Going to an interior design show is a quick way to meet industry contacts, learn about products and design trends, and give you confidence as a professional home stager!
But I did have the experience of buying, decorating and flipping 6 of my own homes in 4 cities. This is how I knew I could stage a home to sell faster and for more money on the real estate market.
The First Interior Design Show For My Home Staging Business
It made me feel more “official.”
After all, my badge said “President” and I was at a trade-only event on a Friday before the Interior Design Show opened to the general public on the weekend.
In addition to getting automatic respect from suppliers at their display booths, being there on Trade Day meant I didn’t have to navigate my way around toddlers, strollers or large extended families blocking the aisles.
I remember walking by a booth and out of the corner of my eye seeing them pour a glass of red wine on a piece of fabric.
This was totally cool because I knew little about professionally-treated commercial fabrics at the time. This lead to me getting listed as a distributor for that fabric company and getting a whole pile of free sample books which I could take into client appointments.
While these fabrics were meant for restaurants and hotels, I thought how perfect they’d be for homes with young kids!
Within a few months I was sourcing fabric for various clients, something I wouldn’t have thought of doing, or been too intimidated to attempt, had I not already found a source at the Interior Design Trade Show.
I found a seamstress to make up custom cushions for my clients and earned a commission not only on her labor, but also the fabrics themselves.
I also met a window fashions supplier.
He became a great resource for me whenever I had to recommend custom window treatments for a redesign project. He’d show up with all the samples and do all the measuring, and I’d earn a nice commission on anything he sold to my clients.
An easy solution that meant I didn’t have to worry about whether a client would need window treatments or maintaining my own bulky sample inventory.
To be honest, I never wanted to be responsible for accurate measurements either. Imagine the liability if a $1000 order didn’t fit properly? This way it wasn’t my problem, yet I still made a commission.
By the way, if you’re curious how to negotiate commission deals like this, check out Course 5 of the Staging Diva Training Program, called Over 30 More Ways to Make Money in Home Staging.
My first Interior Design Trade Show also allowed me to learn about different flooring materials, counter surface options, tile suppliers and more.
With a quick electronic swipe of my show badge, I was added to myriad industry mailing lists and received free samples.
My samples included a very expensive (though free to me), Designer Kit from both Benjamin Moore and Para Paints. I also got free subscriptions to a few design-related magazines.
If you’re in Canada, you don’t want to miss the Interior Design Show in Toronto in January. This is the final week to order your free trade day badge to the largest show of it’s kind in Canada.
Other Interior Design Trade Shows to look into include:
Interiors UK – the definitive business interiors event for people passionate about design and sourcing great product.
Home & Lifestyle Expo – Atlanta – A wide range of products are exhibited at the show, including appliances, bath accessories, kitchen fittings, rugs, and other items of home decor.
Design Chicago – One of the leading trade for furniture fashion and fabric industry in Chicago.
Have you attended any trade shows for interior designers? Which ones and what benefits did you receive? Please share your ideas and comments below!
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
Debra Gould has and MBA in Marketing and has been a serial entrepreneur since 1989. She is president of Voice of Possibility Group Inc. with a mission of helping entrepreneurs create their ideal businesses and lifestyles. An internationally recognized home staging expert, Debra created the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with 7,000 students in the U.S., Canada and 20 other countries. She is the author of 5 guides and frequently appears in the media in both the US, Canada and Australia.