalia, more military uniforms and colours than I knew existed, with various shaped hats and gold braiding to demonstrate rank and importance, this was further embellished with a chest of medals and ribbons glistening on the proud chests of every rank and file who waited patiently for the arrival of the Minister of Tourism to endorse the importance of this annual event. The exhibition hall was built in 2001 and designed by German architects GMP of Hamburg and it is the most spectacular architecture and design for a conference centre I have seen throughout Europe. I love this venue, it is also the most inspiring show full of amazing manufacturers from all over Italy and with the true flair and desire to create and design, it is in the bones of almost every Italian to be creative in the simple things, from the way they dress, to the way they interact as a family unit to the respect for their elders and the manners and dress of every citizen, I do love Italy, and the world loves Italy, the show was brimming with boutique hotel owners looking out for designers for their projects, manufacturers looking for designers to specify their new collections and the Managers of hotel chains looking for new trends and colour as well as keeping their eye on the general market. Vanessa Brady Chairman of The Society was invited ad the special guest of AIpi the Italian counterpart organisation of Italy, Carlo Beltramelli is the new Board Director of the European Council of Interior Architects, the collective Country members who reach the highest level of competence are strenuously scrutinised to ensure the quality and reputation of the organisation founded in 1962 is retained. The Society of British Interior Design was elected as a full member after a presentation given by the Chairman Vanessa Brady in Helsinki in September. Mr Beltramelli introduced Brady at the opening ceremony. The show will have approximately 40,000 visitors over four days and is spread throughout ten halls.

 The Society of British Interior Design took a small delegation from across the Country.

Simon Bell of Archial Group PLC an international architectural practice that  has 17 UK offices and 7 more worldwide. Simon a member of  The Society of British Interior Design and  is currently the lead architect working on the remodelling of Harrogate International Centre (HIC). This £45 million pound multi-phased project is due to start on site next year and the practice has developed the designs over the last 3 years. Simon said `What an impressive exhibition and what an impressive venue!  I will definitely return and I will inform our seventeen offices throughout the UK about it. I am grateful to The Society for inviting me to join its delegation.`

Johnny Grey a kitchen designer with studios in New York, San Francisco and the UK also attended and said `the exhibitors are friendly and displays sophisticated and stylish. I found more well designed and quality products here in my three day visit than I expected, I am really impressed, having joined The Society of British Interior Design I was invited to attend SIA, I had not heard of this show in Britain before, I cant believe its been going for 59 years, Ill definitely return`

Was this show a success in such a bad economic climate? I have to say this was the best trade show I have been too in years, Italy has many amazing shows and we will be collaborating with SIA throughout the year ahead to make next year in collaboration with the show organisers, project managers and their Press Office the most successful show of all time.

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