How many times have we designers heard the “I must sit on it first,” comment?
Don’t they realize we aren’t a brick-and-mortar store and don’t carry any stock?
And, don’t they trust us to sell them something supremely comfortable?
No, they don’t.
I guess it’s because they’ve only come in contact with shitfurniture that’s horrendously uncomfortable. And shitfurniture doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, either.
For years, I would bend over backwards, even sometimes dare I say it, send them to the place that sold XYZ Upholstery. I did feel some guilt about doing that, because it’s a piggy thing to do. However, I didn’t feel so badly that I stopped. Afterall, they were only going to sit in the piece and hopefully not waste the sales persons time. :]
On occasion, I even took my new clients to sit on the furniture already installed in the home of some lovely old clients.
Then, one, bright sunny day…
I walked into my local how to muck up your home furniture store to speak to the manager about selling Lee to me at the discount I felt was fair. (She, made it clear, she wasn’t interested.) But I did sit in/on about 12 different pieces of Lee furniture.
1. They only had about 15—tops. There are hundreds of pieces in the Lee Line
2. Every piece no matter what the cushion fill felt exactly the same. The firm felt firmish and the soft felt firmish and the medium felt firmish, so did the natural Lee.
3. They were ALL comfortable.
Suddenly, I had the answer I had been seeking for at least a dozen years.
New Client: Well, Laurel… You know my husband has to sit in it first.
I look her straight in the eye with a little giggle, shaking my head in agreement.
Laurel: Oh, I know, I know… Everyone says that.
(I have her full attention now because she realizes that maybe her husband is possibly normal?)
But here’s the thing…
The furniture in the store is only an approximation of how the piece will sit. I could take you to Rip Off Furniture Store, but the chances that they will have your exact frame are not very good and even if they do, they undoubtedly won’t have the premium cushion fill.
That is the secret to a comfortable sofa— and a well-constructed piece with great proportions. I only do the spring-down fill. It is both soft AND supportive—divine actually. Stores usually put the standard crap fill in their floor models.
And the furniture in the store will also be shopworn and probably have some gross fabric on it. It won’t feel nearly as special as the piece we are creating.
For those reasons, I don’t recommend actually sitting in a piece in a furniture store.
Your piece is not going to feel the same no matter what.
She’s looking at me quizzically like I just told her that Martha Stewart eats peanut butter out of the jar for lunch most days. (I understand she often does.)
At this point, I have her full attention, and this is when I go in for the kill.
Yes, kill the idea, not the new client. :]
You know… I’ve sold dozens of these sofas/chairs from XYZ Upholstery Company. I’ve sat in nearly every model. Most are exceedingly comfortable, and the ones that aren’t, are for a specific reason. I only recommend the most supremely comfortable pieces.
Incidentally, I’ve had some exceedingly fussy clients who were soooo nervous and then, when they got their beautiful new furniture raved at how comfortable it is! Everyone does. In all of my 30 years in business selling hundreds of sofas and chairs, I’ve never had one single complaint about the comfort of any of the upholstered pieces.
That is how I know that you and Hubs will be thrilled as well!
That’s what I said, which by the way, is 100% true, and it worked nine times out of ten.
Now, there are some neurotic folks who are never satisfied with anything. If you sense you have one of them, I would cut ties before you go any further.