Featured Designer: Larry Deutsch
I met Larry in the late 80’s….he and Bill Parker (my best friend and an earlier Featured Designer) had just started seeing each other and naturally, Bill wanted us to meet. We had a drink at the Westin in downtown Boston and began what would become a decades long friendship.
Larry is an old lion in the Chicago design scene. He’s boldly intelligent and a very smart business person and we have spent hours discussing the industry and its changes and challenges. I am delighted to share him with you today…enjoy.
Love, love, love,
1. What are the biggest changes I have seen to the industry and to your business in the last five years?
In 2008 the Design World, as I had known it for 45 years, collapsed. It took me over a year to realize that nothing would ever be the same. Client calls disappeared, sales diminished to an extreme, Trade Sources went under. Networking was difficult as many Designers and Trade Sources didn’t want to face or discuss the new reality!
2. What have you done in your business to respond to those changes and how is that working for you?
When the Great Recession hit my once lofty place in the Design field, I realized that I needed to be proactive in making my design services available to a broader spectrum of potential clients. The pie was smaller so my slice needed to be larger. Gone was the minimum size project of whole homes; gone was the attitude that only I could design well; gone was the day of failing to negotiate and mediate with my clients and trade sources on a regular basis. Open-mindedness and resolution to any issues became my motto!
3. What do you predict for the interior design industry? And how will you prepare for it?
The Design industry is still in upheaval. Many designers and Trade Sources have gone under. New methods for creating sales such as inventorying unique and well priced product have emerged. Carrying greater inventory of basics has improved. No client willingly waits for product. Excellent service in, and to, the Trade has begun to be a main catalyst for the business that exists. On Mondays I feel the Economy is turning around. On Wednesdays I am unsure of that. On Fridays, I find myself examining how Mondays can continue and Wednesdays can go away. I prepare for the new Design World by being very open to change but determined to strengthen my basic business principles.