Not to be Negative Nelly Hoffman… but I will always tell you what I think — not what I think you want to hear.
So I’m not going to sugarcoat this. The pandemic has negatively impacted many industries – including the interior design world.
Even before Covid-19, we were seeing a design industry under pressure. We had slight price increases across the board. Lumber costs were going up. There were shipping container shortages. And, there were also some labor shortages — for builders, for trucking companies, for quality-trained craftsmen and women.
Let me repeat… All these forces were already at play. And then Covid hit.
Supply just couldn’t meet demand — and still can’t… yet
Because of the pandemic, people started spending A LOT more time at home. So, naturally, we all wanted our “home” to feel a little sweeter.
So, we saw a surge in demand for design services, furniture, accessories, construction, and more — JUST as the industry was experiencing massive pandemic disruption on top of previous supply-chain pressure.
It was the perfect storm, with all these factors colliding. And, now two years later, there is plenty of catch-up to be done.
During the pandemic, many skilled craftsmen took early retirement, were laid off or decided to change careers. Because of this, we still have labor shortages for every industry that’s even tangentially related to interior design. And guess what?! It takes years to learn a craft like building fine furniture.
We used to tell clients that delivery lead time – the time from when the order is placed to final pick-up — was three months. Now, we say it’s about nine to 12 months… if we’re lucky!
Real-life scenarios we’re seeing with our clients
Here’s an extreme example for you: We started working on a project with a client and put in an order for furnishings in February 2021 — and some of the pieces aren’t shipping until THIS month: April 2022. TRUE STORY, darlings.
We also recently received a notice from a fabricator that they have the wood frame for a chaise longue built, but there’s no foam for the cushions due to a petroleum shortage.
And, just for grins (or grimaces), I’ll give you one more example: A fabric we selected with a client was discontinued four months after we placed the order. FOUR months! Then, the replacement option she chose was discontinued the very next day. We are hoping the third time’s the charm!
Not only are we seeing supply chain disruption, manufacturers are actually shutting down entire lines because they’re too hard to produce.
It’s all a ripple effect.
Will it get better?
The short answer is: Yes, eventually. But, we don’t know when. Right now, the best thing we can do is put on our big girl panties and big boy briefs and practice patience.
It doesn’t mean you’re never going to get what you want. It’s just going to take time.
And, let me tell you, I internalized this whole conundrum for so long and I felt so responsible. I wanted to snap my fingers for my clients and make this all more seamless — and fast — for them. But that’s not the world we’re living in.
So I invite you to approach it all with great realism.
The fact of the matter is this: To get great, handmade, custom furniture, beautiful accessories, and luxurious fabrics, time is going to be a big part of your investment — in addition to some of those head-spinning cost increases we’re seeing.
The great thing about working with a luxury interior design services company like IDH is that we are your advocates — every step of the way. Not only can we work through these interior design challenges as effectively and efficiently as possible, we guide you through the best solutions — no matter what unexpected monkey wrenches get thrown our way. I invite you to read what some of our clients are saying about our collaboration process here.