I had to order some samples today for my live and KLC projects and I was wondering whether my fellow students know where and how to order samples for their projects and sample boards. So I’ve decided to give you a little bit of insight into dealing with showrooms and retailers.
I don’t know whether new students get a list of resources but when I started the KLC course, I only learnt few fabric and wallpaper houses through slideshows which supported each study section. Prior to that I only knew fabric/wallpaper brands through magazine adverts. When I first started ordering the samples, I found that:
- images on the web are different than seeing the product with my own eyes
- some companies take a while before you get your samples
- some companies only deal with trade
- some companies allow you to order only a certain amount of samples and any extra has to be purchased
SHOWROOMS IN AND AROUND CHELSEA HARBOUR DESIGN CENTRE AND KINGS ROAD
Luckily for me I can go to London and visit the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour where I can source most of my samples. However, I found that some showrooms are more helpful than others. In the end it all comes down to staff. If the company doesn’t treat its staff properly it shows on customer service. I like to visit showrooms where I know I can get some professional advice and help and where staff are friendly.
Here is my list of my go-to showrooms:
Fabrics & wallpaper
Chase Erwin (very helpful), Harlequin (very helpful), Zoffany & Sanderson (very helpful and friendly), Kravet (quick with samples), Cole & Son (very helpful), Osborne & Little (very helpful), Designer’s Guild (very helpful), Nya Nordiska (trade only), The Natural Curtain Company (no showroom in London anymore, but presence on the internet)
Also: Samuel & Son Passementerie (very helpful and friendly)
The Rug company
I know some showrooms don’t like students, so if you get asked lots of questions before you even get the sample, I would suggest to either get it elsewhere or prepare a good story about your project and your client. Sometimes they will ask you for a business card (to proof that you are trade) so bring some with you.
SOURCING FROM RETAILERS
If you were unsuccessful in getting your sample from the showroom direct, I suggest that you try your local home decor retailer. Retailers usually have a selection of fabric and wallpaper houses which they stock (and have trade accounts with) and they can order samples on your behalf. Once they receive them they will give you a call, or in some cases they can provide your address to the fabric house in which case the samples are posted directly to you.
Another way to get samples is to search online. Apart from a retail shop some retailers have a presentence on the internet. The best way to search is to put a specific fabric or wallpaper code or name. However, if you don’t know what you looking for you can visit wallpaperdirect.co.uk as a starting point. They recently added selection of fabrics and accessories as well. Only first two samples are free of charge.
CHARGES FOR SAMPLES
Some showrooms and retailers change a small fee for samples. Romo and VillaNova charges around £0.70 per sample. Wallpaperdirect charges around £0.75 per sample. Surface Tiles will charge you as well, but if you bring the samples back they will do a refund.
Anyway. I hope this helps. I really want you to share your experiences here, so if you want please put your comments below.