Are you frustrated because you see beautiful ads in magazines for designer fabrics from Kravet and DuraLee that say “Available exclusively through architects and interior designers?” Well, you should be! As a designer, I have access to all these companies but what are YOU supposed to do? Here’s the answer…
I started My Design Secrets to help people who are decorating their own homes and want to do it well! My Secret Database helps you shop and My Articles help you execute. I add new vendors to the Database when I find a company that will be super useful for you. If you are looking for fabric there are a number of companies that are now offering designer fabrics to the public and they break down into three categories:
1. Discontinued Fabrics- These companies are purchasing discontinued fabrics from high-end fabric houses and you may get a great deal. There is nothing wrong with discontinued fabric; the company may just be introducing some new patterns or their relationship with that mill may have changed. The fabric is usually in stock and ready to ship. This is your chance to get fabrics like Brunschwig and Fils, Thibaut and Kravet at a deep discount, sometimes even below wholesale.
2. Special Order- This is a little controversial among designers but this is where a company will order a fabric for you using their trade account. Some feel that designers should not sell these exclusive fabrics to the public if they are not officially a “client.” I think it’s fine because the lines have blurred with the advent of the Internet. After all, the fabric companies are giving everyone access to their website! These fabrics may or may not be in stock. If they are not, you will be expected to pay a non-refundable deposit to order. You can expect to pay a markup from about 25% above wholesale all the way up to retail.
Discount Designer Fabrics Online Etc.
You need to know the item name/number of the fabric you want. Here are some manufacturers’ websites that allow you to browse without pricing.
3. Smaller, Independent Companies – This is where you are going to see a lot of imagination and sometimes get an excellent deal. Independent textile designers are getting out there and starting their own lines that they sell themselves or through a retailer. The Internet has opened the playing field because in the old days a fabric line did not have prayer if it was not represented in a designer showroom. I love what these companies have to offer and some even have wonderful custom options.
And here’s a cool website where you can design your own fabric using Photoshop!
Before ordering your fabric, a few words to the wise:
- Do not order anything without asking for a sample of the fabric. It is the only way to get a true feel for color and texture. Also, ask if the cutting (small piece of fabric) is from the same dye lot from which you will be purchasing.
- Make sure you are clear on the shipping costs, return policy and lead time.
- Do not order fabric until you have decided on all the fabrics for the room. You don’t want to be stuck with 40 yards of sofa fabric when you find out you cannot get the pillow fabric that coordinated perfectly.
- When you receive the fabric, immediately inspect it yourself or have your upholsterer do it (they have a machine to roll it out). Report any problems to the vendor immediately.
So whether you are making some pillows yourself, or sending fabric to the upholsterer, give some of these companies a try. With a little research you will achieve a customized look that’s all your own!